The biggest jewelry heist in the history of the Dutch East Indies.



On August 15, 1945, the Japanese captain Hiroshi Nakamura and his fellow military college’s entered the warehouse located at the river the Kramat. He made an agreement with the manager of the pawnshop that the jewelries and diamonds in the safes be transferred into five suitcases. And once the suitcases were full, a few baskets were filled.
The booty should be transferred to the office of Nomura, Nakamura’s chief, which was located at the Koningsplein square.
However, Nakamura decided to take all the loot to his own house to sort everything first. His mistress Carla Wolff and a friend, Bram Roukens, help him pick out the jewelry and the next day were five similar heaps of jewels. Apart was a heap of jewels selected by Carla for her own future. Nakamura agreed.
A few days later, he also brings her money worth 200,000 guilders and about 20 bars of silver to keep in the safe, which was intended for the four Japanese internment camps.
Nakamura considered the safe in his home not a safe place. A Chinese friend helps him to transport the treasure to a much safer place and most of the jewelry and money were locked in a large safe at another location. The silver bars get another place.

Meanwhile Carla could not keep her mouth shut and told everybody how rich she was. She even gave some jewelry as a present to some of her girlfriends. Almost everyone around her had to know how rich she was. The British military Police were also very suspicious about Nakamura. Where does he get so much money and power? After all, he was only a captain!

Nakamura is arrested and interrogated. During these hearings, the English find out about the jewelry heist. During the interrogation it emerged that five suitcases with stolen jewels each worth about 100 000 guilders, were handed over to five Japanese camp commanders to fund their prison life. Both Nomura and Nakamura did not know with certainty whether these suitcases also had arrived in the respective camps or were sold by the respective commanders. Only in Bandung some talks and stories about stolen jewelry were spreading and that these stolen goods were in possession of Japanese and KNIL soldiers. An investigation had no result.
Meanwhile, also arrested the Chinese friend of the captain. This is because of arms smuggling. Carla Wolff is now scared and she asks Nakamura to remove the jewelry from the big safe and bury treasures in the backyard. Only the money stays in the safe.

Carla’s indiscretion had dramatic consequences. Eventually she was arrested by the British Captain Morton, who was told about the jewelry heist Maurice Noah, a NEFIS employee.
After a long period of interrogation Carla surrenders and told Morton everything.
The jewelries were hidden in two kerosene cans that are filled up with solidified wax. Morton, his assistant sergeant Dawson, Ulrich, and Noah take the cans including 200,000 guilders from the safe.
The bulk of the jewelry ends up in the hands of the British paymaster. But Morton and Dawson kept the money and quite a lot of jewelry too. Both collaborators Noah and Ulrich each receive 50,000 guilders and some jewelry as a reward.
During a hearing of Mrs. Ulrich the prosecutor in Batavia, Mr. Ed Brunsveld van Hulten found out about the involvement of Carla Wolff, who in the meantime had been released by Morton. She told Brunsveld the whole story that has taken place. Brunsveld begin an inquiry, even the British involvement. In Singapore he met with Colonel Sharp, chief of the British Special Investigation Branch.
Colonel Sharp feels compelled to travel to Batavia. Morton and Williams are both arrested and brought before the court martial. Morton is freed due to lack of evidence, Williams is fired and send to one year of forced labor.
Meanwhile, Carla also attempt to sell her buried and selected jewelry part. She asked the help the landlord Crown of the premises she was living in. Brunsveld finds this out and have them both arrested and both end up in jail.
One of the few who managed to escape is the friend of Carla, who had helped her to sort out the gems from the suitcases. His name is Bram Roukens. He moved to the Netherlands and was untraceable. Sergeant Dawson moved to England, where he was later arrested.

Brunsveld takes the following prisoners to the court: Carla Wolff, Renee Ulrich, Maurice Noah, Who Ong Soon, Tio Who Koen and JPB Crown. The excavated jewelry from the backyard of Carla Wolff have now been estimated by the UK Paymaster at 331 000 guilders and the paper money at 144 000 guilders.
In court Carla continued to deny everything. The possession of 270 000 guilders was not hers, but from Nakamura. In the meantime, the part that was handed to the Paymaster by Morton has an estimated value of over 475,000 guilders.
Carla gets 8 months jail time, Noah and Ulrich, who both have confess, get 14 months and 8 months jail.
The judges, led by Mr. LF de Groot were carefully judging the statements of Carla and all the others who were involved in the operation in the pawnshop. Nomura is again firmly interrogated about his view of all the valuables in the Japanese possession. All those jewels and valuables after all, were owned by the poor Indonesians and the Indo-Europeans, who had pawned their possessions to buy food, hoping later to get it back.

However, the hearings have never produced the full details of the estimates stolen goods and the value could not be determined. But it should have a value of many millions. In an old newspaper was mentioned even an amount of 9,000,000 British Pound.

The court finds both defendants guilty of looting and condemns Nakamura to imprisonment for ten years and Nomura to a sentence of five years.

In 1949 the sentences of the two prisoners were reduced drastically by the Indonesian legal authority and the men were free to go home.
Carla Wolff was release from prison in 1947 and a few years later she moved to the Netherlands. In 1985 a daughter of Carla, who lived in Jakarta, asked her already sick mother, to come and stay with her.
Carla Wolff died that year at the age of 77.

Information are gathered from old newspaper articles and a new one by Peter Schumacher.


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