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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[031]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to the Resident Ambassador typed letter in German, 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. Asks that the matter be resolved to reinstate the positive reputation of himself and his country.
    Translation
    • Oskar Speck Manokwari Currently: Manokwari 24 December 1938 [Draft] Dear Resident Ambassador, I had originally intended to write and thank you rom Hollandia for allowing me to travel along the north coast of New Guinea and for kindly providing me with a surat for using village pasangrahans [terms not explained] etc. However, when I arrived in Manokwari on 22 December, I became aware of an article which the Dutch Indies newspapers had published about me. That, of course, was reason enough to write to you and to the Resident Ambassador to Timor from Manokwari directly. The only comment I would like to make in regard to the article is that it was completely fabricated and that under no circumstances did I make the remarks attributed to 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 concerning the administration and conditions in your country, as well as those regarding 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 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. 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. officer 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 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 rom 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 written 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. It is unacceptable that such a person, whose lies have been exposed, is able to publish further lies in newspapers, thereby attempting to 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. Today, I wrote to the German Consulate General in Batavia and to the chief editors of the "Lokomotiev" and "Java Boten". Dear Resident Ambassador, I request that you ensure that everything in your power is undertaken to resolve this matter, thereby reinstating the positive reputation of myself and my country. Thanking you in advance for your assistance, Yours sincerely, Oskar Speck P.S. My address is Hollandia
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