Indonesian President Sukarno (left) surrenders his executive powers to Gen. Suharto, Feb. 22, 1967, in Jakarta. Suharto led the anti-communist purge and ruled the country until 1998.
Credit Yosef Riadi for NPR
Former law student and teacher Tumiso Nitikarjita Lukas looks at pictures of his days in exile on a remote Indonesian island during the 1970s. Before being exiled, he was arrested and tortured on suspicion of being a communist, which he has steadfastly denied.
Credit Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
Indonesians protest outside the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Sept. 28, 2005, calling for the government to bring former dictator Suharto to court for gross human rights abuse related to the deaths of alleged communists and communist sympathizers during the mid-1960s.
The wall of silence in Indonesia surrounding one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century is beginning to fall apart. A forthcoming report by Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights estimates that a purge of suspected communists during the mid-1960s killed between 600,000 and 1 million people.
The violence reshaped Indonesia's political landscape and affected the course of the Cold War, just as the U.S. was escalating its fight against communism in Southeast Asia.