The Story of the Nakamura Treasure
How, in August 1945, a Japanese army officer looted the jewels-packed central pawn house in Batavia in broad day light, and gave a big chunk of it to his beautiful Eurasian mistress. Almost 70 years on, writers and film makers are still fascinated.
The robbery took place in August 1945, but only in June 1946 the Dutch Indies press in capital Batavia published the story for the first time. Many publications and books would follow. Almost 70 years on that flow hasn’t dryed up. A histography, but first the story in brief.
A few days after Japan surrendered in August 1945 the Japanese occupation forces on Java received orders from the British Chief Commander in South East Asia Command (SEAC), Lord admiral Louis Mounbatten, that, awaiting allied forces to land on Java and other islands of the Dutch Indies, they were responsible to keep peace and order.
That wasn’t an easy thing to do since Indonesian leaders had just claimed complete independence from The Netherlands, realizing at the same time that probably a majority of the Japs supported Indonesia in their call and consequent struggle for independence.
The new situation was discussed within the Japanese Planning Commission, headed by col. Akira Nomura. One of the issues on te agenda was how to feed the roughly 100.000 Jap troops in Java in their self established camps. A lot of cash was needed. Why not rob the state pawn house and sell the loot? Good idea.
Nomura’s ordered capt. Hiroshi Nakamura to do the job. The next day he arrived with a big lorry and stuffed it full with thousans of valuables. Nomura had ordred Nakamura to take the loot to his head quarters elsewhere in Batavia. Instead he dropped the jewels and stuff at his mistress’s house to be sorted out first. This Eurasian woman, called Carla Wolff, Nakamura had lived together during the war. Out of this liaison a son was born. After Carla selected a heap of jewels for herself, the next day Nakamura took the remaining jewels to Nomura’s office.
While Nakamura withdrew in a Japanese camp awaiting repatriating to his homeland, Carla was trying to sell the jewels on the black market. She wasn’t secretive enough about her new wealth and soon became a suspect of the British Militairy Security Service. In the spring of 1946 the British arrested her. After a tough physical interrogation she confessed. Several arrests followed including Nakamura. The newly installed post-war Dutch court of justice in Batavia sentenced her to 8 months in prisson. Two years later Nakamura received 15 years and Nomura 5. Back in Japan in January 1950 the two were soon released.
During the investigation in Batavia some British and Dutch officers stole confiscated jewels from the treasure. Some got sentenced, but the main suspect, a captain Morton, was aquitted.
The major part of Carla’s jewels were retreived. However, nobody ever descovered the whereabouts of most of the treasure that was dilivered at Nomura’s officie. The latter said he handed over the lot to the leaders of the camps that came to pick them up.
Over the years tho story popped up in articles, books and film scenario’s. The latest being an Indonesian version, written by a Dutch ex-marine under an Indonesian pen name and published in 2012 in Bandung, Java.
Drawing by Louise Brunsveld van Hulten for Televizier Magazine
What follows is a list of relevant reports and publications in chronological order:
March 15 1946
From Security Section of SEAC Batavia
To: SCIU Reference: 356 F S Section.
For attention of major 356/02/ SEAC
Information received both before and after the arrest of Captain NAKAMURA indicated that he was engaged upon some sort of underground anti-Allied activity. This activity of his neccesitated the employment by NAKAMURA of several persons, Dutch, Eurasians and Indonesians.
Information had been received he had am[;e (?) funds at his disposal. It was known that the TANAH ABANG Camp where he was quartered, he wielded considerably more authority than was warrented by his rank.
It was known that whilst he held the post of assistant resident of CHERIBON district he contrived to loot a very large amount of gold and other valuables from the residents of that district. Several reports have been received that after vacating his appointment in CHERIBON for a new appointment in BATAVIA, riot occured in INDRAMAJOE (Cheribon district) with which the local Japanese commander found himself unable to cope; NAKAMURA was instructed to return to that district, and to deal with the disturbances. Information had been received that whilst quelling these riots , on NAKAMURA’s instructions there was considerable force used and that he was directly responsible for the death of several persons whose executions were not a Military necessity.
As it was known that mrs von LUTZOW had lived with him during the greater part of his stay in CHERIBON, and subsequently in BATAVIA; and as it was known that she had continued her contact with him up to the time of his arrest about three weeks ago, it was decided to bring her in for interrogation.
This was done. But while little was discovered of NAKAMURA’s activities either during the Japanese occupation or after it, the names of some of his contacts were obtained. In addition, Mrs. Von LUTZOW revealed the location of the house in which she stated we would find hidden the sum total of NAKAMURA’s loot. She did not know its exact hiding place, as the selection of that had been entrusted to the resident of the house at the time of the handing over of the loot.
A raid on this house (47 PINTO BESI) was called immediately (2230 hrs 9 mar 46) , and THIO WIE KOEN, the man to whom the loot had been entrusted, dug up three very heavy metal containers, which on inspection later, were found to contain a large amount of gold ornaments and some jewelry, packed in candle wax.
THIO WIE KOEN later took us into the adjoining house, and opening a safe in one of the bedrooms , took out numerous bundles of notes (old Dutch guilders to the value of over 100,000 guilders),
THIO WIE KOEN was arrested because information supplied by Mrs. Von LUTZOW (believed to be true) indicated that he was almost equally important as ONG WHAY SOEN to NAKAMURA in his underground activities. There are also indications that THIO WIE KOEN had worked for the BEPPAN in BANDOENG.
A full and detailed report concerning NAKAMURA and his associates is now in preparation.
15 March 46. O.C. 356 Field Security Section [J 23]
March 15, 1946
British Intelligence Report
23 Indian Division. Summery no 17 , March 15 1946
Section 3(a) Counter Intelligence BATAVIA
Further investigations onto the ramifications of the case against capt. NAKAMURA who was recently arrested have shown that besides his other actions he has looted for his own benefit on no small scale. His associates are also being apprehended and from the house of his mistress large quantaties of cloths and other materials that she claims were given to her by him have been found. In additions a lot of his documents are now being translated, including his personal diary.
June 17, 1946
Two Batavia daily newspapers and the Indies News Agency ANETA published for the first about the Nakamura affair. No authoritive sources were mentioned; nobody was quoted.
Het Dagblad wrote under the headline The Nakamura Treasure :
The many events that hapened around this Nakamura Treasure story proves to what extend moral decay and excesses the war has led us. The scene where it all happens is Batavia, the treasure contains golden ornaments and jewels worth roughly 86 miljon Netherlands Indies Guilders plus 150.000 bank notes issued by the Java Bank.
Many, many months of tireless work was accomplished to bring this case to clearity, leading to the arrest of the guilty people involved and the confiscation of part of the treasure.
The paper was well known for its sober reporting and had the reputation of a serious government controled daily. Therefor it is surprising that the story was full of unsubstanciated ‘facts’ without any reference to official or nonofficial sources. The author of the story also remained anonimous. The following quote proves that he probably fully enjoyed writing it when he imagined how Carly received the jewels:
With great excitement in her eyes, trembeling fingers and cries of admiration she puts valuable rings, colliers, diamants, earrings, ornaments and braclets on different heaps. Soon the tables are full with valuables greater than the biggest jewelery shop in the World would ever stock.
The other paper who carried the story was the Nieuwsgier. It opened with::
The Treasure of Nakamura
A thief and another one, two of a kind
The paper just reported the news as it had received it from the Aneta News Agency.
June 21 1946
The Straits Times, published in Singapore, reported:
Batavia, Thursday. -- Investigators are reported to be hunting for a Jap officer who is believed to be in possession of jewels, gold and currency missing from the fabulous "Nakamura Treasure". British and Dutch special agents are reported to have arrested one officer and one sergeant of FS, two Dutchmen, one Eurasian woman and three Chinese and recovered $10 million (straits), which was stored in ten steel trunks and five crates in the head office of the Batavia Pawnshop Dept.. When Japan surrendered a Kempeitai officer, Capt. Hiroshi Nakamura, commandeered the treasure (consisting of all the islands unredeemed goods), and carried it to his home. There he gave ten million Straits dollars worth to his mistress, slender Eurasian Carla Wolff 28, and turned the rest over to his Colonel. Later a Dutch civilian gained her confidence and told the story to a British FS captain. It is said the Captain and a Sergeant arrested Carla Wolff and kept the spoils, sharing them with a Dutch informer. Another Eurasian woman became involved and Chinese accomplices were brought in to sell the jewels and melt down the gold.
Two days later the Straits Times continued with a short news item::
It is said that the Jap officer sought in the "Nakamura Millions" Case has been arrested in Java. He is Lt. Col. Akira Nomura, 45, former director of the Jap Java Planning board. This brings the arrests to ten.
From now on the Batavia press reported almost daily on the developments and the court cases that followed. Surprisingly the papers did not come with official quotes nor with interviews with judges, lawers or others. In other words, no in depth news gathered on the spot. Was it a lack of professional staff, or what?
Between April and July 1946 the majority of the 26.000 Japanese in West Java were evacuated to Japan (Operation NIPOFF).In June Nomura was arrested and interrogated. The man said the treasure from the pawnhouse were needed to maintain the Jap self-interned camps near Bogor en Jakarta. So the campleaders were still in the country to be heard by Brittish or Dutch juridical authorities. There is no documented proof this ever happened .
