The Story of Silas Papare, The Nurse That Becomes Hero

Silas Papare

There would be no victory without hard work and perseverance. Silas Papare, an Indonesian National Hero from Papua, successfully carried out such principles.

In this article, you will read a glimpse of Silas Papare’s biography. As one of the legendary Indonesian heroes, hopefully, his life story and strong will for freedom inspire all readers.

Silas Papare: Childhood, Teenagehood, and Young Adult Phase

Silas Ayari Donrai Papare was born at the end of 1918 in Serui District, Yapen Island, Papua. As a child and teenager, he attended the local school in his village until his graduation in 1930.

After his graduation, Papare decides to work at his parents’ farms. However, a year after graduation, he enrolls at a nurse academy, which field he does in his young-adult period.

After graduating in 1935, Papare started his career as a nurse at Serui Hospital. Not long after, he is assigned to be the head nurse of the Dutch oil firm’s hospital, Netherland New Guinea Petroleum Maskapai. He then moved back to Serui in 1940 to cover the shortage of nurses in the district.

Silas Papare During Wartime

Papare serves as a nurse in Serui up until 1942. At the time, Japan starts to make its way to Indonesia due to World War II.

Two years later, Papare was assigned as a spy for the US and Dutch governments. The aim was to help push Japan out of Indonesia.

After the end of World War II, the Dutch are trying to re-colonize Indonesia. At the time, Papare holds a nurse practice at Harapan Village. His network as a nurse leads him to a few like-minded friends, such as Corinus Krey and Marthen Indey.

The two prominent figures later strongly influence Papare’s vision of freedom in his hometown. He later established a student organization with Krey and a few other colleagues; G. Sawari, Yan Waranu, Lukas Rumkorem, and S.D Kawab.

The same year, Papare and his group prepared for a rebellion against the Dutch in December 1945. They arranged for hundreds of people to join the movement, then started their plan from Harapan Village.

However, unfortunately, the plan failed as one of the Papuan soldiers denounced their plan to the Dutch government. Due to the betrayal, around 250 people, including Papare, are brought to Jayapura for imprisonment.

Silas Papare and What Happens After

Being behind the bar does not dampen Papare’s desire for national freedom, nor does his group. Even in crisis, the movement of rebellion does not stop. Because of that, Papare is moved back to Serui to prevent further communication between him and the group.

In Serui, Papare met Sulawesi’s governor, Sam Ratulangi. Sharing a common vision, Papare feels more convinced that Papua should be free and join the Republic of Indonesia. The roaring will triggered him to make Partai Kemerdekaan Indonesia Irian (PKII) or the Indonesian Irian Independence Party in 1946.

The Dutch Government immediately banned PKII’s activities, and the party had to move underground. However, in just three years, Papare and his colleagues succeed in gathering thousands of members.

Silas Papare’s Second Imprisonment and Road to Independence

Road to Independence - Silas Papare

Because of his activities in PKII, the Dutch Government is actively hunting for him and his members. In 1949, Papare got caught and sent to prison in Biak. Fortunately, Papare sees the chance and runs away to Yogyakarta, leaving PKII without a leader.

Although far, Papare works toward Papua’s freedom in Yogyakarta. He is active in several organizations that strive toward Papua’s freedom and joined a conference to spread the agendas to reality.

Silas Papare’s Legacy

Because of his strong will and effort, Papare gets the National Hero of Indonesia title. After Papua legally join in the Republic of Indonesia, Silas Papare became active as an MPRS member. He passed away in 1978, 15 years after the unification of Papua and Indonesia.