The Last Survivor
Mbak Yem is the assistant of Sujiarti, the daugther in-law of Tjoa Er Ries, maker of putu mayang cakes. Mbak Yem has worked for the family for 30 years and is considered as a member of their family.
On December 19, 1948, The Dutch commenced the Second Military Aggression. In Wonosobo and its surroundings, mostly the Chinese became the victims. Their belongings were plundered, then their houses were set on fire and they were forced to flee their homes. The male Chinese were slaughtered.
This happened also in some other cities in Java, using the same reason that the Tionghoans were suspected as Dutch spies. The perpetrators were not Indonesian army but thug groups.
Other survivors who also testified about the killing and robbery are among other Noto Utomo from Wonosobo, Birawa Nata Praja from Nganjuk and Slamet Sung Kie from Blitar. They described the events and perpetrators very clearly.
Those surviving the killing and plundering had to struggle hard starting from zero, carrying a deep grief. Tjoa Er Ries managed to survive and to bring up her three children by cooking and making traditional cakes. After her youngest son Ong Hok Kioe or Hendri Sukendro married Oey Djie Nio or Sujiarti, she decided to live with them.
Between 1951-1953, family of the victims together with Chung Hua Tjung Hwei team in each region sought the dead bodies of the murdered family members to then bury them properly. Since mid ‘50s, every April 5th on the Ceng Beng (Tomb sweeping) Day, the family of the victims holds a ceremony.
At this moment Tjoa Er Ries lives with Sujiarti, her daughter in-law, they still produce and sell traditional cakes. They however can only hope that such atrocity will never happen again in the future.