August 7 1948
De Indische Courant, like the other Batavia news papers, had appointed a special reporter to cover the case against Capt. Nakamura and Col. Nomara before a special militairy court in Batavia. The Indische Courant was very detailed in her reporting and the headline writers had a field day:
THE TREASURES OF NAKAMURA
About gold, tears, children and a shaky interpreter
Valubles under Carl Wolff’s bed
A Jap lost his ‘proper manners’ due to his curiosity
The heavy burden of a woman
August 23, 1946
The Times in London carried a short item:
Major Cashered at Sngapore
The Nakamura treasure
From our correspondent
SINGAPORE, Aug. 22
A British Army officer, Major J.B.D. Williams, has been cashiered and sentenced to 12 months’rigoorous imprisonment by a court-martial in Singapore. Williams was formerly assistant provost marchal of the soecial investigation branch in Batavia. He was tried on two charges of fraudulent conversion of part of the “treasure of Nakamura”in Batavia. Nakamura was the Japanese officer who cornered gold, jewelry, and currency valued at more than £5,000.000 from Batavia pawnbrokers during the occupation.
Evidence given against Williams was that during inquiries by the special investigation branch he was handed a box of gold trinkets and a number of these trinkets were subsequently found in his quarters. Willams was convicted only on the second of the two charges.
The Straits Times in Singapore reported the same day from Batavia:
Major JBD Williams, former APM of the SIB in Batavia, was tried at HQ ALFSEA in Singapore on the 15 July, on two charges of fraudulent conversion. He was convicted on the second charge only, and sentenced to be cashiered and to serveral years imprisonment with hard labour. During investigations by the SIB, a box of gold trinkets was handed over to him by a sergeant of FS. He removed a number of trinkets, which were subsequently found in his quarters during a search.
31 August, 1946
Eight days later the Straits Times reported:
Sentence of 8 months imprisonment was passed in Batavia yesterday on Carla Wolff, 27, Eurasian mistress of the Jap officer, Capt. Hiroshi Nakamura, for her part in the £9 million Nakamura case. Also alleged to be concerned are Capt. JRH Morton, Sgt Dawson, and 15 others - Jap, Dutch, Chinese, Korean and Eurasian.
3 september, 1946
Het Dagblad in Batavia reported on Carla’s trial. The paper began her report with a colourfull discription of Carl Wolff:in her exotic outfit:
In front of a green table sits a slim, nervously behaving woman with big vampire eyes. For her court appearence she made herself up quite heavily, presumebly to show her charms in full. A sharp, almost skinny face topped by a big black hairdo ‘a la gamine’. Her nervous facial ticks are underlined with much red and black and thick powder. She is dressed in traditional Indonesian sarong and kabaya.
October 23 1946
Algemeen Handelsblad (Amsterdam):
Brittain returns Nakamura Treasure
Brittain dropped all claims on jewels (known as the Nakamura Treasure) worth 10 million guilders stolen by the Japanese in Netherelands Indies. The Court of Justice now has to determine who are the rightful owner(s). Earlier the British demanded part of the treasure as their war loot.
November 5 1946
The Times of London had a small news item:
Case of the Nakamura Millions
British officer on trial
From our special correspondent
BATAVIA, Nov. 4
The trial by court-martial was opened in Batavia to-day of Captain J.R.M. Morton, a former field security officer here, on charges of complicity in the now celebrated case of the Nakamura millions.
Major Nakamura was the Japanese political officer who, when teh surrender was announced, went round Government pawnshops and took possesion of jewelry, gold, and old Dutch bank notes to the present-day value of £8,000,000. He entrusted this hoard to his Eurasian mwho burried it. She disclosed its whereabouts, allegedly under pressure, to British officers, among whom was Captain Morton.
One British major, Nakamura’s mistress, and several Dutch and Chinese nationals have already received terms of imprisonment. Only about £1,000,000 worth of the treasure had been recovered.
On the same day the Nieuwsgier carried a detailed article on the Morton trial:
5 november 1946
The Nakamuara Treasure once again
Yesterday morning the case against capt. J.R.H. Morton, servng with the Special Investigatioen Branch (SIB) of the British Militairy Police began before the British court-marshal. Capt. Morton was charged to be guilty of embezzlement of a part of what is now widely known as “the Nakamura treasure”.
Chairman of the court was maj. P.L.O.T. Quinn, M.B.E., [Judge-advocate?) was Maj. B.D. Sadhaj. The prosecutor was capt. Gill. For the defense two lawers were available: D.K. Walters and Wee Chong Jin, who both were specially flown over from Singapore.
After the reading of the writ of summons, which came in three parts, the accused told the court he was not guilty. The defense stressed that many people had been involved and that it was not clear whether the jewelery digged up in the garden of a Chinese had been a part of the Nakamura Treasure. At this first day only less important people testified and answered question from the defense and the president of the court.
7 November, 1946
Two days later the Straits Times reported:
Lt Col H. Salt, Singapore DPM, will most probably fly to Batavia in the next few days to give evidence against Capt. John Roz Hazel Morton, 24, on charges of having appropriated part of the Nakamura millions.
The prosecution sought to trace the history of the shining heap of gold coins offered in evidence against Capt. JRH Morton , who is charged with being in possession of 20kg of gold and 50,000 pre-war Dutch guilders, part of Nakamura's £9 million. To date prosecution witnesses sought to show that Capt. Morton recovered two petrol tins and a trunk from Carla Wolff, which were full of gold, jewels, and banknotes. Renee Ulrich, once famed as Batavia's most beautiful girl, testified that a Sgt. Major, now demobilized, and Capt. Morton, misappropriated part of the recovered treasure, hiding the bank notes in a table leg and asking her to bury a pillowcase full of gold in her garden. The banknotes were later divided between the Capt. and the Sgt., who took 25,000 guilders with which they bought a large diamond in the hope of smuggling it into England. Her friend a Dutchman, now also charged, dug up the gold at her request and sold it.
The Nieuwsgier spent quite some space on the Morton court case, and did so again the next day. :
The Nakamura Case continues
The most importante witness for the defense was Capt. Sterling, who lead the Office of the Field Security Service (FIS) during the periode between early May and the end of July (1946) . He explained to the court the procedure to be followed with confiscated goods. He found it rather strange that these rules had to be created by himself since they had never been issued officially at an earlier date. The latter was an important point made by the defense, that argued that non of these instructions did apply to the Nakamura treasure.
Judge Mayor Quinn did not agree at all and said he couldn’t believe that there had never been rules and regulations for these kind of situations since , undoubtely , FIS have dealed with similar cases in the course of the war. Mayor Quinn rejected the idea that these instrtuction, probably to be found at HQ SEAC in Singapore, would not apply with British troops in postwar Dutch Indies,
On the same day The Straits Times reported :
The defence of Capt. JRH Morton concluded today. The main item was a written statement by Capt Morton outlining his finding, and disposition of the treasure. Capt Morton learned of the existence of part of the Nakamura treasure while investigating the war time activities of Capt Nakamura and after Carla Wolff revealed the secret. On the night of the 9 March 1946 he led a raid on a Chinese shop where the treasure was hidden. During the night he and the Sgt Major and a Dutch intelligance agent melted down a tin of wax in which were embedded 100,000 guilders, jewels and gold which made up the treasure. He did not itemize the treasure which he handed over to his superior officer on the 11 March 1946, and was not aware that anything was missing until a diamond and a ruby pendant were discovered in a filing case. Several pieces of treasure were later handing in by sergeants working for him. He testified that at least one sergeant and perhaps others, entered the room during the melting down process.
The Nieuwsgier reported
Captain Morton aquited
After a session of five days, the British court martial in Batavia declared Captain Morton innocent of all charges and ordered his immediate release, Aneta reported today. The defense based its plea on the unreliability of witnesses. The evidence of Noach and Ulrich couldn’t be taken seriously since they were involved in the case and consequently had to mince their words to avoid new charges against them. The judge advocate (?) said in his closing words, that all witnesses could be considered "independent witnesses" since the offense, which is mentioned in the indictment, was committed before Noach and Ulrich were involved in the case. So they had no interest in, and consequently no reason for, giving false statements.
Now that he is set free, Capt. Morton will first leave for India to have two months leave and then will return to England, a move he had originally planed for last September, the time he was to quit the army.
On the same day The Straits Times, Nieuwsgier and most other Batavia news papers reported the acquital of Capt. Morton.:
November 30, 1946:
The London based illustrated magazine The Sphere showed a literatural approach to the story. It wrote:
The TREASURE OF NAKAMURA
Batavia’s £9 million Looting Case Comes to an End
Only the pages of Somerset Maugham, who has made the East Indies so peculiarly his province, would one expect to find a fictional counterpart of the true story of the Treasure of Nakamura, and Maugham, at least, would have given his tale that characteristic, subtly brilliant twist to elevate it from the sordid plane.
The story of the Treasure of Nakamura began in the days of the Japanese occupation of Java, when a certain Captain Nakamura of the Japanese Army, a soldier of no importance and no future, looted from the East Indies Government Pawnshop gold treasure and guilder banknotes to a value of £ 9,000,000. It was wealth beyond all his dreams.
Nakamura, with a safe job in Java and no fighting to worry about, installed himself in a sumptuous house and took as his mistress the bewitching Carla Wolff, a Eurasion with raven-black hair, high cheeck-bones and a magnificent figure. In those days Carla publicly boasted that she “slept in a golden bed like a queen. ”As the tide of war swept back across Asia and the islands of the East Indies, Nakamura disappeared and in the hectic days of civil strife that followed in Indonesia, large portions of the treasure disappeared. Eventually part of it was run to earth by the British Security Officer, Captain Morton, of the Indian Army; and then came the bombshell. Morton, together with Carla Wolff, another Eurasian girl called Renee Ulrich (now a fading brunette, but once the beauty of Batavia) and a Dutch intelligence officer were charged with being in unlawful possession of part of the treasure. At his court martial Captain Morton was acquitted, but at their trial Noach and Ulrich received fourteen months and eight months imprisonment respectively, while the beautiful Carla , the girl who had slept in the golden bed and had enjoyed wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, found herself in Batavia goal as well. There the story ends, except for the fact that £ 8,000,000 worth of valuables are still missing.
