1 June 2023

Most postcards sent from vacation destinations have nice tourist images. Beach, museums, cities, nature, party, costumes etc. Rarely will horrors be sent as a holiday greeting.

The picture postcard from the Dutch East Indies shown here is an exception to this. In 1905 this postcard was sent from a Kurhaus in Java (probably Tosari) to friends in the Netherlands. If the recipients don’t discover it, the letter writer is clear about it: ‘In this picture you see how forced labourers are treated in Java.’

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René Hillesum

René Hillesum

Collector of postal history of Finland and postmarks of Imperial Saint Petersburg.

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