Newsletter No. 6 — January 2008

Best wishes to all for good health, happy times, successful and challenging jobs and diversions in 2008.


Convert to Freedom by Eitel Wolf Dobert 1932 German Version

My copy of what I assume is the original German version of Convert to Freedom by Eitel Wolf Dobert, i.e. Ein Nazi entdeckt Frankreich: Aus Tagebuchblättern (Bern& Leipzig: Gotthelf, 1932) arrived in August. Though I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest literary work, I feel it has a place in history as it reveals, through the eyes of a young and devoted Nazi, his own shift in views through his discovery and personal experience of the post WWI sincerity of many people and movements in their efforts to promote international friendship—hence peace?—through interaction and discussion leading to mutual understanding—the very tenets George Dibbern believed in and practiced.


On 21 September 2007, Reiner Schlimme, wooden boat builder in Germany, wrote:

When in 2003 I was corresponding with Maria Coffey about Georg Dibbern, Sharie Farrell and the manuscript of “Ship without Port,” I sent her a note I found about George and Te Rapunga in the 1958 July edition of the Slocum Society called “Spray”.

[…] They say George was a member, so maybe he even contributed a story himself in some other edition? I only have one more edition, it’s from 1972, but I wrote down their address in 1984. It was: Joshua Slocum Society , P.O.Box 76, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA

Reiner enclosed the text.

1958 July edition of the Slocum Society called "Spray".
1958 July edition of the Slocum Society called “Spray”. Courtesy Reiner Schlimme

Though I’ve written the Joshua Slocum Society International so far I’ve had no luck in confirming Dibbern’s membership, nor in determining whether George actually contributed any pieces to the newsletter himself. It is entirely possible, however, as I do have a copy of a letter Dibbern wrote to R. G. McCloskey, founder of the Slocum Society, in response to a letter the latter had written to him.As Robert Messenger, writer and collector/restorer of typewriters in Australia (who first drew attention to the film footage of this stranding taken by his father), pointed out, December 2007 was the 50th anniversary of that event.

Don Craigmyle, Skipper S.V. Pegasus (Sidney BC) 11 August 2007

When I sailed my 28′ boat into Squirrel Cove this summer and visited the Craft Shop in the harbour, Dark Sun jumped off the shelf into my hands. Now that I am home, I have delayed any further boat work until I finished reading your masterful work. I was sad when I finished reading, a few hours ago, because I enjoyed it so much I wanted more. I read all the notes, what an amazing work of research you have done, I felt that throughout the book. Then I had to go back and reread parts, the index was helpful.

[…] I felt you ‘pulled no punches’ in the descriptions of all the characters involved, warts and all, but you have also treated everyone with dignity and respect.

[…] And yes, as another reader has commented, how sad that the family from Germany never came to visit. But that view is obvious now only after you have put the whole life of George Dibbern into perspective. It could not have been a perspective that family members would have had at the time. Such are the tragedies of life where we cannot see and understand without the view that the future would so clearly provide.

[…] Your writing and the George Dibbern story are inspiring.

Ray Hill (Salt Spring Island BC) December 2007 – referring to the reaction of a friend on reading Dark Sun:

[She was] upset—almost to the point of violence—at George’s neglect of his wife and family. She felt the family had a much harder time of it than George had. An outstanding story, but not particularly happy.

[Feedback of any kind about anything to do with George Dibbern, Quest, Dark Sun, etc. is always welcome—and respected.]

I understand from the publisher that much of much of the preparatory work such as obtaining permissions, registering copyright, cover design and layout has been completed. The plan (hope) is for this long-awaited new edition of Quest to be released at an affordable $27.95 (Canadian or American dollars) at the start of 2008—presumably in the first quarter of the year. I look forward to being able to announce the details before too much longer.

With best regards,
Erika G