Letter, 15.7.1925, from Roald Skancke
Object reference: RA 318B53
Sender / Author: Roald Skancke
Recipient: Roald Amundsen
Forgive me the pencil, can’t easily use a pen!!! R.S. [by hand, down left margin]
p.t. Ullevål Hospital Dept. 4B 9/7.25.
Hr. Kaptein etc. Roald Amundsen
Dear Hr. Kaptein!
I thank you sincerely for our meeting yesterday. For me, it was a true occasion! How small we are, the rest of us, when we are allowed to sit with you! We puzzle over our every little task, while you, every time you set out, move the boundaries further and further into the unknown! Proud and great, silent and lonely, there you plant our beloved flag every time, where no human foot has yet trodden! With bated breath and with trembling nerves, we wait for you, for days and nights, for weeks, yes for months and years, until the hour of release comes,
And we again, all, all, can take you into our people’s embrace, and can thank the good God, for He has once again brought you back to us alive, healthy and sound, back from the great deed, which each time, you have made greater and greater!!! I have read it countless times, the words they spoke at your homecoming celebration at the Castle and I see you again and again, up there in the icy wilderness, where you humbly bowed your knee to Him, who alone can help, and asked Him, asked God to do the rest for you and yours, when you could do no more! So many of our own turn to God, when one is in need, — but show me those, who dare to stand up and say it, say it out loud to a whole world that listens to one’s words! How great you were in that
moment, Dear, Dear Captain, greater than ever in your immortal work! My throat tightened and tears welled up as I read it on my sick bed! And when yesterday I had the good fortune to sit with you alone and saw your snow-white hair, I understood more than a thousand words could tell me, how you have battled and struggled superhumanly, up there in the north, – to be able to get bring all the others you had taken with you on your immortal journey safely home again! The fear that you would not succeed, the indescribable responsibility, you felt and almost buckled under, so that these young people, who had so confidently followed you — the Driver — the Man of Steel, — the Genius, would not return home to the Fatherland, to homes and children, — to all their loved ones — your responsibility was what hour by hour, second by second, whitened your hair and furrowed your features!!! Oh, — if I understood that, how I would have loved to have told you yesterday, – but the seconds with you were too precious, — and the deep seriousness of life and the joy that I felt by being able to sit and look at you, talk to you, — paralyzed my tongue !!! But I will never forget that moment and I thank God for giving it to me! It lifted my thoughts far, far above today’s battle and filled my heart with pride to be a countryman of yours, and thereby also own one, if ever so small, part of you!!! God bless you and protect you for country and people, yes for the whole world, for a long, long time!
Yours most respectfully