The story seems forgotton. However, Dutch journalist Joop van den Broek, who had served in Batavia with the Dutch Army Information Bureau between 1948 en 1950, had a good idea. On his return in Holland he reread his collection of Nakamura-clippings from the Batavia press and decided to embarks on writing a thriller based on the Nakamua Treasure. The book, titled Parels voor Nadra (Pearls for Nadra), was well received by the Dutch press and it saw many new printings.
The main figure in Van den Broek’s book is the photographer Lex in Batavia. The man had lived in the East Indies with his relatives before the war. At a dinner at the Governor’s palace in 1948 he recognized an exclusively set collar of white pearls aroud the neck of the wife of an high Indonesian official. Because it is such an unique hand made collar he was absolutely certain that this was just one of the jewels his family pawned before and during the war in order to survive. Lex was clearly is on a new trace to find the widely reported Nakamura jewels. During his efforts to find them he visited illegal casino’s and night clubs. One night he bumped into a beautifull and charming Eurasian woman called Katja Vos, Carla Wolff in real story. The book ended with Katja on a ship in the bay of Batavia with cases full of jewels ready to leave for Japan. After a short and furious conversation Lex shooted Katja on the spot.
May 13 1956
Ten years after the first publication about the Nakamura treasure in June 1946, the Straits Times in Singapore dug up the story with this ‘news’:
Hunt for $40 million Nakamura treasure is on again
He gave $10 million to Carla, his beautiful Eurasian mistress.
The discovery of 9 Jap soldiers on an isolated E. Indonesian island touched off a new search for the remaining $40 million of the fabulous Nakamura millions.
It is ten years since the treasure made world headlines. The man stated to have collected and hidden the loot, Capt Hiroshi Nakamura, served a term of imprisonment for war crimes. Latest indications are that he may have got away with his treasure.
The Jap soldiers found on the island of Morotai last month claim that they did not know the war was over. During questioning by Indonesian security officers one Jap said that the Nakamura treasure was hidden on Morotai and nearby Halmaheira, in the jungle. The Indonesian army sent to the latter were told by fishermen of a Jap motor vessel anchored off Halmaheira last year. The Jap crew spoke Indonesian en they said several of the vessel's officers claimed to have been on Capt. Nakamura's staff.
The Jakarta pawnhouse before WW II (left) and how it looks today (2014)
A number of people involved in the Nakamura affair had collected ducuments and clippings in order to write about it when the opportunity would arise. We have seen that Joop van de Broek was the first one. There were at least to others who awaited their chance. First there was Michael de Haan.
He had joined a Marine Security Unit and was put on duty in Batavia in September 1945. One day late in 1945 De Haan discovered an attractive Eurasian lady trading jewels far under the usual prize at the black market, known as Pasar Atom in Batavia. He traced her and found out who she was and were she lived. He reported his findings to his superiors. The net around Carla Wolff began to close. De Haan and some law enforcement units digged deeper and deeper until the affair developed into a real and exiting story. He collected all the material he could get. In 1948 he left the forces and established a trading company in Batavia. De Haan and his business stayed on in the country after Indonesia became complete independence by the end of 1949. He was a great supporter of the new state.
The government in Jakarta had put a claim in Tokyo for war damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Negotiatons dragged on untill the early ’60. De Haan was of the opinion that the war damage claims should include the millions from the looted Batavia Pawn House in 1945. Efforts to publicize his Nakamura Story met with great opposition from the Indonesian Government. It reasoned that Japan should not made angry awaiting millions of dollars of war damages.
Around 1960 De Haan lost his patience and he put a brief version of his Nakamura Story on paper, duplicated it 50 times and handed it out to gain support for his claim. The only result he booked was his arrest and internment in a prison camp of political dissenters near Tanjong Priok, the port of Jakarta. Almost two years later, in 1962, he was released and left the country for Australia where his brother had migrated to. In later years De Haan returned to Indonesia still trying to sell his Nakamura story to an Indonesia publisher. Eventually he was succesfull. . . . in 2012. We will return to this book and its author in due course.
23 maart 1963
Mr. Eduard Brunsveld van Hulten had acted as public prosecutor in the case against Carla Wolff and a number of other suspects. Just like De Haan he stayed on after Indonesia became an independent state at the end of 1949. He ran his own law firm in Jakarta and later Surabaya. In 1962 he fled to Holland because he felt threatened bij Indonesian anti-Dutch radicals. To be able to make a living for his wife and himself in Holland Brunsveld dicided to use his Nakamura file and personal experience to write a series of illustrated articles. The series appeared in sixteen instalments in the popular illustrated Dutch weekly Televizier.
The author, who was initially assisted by journalist Henk Hovinga , produced a ‘thrilling story’ without bothering too much about available historical sources. Brunsveld wasn’t pleased with Hovinga’s often too dramatic handling of the story and fired him. He rather wrote the story himself. His wife Louise did the drawings. To protect still living people involved in the affair, he changed their names and fiddled with the photographs.
Carla Wolff became Magda von Lützow, Renee Ulrich became Renate Heinrich, Maurits Noach became Boy Cohen, Morton became Malone and the author refered to himself as Bruns. The Japanese officers involved all kept their own names.
The sixteen instalments in headings:
The Secret of the Nakamura Treasure
The biggest gold robbery of the world
The author introduced himself and presented the main ‘players’.
Part 1: The Japanese sun goes under
An imperial message and an Eastern Marlene Ditrich
Part 2: The night of Soekarno
Robbery and revolution
Part 3: Nakamura strikes
The fortune teller DARA sees men and gold
Part 4 Gold and hystery
Magda on the black market and among jewels
Part 5 Would you bring the gold tomorrow?
A good bye and a flight
Part 6 Where did that gold go so fast?
Nakamura takes a rest; Bruns escapes: Renate makes notes
Part 7 Go burries a fortune
Part 8 Eva Haberlein receives a visitor
Part 9 Blood bath in Surabaya
Magda being kicked and punched
Part 10 Mayor Malone “takes a statement”
Part 11 Gold diggers on the line
Part 12 Gold in petrol cans
Bruns leaves for Batavia
Part 13 Renate’s heavy hatbox
Part 14 A gun in the bedroom
Part 15 Dara’s prophecy splits the spell
Part 16 The judge speaks the last words
Drawings from Televizier Magazine cortesy of Louise Brunsveld
Shortly after the above series had appeared, the National Institute for War Documentation (RIOD now NIOD) in Amsterdam requested Brunsveld to make available the Nakamura documentation he had used in his writings. Brunsveld and his wife Louise refused to do so, because in their opinion RIOD-director dr. Loe de Jong ‘demanded’ the files, in stead of asking them politely.
When Brunsveld died in 1990 his widow still refused to hand over the Nakamura files to NIOD. But what then? Her daughter had met a Japanese woman working for a Peace Institute in Tokyo. She had shown great interest for the documents. At the same time a friend, named Vincent Houben, who had just finished his history studies at Leyden University and wrote a final theses about contemporary history in South East Asia, also wanted to look at these files before they moved to Tokyo. Mrs Brunsveld agreed. Houben copied part of the documents and while doing so he discovered that the collections also contained a number of important testimonies made by Nakamura about the involvement of himself and a number of other Japanese officers into setting up an Indonesian state, proclaimed by Soekarno and Moh. Hatta August 17, 1945.
September 5, 1994
Four years later at the 13th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), held in Tokyo’s Sophia University, dr. Vincent Houben presented a paper called:
Capt. Hiroshi Nakamura's Account of the Indonesian Independence Proclamation
He had based his lecture on Brunsveld’s Nakamura files, who he now had called The Nakamura Papers. To his surprise and dissapointment in Tokyo he did not get any response on his contribution. He soon found out that among Japanese historions the subject of Japanese active support of nationalistic leaders during the days of establishing an independent Indonesian state in August 1945 was still a big taboo. When I asked prof. Houben in 2014 if his paper was published during the passed 20 years, he told me: ‘No, but an interntional group of historians are in the process of writing a book compiling a series of articles about less known events during the Pacific war. My Nakamura story will be among the contributions’.
Here is just a small part from prof. Houben’s paper, read by him in 1994:
It appears, both from the documents themselves and from information received during recent conversations between the author and the widow of Brunsveld van Hulten, that Nakamura, during the months he awaited trial in Cipinang prison for his part in the gold robbery, became an important informant of Brunsveld on the bigger issue of Japanese involvement in the Indonesian independence process. A key source is a hand-written, English-phrased personal memorandum of 141 folios on the wartime relation between the Japanese Army and Navy in Java, the events preceding the Independence declaration on August 17 1945 and an overview of how the Indonesians got their weapons to fight the returning Dutch.
Nakamura's papers are not an unproblematic source. It could be argued that their historical value is limited since they contain a highly personalized view of the events following the Japanese surrender. Nakamura, accused of an unprecedented crime, had every reason to be cooperative towards the Court Martial Brunsveld, since by his cooperation on the independence issue he might influence the latter's assessment of the punishment to his own benefit.
Dutch journalist Henk Hovinga (mentioned before as failed ‘assistant’ of Brunsveld at the Televizier series) wrote an article on ‘Nakamura’s Gold’ for the magazine of the Dutch veterans Checkpoint. He claimed in a side bar to have talked with a lot of people involved resulting in a series of ‘new facts’. However, Hovinga presented little to show for. It was the usual sensational reporting. The author didn’t seem to have touched any government archives, nor did he receive fresh evidence from the people he spoke to.
