STICHTING LUNING NEDERLAND etc.
PROFILE IR. HANS LUNING.
born : 25.02.1907 in Rotterdam
dies : 17.12.1995 in Amsterdam
buried at : fam.tombe Kopcke-Luning
“Oud Charlois“ in Rotterdam
grave no: 44
Here are briefly some of the books written by Hans:-
“Youth Memoirs“ (1986) and “Memoirs of a Soldier“ (1980). The first book (93 pages) is in Dutch and the second book (133 pages) in English. The originals are in the archive of the Luning Foundation Neth. registered under the no`s 107 and 108a, donation list no.1 (1990).
Education. Primary School, High School 6th. yr ,Advanced High School 3, Technical College Building Construction Faculty, 1928, Berlitz School of Languages: English. Age 21 years.
The Netherlands remained neutral in World War One, during his study years. In his book however het touched on some of his memories from that period.
To gain experience he worked with the firm Kinkers carpentry during the evenings, after his day studies. In at later stage of his study he was assistant exploitant during the building of the high school (H.B.S.) in the Hofstedestraat and also the building of the industrial complex of Peek & Cloppenburg on the Bergsingel in Rotterdam.
Sport:- Rowing with the Rowing and Sailing Club “De Maas“. It came as far as rowing in an “overnaads 8“. His boat was 2 lenghts ahead. Victory seemed assured if not a wave had engulfed the boat and the sliding seat of Hans became stuck as a result. The rhythm was gone and could not be regained. His boat finished last. It was also the end of his rowing period.
Scouts:- Member of troupe 5 as cub and later as scout. He was one of six scouts who founded the “Ganesha“ group within troupe 5. This group aimed to provide assistance to institutions for the needy. Even when advanced in age contact remained between the scouts of the first hour, although they were no longer involved with the then still existing troupe.
The “Ganesha“ group had also formed a band in which Hans performed as drummer. One of the activities of the band was playing at dance evenings at the Missions to Seamen Institute next to the Anglican St.Mary`s church on the Westzeedijk.
Another task was visiting ill British sailors at the Tropics Hospital (now the Harbour Hospital i.e. Havenziekenhuis).
Hans came regularily in contact with Padre Tailor and later Padre Cohen. He frequently attended church services and sang in the choir. Hans asked Padre Cohen if he could enter the church. After discussions, which then replaced the catechism, Hans was presented to the bishop of Fulham, Anglican travelling bishop for the continent of Europe. In 1929 at age 22 he was accepted in the Hague and did his first communion.
After finishing his technical studies (MTS) he worked for a while with the Rotterdam Council, but accepted a position in the architect office of Jean Baptiste Dewin in Brussels, after my father saw an ad in a newspaper.
Around 1929 Hans returned to Rotterdam and found a position with the Rotterdam Council as draughtsman in the roads dept. and hoped to progress from there to the building dept.
It turned out completely different however.
Our mother had met up with a long lost girlfriend from her school-years, who had in the meantime married. Her son, Ir. Nessel van Lissa, was mayor of Palembang, Sumatra in the Dutch Indies. Coincidence had it that they were looking for a draughtsman and on 28th.January 1930 Hans boarded a boat-train to Marseille en route to Singapore, transfer to Batavia and again transfer to Palembang. On 25th February 1930 he started work with the Palembang Council. One year later he got his first appointment as Chief of the Draughts Dept. of the Palembang Council. Besides that he assumed a leading role with the fire brigade, probably a family thing because his father and an uncle were also involved with fire brigades. The Scouts movement had also rekindled, and he founded a group on Palembang.
In the course of the years his functions as Chief of the Draughts Dept. expanded and he was entrusted with the topographical, cartographical and municipal requirements of the city.
Towards the end of his first year probation period he decided to carry out plans to marry Tine Koningstein from IJmuiden, whom he had known since 1927. Father married in Velzen by proxy, as was done at that time, so that Tine could travel as a married woman to the Indies. Hans awaited Tine in Singapore where the marriage was concluded in the Anglican Cathedral. Their son Robert was born in Palembang on 14.06.1935. The marriage however did not last and was dissolved in Batavia on 23.02.1940.
On 3.5.1940 Hans married Elisabeth (Bep) Hulshoff from which a son, Hans, was born 25.061948 in Balik Papan, Borneo (Kalimantan).
The Second World War did not leave the Indies untouched. On 8.12.1941 the Dutch Govt in London declared war to Japan. The Royal Dutch Indies Army (K.N.I.L.) was mobilised.The Air Defence Service (L.B.D.) was founded and Hans was demobilised so that he could be appointed as 2nd in charge. Bep, member of the Central Women`s Organisation during mobilisation (Covim), fulfilled a task with the telephone censure. It was hard work; 14 to 16 hour days were no exception.
By end January 1942 everything seemed reasonably well-organised to withstand a Japanese attack. On 12th, 13th and 14th February `42 Airport P1 outside Palembang was attacked, the oil refineries at Pladjoe and Soenggei Grong near Palembang were made unusable by our army and were attacked by the Japanese with large numbers of paratroopers, whilst the Japanese landing-ships approached Palembang via the river Moesi. The Air Defence (L.B.D.) functioned well and were keeping civil and military authorities well-informed. There was great confusion, however, when the Air Defence (L.B.D.) started to evacuate Dutch women and children to impenetrable Java.
