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Friday, March 30, 2012

Part VIII, Three men against Japan.

Arriving close to the concern they were looking for, they split up in two groups.The Tall guy with the two natives stayed behind and Jan and the Pimpel would try to see if they could find anything at the concern Wilhelmina. They would stay away for three days; if after three days they had not returned , the Tall guy had to think that they had been taken prison. If that was the case then he should with or without the natives, return through the mountains in the direction of Salak and try to find shelter with some friends.
The two friends said goodbye, unsure what the future would hold.
Without any trouble Jan and the Pimpel reached the property of the concern Wilhelmina.It was very late in the afternoon and the landscape glowed under the beams of the red evening sun.Unbelievable beauty with the different colors; the white foam of the surf of the sea, the deep green of the rubber trees and tea bushes,the azure blue from the immeasurable sea, and the sky in flames with the glow of the late afternoon sun,it took their breath away.

The men decided to wait for a couple of hours, and were lying in the green grass, looking at the settling of dusk over the beautiful landscape.They were waiting for darkness, before they would investigate the place.
The concern had been handed over to Indonesians, the Dutch administrators were in Japanese prison in Buitenzorg, and they had told the Kelter that in the safe of the concern was am amount of six thousand guilders,his personal possession which he liked to hand over to the Kelter in exchange for some food, that from time to time should be smuggled into the prison.

When it was dark, the two men decided it was time to be on their way.The moon was their only light.They first liked to check out if their were Japanese present. The search lasted well into the night. They stumbled on an empty small ladang dwelling, where they decided to sleep.

The next morning they walked to a nearby village,expecting to find resistance.At a warong,an Indonesian portable eating-house,they bought some food and a drink. The polite owner gave them all sorts of information.There seemed to be only two Japanese in the village, who stood permanently guard at the telephone central. The Wedana, the village chief, befriended the Japanese, and all blanda's (white people) were his enemy.After this information the two men decided first to bring a visit to the telephone central of Pelaboean Ratoe to try to take the Japanese prison. This district was overpopulated and the two Europeans were the object of many nosy glances.They came closer and closer to the coast; clearly they heard the sound of the surf. When night was falling they arrived at Pelaboean Ratoe on the Wijnkoopsbaai.

The telephone central was no more then a simple post, which was for use for the Japanese only, and was established in a small hut made from bamboo.The two Dutch men walked on to the compound. One of the Japanese was bathing himself and the other Japanese was near the telephones in a very confused conversation with a native woman.Before the Japanese guards knew what was happening, they lay on the ground and were tied together, and listened to the noise which the two white men made by destroying the telephone installation.After they were satisfied that the telephones would not work anymore,the two friends disappeared into the darkness, knowing that the two Japanese guards soon would be freed by some Indonesians.But darkness was falling quickly upon them and the Japanese would probably not think about to pursue them;besides the two friends had taken their weapons.From the weapons of the Japanese the two had taken the bayonets and had hung them on their own belts. They also had made the weapons unfit for use.In the dark the two men lost their bearings. They walked over the compounds of native homes and arrived at a house which was build close to the sea, and part of it was build from stone.The lights were on every where and from inside was a loud noise of voices.On the compound was a car parked, it had a Japanese distinguished mark; the owner must be working for the Japanese. A few native women were cooking outside by the scarce light of an oil lamp. They looked up and frighten to death when they saw the two heavily armed men.The two friends laughed at them and made them at ease.They walked into the house, opened the door and surprised some men, who they quickly recognized as the Pelaboean Ratoe, the Japs friends.When Jan asked if there were many Japanese soldiers in the neighborhood, one man answered with a bold voice:"Ada banjak"- there are many. "Can you not talk Dutch?" asked Jan surly.Every wedana (a native of Indonesia)knows the Dutch language, and it is considered rude and not polite to answer in Malay. "Ofcourse I speak Dutch,"the wedana says; "what can I do for you gentlemen?"Very polite he offers them to take a seat, and incidentally gives one of the natives a slight sign with his eyes, who gets up and tries inconspicuously to leave .But the Pimpel raps him on the shoulder and makes it clear that he better stays where he is."How many Japs are there?" asked Jan again. The wedana tries to give him an evasive answer."Well then I better tell you'" says Jan. "There were two and now there are none,they are dead." The wedana could not hide his consternation."Are there police here? I think you as a wedana should know?" asked Jan.
"Yes, there are twelve."
"Where are they now at this moment?"
"Most of them are off duty; two have night shift."
"Did they get weapons from the Japs?"
"No. We had to hand in our own weapons."
"Where are they?"
The wedana kept quiet and Jan became impatient and made a threatening gesture. One of the others suddenly said, likewise in Dutch: "The weapons are laying in a shed and have to be registered."
Jan gave the Pimpel a sign , and the one who spoke was taken to the shed. The weapons seemed practical worthless; klewangs, cleavers,and a few old sporting guns.The Pimpel picked out three useful klewangs; he made the native take the ammo outside, and had him close the door from the shed again.In the meantime Jan had found in the room from the wedana a few weapons,and a very nice sporting riffle, in which a Dutch name was engraved.It was surely the riffle of the internment Dutch planter.Jan took this riffle and hung it over his shoulder. The next question he asked the wedana if he knew anything about the safe of the concern. Again he got an evasive answer.The Pimpel walked in again and told Jan that after the visit to the shed he had cut the telephone wires.These telephone wires were from the existing telephone central. He wanted to destroy this central telephone system as well, in which case the whole of Palaboean Ratoe would be cut off from the outside world.Jan kept asking the wedana questions; from the neighboring houses Jan heard some growing noise.Likely the Japs were freed by the Indonesian people and they were most likely instigated to attack the blanda's (white people).Jan figured that they had no weapons, but he had to be careful not to walk into a trap. When the Pimpel, after he had done his task, was back at the house,Jan forced the wedana to get in the car with them. The three of them drove to the concern.The mandoer, they woke up the native superintended and questioned him about the key of the safe." The wedana has the key," answered the mandoer.The village chief was startled."Fetch the key immediately!" said Jan to the Pimpel. " Take the car and be careful. The wedana stays here. If you do not come back or if you can't find the key on the spot where he says it is, I shoot the wedana!"The wedana, with a glance of powerless rage, gave a distinct description of the place, where the key was kept.A few minutes later the Pimpel was back at the house of the wedana. He went inside and found the key at the place where he was told he would find it.At the house is was dead quiet.When he jumped in the car and started the engine , a shouting and furious crowd ran towards him. The Pimpel floored the car and the people jumped out of the way.Without other problems the Pimpel returned at the concern. In the safe they found indeed the money; some papers, which had no value to them, they gave them to the mandoer(superintendent).They got in the car and drove away, in the direction of the west, to elude possible pursuers.They left the car somewhere in a hidden spot and walked back to the place from their bivouac. The Tall guy was in a deep sleep and one of the natives stood guard. They woke up their friend and told him in short what had happened.Then they too fell asleep. The next morning they would brake up their bivouac and make plans to go to South-Bantam.

will continue:
Next: Our friends settle themselves on the light tower on the street of Soenda. In a prauw they get caught in a heavy storm.

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