Monday, September 28, 2015

June 4, 5, & 7, 1940: Everything Will Work Out

Letter from V.F. Schwalm (President of McPherson College) to Opa


Mr. Thomas Doeppner
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Dear Mr. Doeppner:

This is to certify that McPherson College is again repeating to you the offer we made lsat year for a scholarship at McPherson College during the school year 1940-4. The school year begins September 9, 1940 and closes June 2, 1941. Arrangements have been made through the donations by friends, through some labor provided for you on the campus and through a scholarship grant by the Board of Trustees which will completely cover your tuition and maintenance for the school year.

Through this help I trust you may be able to be with us at McPherson College again next year.

Yours very truly,

V.F. Schwalm

This is the letter Opa needed to send to the immigration folks to prove that he was admitted and financially covered for the following school year. The main goal is for Opa to be able to switch his soon-to-expire visitor's visa into a not-so-soon-expiring Student Visa (which would also allow him to work more lucrative jobs than the harvest farm gigs he's signed up for).

Letter from Opa to Mr. Salisbury of the INS


Mr. Salisbury                  June 5, 1940.
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington D.C.

Dear Sir,

I arrived November 13, 1939, on board of S.S. "Pennland", a Dutch liner, in New York. I was born in Germany, yet I do not have a German Passport, but a Dutch foreigner passport, No. 2173

My visa is a visitor's permit, No. 281, Amsterdam, Section 3 (2), the passport allows me theoretically to go back to Holland until August 27, 1940.

Considering the present situation in Europe and especially in Holland, I would like very much to stay in the United States, at least for the coming year.

I think that the scholarship offered to me by McPherson College, together with the work I am going to find, will make it possible for me to visit the college next year.

Therefore I ask you to be kind enough to change my visitor's visa into a student's visa, such that I would be able to accept the mentioned work.

I thank you in advance very much your efforts.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Doeppner

This is Opa's official letter to the INS to request his visa be renewed and changed to a student visa. He mentions that he was born in Germany but does not have a German passport. This rings true with my memory of him claiming to have destroyed his German passport because he wanted no connection or tangible tie to Nazi Germany.

Letter from Opa to Mrs. Hanstein of AFSC


Thomas Doeppner            McPherson, 6-5-40.

Mrs. K. Hanstein
Refugee Sectio
American Friends Service Committee

Dear Mrs. Hanstein,

I thank you so much for all the help you give me. Since the president of the college was out of town last week, I was only yesterday able to talk to him. He gave me immediately the desired letter. I copy it down for you:

Here he types out VF Schwalm's letter - the first letter in this blog.

As you suggested I sent two copies of this letter to the Commissioner of immigration, accompanied by the following letter:

Here he types out a different version of the letter we have above...

The Commissioner of Immigration Immigration and Naturalization ServiceDepartment of LaborWashington, D.C.
Dear Sir,
I arrived in New York on November 15, 1939, on board of Dutch liner "Pennland," on the on the basis of a visitor's visa. 
I was born in Berlin, Germany, yet I do not own a German passport, but a Dutch foreigner passport, given to me in Holland, where I lived from September 1938 until November 1939. 

My passport is valid until August 28, 1940. The American visa I received has the following dates: Section 3 (2), No. 281. Here is the stamp the immigrant official stamped into the passport:      Admitted at New York N.Y.  on NOV. 15, 1939, under Paragraph 2 Section 3, Immigration Act of 1924, for 7 months.
          Immigrant Inspector. 
My staying here in America was made possible by McPherson College, which granted me a full scholarship for the school year 1939-1940. As you will notice from the enclosed letter, this scholarship has been partially extended for the next year. 
For this reason, and also considering the present situation in Europe and especially in Holland, I would like to ask you for a renewal of my visa. As you see from the enclosed letter, I am supposed to carry a part of the expenses by my own work. Therefore I would appreciate it very much to have my visitor's visa changed into a student visa. 
Please let me know if there is any other information you need from me. I thank you in advance very much for the efforts you will have with this case.  
Sincerely yours,
Thomas Doeppner.

I hope that this letter is about the right official form, and that I did not forget anything of importance.

