Tuesday, June 24, 2014

August 15, 1939: With Warmest Thanks


Dear Miss Salmon,

I need not tell you how I felt when I received your letter of August 2nd. Many thanks for all you do for me.

My cable advised you that I accept the kind offer of McPherson College. I accept wholeheartedly, with warmest thanks to the students of the college.

I don't smoke and drink, and I don't want to dance but to be in USA and study there. As for the second point, that there is no regular course in engineering, you are certainly right to state that those basic courses you mention will be valuable to me in later study of engineering. They will even be necessary for me. Furthermore, I am confident that I find my way after having experienced this first year.

As soon as I have received the college papers, I shall apply for the visa. I assume that these papers will tell me at what time the next college year begins. I only have one fear now: that there might be difficulties by the consul. But I trust that everything will run smoothly.

I remain, dear Miss Salmon,

very sincerely yours,
Thomas Doeppner

I was going to lump this letter in with the last blog, but something about this letter made me feel like it needed to be separate. I can almost hear Opa’s sigh of relief and exhilaration that SOMETHING is happening and moving forward. Not that long ago, he was lamenting to Gisela that nothing was happening on the American front. I think he perhaps considered it a fantasy with little hope of realization. Now it is real, and he tells Charlotte Salmon and McPherson College “I accept wholeheartedly, with warmest thanks to the students of the college.” This letter is his formal acceptance after his one-word cable: “Accept.”

But this letter- he is genuinely excited and relieved and READY. He has been in Amsterdam after illegally leaving Germany for over 9 months now. He has had very little contact with his mother, and has been away from his friends, who have mostly left Berlin as well. He’s been hiding out in no-man’s-land. Now he has a plan. You can hear the determination in his words: “I don’t smoke and drink, and I don’t want to dance but to be in USA and study there.”

Opa knows that he still has a road ahead of him with securing a student visa, but he has new hope that things will work out.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow....I can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like for them.


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