Ok, I'd like to whinge a little about the difficulty of translating a letter written almost 80 years ago. It's hard work. It's in French (which I mostly don't know), it's in cursive (which I do read, but still...), it's tiny and cramped, it's written on super thin onion-skin paper (so that you can sometimes see the writing on the reverse side) and the paper is sometimes stained. It's about 3000 handwritten words on only two sheets (front and back, so four pages) of paper. He writes between lines sometimes and sideways on the left margin, and sometimes he crosses words out. Take a look at page one to get a sense of the project (then multiply that by four).
|Page 1 of the letter|
Before, during, and after WW2, my grandfather kept a folder of information that he needed to get an immigration visa to the USA. It included about 80+ pages worth of:
- Affidavits from Great Uncle Jake (my grandmother's brother) who was already in the US, swearing that he would not allow my grandparents and their children to become public charges and that he wouldn't allow the children to work before the age of 18. These also included notarized letters from his banker swearing to the amounts of money he kept in his accounts, his employer, stating how long he'd worked for them, and how much he made, 1945 income tax returns, and lists of US. savings bonds he'd purchased. His naturalization certificate number, etc.
- Letters from Jake to the US Foreign Service.
- Telegrams back and forth between my grandparents and uncle, sometimes urging my grandparents to flee to any other country that they could.
- Letters from Uncle Jake to my grandparents and vice-versa.
- Inquiries to the American Red Cross
- Letters from my grandfather to a diplomatic official begging for a visa, and a reply from that official saying that he had no power to issue a visa, that those decisions were made in Washington DC by the State Department and to STOP ASKING HIM.