Monday, November 30, 2015

November 1, 1940: A Tale of Two Files

Telegram from Marjorie Schauffler of AFSC to Opa

Transcription (of telegram above and below - two copies):

Thomas Doeppner
MacPherson College
Have been in touch with Salisbury Washington and Urls office New York STOP Difficulty due to confusion in Washington records STOP Mr Salisbury has matter in hand and will try to arrange visa or special hearing if necessary he will advise us of outcome Uhl will take no action meanwhile 
Marjorie Schauffler

 Copy 2 of Telegram from Marjorie Schauffler to Opa

Memo of Phone Conversation between Miss Doyle of INS and Marjorie Schauffler of AFSC


Thomas Doeppner
Hans Buchinger

11-1-1940  Telephone conversation with Miss Doyle in Mr. Uhle's Office at Ellis Island re. Hans Buchinger and Thomas Doeppner, both of which were referred to Washington by Mr. Uhle, their request for extension having been denied by Ellis Island on the grounds that each in accepting renumeration had violated the terms of the visitor's visa. Communications regarding their cases should, therefore, be taken up directly with Washington with copies to Ellis Island.

Memo of Phone Conversation between Marjorie Schauffler of AFSC 
and Mr. Salisbury of INS


Re: Thomas Doeppner    Date: November 1, 1940

Conversation with: E.E. Salisbury, Department of Justice
By: Marjorie Page Schauffler

Subject Matter:

We phoned Mr. Salisbury as he did not call us back. He has discovered that there had been two files on Thomas Doeppner in the Washington office and that the confusion has arisen from this fact. We explained that Mr. Uhl had no file at Ellis Island containing a copy of the letter from Mr. Doeppner that his status be changed to a student visa. Mr. Salisbury in his record in Washington has a letter from Mr. Doeppner making this request and dated July 21. He will take care of the situation and advises that Mr. Doeppner take no action until a decision is reached in Washington. We asked what action Mr. Uhl might take in the meantime and Mr. Salisbury assured us that Mr Uhl could take no action except as instructed by Washington. The letter which Mr. Doeppner received is not a deportation order but simply a notification that request for extension of his visa had been denied.


Thank GOD the AFSC is on Opa's side! What a royal mess! If you read through all the documents, it looks like the whole issue boils down to a filing error. There are two files for Opa in Washington, one is controlled by the mean Mr. Uhl who denied him, and the other by the nice Mr. Salisbury, who the AFSC are in conversation with. There should not be duplicate files, which is why Opa felt like he had to tell everyone his requests twice- because that's exactly what he was doing. It is amazing how little details like his request for the Student visa and the connection Mr. Salisbury had with the AFSC really does make a difference. You see almost a perfect double blind experiment here - Opa's story could have gone two very different ways.

Luckily it seems that Opa is safe to stay and Mr. Salisbury is going to work out the confusion that is his two files. (But seriously, how many Doeppner's are there in America? I'm related to all of the ones I've met.) I love that the letter that tells Opa to leave in five days is not a deportation notice. You can see how someone who didn't have help like the AFSC could have been completely lost in the web of immigration papers. You could have been deported for having the wrong guy look at the wrong file. It is so grey, so arbitrary, so ambiguous. 

I am reminded time and again how very hard it was to come to the United States, and how miraculous/lucky/blessed/fortunate Opa was to have somehow continually slipped through the loopholes and land with his feet still on American soil.

Friday, November 27, 2015

October 31, 1940: UGH!

Letter from Byron Uhl at INS to Opa


October 31, 1940      file number 99503/254

Mr. Thomas Doeppner
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Dear Sir:

In reply to your letter of October 29, 1940, I mist advise you that the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., arrived at its decision, denying you extension of your temporary admission, after careful consideration of all the facts in the case. This office is not empowered to amend or qualify that decision in any particular.

If you wish to pursue a regular course of study in this country, you should effect non-quota immigration as a student, under Section 4(e) of the Immigration Act of 1924. You should leave the United States, secure an appropriate visa fro an American Consul on foreign territory and then apply for and successfully pass examination as an immigrant at some designated port of entry. The enclosed circular, concerning status of student's, should prove helpful to you in formulating your plans.