What he also did in this article was to smear the reputation of Brunsveld by accusing him – without any proof – of foul play during his time in Indonesia. Mrs. Brunsveld read Hovinga’s article and raised hell. She wrote a strong letter of protest to the editor of Checkpoint and stipulated that she considered the author’s attack on her husband as a revenge for the way he was sent away as co-writer of the Televizier series back in the early 60’s.
The controversial Checkpoint publication drew the attention of the editor of the Saterday Colour Supplement of the Rotterdam daily Algemeen Dagblad (AD). AD Magazine asked me to write the Nakamura story. I said I was prepared to do so under this condition: give me the time and the funds to research the story thoroughly. No journalist, nor historian, had done this to this day. The editor agreed. After a year I came up with two well-researched stories, the second one was about fraude and arms trafficking by Dutch soldiers during the years Holland fought Indonesian nationalists. The stories, both published over eight pages, attracted a lot of positive reactions, so the editor told me. The Nakamura Story appeared in AD Magazine on
October 12, 2002
A translation in full:
The treasure of Nakamura
AD Magazine [Algemeen Dagblad Saturday supplement]
In the chaotic days just after World War II in the Dutch East Indies, a Japanese officer robbed a pawnshop packed with jewels, gold and banknotes. Peter Schumacher reconstructs the story of this mega-crime that was never completely solved.
Suitcases full of stolen jewels
Two trucks pulled up to a large building on Kramat, a wide street just outside of downtown Batavia (now Jakarta). A few days had passed since Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. Accompanied by the former Japanese manager and a few extra hands, Japanese Capt. Hiroshi Nakamura stepped inside the government pawnshop. An arrangement had been made with the new Indonesian manager whereby five suitcases were to be fully packed with jewels and diamonds, valuables that had been amassed before and during the Japanese occupation of the Indies. Staff employees filled the suitcases, and when it didn’t all fit into the suitcases they hastily assembled a few more baskets of leftover loot.
Instructions to retrieve the precious goods from the pawnshop had come from Col. Akira Nomura, head of the Planning Office of the Japanese Army, and Nakamura's boss. The loot was to be taken to Nomura’s office at Koningsplein (now Lapangan Merdeka). From there each one of the five suitcases would be passed on to one of the five camps were Japanese troops were gathered, awaiting either repatriation to Japan or prosecution. The jewels from the pawnshop were intended to defray the costs of maintaining these camps. One such camp was situated within the Jakarta city limits, the other four were near the town of Bogor, roughly 100 kilometres south of the capital.
In August of 1945 the Japanese Army that had occupied the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) from March, 1942 through August, 1945 found itself in a curious position. Their side had lost the war, but officially, there was no one for them to surrender to. Just a few months earlier in Potsdam, Germany, at the summit conference of the Big Three (the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union) it had been decided that the British would hold down the fort, so to speak, in the Dutch East Indies pending the return of sufficient Dutch forces to the colony. This would take many months. And to complicate matters, Indonesian leader Sukarno had seized the moment to proclaim the Independent Republic of Indonesia on August 17, in Jakarta, and strains of revolution were in the air. From his headquarters in Singapore British Admiral Lord Mountbatten, head of the South East Asia Command (SEAC), instructed the Japanese army leadership in the Indies to stay on and protect all citizens and ex-POWs until British military forces could take over. With this goal in mind, they were to regroup themselves in the five camps pending repatriation or prosecution.
Many of the jewels from the pawnshop had been sealed in paper envelopes. Also, the loot had not yet been divided into five equal parts. Anticipating problems if it wasn’t organized properly, Nakamura decided to take the overstuffed suitcases and baskets home to his house to sort it all out. He attempted to contact his boss, Nomura, to inform him of this plan, but the attempt failed.
Nakamura’s wartime mistress Carla Wolff
At his home on the Villalaan (now jalan Cendana, Menteng district) Nakamura was met by his neighbour and paramour, Eurasian Carla Wolff-De Jong, with whom he had an on-going relationship since the start of the Japanese occupation, and together with whom he had a son. Nakamura was pressed for time and could not stay to sort the jewellery, personally. This turning into something of a complicated project, he asked Carla to take charge of the task. Carla, in her turn, called upon the help of a young friend/bodyguard, Bram Roukens.
Nakamura returned home the next morning to find the jewels neatly sorted into ten or so piles on the living room floor. Among the piles were two that stood out in particular: one made up of precious stones the size of half a football, the other made up of items made exclusively of gold. This last pile Carla wanted to keep for herself, presenting the argument to Nakamura that, the war having ended, he would no longer be able to look after her and her children (eight from her marriage to Gerard Wolff, and one from her liaison with Nakamura). Nakamura’s reaction led Carla to believe, as she later testified, that he had agreed to leave her these jewels. Fearing a break-in, Nakamura purchased a safe for the loot.
Shortly thereafter, Nakamura moved to the Japanese officer’s camp in the nearby neighbourhood of Tanah Abang, although he continued to visit Carla frequently at Villalaan. One day he brought her a stack of banknotes worth 200,000 Dutch East Indies guilders (equivalent to the Dutch guilder of the day). He told Carla he had received the money from Nomura, and that it was destined for the four Japanese internment camps in the area of Bogor. He asked her to place it into her safe for safekeeping. A few weeks later he dropped off twenty bars of silver at Carla’s house to be added to the treasure.
Concerned about the presence of such an abundance of riches in Carla’s house, particularly with so many young Indonesian revolutionaries and roving criminal gangs (looters) on the rampage, Nakamura directed Carla to transfer it all to a safe place. He brought her into contact with a trusted Chinese confidant, his assistant, Ong Wie Soen, whose Chinese friend, Tio We Koen in the Pintu Besi Road, had a large, more secure, safe. Most of the jewellery went there, as well as the banknotes. Ong hid the bars of silver among a set of car parts. Carla held on to a small portion of the jewels for bargaining or to give to friends, who were flocking around her like flies to honey. She had made absolutely no secret of the enormous wealth she had suddenly acquired. Carla openly fantasized about the golden bed in which she would soon sleep and the golden plates that she would eat from. She had no mind for the consequences of such a lack of discretion.
So where, at the end of August 1945, was the lion’s share of the Nakamura treasure to be found? In February 1946 Nakamura was arrested by the British Field Security Service (FSS) in Batavia. His arrest, at first, had nothing to do with the fact that he had plundered a local government pawnshop of a treasure worth millions. The British military authorities temporarily in charge had no knowledge, at the time, of the robbery. Rather, Nakamura was arrested for playing a more prominent role in the camp at Tanah Abang than his rank of army Captain permitted. The FSS was also suspicious of the amounts of cash that Nakamura seemed to have access to. British security suspected Nakamura of involvement with a secret underground organization of Japanese and Indonesian guerrilla fighters, known as the Black Fan. This armed underground force was thought to be preparing to fight the returning Allies (although in the end, for a series of mainly political reasons, the Black Fan never became operational).
A few weeks after Nakamura's arrest the first suspicions arose that he had been instrumental in the Batavia pawnshop robbery. And when his interrogators put the screws to him, Nakamura soon made a full confession. No evidence is found to connect Nakamura with the Black Fan.
From the series of interrogations with Nakamura and his chief Nomura, a rough reconstruction of events emerged. When Nakamura was finally, after repeated efforts, able to reach Nomura by telephone, he enquired as to where the loot should be brought. He did not inform his boss that he had given a portion of the treasure to his mistress, Carla Wolff.
Nomura ordered the pawnshop loot to be taken to his office in Central Batavia. Here the jewellery would be evenly apportioned into five suitcases. A local expert estimated the value of each suitcase at 100,000 Dutch East Indies guilders (approx. £ 10.000 GBP Sterling). Nakamura chalked one of the names of the five camps on each suitcase. Shortly after that, the camp commanders came to pick up their share. According to their own claims, neither Nakamura nor Nomura was in a position to say whether or not the contents of the suitcases really did go to fund the camps. Had this actually been the case, the Bogor area (where four of the five camps were situated) would have been the scene of a lively trade in jewels and gold in the autumn of 1945. But such is not the case.
In 1946 and 1947, a few stories made the rounds about jewellery trading among Japanese and former Dutch POWs, but these stories came from Bandung, the capital of West-Java, over a hundred miles away from Bogor, over the mountains. And in any case, a military investigation into the matter turned up nothing, and certainly nothing to lead to the conclusion that the gold and stones turning up on the Bandung black market had originated from a pawnshop in Batavia.
At the beginning of February, 1946 Nakamura's loyal assistant, Ong Wie Soen, was arrested on suspicion of a number of crimes, including arms trafficking. None of the charges turned up a connection with the pawnshop robbery, but Ong’s arrest gave Carla a case of nerves. She suggested to Nakamura, who was still in the Tanah Abang camp, that they should clear out Tio Wie Koen’s safe and bury the loot in his garden. This advice was carried out, with the banknotes remaining in the safe.
Dutch Intel officials involved in deal
That same month—thanks to Carla’s loose lips—two informants of the Dutch Military Intelligence Service Nefis got wind of the fact that she might be in possession of a huge amount of gold jewellery. One of these Nefis-officials was a Dutch national, Maurits Noach. The other was 35-year-old Ms. Renée Ulrich. It is Noach who brought word of Carla’s reputed stash of gold to his superior at Nefis, but all he got for his efforts was to be roundly laughed out of the office. After that he went to the British FSS, where he spoke with Captain J.H.R. Morton. Initially Morton, too, was doubtful, but he agreed to look into the matter and eventually made a search of Carla’s home. This turned up no more than a handful of jewels. In early March, Morton brought Carla in for questioning, and asked Noach to act as Dutch language interpreter. Carla denied everything. She pretended to know nothing of the large quantities of jewels that were supposed to be in her possession. Morton did not believe her, lost his temper and resorted to violent tactics. It worked. Carla collapsed and told Morton where the treasure was buried. The jewels were in two kerosene cans that were topped up with wax. Morton, his aide Sergeant Dawson, Noach and Ulrich confiscated the cans and took them to FSS offices. They stopped on the way to collect the packs of banknotes from Tio’s safe, as well. It was too late to bring Carla to the prison, and in any case she had a young child at home who needed to be looked after, so she was permitted to return home.
