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ANMM Collection

Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Grete

Date: 23 October 1936
Dimensions:
Overall: 270 x 209 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0534[005]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Grete handwritten in German over three pages, text on one side only. Dated 23.X.36, the letter mentions that Oskar is staying in Singapore, waiting on a new boat from Pionier. Finds people in Singapore obliging and has been written about in English magazines and is feeling very self proud. He is hoping to spend Christmas in Batavia, and hoping to make money from a tin mine.
    Translation
    • ANMS0534 [005] Kuala Lumpur 23 October 1936 Dear Grete, Thank you very much for your letter. I arrived in Singapore on 1 October and am forced to stay here until October 28. I’ll receive a new boat from Pionier and it’s supposed to arrive in Singapore on that date. I’ll go back to Singapore tomorrow. I live there with a certain Dr. Peters. They are very nice people. It seems like the Germans have changed somehow here in Singapore and they are extremely courteous and obliging. I’ve been invited to the Consul General’s place twice and during the festivities for Thanksgiving I met the young Hilmers from Bülow Street. Almost all London magazines contained a photo of my departure from Penang. The “Scotch”, one of the best magazines, even wrote: [written in English] “We take off our Hat to Herrn Oskar Speck for his Colossal Enterprise in a tiny Craft.” Translated this means: ”We take off our hat to Mr Oskar Speck for his colossal enterprise in a such a tiny boat.” [second page] If first class English magazines print something like that, if an Englishman even takes off his hat to a German sportsman, then one could almost start getting a big head. But in Germany things are still a bit different in this respect, aren’t they? Do cross both fingers for me, please. I discovered a tin mine, that is I found some tin, but whether there is a mine there has yet to be discovered. A large British mining company is exploring there. If it works I needn’t worry about finances any more. In that case it might take about a year and then I’ll get paid a decent sum of money and shares to boot. I hope to spend Christmas in Batavia. My mail will have to be sent to Batavia, Dutch India, poste restante. By airmail it will take 7 days, by sea 5 weeks. You are unemployed now? I thought unemployment didn’t exist in Germany any longer. Oh well, doesn’t matter, one can’t always be a film star. Once I’m back in Germany, I’ll advertise for you and then people will come and say: [third page] “ Oh please, Miss Speck, do come and make a dress for me.” One just has to push for a thing properly, then it will work. If I have succeeded, you will too, these things always happen automatically. Despite all their schoolroom wisdom, the people in the world are still as dumb as anything. When I’m being introduced these days, it goes something like this: [written in English] “Mr. Speck, you know, you saw his foto [sic] in the “London News”, in the “Scotch” and in the “Sphere”, all the local newspapers are writing about him, world famous man.” Then the people look at me sideways and in their stupidity don’t know what to say. Well, this is how it goes in life. All that is missing now is the money, and then I will be a great man tomorrow. I’ll attach another two photos again this time. Please keep them. The newspaper clippings I’ll send separately, I’ve left all my things in Singapore. Please give my best regards to everybody at home. I couldn’t write to Liselotte, firstly because I didn’t have enough time and secondly, she didn’t add a reply voucher. I hope Little Miss Niece will not be too angry with me. Yours very cordially Your brother Oskar.
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