In any case, it is expected that you will arrange to leave the United States without delay, and that you will advise me as to name of ship or other means of transportation, port and exact date, so that your departure may be verified and your file closed.

Very truly yours,

Byron H. Uhl
District Director
New York District

Translation: I will be of zero help to you sir, in fact, after reading this letter- you will want to pull your hair out.

I mean, really. First- this guy HAS to hate his job. I hate this letter, I can't imagine being in a position where I have to write multiples of them! Second- I don't think this guy cares if he is helpful to Opa. If you are an Uhl descendent- I'm sorry - he might have been a nice guy- but he seems annoyed with Opa and he is ready to close his file and ship him OUT. He recommends the student visa process- which is nice- but infuriating because that is what he was supposed to ENTER on!! That guy at Ellis Island who randomly gave Opa a visitors visa-- grrrr!

The plan all along was for Opa to have his student's visa. He did all of the things that Mr. Uhl is asking- except he did it at the right time and he was able to get to the US. If he leaves now and tries to go through the process again- I have to imagine even Mr. Uhl knows it is close to impossible to gain entry into the US. He's also forgetting that Opa has NO VISA or passport right now. So how is he supposed to travel? Mr. Uhl gave no insight for that- which was Opa's main question other than to ask why he was declined- which Mr. Uhl also couldn't tell him. This letter is useless to Opa other than to state that he has to figure out how to leave. If not ship- I guess by foot or car to Mexico or Canada??

Oh man this letter gets my blood boiling. How did Opa not tear this up and burn it?! "Very truly yours"- baloney.

So seriously. What is Opa supposed to do?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

October 30, 1940: Immigration Catch-22

Memo from AFSC staff's phone conversation with Mr. Salisbury at INS


Memo of Telephone Conversation

Re: Doeppner          Date: 10/30/40

Conversation with: Mr. Salisbury - Wash
By: M.P.S (name of Staff Worker)

Subject matter:

MPS phoned re sit in Mr. D's (regarding situation in Mr. Doeppner's) letter of 10/28. Mr. Salisbury will check up and call us back.

11/1 Request for extension for 1 yr (Sept 3-12)
no date, no notarization
no request for chg of status
reasons given-continued impos.(impossibility) of returning X

Oct 21 - denying ext (extension)

Effect non-quota     4E 1924

Spec Asst to the Atty Genl in Charge Immigr. & Nat-
(special assistant to the attorney general in charge immigration and naturalization).

Ok- so here's a memo for Mrs. Hanstein to look at as she processes the madness that is Opa's visa denial. I'll be honest, while I could figure out the shorthand of the notes, I'm not entirely clear on what the information is. It sounds like Opa's first request for an extension did not include a request for a change of status or a date and notarized something or another.  Then it looks like the main reason for denying the renewal was the impossibility of returning to the country of origin. This does sort of make sense because that was part of the Catch-22 of immigration then. You were more than welcome to come if we know without a doubt we can ship you back when we want to. If your country is at war or hates you- well then that makes you stuck here- and we want to be able to kick you out. 

So the problem is that the US let Opa in once, and now they've decided he's crossed that threshold from having a country to go home to ... to not having one (Holland falling to German invasion). The problem is that for that very reason- Opa can't go home now- because he has no home to go to. So it seems like the US is stuck. Or worse- they'll just put him on any ship and not care what meets him on the other side. We'll see how this progresses. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

