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Letter from Oskar Speck to his friend Sonja

Date: 30 July 1937
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[009]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to his friend friend Sonja typed in German over one page with text on both sides. Dated 30 July 1937, the letter mentions some filming he has been doing, as well as the fact he does not want to go back to Germany to be an electrician, he is going to try and make money from his film.
    Translation
    • Kalabahi, alor 30 July 1937 Dear Sonja, Many thanks for the letter you sent to Dili on Timor. Thanks also for the pastryxx and the brochure about the Pionier shipyard. Pionier are a bunchwhole lot of philistines, because they did not even send me even one of their brochures. I was just writing a very friendly letter to the Pionier shipyard when your parcel arrived. Tried to get Pionier to contribute toward the cost of my film, because, after all, the film will attract publicity for them. P. got themselves out of it, as such people are want towould do.xx But that’s OK with me, it’ll be to their disadvantage. I arrived in Dili on 9th July. Stayed there two weeks and then returned to Alor, where I still am. Going on various trips into the interior, because I really can’t continue my journey to New Guinea before the end of August, due to the eastern monsoon. Trying to film some nice things here and have already shot a couple of interesting scenes on the small island of Pantar. [In] a couple of days I will be going on an outing with the Rajah of Alor [the Rajah of Alor will take me to a region ] [illegiblexx] to a region [illegiblexx] and hope to be able to film some Alorese dances. Then I’ll be on my way back to Dili where I’ll have to repair my boat and also have other things to do. So, this will be my last letter before I reach Australia. Once I depart from Dili I’ll have very little time at handmy disposal and I will have to manage to doachieve a whole lot during the following 3 months. You can expect me to arrive in Australia in early December. My journey will not have come to an end by then, because I will have to paddle down to Sydney. That will take at least four months. I have no idea what will happen then. I don’t think I’ll be able to return to Germany straight away because I wouldn’t know what to do there, and besides, I don’t have the money to come back. I’ll most probably have to travel to Karachi in stages by steamship. Then struggle along by showing my film in all the towns I stopped at [during my journey] with my collapsible boat. Possibly go by collapsible boat from Karachi along the Arabian coast, through the Red Sea up to Syria. Take a steamship to Greece and continue on to Hamburg in the collapsible boat. That’s the way I think it will eventually be. At any rate, up to now, I have no other prospects. I expect it’ll still take some years until I arrive in Hamburg. I thought my tin mine would bring me something but the English government won’t allow the company, with whichom I have a contract, to work there, because the site lies within the area of a national park. I’m not into playing the lottery playing, nor interested in getting marryied,ng so all I actuallycan currently have to call my own is my film and the collapsible boat. All your kind urging in regard to recommencing work and re-adapting is all very well, but it makes no impression on a Teutonic lad like me I happen to be a person who is capable of doing what I set my mind upon and who won’t even consider what I’m not good at. So, it’s unlikely you’ll see me installing a switch or suspending a ceiling lampight again. Actually, that’s quite a pity, considering it will be quite a loss for the electricians’ guild. Incidentally, I’ve been promoted!xx! to engineer, in spite of my journey. Isn’t it a shame; surely, you would have had photos takenmade of me, had you foreseen that. And now you would be able to sell them to the newspapers for a good price. Wouldn’t it be charming: two pictures,; one with Speck standing on a stepladder hanging up a lamp, and the other with Speck in a collapsible boat in East India, with the caption: a formerly respectable tradesman now down-at-heel! Once a credit to his profession, now an adventurer! May this be a warning to all those who wish to succeed in life. Parents, take good care of your children!!! ! I’m not angry about your suggestions [illegible]. All of you [illegiblexx] convinced, that a journey like this one, somehow, has to be to the detriment of a person’s state of mind. As I do not wish to change your belief in that regard, I am prepared to admit, that this journey has rendered me conceited, stupid and silly, so that I really am no longer in athe position to connect a motor. The worst thing about my illness is, that my condition doesn’t worry me at all, and that I only regret having wasted sothat much time trainingstudying [to become an electrician]. Well, Sonja, that’s what happens to you, if you go too far out into the world and even get close to the Equator. By the way, they’re again talking quite a lot again about a war in Europe. Why, I could have a small machinegun fastened to my collapsible boat and could start conquering colonies. Perhaps the Papuans on New Guinea will immediately recognise me as a German and proclaim me as their president.
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