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Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Grete

Date: 1 May 1947
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0540[004]

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    Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Grete typed over one page in German and dated 1 may 1947. The letter mentions Oskar has accepted Australian citizenship, mentions parcels he has sent to Germany, talks about the opportunities for work but the lack of culture in Australia. Accompanying envelope has been opened by a censor, still has stamp attached [given same number].
    • Oskar Speck, , Flat 6 “Engleham”, , 75 Elizabeth Bay Rd, , Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, 1 May 1947 Dear Grete, Many thanks for your letter dated 10th February. In the meantime you will have received my letter including a list of the number of parcels. I just sent another parcel via America, , so that makes three altogether from there and another one for the children with sweets. Summer will be coming for you soon now and I hope that by winter I shall be able to send a parcel with clothes. Next week I shall send another parcel so that there will be 12 parcels altogether. I can’t wait to find out how long they take to get there from here. By the time this letter arrives you will surely have received quite a few of the parcels already. I hope you will be allowed to send air-mail letters soon. Of course I am surprised about the visit by this man from the lamp company. I don’t know the name of the company and I am not at all curious. They must have followed my journey with great interest and hoped that I would return to Germany one day a very wealthy man, and able to pay back (with huge amountsheaps of interest) what I wasn’t responsible for in the first place. Well, , the good man is out of luck. You are quite welcome to give him my address. If he does write to me I shall have pleasure in pointing out a few interesting things to him. I don’t think he would write again after that. In any case, , you can tell him that I have accepted Australian citizenship and he will have to put up with that, , just like we all have to put up with what we’ve lost. Who should I blame for the 14 years, , for the fruits of a labour and a risks that no-one can imagine, since it is, after all, unique. Still, , it is good to know that there were people in Germany who were interested in the successful conclusion of my undertaking. I also received a letter from W. Schmidt. Please give him my regards and tell him I shall write as soon as I can. At the moment I am very busy re-organising my business. I haven’t had much rest and relaxation since my release;. iThe iron has to be forgedshaped while it’s hot. Most of my fellow prisoners just while away their free time. I can’t afford to do that yet. I don’t wish to identify myself as, or be called a victim of the war. Never before in my life have I encountered favourable working conditions like the ones here. Whoever wants to work can find work here and is being paid well. On the other hand, Australia has many disadvantages, , of course. Life as we knew it in Germany, , with dances on Sundays, nice coffee shops, beer gardens, opera, , theatre etc. doesn’t exist. I have a very nice flat and the luxury in it is ina stark contrast to life at the camp. But then, , if I do want to get something out of life, like living comfortably, surrounded by beauty and a certain amount of luxury (like a bathroom with hot running water), then I’ll have to do it now. I’m 40 years old now and have been tossed around for long enough. But one never knows, , perhaps it’ll all start again soon. I still can’t imaging what it’s like to have things getting better all the time. But I’m not opposed to getting to know what it’s like. My dear Grete, , please write to me as soon as you’ve received the next parcel. I shall continue to send parcels regularly (irregularly). I can afford to do that now even though I have to buy a lot of things too. I had hardly any clothes when I was put into the camp and when I got out I just had one summer suit. My best regards to all. Your brother Oskar. [Envelope attached addressed to:] Miss Grete Speck HAMBURG – ALTONA (24) Roonstr. 45 British Occupied Zone
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