Biak Natives "Sing Sing" 7
"Native women at a Sing Sing in Honor of Netherlands Queen Wilamina's Birthday - We paid a few Guilders to have these permit us to photograph their faces. Otherwise the women always turned away" From "Darkroom Soldier": "Queen Wilhelmina's Birthday Party. In 1944, Biak was part of the Netherlands East Indies, a Dutch colony whose reigning monarch was the popular Queen Wilhelmina. By August 1944, her birthday on the 31st had become Koninginnedag, a national holiday. As Hill recorded, men, women, and children on Biak observed their 'Queen's' 66th birthday -- and perhaps the end of Japanese control -- with apparent gusto by singing and dancing and drumming and playing and feasting on the beach. With Japanese forces diminished, 'Netherlands officials [by August 31 were gradually bringing] the native population back under Dutch control as rapidly as each area was cleared of troops. Some native laborers were supplied to the HURRICANE Task Force, and native scouts proved of real help during mopping-up operations." ("Darkroom Soldier" caption authored by George Venn)
Helten, Paula (curator)
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Biak, New Guinea
From the Collection of Fred Hill