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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Part IV, Three men against Japan.

While the 'Pimpel' and the 'Tall' guy had narrowly escaped the Japanese soldiers, Jan had gone to the lovely mountain town Soekaboemi.'Kelter' had given him a few adresses from resistance men, who lived in Soekaboemi.

Coffee plantation-Soekaboemi

One of the addresses was from a Mr. Donker.Jan got to know quickly where he could find him, because everybody in Soekaboemi seemed to know Mr. Donker. The man was an official at the rice distribution and had therefor a car at his disposal, which he used for all sorts of clandestine work.He promised to help Jan as much as he good, and put him to work as a chauffeur on the "rice-car". This way he would be able to get in touch with other Dutch men, and he would likely not get suspicious.At the swimming pool behind Donkers house, Jan got in touch with a few men who already were in the resistance against the Japanese.
Jan was very careful to make appointments, and acquainted himself first with the situation in Soekaboemi, and getting a "taste" of men, if they were the right person for the 'Kelter', organization,which they liked to set up in Soekaboemi.To be able to talk to each other, without somebody listing in, the 'Kelter' and Jan decided to go for a evening stroll.When they passed by a house ,'Donker' made Jan draw attention to a man, standing in the shadow of a flat roof, almost invisible.It's a German, said Donker, and we suspect that he works for the Japanese.A couple of times he had trouble with the 'Mof'(German), although this same guy had reason enough to be thankful to Donker.They walked on. Suddenly Donker stood still and whispered:'Exactly at this spot, where we are standing,I hid weapons and valuables.But to keep the weapons here, is getting too risky!You are just the right guy to take them to a concern. The administrator knews about it and is very trustworthy.Do you think you can do it?"
"Ofcourse, I can do it."
They walked back, again passed the house where the German lived, who was still following them from the shadow of his flat roof.
Arriving back at the house they gave instructions to one of the men,to have a truck ready very early in the morning.Jan and his host waited a couple of hours till the night was in total darkness.They left the house again,now it was pouring rain.Passing the house from the German, Jan thought he could see a suspiciously movement, he grabbed Donker by the arm. They hid behind some bushes and watched the house for awhile.Nothing happened, and they decided to move on.To dig in the muddy ground was difficult, but finally they reached the chest and were able to open the lid.Jan took the weapons, which were secured in a jute-sack, and walked quickly to the garage, where the person in hiding took them from him to hide them in rice bags.Next Jan went quickly back to Donker to help him make sure that no traces were left from their digging.
When they arrived home they changed clothes,their clothes had become soaking wet, and they cleaned their shoes because they were full of mud.They were exhausted and only had two hours left to sleep.
A Bamboo-bridge in Soekaboemi, the Dutch- East-Indies, West Java.

