The Historic Tale of Kramat 106: Birthplace of Sumpah Pemuda and Indonesia’s Youth Unity Movement

In the bustling heart of Jakarta, nestled on the bustling Jalan Kramat Raya, stood the Museum Sumpah Pemuda, a place resonating with the echoes of Indonesia’s past. The museum was once a residence, bearing the unassuming number 106, a house that had witnessed the convergence of youthful dreams and fiery ideals. Its trapezium-shaped roof and sturdy iron pillars supported an additional canopy, shielding its occupants from both the rain and the prying eyes of the world.

Originally, this house belonged to Sie Kong Lian, a Chinese immigrant who ran a bedding store in the Senen area. He leased out his property, and in 1925, it found new occupants—a group of Javanese youths studying medicine at STOVIA. These young minds, members of the Langen Siswo association, shared a deep passion for Javanese arts, including dance, gamelan, and wayang performances.

Within the walls of Kramat 106, these young intellectuals found a haven for their artistic pursuits. The house echoed with the melodious tunes of gamelan and the rhythmic steps of traditional Javanese dance. Evenings were often adorned with the enchanting tales of wayang kulit, though the performances were rare due to the challenge of finding dedicated puppeteers willing to perform through the night.

Despite being predominantly inhabited by Javanese youth, Kramat 106 was a beacon of inclusivity. Discussions and debates were hosted, inviting prominent figures like Mohammad Yamin, Amir Syarifuddin, and Abu Hanifah, who later became residents of the house. These intellectual exchanges gave birth to the Indonesische Club in 1927, a discussion club that served as a nucleus for nationalist ideas.

The spirit of unity fostered in Kramat 106 culminated in the Second Youth Congress held on October 27–28, 1928. Representatives from various youth organizations, including PPPI, Jong Java, Jong Bataks Bond, Jong Sumatranen Bond, Jong Ambon, Jong Celebes, Jong Islamieten Bond, Sekar Rukun, Pemuda Kaum Betawi, and Pemuda Indonesia, gathered under its roof.

The atmosphere crackled with anticipation as discussions flowed seamlessly, embracing topics ranging from politics to culture, society, and Dutch colonialism. In the quiet hours of the night, W.R. Supratman, a regular attendee of Kramat 106’s intellectual gatherings, filled the space with the enchanting notes of “Indonesia Raya” on his violin. The room reverberated with applause, a testament to the profound impact of his performance.

As the clock neared 11 p.m., Mohammad Yamin stood before the assembly. With eloquence, he narrated the tale of the Baratayuda War, weaving historical allegories and nationalist fervor into his words. Amidst this charged atmosphere, Yamin handed a piece of paper to Sugondo, containing the essence of their collective resolutions. With Sugondo’s signature, the document gained historical significance, marking the birth of the Sumpah Pemuda, the Youth Pledge, a pivotal moment in Indonesia’s fight for independence.

The echoes of the Sumpah Pemuda did not silence the vibrant spirit of Kramat 106. It continued to serve as a hub for intellectual discourse and political activism. The house witnessed gatherings for various purposes, from organizational meetings to celebratory events. Its walls absorbed the dreams and aspirations of a generation that would go on to shape Indonesia’s destiny.

Today, the Museum Sumpah Pemuda stands as a monument, preserving the legacy of those young souls who once inhabited the unassuming Kramat 106. The house may have been a temporary abode, but its significance as the birthplace of Indonesia’s united youth, transcending cultural and regional boundaries, immortalizes it in the annals of history.