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ANMM Collection

Letter from Oskar Speck to the Editor in Chief

Date: 24 December 1938
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: ANMS0536[029]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to the Editor in Chief typed in German, dated 24 December 1938. The letter is to request the newspaper publish Oskar’s protest at the defamatory article printed in a Dutch East Indies newspaper, and refute this article. He has included excerpts of a letter he sent to the resident ambassador to the Moluccas.
    Translation
    • Oskar Speck Manokwari Currently: Manokwari 24 December 1938 Dear Sir [Editor-in-Chief], I was first informed about an article, published in the Dutch Indies newspapers and defaming me, when I arrived in Manokwari in a collapsible boat on 22 December. According to information given by the Assisting Resident Ambassador in Manokwari, I understand that your newspaper did not publish the article that first appeared in the Bat.-Nbld. I read the article in the overseas edition of the "Lokomotief' of 8 November, 1938. However, based on letters from Java, I must assume that the article has appeared in all newspapers. In the event that the " Java Bote" did not use the article, I would like to express my gratitude. Regardless of whether you published it or not, I would respectfully like to ask you to convey my response and point of view in this matter to your readers. In order to avoid any possibility of a misunderstanding in this matter, please find literal quotes of some of the paragraphs from my letter to the Resident Ambassador to the Moluccas. However, I ask you to be aware of the fact that this was a personal letter to the Resident Ambassador, so I do not have the right (at least that is my belief) to allow the letter to be made public. I am only sharing the excerpts with you in order to inform you about the case. The only comment I would like to make in regard to the article is that it was completely fabricated and that under no circumstances were the remarks attributed to me actually made by me. An article I wrote for quite a large newspaper in Berlin, about my journey through the Dutch Indies, had already been published one month before my trip on the " Real". I can, therefore, prove that my remarks about the administration and conditions in your country, in addition to the hospitality I experienced wherever I went, were totally different. However, it is now important to me that the person who wrote this filthy article be punished and that the Dutch Indies newspapers dedicate as much energy to my vindication as they did to dragging me through the mud. The article talks a lot about the hospitality I enjoyed for which I showed no gratitude. Up until this very day, I have always obeyed the laws of decency when enjoying hospitality, be it in the Dutch Indies or in any other country. However, a second law of that kind exists, under 24.12.38 Page 17 of 32which one expects a host to protect his guest, including any instances involving slander and insult. Today, I appeal to you in this respect. During the voyage in question I only spoke with two passengers. Mr. Lebelauw, a B.B. officer on Tepa, was one of them, and the other a Dutchman who was the only European travelling second class. The slander cannot have come from Mr. Lebelauw, with whom I have been acquainted for quite some time and with whom I also share a perfectly harmonious relationship. Besides, it is impossible that I would have uttered the words " black police doctor", especially to an Ambonese. The other person was a passenger who forced his company upon me, which I could not prevent as I was only tolerated in the second class. The person I am talking about is a company employee who is there to break up the stranded "Baud". He was in the company of a Japanese person on the " Real". He introduced himself to Mr. Lebelauw and myself as a former B.B. oficer who was now buying the " Baud". Apart rom that, he also claimed to hold some sort of a position within K.P.M ' s main branch ofice. Based on that, he thought he was in a position to offer me a second class cabin on the " Real". He said he had the Second Officer,s special consent to make that offer. I wasn't naiv enough to accept such an offer rom a passenger who was a total stranger to me, without irst speaking to the Second Officer, so I thanked the Second Oficer in the presence of that person. Today I have written a letter to Mr. Engelse, the captain of the "Real", asking him to question his oficer about what came to light on that occasion and to report his indings to you. In any event, I did not make use of the cabin. I have also asked the Resident Ambassador to investigate the matter and ensure that person ' s punishment. I will be leaving Dutch territory in the next 6-8 weeks and hope that every effort will be made by then to rectify this matter in its entirety so that neither myself nor my country are subject to further defamation. In the hope that you will be able to accommodate my wishes and thanking you in advance, Yours faithfully Oskar Speck P.S. I respectfully ask you to send me, at my expense (COD), two copies of the newspaper in which you apologise for the article in question, to: Hollandia, poste restante
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