1976 Photo Contest, Photo Sequences, 1st prize

Jan Stappenbeld

De Telegraaf

01 December, 1975

A hostage is executed on hijacked train no. 734, near Wijster in The Netherlands. A group of South Moluccans hijacked the train. appealing to the Dutch government to press for an independent state for their people in Indonesia. Their parents, many of whom fought on the side of the ruling Dutch during Indonesia's war of independence between 1945 and 1949, left Indonesia for fear of reprisals. For about 25 years they lived in temporary camps, often in poor conditions. They hoped to return but were gradually integrated into Dutch society. Currently some 40,000 South Moluccans live in the Netherlands. Photographer Jan Stappenbeld was present at the World Press Photo press conference on 4 March 1976 in the Amsterdam Hilton hotel, where the winners of the 1976 contest were announced. When Plug journalist Aloys Ginjaar asked Stappenbeld if he was happy with his prize he said surprised: ‘Happy? Ofcourse I am not happy. I think it is horrible that acts of violence, such as the one I photographed, still happen in our world, even in our country. But I am a press photographer and my boss tells me to come back with news pictures. If news means the hijacking of a train, I cannot do much else than showing pictures of this. I would be a bad photojournalist if would not press the button if I encountered something that is worth photographing.’

About the photographer

Jan Stappenbeld

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