Bit of family history on Europeana

written by Aisulu on May 26, 2011 in Feature story with no comments

Robert Bertsch, a retired teacher, was amazed to discover an important part of his family history on Europeana. He found video footage capturing the arrival of his family in The Netherlands in 1958.

Robert who was 10 then, together with his parents and two brothers had to leave Indonesia abruptly in 1957.  He remembers his father coming into the classroom and telling the teacher that they had to leave within a week.

With the end of colonial era of the Dutch in Indonesia, many of the people holding Dutch passports were evacuated to The Netherlands. “During that period it became rather dangerous for us to stay in the country”, Robert said.

With just a few belongings, they arrived in Amsterdam on the ship “Captain Cook” on 26 January 1958. Queen Juliana came to welcome them and 1000 other evacuees.  The arrival was reported by the Daily Journal television programme, and this is how Robert’s uncle in Holland, after seeing his family on the news, discovered that they were in The Netherlands.

Finding this footage was simple. Robert just typed in “repatrianten” (“repatriates”) into Europeana’s search box. He went to “videos” and saw a thumbnail and a title with Queen Juliana welcoming the “Captain Cook”. When he was viewing the video, Robert saw his parents unpacking their things at a military camp in Brabant, where the family stayed upon their arrival for two weeks.

Robert Bertsch

Robert Bertsch

“The moment I saw my father and mother in the video footage was quite surprising. I immediately informed my brothers of this and we were, for a moment, thrown back in history… It was a strange feeling but at the same moment I felt rather old and realised that the past won’t come back. But I am glad that a small piece of our family history is within reach and preserved on the Europeana site”.

Have you found something from your family history on Europeana? Please share with us!