“Captured extremists” (Gevangen extrimisten) wrote the Dutch soldier Piet Groot on this photo that he stuck in his album. Indonesian soldiers were seen by the Dutch military as ‘extremists’ and were often called ‘terrorists’ as well. The idea behind the use of this terminology by the Dutch was to legitimize the fight against the adversary in Indonesia. The word “peloppers” has been written under the second photo. This Indonesian word comes from the Dutch voorloper, meaning ‘pioneer’. The Indonesian army called a soldier on their own side who fought in areas under Dutch control a pelopor. Many Dutch people did not know about that distinction between these soldiers fighting at the front and other Indonesian troops, so the term was often incorrectly used for all Indonesian combatants, with a negative undertone.
Captured Indonesian soldiers. Java, c. 1947. Photograph taken by W.M. van der Leeuw. Or. 27764, album 2, page 16.
Captured Indonesian soldiers. Java, c. 1947. Photograph taken by Piet Groot. Or. 28.046, page 32.