Very early in the morning Jan was awakened. He stepped in the truck beside the Javanese driver,who had no idea what a dangerous load he was transporting.Half an hour later they arrived at the estate of the concern.While Jan was keeping the Javanese driver buzy, his accomplice took the weapons out the truck.Jan who wanted to go back to Buitenzorg, to report to Kelter what he had found out in Soekaboemi,told the driver to take him to the train station, and got on the train while it was still very early in the morning.He had no idea that the Kempetei had raided Donkers house.Was it the German who had betrayed them? The Japanese searched the house and the whole surroundings and finally found the spot where the two white men had dug that night.It had been impossible in the dark and in the pouring rain to leave no traces. The Kempetei dug up the chest, but did find nothing but some paintings, silver wear and some jewelry. Donker was arrested, but they had to let him go, because there was no proof that the chest had concealed weapons.
Although Jan had no idea from what was happening to Donker, his morning did not go by without interruptions.Suddenly an unexpected ticket control, and he was not able to show his train pass.Jan showed him a false identity certificate with photo ID and stamp. This seemed to satisfy the slit-eyed 'Jap'.However Jan had to open his small suitcase and there the Japanese found a Dutch army badge, which stupid enough, Jan had carried around with him.Proud as he was to have this badge with the crown above two swords; proof that the wearer of this badge was a master in handling weapons.Now his pride would be his downfall.
"Serdadoe?" asked the Japanese. "Are you a Dutch soldier?"
Jan denied, but the Jap was now suspicious.At the next train station, Jan had to get out; he would be handed over to the guard of this station,and the sad end of his freedom would be over. Dejected Jan was sitting on his suitcase at the small train station. The Japanese, who walked passed the still standing carriages, kept an close eye at him.The train started to move again, slow and with big puffs of smoke from the locomotive. Jan waited till the last carriage was near him, it was an open transport carriage, full of vegetables, fish and fruit.Quickly he stood up, threw his small suitcase into the door opening and with a dangerous jump he landed between large bunches of pisangs (Bananas)and had to laugh at the side of the Jap,who tried to keep up with the train, which slowly got speed. It was so funny to see this yellow man trying to run, with his very bowlegged short legs.A few natives who had found a free spot between all these fruits and vegetables, cursing the sons of Nippon all kinds of names.
Jan got of the train at a small train station just outside of Buitnezorg., and walked the rest of the way on very deserted lanes and small paths between the rice-fields to 'Kelters' house.
This was the spot where Jan Luxinger walked on the small paths between the rice-fields to the 'Kelters' house, in 1942.

The following night they had an ample discussion, a council of war about their next maneuver.Buitenzorg was becoming too dangerous for the boys. The activity from the Japanese were getting more and more intense and the streets and roads were getting more and more controlled.It was almost becoming impossible to move around as an European without getting noticed by the yellow men.Some women had already taken over some of the jobs, and they had done an excellent work.Because of all these reasons the three of them decided to find shelter elsewhere.Kelter had a good friend who owned a small agricultural enterprise, not too far from Buitenzorg.On his land were many grotto's where they could hide in case necessary, and the mountains were very close.

The next morning a group of white men left very early in the morning while it was still dark to the mountains in the vicinity of Buitenzorg.In this group of men, was Mr. Mats the owner of the estate, his son Peter, Kelter,Jan and two other co-workers from Kelter, de Roode and an Ambonese,Rattikawa.For these last two it was just going to be an orientation expedition;there job would be the communication line with Buitenzorg.The 'Tall' guy and the 'Pimpel' had left that same morning from Buitenzorg as well, they had formed a small group and had taken a different route.

Before the 'Pimpel' and the 'Tall' guy would join the others, they first had to try to find out what had happened to a number of Dutch-Indies trucks with ammunition and hand grenades, which were left behind somewhere in these surroundings, when the Japanese invaded the Dutch-Indies.
The two left their group and went on their way. They would join the groups later at the estate.
Both groups arrived safely.An old 'Mandoer'(Indo superintendent), who had been watching over the plantation during the absent of his master, was so happy to see Mr. Mats, including of so many friends.
Kelter left again the very same day, and gave the group instructions; make sure you take notice of everything you hear or see, and try to get contact with as many guerrilla fighters. No unnecessary weapon force.He would make sure for regular courier service and food supplies, like sugar, salt,cooking oil , etc.The next day the men went too work, because the buildings were destroyed by rampok-bandits and had to be rebuild with the supplies they had on hand right now.The bandits had left not much furniture and house hold goods.No time to get bored.They got time to get to know each other and real comrade ships were build.But one day a message arrived, that Mr. Mats had to come to the Kempeitai(Police) in Buitenzorg,to explain about the people he had put to work on his estate.The old man was able to give an explanation, but it looked like they had been betrayed.They had to be alert day and night.One day a message was delivered- the Dutch men had some trustworthy spies- that a police patrol of natives and Japanese soldiers were on there way to arrest the white men.Just on time the men were able to take all weapons, ammunition and paperwork to a safe place in the hills.The Japanese searched the whole estate,but nothing was found.In the meantime the fugitives had set up bivouac on the hills of the Gedeh; the place they had discussed with 'Kelter'incase of need.They stayed for two days and two nights and decided it was safe to return to the estate.They barely arrived back at the house when some of their native friends told them that only a few of the Japanese patrol men had returned to Buitenzorg.A few Japs had stayed behind and were holding guard in a ladanghuisje (harvest-outpost) in the middle of the rice fields.They planned to attack the white men as soon as they would return.

