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Letter to Oskar speck from John Hagenback

Date: 16 October 1936
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0537[009]

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    Letter to Oskar Speck from John Hagenback handwritten in German on John Hagenbeck / Shipchandler & Stevedore's letterhead paper. Dated 16 October 1936, the letter thanks Oskar for his letter, mentions his numerous birthday greetings, and suggests Oskar should go only as far as Dutch East Indies as Australians are very anti-German, and he already holds the world record, he should think about a career. Many words and phrases are underlined, some are ink black ink, some in pink pencil.
    • John Hagenbeck, Colombo, 16 October 1936 My dear Oscar Speck, I received your dear letter just yesterday and thank you for your good wishes. I also heard a lot about you from those on the SS Neumark, the steamer on which you travelled to Penang. That steamer continued its journey yesterday. You probably know that the captain of that steamer is a very special friend of mine. I am very pleased you were so well received at Singapore! For my birthday I received more than 60 telegrams from all over the world, and amongst them even one from the Government amongst them! Also some nice poems. The following is a sample: “All German expatriates all over the world Should look upon him as an example. To anyone who might have fallen on hard times, To anyone who might have asked him for help, To anyone who might have turned to him, And who professed his ties to the home country He has always lent a helping hand: John Hagenbeck." I hope the tin mine will turn out to be a financial success. Let me give you some good advice now: Take the new canoe as far as Dutch India and then stop! Don’t go beyond that. What would you want to go to Australia for, where everyone is strongly anti-German. You have established the World Record, so let thatit be enough. You should start earning money and establishing a career out here. You are getting older and have to start forging yourself a position in life! Please, please follow my advice. Stay where you are now! Your World Record to Singapore or Dutch India is just as good as one to Australia. So do keep your courage up! [second page] I had everyone in the German settlement over at my place yesterday. Everyone was in good spirits and sends you, our courageous Oscar Speck, their best regards. If you don’t receive a letter from Nagel, never mind [sic], since all coloured people are much the same. With him, only the name is still German and nothing else!?! We are in good spirits, we don’t care. If you have time, make a point of going to see the zoological market. But steer clear of Basapa, he is an animal trader as well, a real big wig, a great fraud. You’ll stay in East Asia, and the canoe tour is finished! You’ve got the World Record, and that’ll be it! Now you’d better start working. Best regards from me and my wife Your old friend John Hagenbeck.

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