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November 1938

November 14, 1938

Dear Kurt,

I want to used this opportunity to add a few lines. We hope that you got our postcard of November 12 and our excitement has subsided somewhat since then. We trust that you can do something for us over there in the near future, which would serve to calm down Mother especially. We're sure you'll let us hear something about that soon. Regards to all the relatives and many to you, straight from the heart, your

Father

Walldorf
November 14, 1938


Dear Kurt,

Today we want to supplement the brief postcards we sent last Saturday to repeat that, thank God, we are well and lively and -- something that is the cause of our greatest gratitude-- Father is back [after being jailed on Kristallnacht] and has taken up his current activities again. The one thing we are once more urgently asking today is that our American relatives do something for us after all....

In case we can't have our own apartment over there, then we'll simply find work. That wouldn't be too difficult, even if it means minimum rations. I'm sorry to have to write you in that vein today, but I'm still too upset. And I ask you dear Kurt, not to get excited over this; after all, there'll be another day which, God willing, will dawn soon.

[Much of the rest of the letter details the departure plans of friends and relatives who had managed to find a way of leaving Germany.]

Mother

Walldorf, November 21, 1938

My Dear Children,

So as to get this letter to reach the steamship on time, I've combined these lines to both of you. Despite all good intentions, I couldn't write any sooner and now it's late at night -- but I hope there is sufficient time to make it. I couldn't write to Kurt as much as usual either, because yesterday (Sunday) we were in Karlsruhe for a few hours and now I simply lack that time.

As long as you can see that we are OK, thank God, and besides, we trust our recent letter and card came into you possession. We missed your mail this week and presume that it's only a matter of lack of time on your part also.

We heard in Karlsruhe [at my father's brother Eugen's home] that Fred was able to talk to Trude [Fred, Eugen's son, was living in Buffalo; Trude, Fred's sister, was living in London] and we fervently hope that you, also, got some of that news. We really felt compelled to go to Karlsruhe, if for a short time, in order to have a real discussion with them. There was a lot to tell each other. They are in the fortunate position, if all goes well, to go to Trude in about 3 weeks. There, they will be able to stay for 4 weeks, after which they will continue their journey to the U.S.

I hope you'll be able to see them in New York on their arrival, also because I will send a number of things with them that are meant for you. Of course, we would much prefer to go with them. As much as it is to be wished for each individual that it should become possible to leave it is equally regretful for those who must stay behind. We wonder whether we'll ever be in that enviable position!

[Much of the rest of the letter describes plans various friends and relatives have for leaving Germany.]

Mother

Walldorf, November 27, 1938

Dear Kurt,

We assume you received our most recent letter, and I want to dash off a few lines so that you will not be apprehensive about us. I assure you that we are in the best of health. Gerdi let us know yesterday that Uncle Ben will send papers [an affidavit] for us by Monday, Nov. 21 and we hope that we'll receive them during the next few days. Presumably I will travel to Stuttgart this coming week in order to handle some immigration matters for Mrs. S. at the consulate which will afford me an opportunity to inquire about our state of affairs. Gerdi altogether sent us 2 post cards and a letter this weekend, from which we could gather how tremendously upset and concerned about us she was. We hope that our mail arrived meanwhile and was able to pacify her.

Yesterday afternoon, a Saturday, we were in Heidelberg where we learned that Hilde Klein [niece] already received her papers from Aunt Carrie and forwarded them to Stuttgart immediately...

Guenther Schwarz will move to Chicago meanwhile and his brother to Nice. Hans Seligmann will be on his way to New York by Dec. 28. All conversations revolve only about when and where one can go; Frischs are sitting in Prague and don't know where to go from there. Richard and Klaerle are in the same fix, and Durlachers will leave this coming week, although he is not back yet [from detention]. Also, the ladies Hess will leave here shortly. Hans will leave Walldorf on Dec. 12 and will go to their relatives in Frankfurt, for the time being...

Ruth Weil will now go to England with a children's transport, after all. What will happen to her mother after that is still a problematical riddle. This will give you some concept of how our congregation here is fast evaporating...