This is a harvest-little house in the middle of a rice-field. Most of the time these small little buildings have mats hanging on the sides so they can be closed.

That same night the 'Tall' guy and the 'Pimpel' left the house to see if the Japanese were indeed holding themselves up in the rice-fields. To get close to the little house on stilts was very difficult.Before they descended into the ravine, they discussed a spot they should meet in case they each had to go their separate way if a problem would arise.On that spot they hid some ammo and some food, in case they would not be able to return to the estate.They descended into the ravine and were close to the spot in the rice-fields were the Japs should be. There were suppose to be four, they were told.Four to the two of them with only their Mauser pistols and each of them a hand grenade.Before they dared to enter the open rice-fields, they crawled up a hill to oversee the surroundings.The little house on stilts stood there in the middle of the rice-field under the blue shine of a tropical night. Nothing else was to be seen.No guard, no movement around the harvest-house and no other sound then the sound of the high paddy-grasses in the soft wind.At the out skirts of the rice-field they each went their separate way, so they could try to get close from both sides.When the 'Tall' guy, after crouching through the field reached the pillars of the structure, he could hear faint sounds, telling him there were people up in the harvest house.Through a small opening of the plaited bamboo he noticed some frames of people. He counted five in total.
He could not see a door from where he was.He crouched between the pillars to the other side, where he met the 'Pimpel'. They saw a small ladder leading to a small door.The 'Tall' guy went first up the ladder, and with a big jump he stood in the middle of the sparse room, his pistol ready to shoot.The Japs were lying on the floor snoring and were fast asleep.It was even difficult to wake them and when they woke up it took them awhile to know what was happening.By that time the two Dutch men had them all tied up.It looked like that the prisoners were not only Japanese, but under them were some native police men.
The loot on weapons existed of; three riffles, a light Japanese machine-gun and a pistol.These weapons the Dutch men took with them.They left the tied Japanese and the police men behind. They would probably soon be found, but by then the persons in hiding would be gone and safe in the mountains.After a short debate all men agreed it would be best to leave immediately.
Through all these happenings and the ever increasing keen interest from the Kempeitai, the 'Kelter' thought it advisable to stop all activities for the time being.
One evening when Jan and the Kelter were sitting on the veranda, discussing the state of affair, which daily became darker and darker.Suddenly they heard a sound in the garden and they saw a figure, who was trying to hide in the bushes.With one hand in his pocket, his finger on the trigger from his pistol, Jan walked slowly to the moving bushes, ready to point his pistol at the figure, when he recognized the laughing face of the 'Tall' guy.He came with news that from the persons in hiding, who had find a hiding place at a rubber plantation on the outskirts of Buitenzorg.The three of them now discussed the future. Work here in West Java was getting impossible.Most of the men were known in this neighborhood, to continue here with these men was suicide. Jan suggested to leave for South-Bantam.When they would reach there, they should try to get a prauw, which had to be strong enough to sail them to Australia.The two others agreed.They would leave this night, but it took them hours before they had discussed every angle and which route to follow.It was dark when Jan and the 'Tall' guy were saying goodbye to 'Kelter'. For a long time the 'Kelter' was sitting on his veranda and stared in the direction where his two young friends had disappeared.

will continue: next, Well known figures from the resistance, the prison camps with all the atrocities,Arrests and mass-executions . To South-Bantam. Beautiful nature and loneliness.Brave attack on a electricity station.

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