Bernard Kiliaan

I came to the Netherlands with my family in 1958. On the day of our arrival we were first accommodated in guest house Smolders in Budel. We arrived at ten in the evening and were given a small room with a pot heater. We had a son Andre and my wife was expecting the second one. In the guest house we got bread with sugar. At one point I said to my wife: “I will take you to my mother in Gemert for the time being and will go back to Breda myself. We have permission from DMZ (Dienst Maatschappelijke Zorg/Social Care Service) and from Mrs. Smolders the boarding house keeper.” I no longer know what the train cost, but I know it was dog weather with snow and hail. I was wearing my winter coat, a rain coat on top of it, and still cold. I dropped off my wife in Gemert and went back to Breda. Then I was told by DMZ that she had unsubscribed from us because we would have just left. I got terribly angry then. After three months I received a letter from Mrs. Smolders. Dear Mr. Kiliaan, would you like to pay this bill? I had been in the house for three months and that cost me so much. Then I sent that bill to Klompé, Minister of Social Affairs, with an accompanying letter from me. I finally received a TA declaration in 1959 (Tijdelijk Afwezig/Temporarily Absent).

My great-grandfather Jan Jacob Kiliaan went to Indie (now Indonesia) from the Netherlands. He is also the grandfather of master Eugene Kiliaan. We are therefore descendants of Dutch people and also of Germans. In the Indies we were Dutch. When the New Guinea issue played out, all Dutch people were boycotted and we had to leave the country. I had been with the police and I had been in military service. I was a gunmaker there and also a weapons inspector. So I had to go to various departments, including the KST, Special Troops Corps, the red berets. I am classified there. When I graduated in Semarang, I was screened for emigration. I have submitted all the papers. Then with the New Guinea issue, sometime in January, they came to see me if I wanted to come. To the emigration. There they say: “You have been a soldier, you have been a policeman.” I say: “That’s right. That has all been screened.” Well, then I had to leave the country in a few days. Where do you get the money, yes. So I went to the consulate, to the commission office. I had to leave the country within two days. I asked: “Where do I get money to go to the Netherlands?” I then received a national advance. I had to pay back later. I was out of the country within two days. I left on January 28, 1958. We have left everything behind and given it away. In 1950 I couldn’t leave. My mother was still there. She left in 1957.

We lived with many with my mother in the Prior Davidtstraat. I worked at the Vlisco textile factory in Helmond and we would get a house in the Bisonstraat opposite the Op ‘t Eijnde family. At some point that was occupied by someone else. I go to municipal officer Van de Vossenberg. “Sorry,” he said. “We have already given the house to an urgent case.” “But I am also an urgent case,” I answered. Then I got the house here on Jan van Amstelstraat. It was then still under construction. At one point I had to buy a tube at the Willemsen store to be able to adjust a pedal for my bicycle. On the way back I immediately went to the town hall to find out when I received the key to the house. When they saw me with that iron bar, they immediately gave me the keys.

His first job in the Netherlands was at the administration of Vlisco (the textile company Real Dutch Wax Prints) in Helmond. There he thought they had to get used to Indian people. He got better at the technical department of Vlisco, where he worked for eight years. His grandfather was the owner of a large batik factory in Solo, so there is a red textile batik thread in his family. After his resignation from Vlisco (due to the winding up of his department) he found a job at the purchase administration of Verhagen Steel Ramen in Gemert. He worked there until 1982, after which he was rejected as a result of an operation and ended up in the WAO. In his spare time, Mr. Kiliaan was active as a board member of the BINGO (Band Indië Nederland Gemert and Omstreken), founded in 1965. From 1970 to September 1994 he was also active for HALIN (Assistance to Countrymen in Indonesia). The Kiliaan couple have four children.

Gemert, 21 december 2000

R.A. de Haas


Th. Bernard Kiliaan was born on September 23, 1928 in Semarang (Dutch East Indies). His father (Alexander Gerard Kiliaan) worked at the import / export company Lindeteves N.V. and his mother (Maria Radjijem Gertruda) was a housewife. Bernard also worked at Lindeteves N.V. and was responsible for the department’s financial administration. Tree business and since mid-1955 also with insurance (sea transport) and claims. On January 22, 1958, the news came that he, his wife, and their first son had to leave Indonesia due to the New Guinea issue. His mother had left a year earlier, since his father had died. With a generous advance they came to the Netherlands (for the first time), leaving behind their possessions, including six bicycle taxis. The first reception address was a military barracks in Budel, then a poor guesthouse in Breda (which Mr. Kiliaan would rather not think about). His mother already lived in Gemert and when his wife was pregnant with their second son, they also moved to live there.


Fotocollectie Th.B. Kiliaan

1964 – 1968  
(Cruquiusweg 31, 1019 AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Finding aid is in Dutch

In augustus 1964 werd er in Gemert, in zaal De Gouden Leeuw, een Indische avond georganiseerd. Gemert.

Persfoto van Roy and the Kiliaan Brothers. Gemert. 1964
Gekostumeerd bal van de vereniging BINGO (Band Indië Nederland Gemert en Omstreken) in zaal De Gouden Leeuw in Gemert. Gemert. 1966

Sinterklaasfeest voor de kinderen van de vereniging BINGO (Band Indië Nederland Gemert en Omstreken) in zaal De Gouden Leeuw in Gemert. Gemert. 1968


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