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Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Willhem

Date: 1 February 1938
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John O'Donnell
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0535[022]

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    Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Wilhelm handwritten in German over three thin pages with text on one side only. Dated 1 February 1938, the letter goes into prices for film, issues regarding processing and costs for sending film to Oskar. Also provides small insight into Nazi Germany. Details about Wilhelm’s family and future plans. He knows one of Oskar’s sisters.
    • Altona, 1 February 1938 Dear Oskar, I am really happy to hear from you once again after so many wild rumours have been circulating about the incident on the island of Lakor, even reported as such in the newspapers here. I have noted with great satisfaction that you are already recuperating. However, I don’t quite understand why you are in a hurry to go on. I don’t even understand why you are planning to continue the journey at all. In my opinion it was a fateful warning not to overstep the mark. One thing is certain; if you manage to carry your endeavour to a fortunate conclusion, the reward must surely come, provided some skill is applied. Every movie theatre is compelled nowadays to show a culturally relevant short film before every screening (Length about 20 min.). I have heard people say that the short film is the best part of the screening. Maybe your films do fit the bill. However, the cinema-type material would have to be transferred to standard dimension film. As far as this issue is concerned, I am quite willing to send you some film material. You would have to instruct me in detail about the type of material you need and what size the reels are it has to fit on. I have only started to familiarise myself with filming after I received your last letter. That’s why I couldn’t respond straight away. I understand you need Pan or Novopan film in 30 m reels, 16 mm in width. The net price for reversal film, ie. 30 m Pan daylight reels, is 11.40 Deutschmark and Novopan 14.30 Deutschmark. If you are planning to have the film copied onto normal gauge, whatever the case, it would make more sense to use a normal negative film and not reversal. The same applies if you are planning to make multiple copies, for instance in order to deal with the issue of wear and tear or as an insurance against loss or fire damage. We have a MOVEX at the shop as well. I have spoken to our film operator about this matter. He uses negative film material exclusively. He has each finished film copied five times. I forgot to ask him how many times you can actually run a film until it becomes useless. One would have to think about this issue as well. Negative film has the additional advantage of being significantly cheaper. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of asking my sister to ascertain the price for it, but I guess it would be around RM 6.50 for 30 m. You would be able to film twice as much for the same price. So please make up your mind and let me know how much and what type you need, reversal or negative. Please let me know where to send it to. At this stage I don’t think air mail is an option because the freight costs would exceed the value of the film several times. If you want to copy positive material onto normal size you would need another reversal film (higher costs!), whereas with negatives you can copy it directly onto normal film with higher granularity, which is still much cheaper despite everything. Now back to your questions. My wife and little son are well. I am enclosing a photograph of the little fellow. It was taken during his christening (Christmas). He was two and a half months old then. His name is Wilfried; I believe I told you that in the last letter. Such a new born earthling rearranges one's life from the ground up. But then again, we have a lot of fun with him as well. At the moment he sleeps most of the time, but this is soon going to come to an end. We are planning to go kayaking during the coming holidays, but without him. He will be staying with grandma. “Kraft durch Freude”, the [fascist] union leisure group is organising a 14-day trip on the Danube in July. The cost per person is RM 23, excluding accommodation and food. As I told you before, we are both using a single boat. That will be the case for a few years to come, hopefully. Once the boy has reached the appropriate age I will just extend the hatch a bit. But that will be in two years at the earliest. Who knows, we might have bought a small motor boat by that time or a people’s car* (I’d prefer a motor boat). I haven’t been able to make contact with your sister yet. Since we won’t be able to send the letter off tonight anyway, my wife will try to get hold of her again tomorrow morning. I have to go on a business trip tomorrow morning and won’t be able to achieve anything myself. Just to keep you up to date, I’d like to tell you that our chief engineer, Mr Samuel Meyer, died about a month ago. It was a “fortunate” solution to the problem, since it would not have been able to continue much longer like that with M&H. A Jewish chief engineer with signatory authority for the business has become impossible in Nazi Germany. God rest his soul. I want to stop now to leave some space for my other half to write some notes about the visit to your sister’s place. Sorry about writing with an ink pen. Ink wouldn’t have worked on onionskin paper. I wish you all the best for the journey before you. Break a leg! You wouldn’t take any advice from an old kayaking mate (apparently) turned philistine, would you? With true German greetings and Heil Hitler Wilhelm PS My wife has spoken to your sister this morning. She sent you a letter for Christmas and also straight after she heard about your accident. Both letters were sent by air mail, the latter to the military hospital. [on the margin:] She sent four lots of money to Australia as well. At the moment she is waiting for mail from you. When she sent the last letter off she was told that it would arrive before the New Year. Your sister intends to co-sponsor the film shipment as well. Best wishes from the members of your family and mine. Translator’s note: * apparently a reference to the Volkswagen beetle which was promoted then by the Nazi government.

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