Do you think that it will be necessary to apply for a permission for my summer work? I found a job in harvest time, which brings me about $3.50 per day; but since this job will start in about two weeks, the answer to an application would not come in time anyway. Other work I am carrying is a little work in a farm close to the college, where I work for board and room, and eight hours work in the College Library. I do not think that I need a permission for the library work, since the scholarship and the letter from Dr. Schwalm, sent to me last year in August, suggested that I would do some work on the campus, and it was for this letter that I got the visa.

Everything worked out all right up to now, and I am quite confident that it will work now too. I thank you again so much for all the work and trouble you have with me.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Doeppner.

So this letter is basically Opa reporting to Mrs. Hanstein about his communication with the INS. It's interesting that he quotes a different version of his letter to the INS- the copy we have is from his case file, so he must have edited and sent that copy instead. I think he was write to edit. This letter from Opa seems a little rushed and you can kind of tell his first language is not English. You may not notice it as much as I do- but Opa prided himself on his command of the English language- this letter would never have made it out of the house in his later years.

Letter from Elmer Dadisma to Mrs. Hanstein


American Friends Service Committee
Miss Hanstein, Placement Worker, Refugees
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Guthrie, Minn.
June 7, 1940

Dear Miss Hanstein,

It has just occurred to me that I had not notified you that all correspondence to McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas, regarding Thomas Döppner should be sent to Mr. Kirk Naylor who is chairman of the committee that is caring for the project since I left there. I certainly hope it shall be possible for Thomas to stay another year.

Yours truly,
Elmer Dadisman

This letter is not directly related to the others except that it was written on the same day and shows that even students who had moved away from McPherson were still invested in Opa's well-being.

Now time will only tell if the request for a student visa is approved. This letter of request comes in the same month that Opa's visitors visa expires. He's definitely on a time crunch. By the end of the month, if he doesn't have approval- what will happen? Ella and August are both probably very aware that this is the month that his visa expired- and they are likely both wondering if Opa is going to be allowed to stay in the United States. Opa's enduring optimism stands though - he states in his letter to Mrs. Hanstein: "Everything worked out all right up to now, and I am quite confident that it will work now too." 

Friday, September 25, 2015

June 3, 1940: Refugee Wedding

 Letter from Patti to Opa


My dear Tom – I have lots
of work too and I’m writing you 
briefly. I hope that you are having
a happy life in America and I send 
you my fraternal affection.

Grenoble, 3 June 1940

My very dear little Tom,

So guess what! Your big sister has been married since last Tuesday. You can’t imagine the sad conditions under which this marriage took place. No news of Papa nor of Mother, between two of Maurice’s exams. But we had to do it quickly, for otherwise I would have been interned like many other German refugees who have still not forfeited their nationality. The Nazis have such a spy system that these measures are indispensable. We had planned on marriage for a long time, as you know, and the proclamations [banns] were done many weeks ago, but I was still missing a piece that I finally got thanks to the help of Maurice’s parents who came to Grenoble to help us. They are really very nice to me, I have found a new family and parents for whom I have real affection. Let us hope that this horrible war will be over soon enough that there won’t be too many victims and that the Nazis will be completely conquered. In the same way, there is still some hope that our family will be reunited once again. Since I am married here I wouldn’t want to leave France, but maybe we can manage to come see you in America with Maurice or you could come to France. You see, we’re already making beautiful plans for after the war and yet we have still not seen the half of its horrors.

Why do you write so infrequently? I am impatient to learn your exam results and your plans for vacation. Have you found a summer job?

Maurice passed his first exam with pretty good results, he was first – and that despite the emotions of recent days. As for me, I have little hope of being able to return to Paris and pass my exams at this point. However, I still don’t know the date and it may be that it is very soon. Then the working conditions were too bad this year, I haven’t been able to prepare for this exam as it required. And then these three weeks that I’ve been in Grenoble I haven’t cared about anything. We are very tired, both of us, after all the errands, the emotions, hope and despair. You don’t know what it’s like to cope with bureaucracies. Nevertheless, we have been well received and everyone is very friendly. Little Maurice and his parents went all out so that the young wife wouldn‘t be torn away from her husband the day after the wedding. And still – to manage to get married, what a lot of arrangements and effort it took! But at last, everything has ended well.

I had a letter from Kurt. He was frightened becaue I hadn’t yet answered his letter (which however took a long while in coming) and he had not sent on a letter from his sister which is very discouraged. It’s his job (?) to write as often as possible. And don’t forget your sister and her husband.

I embrace you most affectionately.