At Morton’s office, they soon got busy melting the jewellery from the kerosene cans. Morton took most, but not all of it to the British military paymaster. He and a Sgt. Dawson kept the banknotes and a handful of jewellery for themselves. Noach and Ulrich were afforded a small share by way of thanks for showing them the way to the treasure. A few weeks later when Noach and Ulrich were arrested, they gave an earful to the investigating judge of the Batavia court, rife with details about how they received a small stash of jewels from Morton and Dawson. This stash amounted to a pillowcase full of bracelets, coins and Indies banknotes with a value of 50,000 Dutch East Indies guilders. They had buried the jewels in Renée’s garden and hidden the cash inside her house. And lest we think so much drama could go unaccompanied by romance, Noach also admitted to having fallen head over heels for Ulrich, even though he knew her to be involved with British Major J.B.D. Williams of the Military Police.
In March of 1946, when Carla Wolff was arrested by Morton, the re-established Dutch East Indies’ civil court didn’t know much about her forced confession, or about the Nakamura case. Mr. Ed Brunsveld van Hulten had been appointed prosecutor at the Batavia high court after having been released from one of the Japanese internment camps where Dutch nationals were held during the war. Renée Ulrich happened to know Brunsveld from pre-war times, when he had been a friend of her father. In a desperate effort to escape prosecution and flee the country Ulrich asked Brunsveld to arrange an exit visa for her, to Singapore. He told her that this was impossible. And so, resigning herself to her fate, Ulrich invited Brunsveld to her home for a private interview. She told him about Carla Wolff, suspecting that, by now, Brunsveld would have been informed about her arrest and release. Brunsveld tracked Carla down and she told him everything, including the bit about the rough treatment she had received from Morton that led to her forced confession.
Brunsveld established contact with British Military Intelligence Service in Batavia. Morton and Williams played dumb.
Colonel Sharp flies in from Singapore
Brunsveld pushed on with his investigation and flew to Singapore to speak with Col. Sharp, chief of the Special Investigation Branch (SIB). This triggered Sharp to come to Batavia, which in turn led to the investigation and consequent arrest of Morton and Williams. They were both court martialled. Morton was acquitted due to the absence of essential witnesses; Williams was sentenced to one year forced labour and was sacked from the army.
Renée Ulrich tried to sell her buried jewels to Kroon, director of a small pawnshop in Batavia. If he was willing to buy, he could keep half of it for himself, she told him. The deal didn’t work, even after she told Kroon he could have the lot. It was too late. On the 8th of June, Brunsveld put Ulrich and Kroon behind bars. All individuals connected with the case had now been apprehended and the interrogations could begin. The only person who successfully gave the cops the slip was Carla’s boyfriend and bodyguard, Bram Roukens. He had left Batavia for Holland and had disappeared without a trace. Sgt. Dawson, Morton’s right hand, had returned to England, but he could be tracked down and was arrested at a later date.
On June 17, 1946 the Batavia daily Het Dagblad was among the first to come out with the full story packed with juicy details. The story filled half the front page. This ‘news’ however, had come from the local news agency ANETA. This source led Het Dagblad to estimate the value of the returned jewellery at 86 million Dutch guilders, not including the value of the contents of the five suitcases that had gone to the Japanese camps, of which Het Dagblad had no knowledge at that time. How they came to their estimate of 86 million is a mystery, but soon enough it would become clear that this was much too high.
Brunsveld prepared cases against Carla Wolff, Renée Ulrich, Maurice Noach, Ong Who Soen, Tio Wie Koen and J.P.B. Kroon. Three more Chinese faced charges of fencing. A Eurasian youngster, another of Carla’s supposed bodyguards, was charged with stealing gold jewellery from her to give away to his girlfriends.
At the interrogation of Nakamura, Mr. Brunsveld asked the defendant exactly how large the share of the spoils was that he had given to Carla. Nakamura: "I was there on the day that Carla Wolff took things for herself. I allowed her to take away what she considered to be the best and most beautiful items. As far as I can remember, I didn’t influence her choice whatsoever.”
Carla told Brunsveld that the biggest part of the treasure had been removed and was no longer in her possession. When Carla appeared in court in late August the remains of the treasure was spread out on a big table. A thorough inventory was made by the British paymaster that received the largest part of Carla’s buried treasure from Morton. He valued the jewellery at 331,025 Dutch guilders; the value of the Indies banknotes was 144,110 guilders. Together this came to approx. half a million Dutch guilders.
Was this evaluation professionally realised? Daniel Girod, a former employee of Sotheby's, has this to say about the photograph of the jewellery taken before the trial: "The British were not too far off the mark, but I like to point out that an appraisal of the value of the insurance is a factor of 2.5 times higher". It also should be noted that since 1946, due to inflation, the Dutch guilder has devaluated to roughly one eighth of its post-war value.
Powder-faced Carla appeared in court
From the very first day in court Carla insisted that she had nothing to do with the jewellery that was first taken to Ong and later buried in Tio’s garden. That had always been, she said, Nakamura’s treasure. Chief Justice Filet, who was presiding over the court, bluntly stated that he didn’t believe Carla at all.
On September 3, 1946, Het Dagblad published an extensive report on Carla’s trial. To quote the paper’s special reporter: “In front of a green table sits a slim, nervously behaving woman with big vampire eyes. For her court appearance she made herself up quite heavily, presumably to show her charms in full. She had a sharp, almost skinny face topped by a big black hairdo ‘a la gamine’. Her nervous facial ticks were underlined with much red and black over a thick layer of powder.“
Carla Wolff was charged with “unlawful possession of jewellery and goods, which she knew, or could reasonably be said to know, to have been obtained in a criminal manner. The defendant should also have known where the money in her possession, being an amount in excess of NLG 270,000, had come from.“
Carla still denied every involvement in the matter. She confirmed that on a day in August 1945, Nakamura arrived at her home with a large number of suitcases filled with jewels. In September he brought in a suitcase with Dutch East Indies banknotes (Bank of Java) and a box of Japanese banknotes. Nakamura gave her the Japanese money to do her daily shopping with, she explained to the court. Carla admitted that Nakamura told her that the jewellery had come from a pawnshop "where, on orders from his superior, an army general, he had been sent to purchase it, with the understanding that it would be divided among his staff members.” Carla told the court that she hadn’t a clue about the value of the jewels. Morton’s paymaster’s evaluation seemed quite correct at half a million Dutch guilders.
When the Hon. Judge Filet quoted Carla with regard to ‘her golden bed to sleep in and golden dishes to eat from’ she replied: "Oh, that was nonsense talk, mere jokes.” Then Filet gave Carla the opportunity to tell the court of the physical hell she went through when Morton interrogated her. She did. Next, Justice Filet wanted to know why she didn’t tell Morton straight away where the gold was hidden, since she claimed that it wasn’t hers. She replied that she was afraid of the British and didn’t trust Noach, who had acted as interpreter; Noach had, after all worked for the Dutch army intelligence unit Nefis.
In his summation speech public prosecutor Ed Brunsveld said that he was convinced that Carla had been the owner of the buried treasure, otherwise she would have told the British right away where the jewellery could be found. Brunsveld: "The defendant is the prototype of a simple and vain woman who, using her natural charm, has tried to manipulate the young men around her. On the other hand, the defendant has showed herself to be smart enough to understand that these valuables belong to the Allies and not to Nakamura or to any other Japs.” Prosecutor Brunsveld wound up his speech by demanding one year's imprisonment. Immediately afterwards the Hon. Filet presented his verdict. He sentenced Carla Wolff to eight months in jail, minus the time she had already spent in preliminary custody.
Three days later Maurits Noach and Renée Ulrich appeared in court. They pleaded guilty. The same public prosecutor, Ed Brunsveld, demanded eighteen months and eight months in prison, respectively. The judge lowered these prison sentences to fourteen months for Noach and eight months for Ulrich.
While Morton was acquitted, Sgt. Dawson, whose return to England had prevented him from testifying against his superior, didn’t get off so easily. Being arrested in Britain some months later, he admitted to having smuggled a valuable diamond into England together with a handful of rubies, hidden in the heel of his shoe. Morton had purchased the diamond from part of the f 200.000 in Dutch East Indies banknotes he stole from Carla’s loot. Ulrich helped him to find a shoemaker in Batavia who could cobble together a trompe l’oeil compartment in his shoe, to conceal the stone. He paid a Chinese trader f 125,000 Dutch Indies guilders for it, realising that there would be no other place in the world where he could either spend or exchange that particular currency.
Hiroshi Nakamura and his superior Akira Nomura stood trial before a special military court in Batavia on July 30, 1948. The press kept the public informed of the salient details of the Kramat Street pawnshop robbery that had occurred nearly three years earlier. The daily Indische Courant offered 'new revelations'. According to that newspaper, the treasure had never been fully recovered. "Rumour has it", the paper wrote, "that a large part is still hidden somewhere in the Menteng area of Batavia (Menting was the European area at the time).
Presiding Justice Mr. L.F. de Groot sketched a meticulous reconstruction based on the earlier statements of Nakamura and Nomura, and on the testimonies of Carla Wolff and a number of pawnshop officials present at the robbery. Both De Groot and prosecutor Mr. J. Diephuis verbally attacked Nakamura’s assertion that the treasure was in fact a Japanese possession. During the Japanese occupation poverty among Indonesians and Eurasians had increased enormously, and people had been forced to pawn their valuables in order to survive, hoping to be able to buy them back after the war.
