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Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Gerog Puschel

Date: 17 December 1935
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John O'Donnell
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0535[015]

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    Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Georg Puschel handwritten in German over two pages with text on both sides. Dated 17 december 1935, the letter talks about Oskar and Georg's attempts to gain newspaper reports of his travels, about Georg's employment, the upcoming Berlin Olympic Games in which kayacking is an event, and well wishes for Oskar reaching Calcutta.
    • Düsseldorf-Rath, 17 December 1935 My dear Oskar, Finally, we have received news from you. Glad to know that you are actually still alive and pursuing your goal without having second thoughts. My sister wrote to me that she had received news from you that you were still travelling and expecting to reach Calcutta by Christmas. My dear boy, we had been seriously worried about you. Early September there was a short notice in most papers that you had gone missing shortly after your departure from Colombo. I’ve kept the notice. I was on a business trip to the south of Germany at the time and would have missed it but for [Giepp?], my old kayaking comrade from Göppingen, who shoved it in my face. Shortly afterwards I went on holidays in the mountains with my fiancee. Upon my return I found a letter from J. Hagenbeck with newspaper cuttings, a report, pictures and a letter from the DKV* which I am enclosing. He did not report any mishap on your part. [next page] I wrote back to him straight away and sent a letter off to you, poste restante, Colombo. My thinking went like this: if you were still alive, with only the boat wrecked, you would probably return to Ceylon. I must assume now that this letter was not forwarded to you. Thank God everything went all right despite your capsizing in a big way. I sincerely hope and wish that you will reach Calcutta by Christmas without any harm coming your way. Having followed your route on maps with a pair of compasses, I have calculated that you have completed more than 12,000 km of water travel since you departed from Ulm. Considering that you did not travel along straight lines, I’d think it’s more like 16,000 km. As far as your working the press is concerned, I suggest that you only send complete articles. In the short term it makes more sense to send them short pieces. These are usually very welcome because they don’t constitute a major commitment to the writer. Interest is kept alive and you get to know each other. I have managed to place such short pieces five to six times already. They are frequently picked up by smaller papers afterwards. I followed the suggestion you made in your last letter, namely [next page] to incite an investigation by a large number of papers, utilising the support of my sister and my kayaking mates. The letter was worded along these lines: “What happened to the German canoeist Oskar Speck? He set out from Ulm, travelling along the Danube River, and has now reached Ceylon. In other words, he has travelled more than 10,000 km in a collapsible boat. Would you please make an effort to research this story further.” As soon as I receive news of your arrival in Calcutta I will forward an extensive report to the Reichssportführer [Nazi Minister for Sport] Mr von Steuner und Osten**. I really want to see if society can be coerced into taking the bait. I had a picture of you leaving Ceylon re-photographed with all tricks in the book. It had been sent by John Hagenbeck and fitted our propaganda purposes really well. I enclose a copy. I sent a report and pictures to Pionier as well. The bastards haven’t responded yet, though. I am reasonably satisfied that they want to replace the boat. That is at least something. I am really sorry that I have only so little time available. Otherwise I would try to get the papers to shift their lazy bums by making tricky little inquiries. [next page] My job is killing me at the moment. We are holding the Olympics in Berlin in June. The preparations are gigantic. Kayaking is now an Olympic sport as well and will be contested. Hey my boy, you’d have them all for breakfast with your training. However, I’d think you would have to take the climatic changes into account upon your return – they may bother you. We now have a standing army again, you know. The entire metal industry is enveloped in a mad reconstruction effort. They are suffering a fair bit from the short supply of foreign currency, which is partly to blame on the Jewish rabble-rousing for a boycott. This coming Sunday I am going to Rothenburg with my fiancee and on Christmas Day we are visiting my parents in [Pinneberg?]. I am planning to get married in May or June. It’s got to be sometime. It’s not a good idea to stay solo forever. A few days ago I sent you newspapers and a postal order for 16 Schillings. I hope it gets through to you. I do wish from my heart that you reach Calcutta well and that you have a merry Christmas there. Please take some time off, will you? May God protect you. Your friend Georg. Translator’s note: * Presumably: German Kayaking Club **Spelling of name not fully clear

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