After the Japanese occupation of the Netherlands East Indies, the Hadhramis living in the archipelago were, at least initially, treated as untrustworthy by the new colonizers. At the same time they were cut off from their homeland Hadhramaut and had to reconsider their relationships with the indigenous Indonesians. After the Japanese capitulation they were forced to side with either the new Indonesian republic or the returning Dutch administration. In both periods all kinds of new relationships came into being, both transient and lasting, and often mutually contradictory. World War II as well as the struggle for Indonesian independence led to drastic changes in the orientation and identity of the Hadhrami minority. Besides dealing with the vicissitudes, strategies, and loyalties of these inhabitants of Arabs descent, this article argues that the turbulent time they went through increased the pace of their awareness of belonging to Indonesia.

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