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Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Emmi

Date: 20 May 1950
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0540[005]

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    Letter from Oskar Speck to his sister Emmi typed over one page in German and dated 20 may 1950, with a handwritten note on verso. The letter mentions how busy he has been with his business, his property in the country, his car, and boat building. Also mentions how well off he has become and he has to organise his films and a speech.
    • Oskar Speck 75 Elizabeth Bay Rd., Elizabeth Bay Sydney, , 20 May 1950 Dear Emmi, Many thanks for your letter dated 2nd May. I’m writing to you quickly today. Grete is right, ; I am very busy, , with the business on the one hand, , but also because I have met such an enormous numberamount of people over the years. Even if I only write once every 6 months it’s getting too much. You do get word from Grete whenever I write to her, , don’t you? I’m doing very well at the moment. There is much too much to do with the business, , and sometimes I wish it were slackening off a bit. But you never know for how much longer it’ll continue to go well. In the 4 years since I’ve been back in this business I’ve already had two periods of total slackness. My business is completely dependent on exports. At the moment I am selling well to Canada and America. You probably won’t believe me when I say I am working so hard, , but I’m actually losing weight, and not for lack of food. I can afford anything I want here. But first and foremost of all I have the business withhere two cutters are working for me, whom I trained. But I always have to pre-cut the stones first, , before I pass them on. And then one has to have very fine motor accurate control skills. Otherwise the best stones might disappear orf be spoilt during the cutting process. I have to do all the office work myself. First of all, there isn’t enough to employ a secretary and secondly, , every letter requires a certain amount of expert knowledge. Next, , I also have my own two bedroom flat. It’s a modern one with hot running water and a built-in fridge. I still have to do a lot to keep it clean and tidy. I don’t know anyone who [I could let] stay alone in my flat, since I have to be extremely careful because of all the valuables I keep there and I also because I use my flat partly as an office. Then I have my BMW car. Where I live there are no garages and we all have to leave our cars in the streets. That means spending a lot of time keeping the car clean. And of course,then such a car is also in constantly needs of little repairs, , and since it’s a German car, I’m better off doing them myself. Then there is my property in the country. It’s about 100 km outside Sydney and I have to drive up there at least once a fortnight, since I have a man working there who has to be paid and supervised. There also is also a lot of work to be done on that property. It’s not yet in a shape where I can relax up there. And on top of that there is the boat building. Even though I don’t do any of the building myself, , there is still a lot of running around to be done for the 2 ½ % of profit I get will eventually get. Then there are my films. They finally arrived and now I have to get them ready to be shown, since I promised that to the canoeing club years ago. Even the German Parish Community pesters me aboutto holding a talk. I’m supposed to have written an article for the “Sueddeutsche Sonntagspost” weeks ago and I haven’t even had a chance to reply to the journalist, , much less write the article. Even my private correspondence drives me up the wall. People write to my name here in Sydney and the post office directs these letters to me. People who want to immigrate or who just hope to get work through me. And then one does want to go out every once in a while before one gets old and doddery. So you see how hard it is getting to write letters. I’m writing this one at a racing pace and that’s why there are so many mistakes. I’d just like to know what would happen if I got sick one day. Well, , thanks to God I mightay be skinny, , but I’m still quite healthy. At least one is able to get ahead here. I’ve been able to pay off the property already. My car, , too, , and I guess that couldn’t be done in Germany so easily. Of all the Germans who started here with practically nothing, , I’m the one who’s best off now. I am also envied get enough envy for that. Well, , that doesn’t worry me. TBefore, they used to pitiedy me. I think I prefer this. My dear Emmi, you may have had a lot of bad luck, , but I’m sure things will improve soon. I wish you all the best. I’ve already sent 5 parcels off to Grete. Of the next ones, , one of them will be for you. I’ll just send one more. Best regards to you all, , Yours Oskar. [Hand written note on the back of the page:] P.S. Please tell Grete that the films have arrived. I had a lot of trouble with customs before they handed them over. Many regards to Mum Oscar. PPS. You wouldn’t know of a good wife for me? But she has to be spick and span and under 30!
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