The official records of the trial against Nakamura and Nomura were not filed away properly, and those that have survived are far from complete. Newspaper reports are all that is left to fill in the gaps.
The Indische Courant of August 7, 1948 carried the following quote from prosecutor Diephuis: "These two officers [Nakamura and Nomura] have done nothing to lift the veil around this treasure. On the contrary, they have told a story that just cannot be true.” Diephuis described Nomura as ‘a completely unreliable figure’ and Nakamura as being ‘at least as dangerous to our community as his boss, Nomura’. Diephuis demanded that both men be locked up for fifteen years.
The verdict: 10 years for Nakamura
On November 2, 1948 Judge De Groot read his verdict. The value of the complete treasure was estimated at several million Dutch East Indies guilders. Nakamura was found guilty of having taken 530,000 DEI guilders for his own benefit. The court concluded that both Japanese officers were guilty of plundering and sentenced Nakamura to ten years imprisonment and Nomura to five.
In February 1949 the highest Dutch legal authority in Indonesia confirmed the 10-year sentence of Nakamura, but reduced Nomura's sentence to one year. The latter was immediately released. Late in December 1949, Nakamura, together with hundreds of other sentenced Japanese criminals, was shipped from Batavia to Japan to serve out the remainder of his sentence. For Nakamura that meant he would remain in custody until 1956. In 1951, however, he became eligible for release on parole. A year later he was freed unconditionally.
In early 1947 Carla de Jong had served her sentence and was released from prison. She moved to a small hotel in downtown Batavia. She was not allowed to leave the country, because she was still needed to testify in Nakamura’s trial. Carla’s husband Gerard Wolff had survived three years of hard labour at the Birma Railway as a POW. Shortly after his return to Batavia he and Carla were divorced. Their eight children were remanded into Gerard’s custody.
In January 1949, Carla met Dutch conscript corporal Siem Berman in a Batavia bar. The meeting developed into a wild and steamy relationship that lasted a year. Berman described Carla as a handsome and good-hearted woman. "Her eldest son, Ronald”, Berman recollected in 2002, “sixteen years old, visited his mother almost daily. The other three, the two boys, Reggie and Jerry, and the girl, Barbara, came less frequently. Carla lived in a Chinese hotel, downtown. It was great fun being with her, but financially she ruined me completely. On top of that, I got a three month prison sentence for so often failing to return to the barracks on time.”
According to Berman, Carla married Dutch army Captain Robbers in 1950. The couple left for Holland with some of Carla’s children. The other ones stayed behind with their father. After she divorced Robbers and her youngest children had grown up, she returned to Indonesia where some of her daughters took care of her. One of Carla’s daughters is presently married to the former Indonesian minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Alatas. Carla Wolff died in Jakarta in 1984, aged 76.
My research produced much more material than I was able to use in this magazine article (originally published in Dutch), so I also wrote an extended version. This became the first 80 pages of a book that was published in 2005, entitled EEN BENDE OP JAVA [in Dutch this title has a double meaning: A Gang in Java, and Turmoil in Java]. It doesn’t contain any more hard facts than the article, but it recounts the story in more detail.
Please visit my website, www.peterschumacher.nl, for a list of all of my books and stories.
My research on both subjects produced much more material than I had been able to spend on the two magazine articles. So I made an extended version, being the first 80 pages of a book that was published in
It was called EEN BENDE OP JAVA [in Dutch this title has a double meaning: A Gang on Java, and Turmoil on Java] . It didn’t contain more hard fact but pictured the story in more detail.
Chapters and subheadings:
Japanese officer Nakamura steals suitcases full of jewels from pawnshop
The British military administration
Chinese help to hide some of the treasure
Nakamura and the uprising in Indramayu
The arrest of Nakamura and the beginning of the trial
Memories of Dirk Bogarde
British officers snatch part of found jewelry in their own pockets
The prosecutor investigates
Hearings and testimonies
Brits reward Nefis-informants with jewels
The golden lily
Japanese are interrogated
'Voluntary' diamond collection
The smuggling of gold and diamonds
Lawsuit against Carla Wolff
"An underveloped and vain woman '
The trial of Captain Morton
British sergeant smuggles diamonds to London
Questions about the acquital of Morton
Like a narrative of Somerset Maugham
Diamonds and gold smuggled out of the country
The trial against Nakamura and Nomura
Gold and tears
Indictment and verdict
Temporairy militairy court was sloppy
The Kipas Hitam (Black Fan)
After thoughts and analysis
Were the Nakamura jewels robbed to support the Kipas Hitam?
Publications and a unique file
For a complete digital copy of this book (in Dutch) see list on my website: www.peterschumacher.nl
Not long after the book was published in 2005 I received more details about Carla’s children. She didn’t have four children with Gerard Wolff, but eight. Only the youngest two, Kenny (son of Nakamura) and Alan (born after WW II, father unknown) grew up in Holland. Kenny de Jong returned to Indonesia in the early 1960’s when he was 18. He started a business in Jakarta and married an Indonesian woman. His father, Hiroshi Nakamura, made an effort to look for his lost son and his mother Carla in Indonesia roughly around 1964. It was all in vain, neither of them wished to meet him and he returned to Japan.
In Holland and in Boston, USA the verry famous Publisher BRILL published The Encyclopedia of Indonesia in the Pacific War. Surprising ly not a word about the Nakamura Treasure nor the series of trials in Batavia/Jakarta. It might be considered speculative, but one should know that the main editor of this book is Peter Post who is a big name at NIOD in Amsterdam. As stated earlier in this histography NIOD never received the Nakamura files collected by the former prosecutor mr. Brunsveld. Nor had this national WW II institute Een Bende op Java in its library. Surely, it is not mentioned in the list of relevent souces. The only book of Peter Schumacher mentioned had no reference to Indonesia what so ever!
By now I imagined to have written the final version of this Nakamura Treasure drama. No way. Early 2012 I received an email from Alexander Wolff and his mother. Alexander was the grandson of Carla, the only son of Carla’s youngest son Alen who was born just after the war. This grandson had just left the School for Performing Theater Arts in Maastricht, Holland and planed to make a movie about his grandmother and the Nakamura Treasure. We talked for hours and he produced a draft sketch of a film script and. Two years later he had made some progress but he is still looking for a producer. Alexander visits Indonesia regularly to see his father, who started up business there, and to visit some family members.
Dave Doy is the son of one of the British FIS officers who investigated the Nakamura Treasure. He has kept a number of documents his father left him when he died some years ago. In the summer of 2012 Dave decided to begin a blog using his fathers left documents. Dave Doy lives in New Zealnd
June 23, 2012
Blog of Dave Doy New Zealand
Nakamura Treasure Incident
War crime, involving the stealing by the Japanese Imperial Army of very large amounts of valuables such as currency, gold items, and jewellery, etc. during WW2, and the subsequent investigation by British Army personnel after the war into this theft, and what they did with it.
This is a story of sex, violence, and vast wealth, possibly only lacking “rock and roll” to make it a good movie. I am far from certain of all the facts, there are some gaps, and in my understanding. I may also be wrong in parts, and I'm sure both my father's, and my memory of what he told me may have faded over time. If anyone has additional information or corrections please let me know. If you were involved, or know or knew someone who was involved, please contact me.
This Blog is about an incident that became known as the "Nakamura Treasure" or the "Nakamura Millions" incident, it is about the forceful taking, during World War 2, by the Japanese forces in what is now called Indonesia, of very large amounts of currency and valuables with high intrinsic value from various sources, such as pawn shops, private individuals, even the taking of such things as gold teeth, it is also about what became of these valuables. It all made international news at the time and was reported by newspapers to amount to over 14 million pounds sterling, an enormous sum in 1946. A lot of this was never recovered by the authorities. but there were numerous reports of elderly Japanese men digging on remote Indonesian islands many years later.
This is Dave’s blog with more documents:
In august 2012 a book about the Nakamura affair was published in Indonesia. Written by someone called Musa Dahlan. The source who tipped me on the book told me that the author had used an Indonesian name but was in fact Michael de Haan, the man I mentioned earlier. He had called the book
The largest robbery of the century occurred in Kramat Raya Jakarta, 17 August 1945.
De Haan’s version of the story differs somewhat from excisting ones. His ‘facts’ were hardly supported by historical evidence. In my mail contacts with De Haan, now living in Australia, he told me he was highly surprised to hear (from me) that someone else in the world had writen earlier about the Nakamura treasure. In the book it is mentioned that the author was helped in preparing the manuscript in modern Indonesian by an Indonesian journalist.
SYNOPSIS ‘RAMPOK’ at the back cover (slightly condensed)
FREEDOM! I FREEDOM FREEDOM! While exciting cheers echoed throughout the country there was also reason for grief, but unconciously. Nobody had the faintest idea that THE BIGGEST ROBBERY OF THE CENTURY took place at the HEAD OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT PAWN HOUSE (PANDHUISDIENST) IN JAKARTA, on the same day the Proclamation of Independence took place on AUGUST 17, 1945 elsewhere in Jakarta.
This act of barbarism was carried out at the initiative of CAPTAIN HIROSHI NAKAMURA, an officer of the Planning Bureau of the JAPANESE MILITARY HEADQUARTERS "GUN SAI KAN BU" ,JAKARTA. It received approval and fully support from his boss Lt. Col. AK1RA NOMURA. They managed to steal 13 chests containing 960 kg of gold (as used in teeths), diamond jewelry, other precious stones, paper money worth 250,000 guilders JAVA BANK and silver coins worth 50,000 guilders. Two commanding Japanese generals carried off most of these ILLEGAL PROPERTY to their country. Some Dutch law enforcement agencies handling the case were also tempted to pick from the treasure. This made the affair much more complicated.
