Born 1907 on the island of Sumatra; died Dec. 19, 1948, in the village of Ngaliang, on the island of Java. Figure in the Indonesian national liberation and communist movements.
Sjarifuddin studied in the Netherlands and graduated from the law institute in Batavia (Jakarta). A leader of the national revolutionary party Partindo (founded 1931), he was arrested by the Dutch colonial authorities in 1933 and remained in prison until 1935. He helped found the Gerindo in 1937 and became its chairman, as well as the general secretary of the Indonesian Political Union.
During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia (December 1941 to 1945), Sjarifuddin was a leader of the resistance movement; in 1943 he was arrested and condemned to death, a sentence that was commuted to life imprisonment. Released after Indonesia declared its independence in 1945, he became minister of information in the first government of the Republic of Indonesia, established that year.
During the Indonesian people’s difficult struggle against the Dutch colonialists, who from 1945 to 1949 tried to regain control over Indonesia, Sjarifuddin served as minister of defense from late 1945 to January 1948 and head of the government from July 1947 to January 1948. From 1945 to 1948 he held the posts of chairman and vice-chairman of the Socialist Party. After the Socialist Party and the Workers’ Party (Labor Party) merged with the Communist Party of Indonesia in 1948, Sjarifuddin was elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPI. In 1948 he became chairman of the Popular Democratic Front, a bloc of leftist parties and organizations influenced by the CPI. During the Madiun incidents of 1948, Sjarifuddin was captured by punitive forces and shot without a trial.