Austro-Hungarian War Cross for Civil Merit to German Police Commisioner Theodor Dix, Leipzig

The name of this decoration tells exactly what it is, a cross for civilians that showed merit during war time assisting the Austro-Hungarian empire. The cross existed in four classes and could be awarded both to foreigners and citizens.

The third class was in silver, 2nd class gilded and 4th class bronze. The document are related to the 3rd class so a silver one as pictured above (photo from internet).

Letter that accompanied the actual award document

The documents in this blog are made out to a German police commisioner (Polizeirat) from Leipzig named Theodor Dix. And as it often happens with researching civilians that is where it more or less stops…

With the development of online research possibilities more and more sources are available. So maybe in the future I hope to extend this short blog.

So far only this showed up:

It states that Dix held a presentation for a society regarding “Use and succes of our Medical dogs on the battlefields. So my working hypothesis is that he was in his role of police commisioner involved in these sanitary dogs that were used by many armies at that time including the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Photo’s below from the internet, not my collection.

Marine H. Jansma MWO4, Atjeh 1874 – paybook

This is the original paybook of the Dutch Marine (naval infanterist) H. Jansma (1854-1931) who was awarded the Military order of William 4th class and the Honorable Mention (Mention in Despatches) for his actions during the 2nd Atjeh war.

Jansma as a civillian in the 1920s

His blue paybook is covered in leather (pigskin) with his name on both sides.

In the paybook all his decorations are noted as well the Honorable Mention two times! First the actual MiD is mentioned and later the award of the crown device or in Dutch kroon is mentioned as such. These crowns were only introduced in 1878 and the MiD was already awarded in 1876 so before the actual device. The crowns were retrospectively awarded/added!

Here the citation of his award:

“On November 7th, as part of the Marine landing division in Atjeh, participated in battles distincting himself and especially excellent in the taking of the reinforced village of Lemboe by, together with two of his comrades being the first to penetrate the main stronghold on the Northwestern side.”

This type of citation, first over the wall, first entering a dangerous place etc. were typical of 19th century awards of the Military order of William.

Somehow I have only seen very few of such early “paybooks” with important gallantry decorations. They appear neither in private collections nor musea. The actual award documents are seen more often.

Hungarian porcelain parachutist statue, WW2 period

The Hungarian para’s were a small elite group about whom only little has been written in English but most information can be found in this nice blog.

Photo from my own collection, see this blog for more details

They existed as a unit from 1938 up to 1944 at which moment theyre remaining men became integrated in the Saint László Division in which they fought untill the end of the war.

Recently I was able to acquire a porcelain statue that depicts a WW2 period para. Possibly it was made as a promotion item for the Hungarian Parachute manufacturer in Debrecen. It supposedly was made by the Hollohaza porcelain company but has not visible markings and also the exact period of production is unknown.

Photo from

It turns out a variation of this statue also exists which was fully coloured! It is not exactly the same statue but very close, maybe a different porcelain producer? Several details show it was not based on the same mold.

Photo’s by Thilly Weissenborn of photo studio ,,Lux”, Java 1917-1941

Thilly Weissenborn (1889-1964) became known as the first female professional photographer of the colonial Dutch East Indies, She photographed mainly in Western-Java (Garoet) working for and later owning Photo Studio ,,Lux”.

Original period (1917-1941) prints made by her are getting hard to find and are very collectable. In my collection I have an album with several of her photo’s. Some with the trademark of Lux and some unmarked but known photo’s by her.

This photo is titled “tea picker from Sundan (Indonesian Island) as she looks in real life” contrasting some other work Weissenborn made that was more “promotional” for the tea industry.

It seems to be an album of a mother and daughter covering a world trip in the 1920s visiting many countries including the East Indies. The album starts in the UK, going to Shanghai, Japan and Indonesia but ending again in Europe (Germany). Photo’s like these were bought and added to the privately made pictures. There are many professional pictures from Indonesia from which only some are confirmed by Lux.

Two pictures in Japan with the same mother and daughter combination and a photo of a large group in Indonesia, none of these by Lux of course.

Photo by Lux of unknown location
The Western Javanese Garoet plains from the “Ngamplang” sanatorium/hotel by Lux

All pictures from my own collection. Several original Lux pictures from the album went to a friend. The album had several loose pictures and many empty pages were the photo’s were already removed before the album came into my collection.

Source: Vastgelegd voor later, Indische foto’s van Thilly Weissenborn – Verzameld door Ernst Drissen, 1983

Bronze plaque of an unknown Hungarian sergeant – by Turáni Kovács Imre, dated 1938

As the title states this plaque is of a, so far unknown, sergeant of the Hungarian army. It has a diameter of almost 33cm and weighs 5kg! Any help with establishing who the sergeant is would be most welcome!!!

The artist who designed it is Turáni Kovács Imre who was born in 1910 and died in 1975. More details about his career you can find here.

The foundry that produced the plaque is also given on the bronze!

The front seems to have some old damage that was there when the plaque was repatinated or gilded at the outside again. This also seems to have been done a long time ago. My guess this plaque was placed at a house but where and why is unknown.