There was a love scandal between Captain Nakamura and Carla Wolff, a female of Dutch-Sundanese decendency . There was also an Eurasian woman named Renee Ulrich, who worked for the Dutch Army Intelligence Agency to put mor colour to the story with her romantic contacts.
But WHAT was the motive behind this BIGGEST ROBBERY? WHO were INVOLVED in this case? WHAT WAS THE VALUE for the people who pawned their goods IN GOOD FAITH ? AND WHAT REFLECTIONS HAD ALL THIS ON OUR NATION??? THIS TRUE STORY is based on the facts, FACTS that have been stored for decades.
1. The cruelty and greed of the Japanese army
2. Captain Nakamura, serving in a Japanese army division
3. Carla Wolff - De Jong
4. On the way to freedom
5. A power grab
6. Big plans
7. A robbery at Kramat in broad daylight
8. The involvement of chief Nomura
9. The robbers robbed
10. Fatal flight by ship
11. The robbers are appalled
12. The role of the NEFIS (Anjing NICA)
13. Spies everywhere
14. The gun in the bedroom
15. A clean-up
16. The couirt case at the green table
17 Commander Nomura and the Japanese headquarters Gun Sai Can Bu
The author are listing these main characters and changed some names without reason.
Lt. Col. Akira Nomura, 45 years. Head of Japanese Headquarters Planning Office, Sai Kan Bu Gun. He had provided support for and orders to his subordinate, Capt. Nakamura, to take valuables from the Central Office Pawn House in Kramat Raya, Jakarta.
Capt. Hiroshi Nakamura, 35 years. Officer Planning Office Headquarters Japan, Sai Kan Bu Gun, a subordinate of Lt. Col. Akira Nomura. The main instigator of the robbery at the office of Central Pawn House, Kramat Raya, Jakarta. Sentenced to 10 years in prison. He returned to Japan in 1951 to serve the rest of his sentence in his home country. However, within six weeks after he returned home, he was released unconditionally.
Carla Wolff - de Jong, 38 years. Woman who is obsessed by abundant jewelry, she deliberately put on public display in Jakarta, Sensual, ignorant and dishonest. Sent4enced to 8 months in prison. Left for the Netherlands. In 1985 she returned to Indonesia to see her daughters. She died in Jakarta a year later. .
Ben Jacobs ( = Bram Roukens). One of his people who escaped punishment by fleeing from from Indonesia with an estimated 155 kilo gold and valuables. He was Carla’s young lover when Nakamura was not there.
Renee Georgette Ulrich, 35 years. An officer at NEF1S Intelligence Agency. Cunning woman with a dissapated sex life. She was the lover of a Kempeitai Colonel Murakami for 3 years. Had stolen goods from Carla, serving for 8 months in prison. After being released she fled to Holland and married to a businessman. She died in 1972. After 30 years later it turned out that Renee still had kept illegal stuff originated from the treasure in a deposit.
Major B. Williams, 45 years old. British Field Security (FSS) Staff Officer (FSS), who once dated Renee Ulrich and accidentally left a gun at her bed site. He helped Renee to post golden jewelery through the army postal service to Singapore. For this he received a one year prison sentence on July 15, 1946 in Singapore.
Jan Konings ( = J. Kroon), 42 years. Pawn shop owners in the Kwitang area of Batavi, dated Renee as well. He helped Carla to hide part of the loot in his backyard and put gold away inseveral Chinese stores, receiving a commission of 50 %. Sentenced to a four months prison sentence.
Toko Sing, Pantjoran –Glodok. China jewelry stores that bought gold from Jan Konings and an acting part in melting down golden jewelry.
Khauw Koen Liang (= Thio Wie Koen), 44 years old. Jewelry store owner at 176 Matraman Raya. Bought jewelry from Jan Konings and displayed the gold jewelry. This was later seized by the Department of Justice. He received a four months prison sentenced and lost his illegal goods.
Mark Noark ( = Maurits Noach), 46 years. An Army Intelligence officer (NICA). Had a fling with his assistant Renee Ulrich. He was together involved in the confiscation of valuables that were burried near the pump in the yard house near the well at Liem’s and got some diamonds from Morton. Was sentenced to 14 months in prison.
Liem Sing Tiong. Part of the treasure was in his house and yard.
Sergeant Major Ken Dawson . Assistant of Captain JRH Morton (will be mentioned later) took away confiscated goods for his own interest. He hided them in the cavity heel Shoes. Total 125 grams of diamonds and other jewelry. Escaped to Germany but was cought later in Engkand and had a dishonary discharge from the British Army.
Colonel Nimick Salt. British Field staff officers Security Service (FSS) in Singapore which was appointed to lead the Jakarta branch of the FSS. He was cleared in this case.
Ko Sing Kho ( = Ong Wei Soen). Chinese entrepreneurs from Cirebon. He just advised to immediat bury Nakamura valuables for the benefit of the future of his son Kenny, the result of his romance with Carla. He provided the address of a friend who lived at Liem’s at Krekot Pintu Besi, and received a commission from Nakamura.
Ed Brunsveld van Hulten . A lawyer appointed by the Dutch government to become the leading prosecutor of the case. He left the case quite suddenly. He did not deposit the entire goods at Javasche Bank for alleged personal interest. He is not clean in this case.
Mr. Diephuis . A lawyer who replaced Ed Brunsveld as prosecutor at the a special militairy court in the case of Lt. Col. Nomura and Captain Nakamura.
Mr. L.F. de Groot . Presidentthe special militairy court. He sentenced Nakamura and Nomura.
Colonel Murakami . Head of the notorious Kampe Tai (secret police). During the war he and Renee Ulrich had a relationship. He was sentenced by the special militaire court in Batavia for attrocities towards allied POW’s .
Captain John Roz Hazel Morton of the Field Security Service (FSS) in Batavia was 25 years old when he was persuaded to get a piece of the Nakamura loot. He was aquitted due to lack of trustful witnesses (shortened).
Background about the author.
Michael de Haan, alias Musa Dahlan,
and his book RAMPOK (Bandung 2012)
[much in what follows was exclusively told by De Haan and
could not be supported by independent sources]
Michael de Haan, born in 1927, was a son of the commander (in 1941) of the naval airfield Morakembangan Surabaya.. Due to his position and his ambilions he escaped from Java with his family (there is at least one brother) days before Japan conquered The Dutch East Indies and the colonial army (KNIL) dropped its arms. The De Haan family first went to Australia, but soon traveled on to the United States. In this country Dutch and Indonesian air crew were trained for the struggle against Japan.
As soon as Michael was seventeen years old he took a Marines training in Kalamazoo, USA.
Shortly after de Haan finished his Marines training in the USA
After the defeat of Japan, British forces took over in the Dutch Indies pending the arrival of sufficient Dutch troops. Among the first Dutch soldiers arriving in the Indies in September 1945 were a number of Dutch marines trained in the USA, who had an Indies background and had some knowledge of local languages such as Malay, Javanese and/or Sundanese. Michael de Haan was one of them. He was serving as a security agent in Batavia and was instructed to avoid violent attacks by young Indonesians who want independence (pemudas). De Haan still wore his American Marines uniform. He was a corporal.
De Haan's 'working field' also covered the black market in Batavia. That took him regularly to popular wild street market of Batavia, better known as Pasar Atom. One day he saw a well-dressed attractive Eurasian woman selling jewelry. He found it suspicious, because he also discovered that the expensive stuff changed hands much under the usual market price.
Corporal de Haan decided to tail this woman and soon discovered that her name was Carla Wolff and that she had lived with Japanese Captain Hiroshi Nakamura during the war. Further investigations came showed that this Nakamura was also suspected of robbing the Gouvernements Pawn House in the Kramat area of Batavia shortly after the end of WW II in the Pacific
It was rumoured that he took millions worth of jewelry and gold objects. To De Haan it became clear that the jewels Carla was trying to sell at the market originated from that robbed pawnshop.
De Haan wanted to know more about Captain Nakamura, who had to leave Carla to be interned elsewhere in Batavia. He belonged to a group of Japanese officers awaiting repatriation to Japan or prosecution for war crimes. Among these officers De Haan met with the well English speaking writer Oba Sadao. It appeared he knew a lot about Nakamura and his friends and seemed very willing to speak about it. De Haan wrote everything down and collected documents about the case. Because of his position as a security man he had easy access to all sorts of secret reports. The general public didn’t know anything about ther robbery until some Batavia newspaper published the story in June 1946 with large headlines. Meanwhile Carla Wolff, Nakamura and quite a bunch of other suspects concerning the robbery had been arrested. There were also people who, by virtue of their position with the Nefis (Dutch Military Intelligence) or with its British counterpart, who during the investigation pocketed part of the discovered stones and gold themselves. The trials attracted great attention from the local Batavia press.
Corporal of Marines De Haan (right) in action in Indonesia, 1946
Michael Haan (in Australia he left the prefix "de" out) began to think about writing a book about the case. After his demobilization in 1948, Haan started a technical firm called BPT "Garuda". He began with five employees, after four years his company had 21 men and women on the payroll
The staff of De Haan's BPT Garuda, 1952
Meanwhile, he began writing his book, but soon learned that the Indonesian government of Sukarno showed great opposition againt such an anti-Japanese revelation. Japan was a friend of the new Indonesia and Japanese naval officers had been very supportive in August 1945 to launch the new Republic. Moreover, there was huge Indonesian claim pending in Tokyo for Japanese war damages.
Haan very much wanted to publish the story, because he believed that the robbery , undertaken by Nakamura and his friends, fell under the responsibility of the Japanese state. So, millions of dollars should be repaid to the Indonesian people, Haan argued.
