Exhibition poster of Revolusi!

The exhibition will be open from February 1 revolution on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This exhibition shows different perspectives on the Indonesian struggle for independence. From painting to pamphlet, from piece of clothing to photo album.

We therefore think it is very special (and honorable) that the Rijksmuseum used a photo of Hugo Wilmar for the official exhibition poster for the Revolusi exhibition in 2022.

The 'Revolusi!' photo

The caption of the photo that is in the collection of the National Archives / Collection Sparnestad can be found sounds like this:

Three young Indonesians on the street, including two Republican volunteers from Sulawesi, members of the armed youth organization 'KRIS, on leave in Yogyakarta, Central Java Indonesia, December 1947


In December 1947 Hugo Wilmar travels to Yogyakarta (Djocja), the lion's den. The retired Marine is now employed by Publisher “De Spaarnestad”. He uses his American press card to photograph the Inodesian freedom fighters and Sukarno.

In the letter, which Hugo Wilmar writes to his parents in early 1948, he says:

(…) I ended the year 1947 - worthy of a rock-hard Marine - quite eccentric and original. Incognito and using American. For 2 weeks I "cheated" the whole republic; (…) I interviewed and photographed Soekarno (…)

His visit to the capital does not go unnoticed. Hugo Wilmar's visit is even featured in an Indonesian newspaper. Hugo Wilmar translates the article on the back of a bridge card from Societeit de Witte.

It doesn't take long before the Indonesians find out that Wilmar is a Dutch (former) marine. As a result, the ground gets too hot under his feet, and Wilmar has to leave the area head over heels. He signs on to a freighter that takes him to Suriname. In order to preserve the identity of Hugo Wilmar, Publisher “De Spaarnestad” also publishes the photos anonymously.

The Indonesian newspaper of December 30, 1947, describing the visit of Wilmar (International News Agency).

The back of the poster

In December 2021, just a few months after writing this article, we found a second photo of these three people in the estate of Hugo Wilmar's widow. This photo, this time photographing the members of the Kris militia from the back, nicely complements the main image.

The Revolution! Poster, with members of the Kris militia walking past. Djokjakarta, Central Java, December 1947.
The Revolution! Poster, with members of the Kris militia walking past. Djokjakarta, Central Java, December 1947.

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