The massacre of Rawagede is a massacre committed on November 9, 1947 by the Dutch army in the village of Rawagede, in the kabupaten of Karawang , in the Indonesian province of West Java . According to the Nederlandse Ereschulden Committee (“Dutch Honorary Debts Committee”), 431 men were reportedly murdered in Rawagede. In 1969, the Dutch government recognized only 150 deaths.

In September 2008, nine families of survivors launched proceedings against the Dutch State for compensation. On 14 September 2011, the Hague Civil Court found the Netherlands Government guilty and ordered him to compensate the widows of the victims, without the amount being fixed by the same judgment 1 .

This event inspired a poem by the Indonesian writer Chairil Anwar , Antara Karawang dan Bekasi (“between Karawang and Bekasi “).

Course of Events

In the Karawang area in West Java, before being signed the agreement of Renville , soldiers of the st Division “December 7” ( Eerste Divisie December 7 ) of the Dutch army , part of ‘an expeditionary force sent by the Netherlands 2 , carry out an operation of cleaning units of the TNI (the Indonesian army ) and militias who continue to oppose the Dutch army. Engaged units are detachment RI 3-9, the st parachutist company and 12 eengineering company. The Dutch army is continuing captain Lukas Kustario, who commands a company from the Siliwangi division , which has repeatedly attacked Dutch patrols and military posts. In addition, various militias, as well as uncontrolled elements and gangs of looters, crisscrossed the Rawagede region.

On December 9, 1947, a day after the start of negotiations between the Republic of Indonesia and the Dutch authorities aboard the USS Renville , Dutch soldiers led by a commander encircled the village of Rawagede and searched the houses of by one. They do not find any weapon. They then force the inhabitants out of their homes and gather them on land. They order the men to line up and ask them about the positions of the Indonesian fighters. The villagers do not answer.

The commander then orders all the men, including the teenagers, to be shot. Some manage to take refuge in the woods, although wounded by bullets. The only surviving man, Saih, who is 83 years old in 2008, reports that he, his father and about 20 men were ordered to line up. The Dutch soldiers then opened fire with their automatic weapons. His father fell. He himself received bullets in his arm, fell and pretended to be dead. As soon as he could, he ran away. 431 inhabitants of Rawagede would have perished, perhaps more if one takes into account that it was raining and that bodies were washed away by the river.


  • NRC Handelsblad , December 10, 2008


  1. ↑ [1]  [ archive ] Courrier international, No. 1093, week 13 to 19 October 2011. p.  12
  2. ↑ There was also an on-site Colonial Army, the KNIL ( Koninglijke Nederlandsch Indië Leger or ” Royal Netherlands East Indies Army )