October 29, 1940: Opa's Heartbreak

Letter from Ella to Opa


Berlin Charlottenburg, 10/29/40
14 Droysen St. 
My very dear boy,
I want to be sitting by you now, holding your hand and stroking your dear head over and over—and I want to try to make you happy and cheerful again. I know, my dear boy, what pain you’re in; but you can’t let it do you in. We can’t allow any experience to make us weak; we must come out of each one stronger. Hunschen, enjoy the positive things that you can get from being with Esther, and don’t let that kind of friendship be destroyed. Unless you’re seeing Esther through rose-colored glasses, she must be a very good person. I am so glad, Hunschen, that you’re not just wasting your time, that you are always drawn to worthy people. To be honest I can’t believe at all that my little bub is practically a man, that he really loves a girl.  
Hunschen, it occurred to me how identical—or rather, similar—your fate is to Maurice’s. Age, even name, is the same. And the fact that your feelings weren’t returned in the same way is due to the fact that Esther is still too young. I once spoke exactly the way she speaks, wanted what she wants, and then suddenly real life experience comes along, and all of one’s principles fade away. The same will probably happen to Esther at some point. Our Patti child spent years longing for someone to whom she could be friend and beloved—and so now she can give Maurice her total, true love. Esther does really like you and would be sad to lose you as a friend. I know how terribly hard it is to remain friends with someone when your heart wants something else. It’s easier to just make a clean break. Hunschenboy, you wrote that you are trying to forget. Believe me, my dear little one, that doesn’t work, and it won’t work. You don’t seriously believe you’ve forgotten Anni—and you can’t forget Esther, either—not if you live to be a hundred. These experiences stay with you for a lifetime. We can only be careful that they stay neatly in our memories and that they bring us forward in our own development. Already the memory of these two girls will hold you back from starting up frivolous relationships with frivolous girls.  
You have your work, which will help you get over all of this—a lot of work, from what you write, and varied. It’s great, Hunschen, that you’re not busying yourself with other things. I am so sure that you will achieve something significant. Your gifts and the happy way other things have fallen into place make it your duty to. Your fate isn’t just any ordinary fate, and your accomplishments shouldn’t be ordinary, either. And you can’t let personal experiences hold you back from that. I was happy to read the words that Esther wrote in your yearbook: Always live so that everyone must value you. You will also find, I am quite sure, the love of a very worthy woman who wants to be with you. For now you are still far too young for a lasting commitment. You’re still growing up, and right now deep in the “Sturm und Drang” phase. Write to me about it more, Hunschen. Sometimes these hard things lose some of their painfulness when we’re able to talk about them—or write about them. And for me it is worth so much just to have my children come to me, if I can live with you even just in that way.  
My Hunschen, what should I write about myself, then? You can imagine how it is for me without you both. I already wrote that Papa’s colleague brought me greetings, and a couple of other generic things. Then a few weeks ago came a very sweet card. Naturally Papa knows that Patti got married, and also at least in a general sense how you are doing. Annchen writes regularly. Have I actually thanked Jim Erill for his nice words? I’m just all mixed up these days so I never know what I wrote and to whom.  
By the way, Hunschen, Martha had a very difficult mastotomy. But that’s something her children don’t need to find out for any reason. They would just worry and wouldn’t be able to help anyway. They didn’t even know she was sick. Everything went well, and it healed extraordinarily well and quickly. She’s been in the hospital for four weeks and comes home—that is, to my house—tomorrow or the day after. If and when the Shanghai plan will work, we can’t know. I’m glad that you share my viewpoint. I realize more every day how completely impossible it would be for me to be dependent on Erich. Even though I already know him, I’m always astonished at his attitude toward all the important things. Two worlds without a bridge! I asked about Hertig. She’s doing fine. She’s written to Uschi several times, but never gotten an answer—Erich’s daughter. If you know anything, write to our Hertig.  
A couple weeks ago Tilli was here for a few days. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see each other much. We never got the opportunity to be alone even for a few hours. Hopefully she can come back again soon.  
So, my dear boy, now our chat time is over!  If you’d like, say hi to Esther from me, and Jim Erill and Winton and above all the Shelleys. I know them all—and I’m thankful to them for meaning something to my boy. As always, write again about everyone so I’m caught up. Did the Shelleys get my letter?
My dear, dear boy! If I could only be with you!
I’m hugging and kissing you!
Yours, Mama

Ella has words of comfort for her heart-broken son. He has a new girl, Esther, who has broken his heart. Opa seems to allow himself to get his heart broken a lot. Ella is so kind in how she compassionately writes to her son and affirms his feelings, while also opening space for him to heal and move forward. She talks about what he can learn from the experience, how every experience can be opportunities to grow stronger. Ella doesn't just say "Oh get over it- it's just a girl." I have to imagine this is a little unusual- that she is really more in tune to her child's needs and emotions than a typical German mother might have been. She does not belittle his trials or skip past them. She takes this opportunity to be a mother, to dote on her son even from afar. She wishes she could sit with him and comfort him through this normal rite of passage in a young man's life: heartbreak. She wants him to keep writing about these things, keep needing her, keep confiding.

