Friday, March 14, 2014

April 26, 1939: Oberlin is Interested

Letter from Charlotte Salmon at AFSC to Helen-Mary Forbush at Oberlin College

 Letter from Charlotte Salmon at AFSC to Tom (Opa)

Things are starting to pick up- and what’s funny is that the Einstein letter hasn’t even gotten out there yet.  On April 25, Charlotte writes to Opa that Oberlin College is asking for his information. She asks him to send it directly to Helen-Mary Forbush at Oberlin College and also a copy to her. When I first read this, I thought he already sent this information, but it looks like he is still waiting on getting his records from Germany. Once again, time is of the essence and mail in and out of Germany seems to be delayed.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time Opa has been contacted since his original correspondence with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He must have wondered if anything was happening at all on his behalf. Of course, they had no new information other than that they were working on his case. Now there is information and Opa must have felt a wave of hope. Even Charlotte lets the rare hint of promised hope slip through: “although we have not yet been successful in getting a scholarship I am still hopeful.”

Meanwhile, the following day (I’m assuming the day that Einstein’s letter arrived), Charlotte sends a letter with Opa’s information and follow up to Helen-Mary Forbush at Oberlin. She also encloses the letter of recommendation from Professor A. Einstein. I love how that is the last thing she mentions. “Oh by the way…” She emphasizes that Einstein wrote the letter on his own initiative, which I think is smart. She’s making the point that Einstein was not writing letters for random people on the request of the AFSC. His genuine connection to Opa’s family (even though it wasn’t deeply personal) gives the letter a little more authenticity.

So Oberlin was interested in Opa even before the Einstein letter. Now it’s a matter of Opa getting his information to the right people. And will Oberlin be impressed by Opa’s friend in high-places?

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