Everything else Mother will report to you, and so I close for today in the hope of hearing something favorable from you soon. Regards to all relatives, but especially to you,

Your Father

Walldorf, Dec. 10, 1938

Dear Gerdi,

Although no news came from you this week, I do want to send you a few lines in order to report our well-being, so that you will not be agitated about us. On the other hand, we did have a post card from Max and Sue yesterday, from Kurt the usual letter, and from Aunt Carrie [a cousin, or second cousin of Father's who had been living in Buffalo since before the turn of the century] a very nice letter. It moves us, what empathy the latter shows for us and how actively she is trying to get all the relatives out of here.

Unfortunately things aren't moving that fast, however, even if you have the best of papers. At present, the [American] Consulate in Stuttgart is being besieged to such an extent that only those with a waiting number under 7000 are being admitted to the building. We, ourselves are no. 22, 345 and inasmuch as the consulate issues only 11,000 visas per year, you can figure for yourself how long it will take until we'll be asked to appear there. [It actually took more than two years.]

There remains only one other way out, i.e. that one does as Uncle Eugen did [obtain permission to spend the waiting period in another country]. For that one needs an additional guarantor, however, who would issue the documents for the country in question. I'm certain you'll try to achieve our leaving soonest, through all the appropriate authorities on your end.

We are eager to get your next letter and hope that you'll have received all our letters of the past few weeks by now. I hope that you are well and that everything is all right with you, always. Accept my most heartfelt greetings for today, from your

Father

Alice Klein
Walldorf, January 22, 1939


My Dear Gerdi,

Yesterday your card of Jan. 11 came, together with a letter from Kurt, from which we were pleased to note that both of you are well...

All in all, it takes infinitely long until matters of emigration move forward. Everybody is in a state of waiting, hoping at the same time to be pleasantly surprised in that regard from this side and that. But one mustn't permit oneself to let it become discouraging. So far, we haven't forwarded our [immigration] papers to [the American consulate in] Stuttgart, because we wanted to wait for Mr. Wismann's answer. [Probably their U.S. lawyer] Aside from that, nobody was allowed to make an appearance there for the past week. However, you might accomplish something [on your end] on the basis of the enclosed document!

I mentioned previously that we settled in well into our new home [They had been forced out of their home by the Nazis and were now living above a former stable in an old house that belonged to a friend's parents.] and I can confirm again today that we made it real cozy for ourselves meanwhile. The housework is child's play for me and these days I do get around to doing some needlework. [Having been deprived of any gainful pursuits by that time, Mother had a lot of "spare" time.] There is always diversion of various kinds for us and we enjoy even more amenities than before. You see, Mrs. S. has a full house and there are always visitors, while at the same time she has to be out-of-town for the greater part, all of which is connected with the arrangements for her gentlemen's emigration. We can only learn from her in every way, even if one is in reduced circumstances.

We still have access to our former house for which extensive renovation is being planned. We're certain it'll look very beautiful, but the cost is not small. The [people in our] old neighborhood are still attached to us as before, such as the Foersters, Hermanns, Kempfs and others as well. They are always ready to talk to us [in sharp contrast to most of the other townspeople who didn't want to be seen 'fraternizing' with Jews] and Anna Koppert [a former maid during my childhood years] and a few others come to see us here also and bring us edibles even though we could get them anyway.

Today we sold our bathtub/hot water heater which still stand in their former room. Next are bookcase, desk, dresser and grandfather's clock. All these things are too massive to take along [when the hoped-for emigration comes]. Last Wednesday, I went to Mannheim for a change after a year's absence, where I bought a number of pretty things. Among them are 3 sets of embroidered bed linens with pillows for your quilts. I will order them monogrammed I.K. [Irmgard Klein, Gerdi's real name] right way... I await your decision, dear Gerdi, whether you'd like the pillows for your quilts to be covered with the same silk as well. Or let me know what else you might need for a dowry, because I'd like to acquire it right away and be sure that it's done American-style. I would feel badly -- and you, no doubt also -- if I would buy something that wouldn't be practical. What type of underwear shall I get for Father? I can get shirts and nightshirts through Mrs. S., from Frankfurt, first-rate material and fashioned according to American patterns.

[The rest of the letter is missing.]

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