I am sending a letter for Lillie so as not to pay airmail postage twice. Here is her address:

Lillie Ochs
New York City
523 W. 187 St. Apt 5E

And a letter for Hanna Liebes whose address I don’t know. 

[The final two pages of this letter are a chain letter: `The good luck of Flanders was sent to me and I am sending it to you withinn 24 hours ... etc. The people to whom the letter has been sent are listed; the last three names are Brigitte Doeppner, Lizzie(?) Mesz, and Maurice Lamoure.]

It's nice of Maurice to write a note, but he needs a new line. Maybe he can write: "ACED my last exam- aren't you proud to be related to a genius?! PS- I married your sister." Alas, he's a french man who is married to a German girl and he writes about fraternal affections.

This letter from Patti shows a little more emotion into the ordeal that was the French defeat under the Nazis. It gives us insight into what happened and how our little Patti got married.

She's been married since Tuesday, not a day you usually wed, and it was an act of protection and legality before an act of professed love and excitement. I wonder if Patti mourned that or if she didn't think about that kind of thing. We American girls are taught from a young age to fantasize about our weddings and often I think we have pretty unrealistic expectations about how our marriages should start. Patti's marriage started between exams with the help of paperwork and future in-laws. None of her family were present, (she hadn't even heard from her parents) and likely few of her friends.  They were married quickly to keep Patti from being interned by the Nazis as a German refugee. Helene (Patti's daughter) told me that Patti worked very hard on her French and hoped to blend in completely as a native French citizen. This was certainly a helpful step for Patti- to marry a French man. 

Patti's wish and hope saddens me: "Let us hope that this horrible war will be over soon enough that there won’t be too many victims and that the Nazis will be completely conquered." I wish that too, Patti- but we all know that there were far too many victims and the war lasted far too long. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

June 3, 1940: Fueled by Hope

Letter from Opa to Miss Thieman


Miss A. Thieman
American Friends
Service Committee

Dear Miss Thieman,

I thank you so much for your letter. I am very glad that the affairs of my mother are handled in Germany by Miss Grete Sumpf, whom I know as a very fine and capable lady. 

As to the American addresses, I think you might in touch with all of them, especially with the Hirsches. I am in touch anyway with all of them but the Hirsches, since I do not know them, but I shall write to them now too. I do not know if any of the other two persons would be able to give an affidavit, and furthermore it was my understanding that the affidavit has to be given by an American citizen. It might be that at least one of the Hirsches got the American citizenship in the meantime, we can find that out. It is too bad that I do not know them personally. I know Mrs. Rose - Rose, not Kate- Grossman and Miss Hanna Liebes personally, both are very interested in the case and very eager to help. If it is of importance to have as many addresses as possible, I shall give you the address of a cousin of mine, who came over only some months ago, but who will probably not at all be able to give any financial help. It is:
  Mrs. Ellen-Ruth Weingerow
  425, Westend Ave.
  New York City
  c/o Ivers.

Of course I am in touch with her too, it is just another address to refer too.

If there is anything I can do, please let me know. You can imagine how eager and anxious I am to get my mother out of the German paradise. 

There is another point in your letter I want to clear up. Miss Grete Sumpf suggested my father would be able to pay for the support of my mother. But the matter is that my father lives in Holland, and I did not hear from him since the time of the invasion. Although I do not believe that anything happened to him, I do not think that he would be ablate give any financial support from Holland. There is a possibility that he might have escaped to England in time, but, as I said, I did not hear anything from or about him. As soon as shall have news, I shall let you know, of course.

I thank you again so much for all the trouble you have with this case.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas Doeppner

Opa amazes me. He is twenty going on forty. Or sixty five. The grace and maturity that he handles this information and responsibility is beyond what I can imagine for myself at twenty. Maybe I don't give my twenty year old self enough credit- but Opa is on the ball and not shying away from doing what he can to help his mother. He doesn't get defeated and he keeps pushing on even though he has likely seen the writing on the wall about his mother's chance of coming to America.

He shows that he has actually been in touch with all of the people that Ella keeps nagging him to be in touch with- even Ellenruth. We don't get to read his responses to Ella, so we just assume he's slacking like any other college kid would. But he isn't. I love how he begrudgingly gives Ellenruth's contact. And it appears he might know better than his mother what Ellenruth's name and address are- his is more detailed that Ella's updated address she gave him. Plus he wouldn't have gotten Ella's update- so that means he is already in touch with Ellenruth.

