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"The Visa Came Too Late"

Between 1933 and November, 1938, about 30% of the total Jewish population left Germany. Another 30% emigrated in the period between Kristallnacht and the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Other Jews also tried desperately to leave Germany, but encountered insurmountable difficulties in obtaining visas. Elizabeth Freund, quoted here, did eventually escape Germany for a temporary haven in Cuba. Many others were not as lucky. Bureaucratic delays often spelled a death sentence for those who remained trapped in Germany.






It is really enough to drive one to despair. . . . We have filed application for entry permits to Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. It was all in vain, though in all these countries we had good connections. In the spring of 1939, from an agent we obtained an entry permit for Mexico for 3,000 marks. But we never received the visa, because the Mexican consulate asked us to present passports that would entitle us to return to Germany, and the German authorities did not issue such passports to Jews. Then, in August 1939 we did actually get the permit for England. But it came to late, only ten days before the outbreak of war, and in this short time we were not able to take care of all the formalities with the German authorities.