In 1938 postal services between the Dutch Indies and other countries worldwide were already firmly established. Due to the increased volume of airmail and the introduction of telephone and radio the Indies seemed not longer ‘out of reach’ or on another planet in the latter half of the 1930s. Still, Queen Wilhelmina never visited her colony and governance remained very bureaucratic and rigid.
The sender of the cover – C.L. Moll – worked at SF. Kremboong. I discovered he was known as ‘1e Geëmpl.” A chic name for an employee high up in the ranks of a factory. SF. Kremboong made sugar (SF stands for Suikerfabriek, Sugar Factory) and continues to exist as PG Krembung nowadays. When browsing through Google Streetview it seems to me nothing really has changed since the Dutch left in the 1940s. Many of the older architecture, infrastructure etc. still appear to be in use as of today!
Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything on Mr Moll by using Google of even the Dutch digital newspaper archives (Delpher.nl). The only time a ‘C.L. Moll’ pops up was in the obituary below.
Therefore C.L. Moll remains a bit of a mystery person. The same applies to the addressee. This Arpad Levius lived at the Fochgasse in Bratislava but I’m afraid he didn’t survive WOII because of his Jewish sounding surname. Every combination of Arpad (not your ordinary first name) and Levius makes no sense when I put them in Google. This makes the relation between him and C.L. Moll difficult to interpret. Mr Levius might have been a customer of some sort – though Google gives me no kind of clue whatsoever Levius was a merchant. Moreover, Moll only addressed the letter to him personally, not using any company name etc.
Whatever their relation has been like, the cover itself is quite a gem – albeit an incomplete entire. The destination is odd (Bratislava only had approx. 140.000 inhabitants in 1939) as is the franking. The registration label might be quite scarce as well, although Toelangan was located on the important east-west Java railway and the big city of Soerabaja lied in close proximity of SF. Kremboong. I hope that the relation between Moll and Levius will become clear one day though – even if Levius only turns out to have been an avid Dutch Indies stamp collector!
For the original publication see the Dutch Philately blog by Hugo Brieffies.