Opa even has enough fortitude to make a sarcastic remark when he jokes that he is very anxious to get his mother out of the "German Paradise." 

You can tell that Opa has not received news from anyone since the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands and France, as Patti and Ella's letters about their safety and August's safety has not reached him. Opa was wise to discern that his father would no longer be able to support Ella (and perhaps never could have) and to let the folks at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) know.

I think it's interesting that he and Patti thought that August might have escaped before the invasion... I wonder if August had a plan to escape that was more concrete than just noticing the incoming soldiers and dashing for the English Channel. 

I want to make a note that Jason did a little searching and figured out that August and Emma's home was just around the corner (10 minutes?) from the location where Anne Frank and her family hid later in the war. I think that this is important for us to keep in perspective as we keep going in these letters. 

I have this phenomenon that I'm sure is shared with many others- where the stories of others in peril somehow can't possibly intersect with my family. Anne Frank- I believe that she was in danger when her family went into hiding. But somehow I have this naive belief that Ella, August, Patti- they are all somehow encased in some bubble of protection. That the bad stuff all around them isn't really affecting them as much. And it's partially their fault I have this ridiculous idea. In all their letters they only talk about the good stuff, or they keep it simple and surface. They are protecting each other. And finally- isn't it true that when we're in the midst of surviving something- part of our fortitude comes from denying the depth of how horrible it is? We assume that since we're surviving- it isn't the worst that could happen. 

So Ella is stuck in Berlin. August is stuck in Amstelveen, Patti is stuck in France, and Opa is helpless in America. But what do we see? Opa doing all that he can to give his mother a chance - even a tiny one- to get out. And he is grateful to everyone who helps. Because after all- he was also a hopeless case that somehow got to the United States. Hope doesn't have to be big to fuel us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

May 29, 1940: Invent Peace

Letter from Ella to Opa


May 29th, 1940

My beloved boy,

You can imagine how I have been thinking of you these last days. How was the exam?  Hopefully a letter is on the way telling me about everything I want to know: of your birthday, of the tests, and about everything that will happen with you next. I don’t even know if you are still at the college. And so many more worries I have about our Patti-child. If you have heard anything, please write to me right away. If only I knew if Maurice and his parents are looking after her, or if she is all alone. Day and night I worry about that child! Papa is doing well again, as I heard through (some name) yesterday. And also yesterday I had a nice letter from Kurt (her brother). He writes so very nicely and kind.

Henschenchild definitely stay in contact with him, he is very fond of me and both of you. I hope he can give me some news about Patti.  Henschenchild please write regularly, as you are the only one from whom I hear anything at this time. If both of you were here, I would feel good, (happy). I have been very busy, mostly nice students.

For you I have this great wish: Make your life strong and profitable for all people, and if possible that all people love one another. Create (she actually says invent) something that will make all misunderstanding and envy impossible. If that cannot happen immediately, do your share to prepare for that. But before make sure you write many more times to me.

I kiss my beloved boy,

Your Mama

Have you heard from Ellenruth?  Otherwise write to her right away. Her new address is now:
Mrs Ellenruth Grove, 4 W.Avenue  N.Y.

Ella has high expectations. She asks Opa to "create something that will make all misunderstanding and envy impossible." Piece of cake, Mom. I write this tongue-in-cheek. I know Ella is only dreaming of a happy and hopeful time, and sharing this with her son- hoping that he is also dreaming of peace and doing everything he can to make it a reality.

This shows you just how much Ella craves peace and hope. She has this great wish for her beloved son to invent peace. There is little evidence of it around her, so she calls out to her hope in America, to her beacon of light in the darkness. She pleads that if nothing else- that he "do your share"- and not forget to write to her in the meantime.

Opa is the only communication from her little family that she receives. And as we saw from the last blog, that communication is about three months delayed. His news that Patti is OK likely won't reach her for a long time. She is isolated, knows very little of what is happening with her children. She only knows what is happening around her- which is terror.

It's a short letter- she just wants to know how her children are doing- and she wants to send out her hope for peace. 

