Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spotlight: Wolfram Liepe

     Another refugee student seeking placement at a college is Wolfram Liepe. He, like Opa, is out of the country and seeking a college acceptance and scholarship in order to emigrate to the states. Wolfram is in Charlotte's letter to Georgia Tech on May 1, 1939
     Most of the AFSC files are individuals, but Wolfram's file actually contains documents about his whole family. Wolfram's family was in Frankfurt, Germany and part of their reason for leaving was Wolfram's mother, Gertrude. She was Jewish and worked as a translator of the poetry of Emily Dickinson. His father, Wolfgang, was assistant professor at University of Halle. Wolfgang went on to chair the Department of German Literature at the University of Kiel and was head of the Institute of Literature and Theatre. He was transferred to the University of Frankfurt where he retired in 1936. He began connecting with the States as a guest professor at Harvard in 1930. In 1939, Wolfgang was visiting the U.S. as a professor and worked to remain there and get his family to the States as well. Wolfgang knew the Martins who tried to help. 
Marianne Liepe's (Wolfram's sister)
picture from the AFSC file.
      The AFSC tried to help all the family over. Wolfram's younger brother, Winfred, ended up at Westtown school. His sister, Marianne, was at Basle studying art history and ended up continuing those studies at Vassar College. Wolfram had a handful of colleges Charlotte checked with (Georgia Tech, Oberlin). 
In June of 1939, Charlotte said that Wolfram got the scholarship for Antioch, but "getting him over here is going to be very complicated indeed". Wolfram (and I am guessing his family) came over in October of 1939. 
     Wolfgang, Wolfram's father, got a position working as a professor at Yankton College before securing his long term appointment at University of Chicago. He was a professor of German literature, a Shakespearean scholar. He acted as an army chaplain after the war and counseled those who had been with the Nazis. 
       According to his file, Wolfram was one of the first ones to be drafted before Pearl Harbor. He did intelligence work, going back to France, Germany and Austria to serve there. He was in charge of an Austrian town. He married his wife Lois and they had two children, Chuck and Jennifer. Wolfram died in 1973. 
      I have had wonderful conversations with Wolfram's daughter Jennifer who is trying to learn more about her father and is hoping to look at the files. Hopefully, I can update with more information in the future!

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