Mr. Theodore A. Distler, Dean
Dear Mr. Distler:
Mr. Robert Yarnall has referred to the refugee service your request for information about refugee students. We are very glad indeed to hear that the refugee committee at Lafayette has been so successful in its efforts to secure scholarships and funds for foreign students.
You may know that at present it is very difficult for young Germans to obtain student visas for the United States. Non-Jewish students are seldom allowed by the German government to leave the country, while students with any Jewish blood would not be allowed to return to Germany. For this reason the American consuls are reluctant to grant student visas which are supposed to be temporary. The net result is that it is practically impossible for any student to get out of Germany.
We are, however, acquainted with several students who have already arrived in the United States, and with others who have established a permanent residence in another country to which they could return after their school term here. The two young men who have the best records and who could, in all likelihood, get student visas both want to study engineering. I'll enclose the records of Thomas Doeppner and Rudolf Hernried, in case you should decide to take another engineering student. I am still trying to get more complete academic records for these boys, but it is particularly hard to get them since they had to leave Germany in a hurry and many of their former professors would be unwilling to get their records or else afraid to.
I'll also enclose some information about Paul Zilzel, an outstanding student highly recommended to us. He will arrive in the United States in the fall. However I believe that he is only ready to enter college and could not complete his work in two years. I am not sure about this. Probably the only way to determine his standing would be to give him some sort of examination after he arrived.
Please let me know if I can send you other information, or assist in any way.
Charlotte S. Salmon
I didn’t really think about non-Jewish students being unable to leave Germany before. But of course it makes some sense, Opa fled the country because he faced the Nazi draft. As a “mischling” (“half-Jew”) - he was good fodder for the front lines of battle. In a society that did not value higher education (the Nazis shortened the entire regular educational process by a year)- college students must have been less of an investment and more of a pool of fish for the army draft. Wouldn’t want them getting away, now would they?Non-Jewish students are seldom allowed by the German government to leave the country, while students with any Jewish blood would not be allowed to return to Germany. For this reason the American consuls are reluctant to grant student visaes which are supposed to be temporary. The net result is that it is practically impossible for any student to get out of Germany.