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Letter from Oskar Speck to JA Pietzcker, Consul of Switzerland

Date: 24 April 1943
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0539[023]

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    Letter from Oskar Speck to JA Pietzcker, Consul of Switzerland typed on three pages in German and dated 24 April 1943. The letter is to complain about the camp he is in, only 10% of people are loyal to the German government, questions where and to whom he can voice his complaints to.
    • O. Speck Q.64 14 D Interment Camp 4th Military District South Australia 24.4.1943 To: Consul of the Federal Government of Switzerland Mr. J.A.Pietzcker, Temple Court, 422-28 Collins St Melbourne Dear Mr. Consul Pietzcker, Thank you for you letter of 14. April 14th. – I’m afraid I must conclude, that you are unable to undertake anymore steps regarding matters of transfers as a result of, based on your Government’s instructions of 13 April 1943. As my case does not involve the transfer from one camp to another, I kindly ask you to take note of the following: Only Approximatelyabout 10% of the 175 people, who are saidupposed to constitutebe a German group in this camp, confess to being loyal toward the German Government. The majority of these voluntarily came from a National Socialist camp voluntarily, so do not serve as and therefore they are not exemplaryexamples for my case. The composition of this group of 175 people is primecomplete evidence offor the fact, that Camp 14D (at least in regard to the German group) is not an internment camp in the sense of the Geneva Convention, but rather very much an Australian concentration camp. If your research [-2-] IfI your research confirms that my statements are correct, I would be much obliged if , if, taken that your information confirms my statements to be correct, you could exert some influence pressure on your superiors authority in Sydney accordingly. Based on the postscript of your letter of 14th April I have the impression that they are not aware of the composition of that particular camp. Additional information Pplease note the following: The Camp Commander recently informed me that he had already approved and forwarded anan application, to the Group Commander the day after my arrival in 14D for my transferal to Camp No.10, to the Group Commander the day after my arrival in 14D. On 14 March 1943, I followed your advice and sent my application for a transfer to the Group Commander as well. On 27 March 1943, I sent athe copy of my application to you, as the Group Commander did not respond. Beyond any doubt, it has been revealed, that the copy reached the Camp Commander’s office, and was passed on from there (however, I assume it went via the Group Commander’s headquarters). The copy disappeared when it reached the censor. As a consequence, my application was delayed by another fortnight. When I sent you a further copy [of my application] , you had already received your Government’s instructions (presumably sent by the Consulate General in Sydney), which you included as a postscript in your letter of 14 April 1943. Due to the fact that I did not receive a response to the Camp Commander’s nor my own application, I have reached the likely conclusion must consider it as probable that the decision for me to be interned in 14D was made by the Group Commander. I cannot imagine that a matter of such great importance to me is consideredsupposed to be settled. I would be ever so grateful to you if you could encouragemove your superior authority to achieve clarifyication this matter in regard to my special case. Should you be unable to achieve anything in this regard, I would kindly ask you to let me know the answers to the following questions: a) Is a German citizen, who is being kept behind barbed wire, able to a complain about the actions of his Group Commander to a superior or supreme Australian mMilitary authority and can he ask for the examination of a matter to be examined? If so, to whom should this be addressed? b) Am I able to send a message about some internment- related matter to the Office of Foreign Affairs in Berlin? If so, where should I send them [the messages] to and how should I go about it so that they actually arrive there? I am assuming thattake it, you have provided such information to camp leaders before. As the circumstances do not allow the camp leader to be involved in engaged for this, I trust you will be so kind as to provide me with the information. At your service
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