In 1959 De Haan printed 50 copies of his manuscript and sent it to people in Indonesia he considered supportive to his ideas for a million-dollar claim in Tokyo. It turned out to be too reckless a move, Haan was immediately arrested and detained in a prison in Priok near Jakarta. In 1961 he was released and offered a choice to be deported either to the Netherlands or Australia. He choose for Australia, because he had a brothet living there.
Haan had an attractive vocal voice for singing. Until his old age he appeared in public in Australia with singing well-known American songs.
Michael Haan as singing entertainer (Australia, 2010)
After 1966 when Soekarno was toppled and Soeharto took over Haan traveled frequently to Indonesia again. He was still sitting on that Nakamura manuscript. At last, half a century after he was kicked out of Indonesia in 1962, he found a publisher in Bandung. With the help of an Indonesian journalist Haan’s manuscript was edited and put in the new spelling. He choose a simple, clear and short title. RAMPOK. PLUNDER, and as subtitle:
The largest robbery of the century occurred in Kramat Raya Jakarta, 17 August 1945. Haan used his Indonesian author’s name Musa Dahlan. The book was published in Bandung in August 2012 as a ‘true story’ but also as a ‘novel’. . . . . No historical foot notes, nor an alphabetical register of names. In other words none of the many ‘true facts’ the author produced could be checked. That leaves a lot of questions. To mention just one, why does Haan changed names of some of the people involved.
In the 67 years since that brutal jewelery robbery took place, Haan lived under the assumption that with his book he was the first to tell the story of the Nakamura treasure. He said he knew nothing about the series of 16 instalments published in the 60’s in the llustrated weekly Televizier. Neither did he see or read the article published in 2000 in the Dutch veterans magazine Checkpoint, the Algemeen Dagblad Saterday Supplement story in 2002 and the book Een Bende op Java (2005), both written by Peter Schumacher.
Haan would like to see the story to be made into a movie. He established contacts with Indonesian film people. He also explored the possibilities for an English translation.
The authors email address:
The acclaimed Dutch film director Martin Koolhoven contacted me to ask my advise about his plans to make a movie based on Joop van den Broek’s 1952 thriller Pearls for Nadra. He said he liked the book. The funny thing was that Koolhoven knew too little about this post-colonial periode in Indonesia to realise that Nadra was actualy based on the famous Nakamura story.
OTHER NOTORIOUS POST-WAR TREASURE STORIES IN ASIA
The Bali treasure
René Hauber, born in 1923, served in the Dutch colonial army KNIL. In 1946 he landed with his unit on Sumbawa Island, East of Java. He began to work for the military police. Hauber came on the trail of a box full with silver coins. The information was delivered by an imprisoned Indonesian. The money would come from a small bank in Bali and was hidden after the Japs occupied the Indies. The prisoner took Hauber to the spot, and indeed, after some digging the coffin appeared.. "It was a big box full of silver riksdaalders (worth 2.5 guilder each).", Hauber remembered.
The discovered money, said Hauber, was handed over to his commander of the military police in Den Pasar (Bali), 1st Lt. Tom Bruin. A few days later Hauber Hauber was suddenly sent to the Netherlands for unexpected ‘study leave’. No one spoke about the cash box anymore. Hauber never received any gratitude for his find. Neither does he know what happened with the money.
9193 La Colonia Avenue
92708 Fountain Valley
Gold Warriors. The covert history of Yamashita’s Gold. How Washington secretly recovered it to set up giant gold war slush and manipulated foreign governments, by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave. Brooadway Books, New York. 1999.
In 1945, American intelligent officers in Manila discovered that Japanese had hidden large quantaities of gold bullion and other looted treasure in the Philipines. President Truman decided to recover the gold, but to keep its recovery secret. The treasare - gold, platinum, barrels of diamonds and gemstones plundered by Japan from all of East and Southeast Asia - would be combined with Nazi loot recovered in Europe to create a worldwide American pofitical action fund to fight communism.
The ‘Black Gold’gave Washington virtually limitless unvouchered funds for covert operations. According to CIA officials, between 1945 and 1947 the gold bullion was secretely moved to 176 accounts at banks in 42 countries. This provided an asset base to reinforce the treasuries of America’s allies, to bribe political and military leaders, and to manipulate elections in foreign countries. Other treasure was recovered inside Japan during the U.S. occupation. General MacArthur, President Truman, John Foster Dulles, and a handfull of others, knew all about the hidden plunder. Every president since Harry Truman has been involved in covering up the existence of these secret funds.
Gold Warriors traces more than half a century of secret calobaration between Washington and Tokyo, between the CIA and the underworld in Japan and other countries. The cloak of ’national security’ created a situation ripe for abuse and corruption. The authors reveal how former CIA and Pentagon officials, and rogue entrepreneurs, use these secret funds to set up private intelligence and security operations to meddle in American fereign policy – withour Congressional oversight or the knowledge of the American people. Drawing on thousands of pages of original documents and thousands of hours of interviews, the Seagraves expose one of the great state secrets of the 20th century.
(from the back cover of this book)
Tittle: Raiders of the Lost Gold. The World’s greatest Hunt.
Two parts 45 minutes each.
Part II on video here (incl. adverts)
First Circle Films for Channal Four 2002
Director: Louis Heaton
Most important Jap: Yamashita
Sterling Greaves present in film
Digital Documents Nakamua Treasure Summeries
Thirteen ‘relevant’ documents from Houbens dossier Nakamura Papers
Nakamura National Archives [FSS PublRecOfice Londen] 2003
Forced collection of jewelery, and the Indonesian press
The Dutch Red Cross Ship “Op ten Noord” sank [from Seagrave)
From Security Seaction SEAC
ANDRETSCH 059821: Yoshizumi and Hayashi
English summery of the book “Een Bende op Java”, a mass robbery of jewels (and widespread corruption) in post-war Dutch East Indies, by Peter Schumacher
Published by Van Gennep, Amsterdam, March 2005. ISBN 90551555748/ NUR 680
Dutch Archives documentation on diamonds Nakamura
The ‘full’ interrogations by Eduard Brunsveld of
Carla Wolff, Rene Ulrich, Maurits Noach, Nakamura and Nomura [Dutch]
More Hearings and giving away arms and jewels by Carla
Excerpts from the sentences of Nakamura and Nomura.
Names of camps near Bogor. (Dutch)
The Brunsveld dossier
Margie Meyer over Tio
Brunsveld over Nishiima en 2 books
Clippings about the Morton Case from Het Dagblad
No. 5 Nakamura Papers (Houben-Berlijn)
Report from Dutch agent with a lot of namens and addresses.
R A P P O R T no.3 (Houben- Berlijn):
Remarks from the prosecutor on interrogations in May 1946
Names: Williams, Zimmerman, Noach, mevr. Stürmer
Report no. 4 (Houben-Berlijn)
Japs and Carla’s activities No author
Carmen Baptist about her Hague friend Carla Wolff
Report no. 6 (Houben-Berlin)
R E Q U I S I T O I R in the cases of Carla Wolff, Tio Wie Koen, Tan Gin Hoat, Cor van Londen, Noach, Ulrich, Krohn, Lie Pen Boen, Tjia kai Joen, Ng. Ka Siong, Bieb Roukens alias Bram Versteeg. By whom?
CHRONOLOGY from 1942 – 1953
REPORT NO. 7 (Houben - Berlin) on
Tamanini, Vicky Leander, mevr.Kitty Franquemont-nee Misseyer and the killing of four Australians. Undated from an agent
Report No. 1 (Berlin-Houben‘ from Capt Morton about Nakamura (and many others) (where are paragraphs 1 to 7 ??)
The children of Clara de Jong (born febr. 1908) and letter from Bouke de Jong
Taxation of the remains of the Nakamura treasure by Sotheby expert
Pawn shops in the DEIndies by Nico van Horn
Probable relevant files on Nakamura treasure in Rapport Indische Tegoeden
Interview with Louise (Lies) Brunsveld van Hulten on the history of treasure (November 30 2001)
Paper 13th IAHA Conference, Sophia Univ., Tokyo, September 5-9, 1994
[DRAFT VERSION – INCOMPLETE!!]
Nakamura's Account of the Indonesian Independence Proclamation. Prof. Dr. Vincent J.H. Houben, Leiden University
Archive of Eduard Brunsveld van Hulten [NAKAMURA PAPERS] kept at Humboldt Univ., Berlin by prof. Vincent Houben
1235IB/A/46 Special Investigation Branch,
Corps of Military Police.
SUBJECT: - PERSON(S) IN CUSTODY.
(1) E. C. 3866 Captain J. R. H. MORTON, 9th Battalion, JAT Regt.,
(formerly O. C. 356 F. S. S.)
There are no indication that the different courts in Batavia made any effort to track down one or more Japanese officers who ran the camps with defeated troops waiting to be repatriated to Japan. They should have been questioned about jewelery they might have received from Col. Nomura to support these camps.
So, here are a few issues still to be investigated by historians:
When the British and Dutch intelligence agencies were told early 1946 that Nomura had sent on the jewels to these five camps, did those camps still excist? And had their commanders been repatriated? If not, why havn’t they been questioned either on Java or maybe later in Japan?
It was a gouvernment pawn house that was plundered. This meant the responsibility to return the valuables to the original owners layed with the Dutch (Indies) gouvernment. The authorities should have done their outmost to get the jewels back. There is no hard proof they ever made an effort to do so. Neither have the pawn holders, if they could proof they had pawned their goods, been compensated financialy.
Due to these open ends, rumours about the Nakamura treasure and possible discoveries in Indonesia or Japan will remain and new stories, publications and film will be made.
Peter Schumacher Amsterdam, October 2014