On 15 August 1945, Japan surrendered, bringing an end to the Second World War in Asia. But peace did not come to the Indonesian archipelago. On 17 August 1945, the nationalist leader Sukarno proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. This was the beginning of the Indonesian Revolution.

The months from the Japanese surrender to early 1946 are known as the Bersiap period, when there was no clear centre of authority. Groups of Indonesian fighters, mostly militant youths, fought for Indonesian independence. The internees stayed in the camps during this time, in fear of the violence around them. There they were protected by the same Japanese soldiers who had previously held them prisoner. The Indonesian fighters targeted anything and everything Dutch – including mixed-descent Indo-Europeans, most of whom had not been interned.

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