Transport to Oosthaven was possible overland per train, car or busses. Because of the scarce connections the evacuation soon became chaotic.
Bep, Wimpje, young son from Bep`s first marriage (the father had died), Bep`s mother and a servant had left by train. Hans still remained a few days behind until several members of the Air Defence (L.B.D.) could depart to make themselves useful on Java. In a car with the official banner made available by a committee head, Hans could leave for Oosthaven, taking with him 4 completely exhausted English soldiers, for the crossing to Merak on Java. It took nearly 2 days to reach Oosthaven due to hold-ups on the only route; a collision caused by tiredness and hoarding of petrol during the trip in all sorts of collected bottles. The car had to be handed in to a committee official in Oosthaven.
Hans had hoped to catch up with Bep there but she had already left on an earlier boat. On arrival in Merak the refugees encountered problems with immigration officials, in immaculate white uniforms, who insisting on seeing travel documents. Locked up for hours because the Dutch refugees had left in a hurry without taking their original entry papers into the Indies.
At last Soekaboemi was reached where Hans found Bep, Wimpje,mother-in-law and servant at our mother`s house. Also Elsa had arrived in Kiara Pajoeng whilst Emil and I were allowed a few days off from our army unit and also stayed with our mother. On top of that Bep`s brother, Jan Hulshoff, turned up.
The re-union however lasted only a few days. Hans had to report in Batavia and was directed to the War Dept in Bandoeng and received orders by telegraph to report to the Genie.
Emil and I had to return to our units; the remaining family members stayed behind in Soekaboemi.
IT WAS WAR ! Briefly, because the Dutch Indies Army capitulated and , with them, the British and Australian troops which had in the meantime arrived on Java under the command of General Wavel, who soon left.
Hans was then in Bandoeng. It would take years before we would hear from each other again. A single undated postcard was allowed by the Japanese with only the prescribed text:- “I am OK“. In the course of the years such a message was received in the women`s camp where the whole family was interned. Emil sent a card to Elisa with a drawing of a landscape of the Goenoeng Hedjo (Green Mountain). The messages had no value at all because where were the pow`s at the time the addressees received these messages ?
In his earlier mentioned book “Memoirs of a Soldier“ (134 pages) Hans described in detail his experiences in pow camp. Myself, also having experienced the whole period in pow camp, read the book with admiration. It is a pointed and fascinating description of the reality of what he has experienced. It would be going too far to attempt to convey here a fraction of the contents of that book. Such an attempt would only devalue the remainder of it`s contents.
Still I would briefly like to mention the 15 camps he has managed to survive. Also the transport from Java to Sumatra, cannot remain untold here. How the transportship, on which he found himself, was torpedoed by the English near the Sumatran coast and , how he after that, as one of 100 survivors out of 2000 Europeans, had to endure forced labour on the Pakanbaroe railway.
A summing-up of the camps can give an impression of the determination the pow`s must have had to survive the meagre rations, the meanest treatment and tortures, especially in the camps in Tjilatjap. The first deaths occurred in these camps. The bodies were put in crude wooden boxes and , without ritual, transported in trucks under Japanese guard to ? unknown….
The 15 camps where Hans stayed :-
XV the Bat.Bandung; Tjilatjap 1 and 2; Tjimahi IVth and IX Bat.K.K.K. (Kale Koppen Kampement = Bald Heads Camp); Xth Bat.Batavia; St.Vincentius Hosp.Batavia per SS Junyo Maru (torpedoed); Moko-Moko-Prison Padang camps Paka Baru IVb, IVa,111,111 2, 11(deathcamp), 111 2 (Rapwikamp) Palembang final stay Dep. of Justice, Batavia.
The seventeenth transport on 4.4.1946 with family to the Netherlands on board M.S. Klipfontein 4.4.1946.
Received demobilisation consent from the Netherlands on 31.05.1946.
Returned to Indonesia in 1947. At the request of Prof. Thijsse he joined the service of the Central Planological Bureau of the Dept of Rebuilding Reconstruction and became involved with the reviewing of the Palembang City Plan. He then acted as head of the Planological Bureau in Balikpapan (Borneo0 Kalimantan for the designs of plans for that city and also for Samarind, also on Kalimantan.
Pursuant to the so-called Guaranty for Govt. personnel he “syphoned“ off in 1950 and left with his family for the Netherlands.
From 1950 till 1970, during which he was already 1 1/2 (years?) on a pension he has functioned as head of the Amsterdam Council Housing Dept, in particular doing research into several old city areas.
During his last years Hans`s health deteriorated and Bep could no longer look after him at home. It was necessary for him to go into a nursing home. Shortly after Hans passed away on 17th December 1995 at the age of 87.
Here is a link to archives of opa Hans Luning and his involvement in the design of actual buildings in Sumatra!
(translation from the Dutch language by h.a.zirkzee August 2014).