I listened to a podcast today with Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert that tackled the quintessential question of why bad things happen. They had something interesting to say that added a nuance to the age-old question. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) said that if you question all evil, you must also question everything else. Why are there rainbows? Dolphins? Flowers? Grace? People we love? It doesn't answer the question but it turns the table and demands that we give thanks for that which gives us hope. For Ella, her hope is her children.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

May 28, 1940: Nothing Can Be Done

Letter from Annelies Thieman to Opa


May 28, 1940
Mr. Thomas Doeppner,
McPherson College,
McPherson, Kansas.      Re: Ella Doeppner

My dear Mr. Doeppner:

Mail, even Air Mail from abroad, as you will know from your own experiences, takes quite sometime nowadays and accordingly we only today received a reply to our letter of February 2nd to the Berlin Center. Miss Grete Sumpf, a German worker of the Center, writes as follows:

"Frau Ella Doeppner is my neighbor and I know her well as a very fine and sincere lady. Unfortunately, she registered at the American Consulate in Berlin only on Nov. 13, 1939; she got the waiting number 76 204 A, so I am afraid nothing can be done for her at the moment. 

"However, it might be a great help to her to be able to prove to the authorities that she did everything possible for her emigration, so I should like to give you some further information.

"Frau Doeppner did not think of going to the United States because everything was arranged for her to join her daughter in France, when the war made this plan impossible. Now she is trying to get to Palestine, where she has wealthy relatives, although she would feel very unhappy there and her greatest desire is to join at least one of her children later on.

"Her Aryan husband divorced her about 10 years ago, not because of her race. They are still on very friendly terms and Mr. Doeppner promised to pay for her support wherever she might live.

"In America, Frau Doeppner has the following relatives and friends:

"Irving J. Hirsch, 4363 171st St., Flushing, Long Island, N.Y. (cousin).
Edwin Lester Hirsch, 29 Moshula Parkway, North Bronx, N.Y. (cousin).
Mrs. Kate Grossman, c/o Lyons, 206 W. 103rd St., N.Y., (cousin).
Hanna Liebes, Bryn Mawr, Pa., Baldwin School (friend).

"Some of the relatives seem to be in a good financial position, so that they might be willing to give the necessary affidavits and credits.

"As to a non-quota visa, Frau Doeppner herself knows very well that it would be impossible. She never taught at any College or University, only at the Jewish "Lehrhaus". She is a qualified teacher (German, English, French).

I don't know if you would want us to get in touch with the Hirsches, or Mrs. Grossman and therefore I am forwarding this information and shall wait for further suggestions which you may have.

Sincerely yours,

Annelise Thieman

Annelise Thieman has succeeded in writing one of the most depressing, unhelpful letters of all time. I'm being harsh- but oh man is this letter the worst! 

Thieman quotes Grete Sumpf's letter that we actually got to read a while back in the blog. Thieman's letter was written on May 28, 1940- and she had JUST received Sumpf's letter from February 2, 1940 (over three month delay!). That's the first depressing fact. Effective communication is basically nonexistent, which makes helping Ella very difficult. 

As I read the letter Grete Sumpf wrote- I noticed a second thing. The last time I focused on the first thing I noticed, which is the idea that Ella was trying to prove to the authorities that she tried to leave the country. This was an epiphany for me because when you learn about the holocaust, often (as a child in America) you are only taught about the Jews hiding and being sought out to ship off to the Concentration Camps. The truth is that the systematic shipment of Jews to camps didn't really start happening full swing until after the Wannsee Conference, where the icky Nazis came up with the "Final Solution" plan. That wasn't until January 20, 1942. Before the "solution" of "kill them all"- the plan was to chase them out- or ship them to other countries and dump them in ghettos. That was what I learned last time I read this letter.

This time I learned (or realized) that the entire letter is written as a form of protection, not an action plan for getting Ella out, mainly because Grete Sumpf declares officially in the beginning "nothing can be done for her."

I don't think it sunk in until now that this is when we get the jury's decision. Ella is stuck. There's no hope. She can't get to the United States. She can't get to France. And now we know that she can't get to Palestine, because the lovely British closed those borders to German refugees. Ella is stuck. This information, these documents and affidavits are all just for show- just to show the Nazi government that while she really did try to listen and get out like they asked her and every other Jew to- she just couldn't get out. 

This caused me to think about something. I had a conversation with my friend Rachel the other day about this progression in the Nazi policy on how to deal with the Jews that they hated so much. First they used them as a scapegoat. Then they decided they were not citizens and stripped them of their citizenship and rights. They asked them to leave- go anywhere but here- so they wouldn't "sully" the beautiful Aryan race. Then Hitler went and got this brilliant idea that he would take over the world (since the Netherlands and France seemed fairly easy to conquer)... so ultimately the Nazis have to deal with the Jews again, because they took over the land they ran away to.

