Netherlands executed more Indonesians than thought in 1947 revolt: report

A distant overall view of the town of Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
A distant overall view of the town of Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, IndonesiaPhoto: Lord Mountbatten / Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds more Indonesians were executed than initially thought when the Netherlands tried to suppress a revolt on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1947. At least 1,550 people were killed, and not 1,200 as listed in the National Archives, De Correspondent reports based on its own research.

De Correspondent spoke to 90 eye witnesses and relatives for this study. The victims were mainly killed in executions under the leadership of three Dutch soldiers. Victims came from dozens of villages in the regions of Pare-Pare and Madjene. 

The Netherlands lost control of the former Dutch East Indies during World War II. After the war, Dutch soldiers were sent to the country in the vain hope of regaining power, according to This led to protests all through the country. The soldiers had carte blanche and could decide for themselves who was guilty and who would be executed. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not want to respond substantively to the new findings, according to 

Relatives of victims in the Sulawesi executions filed a lawsuit against the Netherlands earlier this year. They want damages. Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld told De Correspondent that she will definitely use the new findings in the lawsuit and that more relatives may join the suit.