Maria Hertogh dies at 72 from leukaemia

Maria Bertha Hertogh died recently at 72 years old from Leukaemia.

To put it simply, Maria Hertogh was a Dutch girl who was adopted and brought up by a Malay lady, Che Aminah for several years in the 1940s. By then, she grew up to be like a Malay Muslim girl.

It was only some years later that her natural parents, who were catholics, asked the courts to get their daughter back. The judge ruled in favour of the natural parents.

Maria Hertogh and Che Amina

Maria wept and clung to her foster mother.

She was then placed in a convent home before being sent back to Netherlands. It was there when the news about her being surrounded by Catholic symbols were sensationalised. This deeply offended the Muslim faith that a riot broke out. 18 people killed and 179 injured.

Maria Hertogh and Che Amina

While in the Netherlands, Maria was extremely unhappy. Many times she expressed her desire to return back to Singapore but could not due to financial difficulties. She has said that her happiest times were her childhood in Singapore.

Her foster mother, Che Amina died in 1976.

Was it a matter of pride that the natural parents wanting their daughter back knowing very well that she was much happier to be with her foster mother?

Regardless, I just feel very bad for Maria Hertogh.

Read more about her life

19 thoughts on “Maria Hertogh dies at 72 from leukaemia”

  1. Oh, this is really a sad and tragic story. They should have kept her in Singapore with her adoptive parents. I think back then it was uncommon for white children to be adopted by a different race, then you add the religious clashes and you get the result. A really sad story.

  2. Indeed. I don’t get why the parents was so insisting to get their daughter back when she already is used to and prefers to be in Singapore

    Even so, they could have at least made other approach to ease in her life so as not to shock her like that.

    With them involving the courts, with convent and all is just too much and insensitive.

  3. ZOMG! The last time I heard the name Maria Hertogh was like 6 years ago in history class… or was it last week when I visited the National Museum? Hmm.

  4. Poor Maria Bertha Hertogh. Despite being confronted by her biological family, she insisted in staying with Mdm Che Aminah Mohammad & to still continue embracing Islam. Unfortunately, she was forced to be sent back to Netherland , and be a christian -.=

  5. But she might be forced to marry a much older Muslim man if she had remained. Isn’t it better to go back and have more choices with respect to her life long partner?

  6. Feyyna

    Indeed. That would be a huge huge huge adjustment for a young woman to have to do.

    Ketsugi

    Do tell what it is that is more to the story 🙂

    Lyra

    According to the reports, she wasn’t forced although for her age, she was very young to get married.

    If it wasnt for the court intervention, I doubt that Che Amina would even thought of getting her married.

  7. Hi. The reason Maria Hectogh’s real parents didn’t return to Singapore as stated was because during the WW2 her parents were captured and were only release after the war in Britan.. They tried looking for their daughter and soughted help from the British’s. A few years later they recieved information that their daughter is in Singapore and went to look for her. I feel that Maria Hectogh should return to her natural parents as she was nurtured by them in her early years before being captured by the japanese occupation officers. It wouldn’t be fair if Maria didn’t return to her natural parent’s side as it wasn’t their fault that they got captured. The muslims were feeling slighted as they didn’t get custody of Maria Hectogh, but Che Aminah should have known that one day Maria Hectogh would return to her natural parent’s as Maria didn’t belong to her.

  8. But wouldn’t Maria’s biological parents want her to be happy? If so, they should let her remain with Che Aminah because that is what Maria wants ):

  9. i think as parents they would want to protect their child. hence bringing back to their native country one the right choice to make even if their daughter wanted to stay. I would also think that the parents felt that the girl was to young to make a choice and as parents, they would logically make a better choice for thier children.

  10. Oh dear talk about a jumbled values. This girl was kidnapped, suffered child abuse (in the form of genital mutilation), brainwashing and was married, at 13, to a grown man twice her age and the only tragedy anyone sees is that she was rescued from this abomination. Serviously chaps there’s a word for this, perversion.

  11. Fess,
    Owh, come on. it is not that rare for malays to marry in early ages during that time…..
    Nowdays u’ll still see this kind of marriage in a certain part of the world. Go search urself….

    suffered child abuse (in the form of genital mutilation) – how does circumcision a genital mutilation? get ur facts right….. otherwise u just said all Muslims and quite large of Jews also suffers from this…..

  12. oh fess and others..seems like you guys have not done some good valid research.. Nadra’s biological parents were said been persuated by the Dutch Govt to come to Singapore in order to bring her back o Natherlands. This was noted when Nadra’s mother Adeline came and told Che Aminah that she’s sorry she can do anything since she’s told to do so..Innitially both of them (the real parents) were not eager to bring back and as a result, Nadra were treated like slave by her own biological famlity which she had admitted it herself. It’s actually some kind of conspiracy since the Natherlands at that time where lost in wars with Asian, they felt that by bringing this girl back to Holland, they might be able to pay back. 1st round in court Che Aminah won the case, but they continously tried to dig her weaknesses and there Nadra were forced to go back to Holland. This girl was not kidnapped, the parents went back and were not even care where she were. It is so rediculous if they didn’t know her location as both Nor Louise and Che Aminah were damn close and Che Aminah was the one who always help the Dutch family financially and their security. Che Aminah’s family (as one referred to one Dutch writer) is wellknown n educated fmily in Malaya and Indonesia. Nadra was not even a second abused by the family as she lived with Che Aminah wealthly. Che Aminah’s not a stupid narrowminded as you think. She’s a PA of the late Sultan of Terengganu and a sucessful business woman in Kemaman and Bandung and had been in Japan for 10 years. She had thought on Nadra’s future and that’s why Nadra was married to Mansor Adabi (a teacher, a editor and a lawyer)In that era, that kind of positions?..Nadra was also had told the media during the interview after winning in court that she wante to become a teacher after she finished her studies. BTW, if Mansor’s a pervert man, I’m very sure that he had married a few and had mistresses since he has got a lot of $$$..hwever, he still remembered Nadra and got married again once since he had received a letter fr Holland claimed that Nadra didn’t love him anymore, hated her family in Malaya, and Mansor was told to leave her alone. (which being written by the Dutch policemen: another conspiracy and this you can call an abuse).FYI Nadra didn’t even know this until she saw Mansor on TV which has made her brokenhearted. The cruelty of certain people had made them suffer. Man, you guys should do some research before mking some statements and judgements..what comes out from your mouth reflects how knowledgable you are dude..cheers

  13. I agreed to ingrid. Well even after Maria is being brought back home, she still cant forget her past. She’s married to a Dutch man, John, but later attempt to murder him as she still cant forget her past. She once told that she was happy back then when she was young girl, stayng with her foster mother.

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