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ANMM Collection

Letter from Oskar Speck to the Resident Ambassador

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[030]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to the Resident Ambassador typed in German and dated 24 December 1938. The letter is about the Dutch East Indies newspaper article which was a fabricated report about Oskar. He clarifies the events, stating what actually happened.
    Translation
    • Oskar Speck Manokwari Currently: Manokwari 24 December 1938 Dear Resident Ambassador, 24.12.38 Page 18 of 32When I arived in Manokwari on 22 December it came to my attention that an article about me had been published in the Dutch Indies newspapers. As the article accuses me of having said unpleasant things about the B.B. officers in Timor, it is of course my duty to claify the matter. I have written a letter to the Resident Ambassador to the Moluccas, asking him to have the matter investigated and to have the person who sent that slanderous article [to the newspapers] punished. In order to avoid any possibility of a misunderstanding in this matter, I am enclosing a true copy of this letter: The only comment I would like to make in regard to the article is that it was completely fabicated and that under no circumstances were the remarks attibuted to me actually made by me. An article I wrote for quite a large newspaper in Berlin, regarding my journey through the Dutch Indies, had already been published one month before my tip on the "Real". I can, therefore, prove that my remarks about the administration and conditions in your country, including the hospitality I expeienced 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 to dragging me through the mud. The article talks a lot about the hospitality I enjoyed, for which I showed no gratitude. I have always respected the laws of decency when enjoying hospitality, be it in the Dutch Indies or in any other country. However, there is a second law of that kind, which dictates that the host is expected to protect his guest, including in cases of slander and insult. Today, I am appealing to you with respect to this law. Duing 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. officer who was now buying the " Baud". Apart from that, he also claimed to hold some sort of a position within K.P.M's main branch office. 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 from a passenger who was a total stranger to me, without first speaking to the Second Officer, so I thanked the Second Officer in the presence of that person. Today I have witten a letter to Mr. Engelse, the captain of the "Real", asking him to question his officer about what came to light on that occasion and to report his findings to you. In any event, I did not make use of the cabin. Dear Resident Ambassador, there is surely no need to pursue this any further. I have done everything in my power to move the Dutch Indies authorities and newspapers to investigate and resolve this matter. I sincerely hope that I and my country will be satisfactorily vindicated; if not, it would be most regrettable that such a person, whose lies I have exposed, could destroy what many decent Dutch people have built up. It should be possible to punish elements like him, even if there is freedom of the press. I could never simply regard this case as a personal affair. Thanking you again for your kindness and assistance during my stay in Kupang, Yours sincerely, Oskar Speck
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