Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Political Prisoners in Indonesia

BG B26/224“Taporal” is an extensive oral history project about former political prisoners (tapols) in Indonesia. After the 1965 coup in Indonesia, tens of thousands were imprisoned for communist or leftist sympathies. These tapols were released from the 70s until the end of the 90s. They remained second-class citizens under a hostile regime and had few civil rights. Their voice was not heard until recently. A number of ex-tapols wrote down their experiences, but were not allowed to publish them in Indonesia. Others were not able to write, and could only tell about their life. The Taporal interview project tried to record their life stories.

This project took place in the period 1992-2000 on Java, and it involved 192 people, including  Abdul Latief, the army colonel who had been imprisoned for 30 years for his role in an abortive coup attempt in  1965. He was finally released in 1999 by President Habibie as one of the last interned tapols. Although he was fragile and in poor health, he was still very alert. The Taporal project was co-funded by the IISH.

The Taporal collection holds reports on the massacre in 1965-1966, typescripts of life stories, transcriptions of most of the 192 interviews held from 1993-2000, and all interviews on 297 tapes (call number BG GC 9/1-297). The language on the tapes is predominantly Indonesian.

See also: In Search of Silent Voices

21 May 2012