The Witnesses & Contemporaries project collects stories of individuals who experienced the key period 1945-1950 in Indonesia. These may be personal stories that are little known or reflections on memories of that time. The memories may be of how major historical events are experienced or anecdotes about daily life. Many people think that their memories are too mundane or not complete enough, or that their stories are not interesting, but each story can provide a new angle or reveal lacunae in existing knowledge.

The Witnesses & Contemporaries project is part of the Independence, Decolonisation, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950 research programme that is being run by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) and the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD). In combination with other sources, the personal experiences shared with the programme’s researchers help in forming a more complete picture of the period 1945-1950.

Your story or memory

If you would like to share a story or a memory with us, please do so by letter. The letter should preferably be as comprehensive as possible and include anecdotes and details that you believe we and the programme’s researchers should be aware of. Letters may be a reason for us to interview someone. The interview may be an individual one or a group one attended by others who can provide information about a similar subject or the same event. The decision as to whether or not to interview someone is based in part on whether a story can provide an entirely new angle or is an exceptional addition to the information already obtained through interviewing and from other sources.

Diaries, letters and photographs

Diaries, letters, photographs and footage also tell different stories. If you still have correspondence or a diary or photographs dating to the period in question, for example, you can also make this material available for the study. We will include the material provided in a collection so that it can also be used for future research and education projects.

Sharing your story with us

If you would like to share your story or if you know others who would like to share their stories, please contact us by email to or by post: Getuigen & Tijdgenoten, p/a NIOD Herengracht 380, 1016 CJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.