KNIL – Revolutionary badges from the Indonesian War of Independence

My small collection of revolutionary badges from the Indonesian War of Independence is on loan in museum Bronbeek but when I come across an interesting example I still tend to buy them, in this blog I will show 3 of these.

In most cases the story behind them is lost and even the meaning of the badge can be difficult to trace as there is very little literature on this subject.

The Siliwangi Division is one of the best known TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia) – divisions from that war and was considered an elite unit within the TNI. This cloth badge came from the estate of a Dutch Para who was killed in action in 1949 but I’ll leave the rest of that story for another time.

The badge below recently came into my collection as an unknown item but I did have a feeling that it would be a revolutionary badge. With the help of Museum Bronbeek I found the meaning of this badge. It is the badge of the Indonesian People’s Revolutionary Front, in Indonesian know under the acronym BPRI which was founded in October 1945 in Surabaya by a man called Sutomo

Bronbeek museum has an identical badge with only a different serial number.

The last badge for now is from the PKI, the Communist party of Indonesia that had a history from long before the War of Independence, starting in 1914 but also was very active in the Independece period and remained so until it was banned in 1965.

The amount of different badges give a view how widespread the oppostion against the colonial rule was and how many different political and religious groups formed that resistance.