I'm oversimplifying- but I thought- if the Jews were allowed refuge in other countries (like the US), would the Germans have felt such an urgent need to come up with a final solution? I know that this isn't entirely fair as the Jews should not be forced to leave their homes- whether they are welcomed by outsiders or not. But what if we did welcome them? Could the hospitality of other countries potentially have slowed or lessened the catalyst for the Nazi holocaust? It's an impossible question- I know. 

Either way, here we are with Ella's verdict, and it is super scary: "Nothing can be done for her." Does Ella know this truth deep down inside? What on earth is Opa thinking? The AFSC worker is asking Opa, a freshly turned 20 year old, what her next step should be in his mother's hopeless case. How incredibly defeating. I would be thinking- "What?! Suggestions?!" How could someone like Opa possibly know what the next step should be? This is the letter I would read over and over again insanely trying to see if maybe that first paragraph might disappear and it doesn't end up being that bad or hopeless.

Monday, September 21, 2015

May 23 & 28, 1940: We Have a Plan

Memorandum from Louise Clancy to Kathleen Hanstein


Office Memorandum                    5/23/40
Refugee Service
American Friends Service Committee

To: Kathleen Hanstein     From: Louise Clancy
Subject: Thomas Doeppner

I called the German Consulate this morning and was told that the thing to do was for your office to write to the Immigration Department on Ellis Island in regard to the extension of Thomas' visa. He or you will have to submit full evidence of the fact that he has been a bona fide student and has an opportunity to continue his studies next year. In fact, present all evidence that you have.

Thomas could apply for a German passport from the German consul nearest his present address. Is this the boy who was to go to McPherson College, Kansas? If so, the nearest consul is St. Louis, MO.

Letter from Kathleen Hambly Hanstein of AFSC to Opa


May 28, 1940
Mr. Thomas Doeppner
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

My dear Mr. Doeppner:

We have now received definite word from the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Labor to the effect that your visa is a visitor's visa and not a student's visa, and we would, therefore, advise that you write to the Commissioner of Immigration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C., asking to have your visitor's visa changed to a students visa for the period covered by the scholarship offered you by McPherson College.

I understand that the college is planning to renew your scholarship for next year, and you should secure from the president of the college a letter addressed to you on the college letterhead stating the period for which this scholarship is offered, and indicating that tuition and maintenance are entirely provided for. Two copies of this letter should be sent to the Commissioner of Immigration with your request and you should have a third copy to keep yourself.

I have been advised that it would also be well for you to ask permission to work during the summer at a job that will provide full maintenance, and in which you will not be taking the place of an American worker. As I understand it, the job that your friends there had in mind for you was a farm job providing just maintenance, and I think this should be specified in your letter. You should also mention the boat on which you arrived in the country and quote the stamp which was placed upon your passport as you quoted it to me in your letter of April 27.

I know you understand that this should be taken care of immediately as the expiration of your present visa is not far distant. If you have any further questions we would be very glad to help you with them in any way we can. Please be sure to let us know what your summer address will be as soon as your arrangements are completed.

Very sincerely,

(Mrs.) Kathleen Hambly Hanstein
Associate Counsellor

I know that no one cares- but this last letter of two pages comprises of nine sentences. Nine. That's all. Those are some crazy long sentences! That first paragraph is just ONE sentence!!

The gist from the office memo and the letter to Opa is that we finally have a plan for Opa- and he needs to get on it quick. He needs to write the INS about his request for a student visa and provide as much evidence as possible that he is indeed a student at McPherson College. He also needs to do it.... well ... yesterday. 

I love that the memo mentions Opa applying for a German passport. I don't know if Mrs. Hanstein purposely left that suggestion out or if she already knew Opa well enough to know that his response to that would have been "Hell No." From what I have gathered- Opa had burned that bridge to Germany the moment he stepped over the border, and had no intention of being legally bound to the country as long as Hitler was in charge.

I'm curious if Opa's request will be granted with his shaky papers (a soon to expire identification paper from Holland, who has been invaded by the Nazis). We'll find out!

I think Opa might be bummed that the farm job is his best bet for the summer. City boy is going to learn something about the great outdoors!