Dr. Esther Captain is a historian and director of research at the National Committee for the Remembrance of WWII (in Dutch: Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 Mei) in Amsterdam. She is also an associate researcher at the National Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies NIOD in Amsterdam. She is also associated with the Centre for the Humanities of Utrecht University. Captain has been working as a PhD researcher at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam and was affiliated with Rutgers University (NJ, USA) and fellow of the National Endowment of the Humanities at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii.
Esther Captain holds various social positions. Between 2017 and 2019 she has been a member of the board of Framer Framed and between 2019 and 2021 a member of the Supervisory Board of Framer Framed. Captain is chairman of the Keti Koti Tafels Foundation.
She has published extensively on, and specialises in the legacy of WWII in overseas territoriums, memory and heritage studies and postcolonial history. The works she has written include Oorlogserfgoed overzee. De erfenis van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Aruba, Curaçao, Indonesië en Suriname [Overseas War Legacy: The Legacy of World War II in the Former Dutch Colonies] (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2010) and Traces of Slavery in Utrecht. A Walking Guide (Utrecht: Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University, 2013).
Next to being a historian with a PhD-degree, Esther Captain is a palm reader. By combining her academic skills with her knowledge of palmistry, she connects her analytic insights with elements that are familiar to her from her Indonesian-Dutch background. In 2013, she finished her training in palmistry with noted palm reader Ellen Duim. She has been reading palms at Happinez Festival, Lotus Fair and Margriet Winter Fair. Her knowledge of palmistry is kept up to date during monthly sessions of intervision with colleagues Katinka Bartels and Greetje Schaap.