Autograph of Erzherzog Joseph – KuK General, 1916

A full bio can be found here – it is in German though! He was an important member of the Hungarian branch of the Austro-Hungarian royal family of Habsburg -Lotharingen.

Born in 1872 in Hungary he had a military career spanning form lieutenant in 1890 up to full Field Marshall and the royal representative for Hungary in 1918.

The collecting of autographs is not a new trend but already existed in the late 19th and early 20th century and even before. This autograph was send to a Austrian collector, Fritz Wölfler, of autographs op public people of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the early 20th century. The collection was sold by a dealer in 2007 on Ebay in Austria.

FH Joseph GdK (föherceg Joseph General der Kavelerie)

It seems to be a short version of his autograph. The full version can be seen below (photo taken from Facebook – not my collection).

German Hussar by Hoynck van Papendrecht

This is another work of the famous Dutch artist Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht who specialized in military subject. His full biography you can read here. And I have more extensive story about another watercolour by him in an earlier blog

This specific watercolour depicts a German Hussar (light cavalry) of the Brandenburger Husaren Regiment Nr. 3 – Husaren Regiment Von Zieten (Brandenburgisches) Nr. 3 and has the typical refinement of HvP.

It is dated 1901 in which period he made trip to Germany to study their uniforms and make paintings. There are several more of similar paintings from the same period that can be found here

Hussar Attack, 1915 Bronze by Szamosi, Huszár Roham

This bronze is titled “Huszár Roham” (in Hungarian) which translates in “Attack of the Hussars”. The Hussars are the traditional Hungarian horse cavalry and has become a generic name for light cavalry units in all armies in Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. During WW1 horses bacame outdated in the course of the war and many cavalry units became “dismounted”, so on foot, without their horses. In 1915, the date of this work, the Hussars were still very much in action with their horses. Especially on the Eastern front, fighting against the Russians over large areas with relatively few people.

This original bronze (probably the only existing example) was made by the Hungarian artist Szamosi. It took me years to find this out. I always thought the first letter was a R in place of the actual SZ.  Szamosi lived between 1885 and 1971 and specialized in medals and plaquettes. This one is of a formidable size, 30 cm in diameter.

When I found it I had a difficult time to establish how to display this work of art. Finally I decided to have it framed as a “painting” with the 2 screws it has on the back.

Not sure where and how is was placed originally, maybe on a wall? Before the war Szamosi was already active both as an artist and as an educator at the Arts Academy.

His most famous works are from the 1910s and 1920s. During the first world war he made several works of art related to the war like this one.

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Reference: Szamosi Soos

Atjeh items with a KNIL (Major A. Picard) provenance.

Most etnographical items in Dutch collections do not have a historical background story, provenance. These stories are often lost over time so that is an extra reason for writing down these blogs.

These items were collected during the career of Major A. Picard of the Dutch East Indies Army. He was born in 1850, between the early 1870s and 1898, his pension date, he rose throught the ranks to the status of Major. After his pension he returned to the Netherlands and passed away in 1905. For one of his actions he received an Honorable Mention (Mention is Despatches) which was the 2nd highest acknowledgement for gallantry after the Military Order of William. He spent his entire career in Norhtern Sumatra (Atjeh region during the long lasting wars there).

The collecting of etnographical items was popular amongst officers and even promoted by higher ranking officers. Looting was not accepted (which does not mean it did not happen) but collecting/buying was seen as an investment in a better understanding of the local population as was the learning of the local language.

His complete collection was handed down in the family several times until the last family member deceased in the early 2000s. An antiques dealer bought the entire contents of the house and sold them off.

Photo of how the items were found by the antiques dealer.

A friend was able to buy the medals and paperwork and I bought several etnographical items. You can match them with the photo above!

Despite the handkerchiefs these are all items for Atjehnese men, for tobacco, sirih and chalk or toiletries (tool sets with items like ear wax spoons, nose hair clippers and tooth picks) for the men of that region.

Carl Zeiss 10×50 – The binoculars of the century (Jahrhundert Fernglas)!

A bit less historical than most of my blogs but nevertheless a part of the history of Gerrit on which I wrote several blogs before. One of his prized posessions, next to his Rolex Datejust was a, West-German, Carl Zeiss 10×50 Binocular dubbed the “Binocular of the Century” or in German “Jahrhundert Fernglas” by the maker.

Other possesions of Gerrit including his prized Rolex Datejust.

In an article in a Dutch newspaper these binoculars are described as the Rolls Royce of binoculars which they indeed were with a prize to match. He bought them in the 60s (exact date unknown) and had them even personalized with his name. They went with him to many of the exotic places he visited during his life including the Vietnam war and many places after that.

After I received these they became part of my “historical” collection but I did not dare to use them during my own travels. Therefore I bought another pair (8x50b variation) which are even more practical in daily use.

This pair also came with the full history (purchased in 1962) and they were updated in the early 90’s with a new cover and sling. These I use on a regular basis but are nice to share also because of the full history they have.

The were bought in 1962 by a Medical Doctor and the bill even has a custom duties stamp as they were imported from Germany.

The astronomical amount of DFL 707,- in 1962