Ella encourages Opa in her usual way, with high expectations but in her hopeful and confident manner. She tells Opa that she has no doubt he will do something extraordinary, that he has been so lucky and has a responsibility to utilize his good luck and fortune. 

It sounds like Ella's sister had a major surgery, which must have been a huge impact on their life in Ella's apartment. I'm sure it delayed their Shanghai plans as well. It seems like Ella and Opa are going back and forth about how they feel about the whole Shanghai deal- and I think that they are agreed that it isn't ideal. There is definitely some awkward tension between Ella and Erich- I don't know but it seems like Ella is really uncomfortable with living under his care/financial support. 

I'm reminded that sometimes, all you need is someone to hold your hand and tell you that everything is going to be OK, that you're normal to feel how you feel, and that you have extraordinary things in your future of your own making.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

October 29, 1940: #HelpTomStay!

Letter from V.F. Schwalm, President of McPherson College, to John Rich at AFSC


McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Mr. John Rich
20 South Twelfth Street
Philadelphia, Penna.

Dear Mr. Rich:

We have in our college a young man named Thomas Doeppner. We secured him through the Friends Service Committee. Mr. Doeppner came to this country from Holland on a visa that was good for only one year. Since then the government of Holland has been destroyed and he cannot secure an extension of his visa through them.

Recently Mr. Doeppner has received word from the government that he is to leave the United States by November 5. Mr. Doeppner does not know where to go nor how to get out of the country. I am wondering whether you could give assume help or advice on his case. We do not know what to do.

The Friends Service Committee offices has his records and knows the case. Our correspondence regarding him was with Miss Salmon of your offices. I shall be in McPherson by Friday or by Saturday at the latest. It may be that someone else has written you about this. I shall be glad to have word from you advising further procedure.

Yours sincerely,

V.F. Schwalm


I love Mr. Schwalm. First of all- if you went to college- do you even know the name of the president of your school, much less have the kind of relationship with him where he knows your immigration woes? I am amazed by this community's commitment to Opa- to helping him and supporting him as he pursues his studies and remains in the United States. Even the President is writing to ask for help and information mere days after Opa received his letter. How did he know Opa was in trouble? Did Opa talk to him? 

Either way, Schwalm puts his President card on the table for all it's worth and asks what they should do to help Opa stay. You wonder if in social media days Opa would have his own hashtag: #helpTomStay! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

October 25, 28, 1940: Record Scratch

Letter from Byron Uhl of INS to Opa


US Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Ellis Island, New York

In replying refer to this file number
October 25, 1940

Mr. Thomas Walter Doeppner
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Dear Sir:

The Department of Justice has denied your application for an extension of your temporary admission to the United States.

You are, therefore, advised that your departure should be effected not later than November 5, 1940.

At least five days prior thereto, this office should be notified of the date, manner and place of departure. If you leave by steamer, please furnish the name thereof, date of sailing and numbers of your ticket, stateroom and berth, so that your departure may be checked to clear your record in our files for future reference.

Very truly yours

Byron H. Uhl
District Director
New York District

You know the sound of a record scratch that you hear in the movies or silly sitcoms when something completely halts all forward progress? I hear it now. When Opa read this letter... what did he hear? Did his stomach drop? Did he feel a tightening in every muscle, up into his heart, alerting him to the impending possibility of danger? Did he read it several times over, just to make sure he was reading the right thing?  Did he feel his hands start to tremble, and his legs start to shake? I cannot fathom the fear, the dread, the anxiety that had to have come with this short and ridiculous letter. "Leave by November 5, 1940! -Very truly yours!" How? How could he be denied? Just a week ago he got letters of confirmation that all would be well- from a source at the INS! What is going on here?!?!?! 

Letter from Opa to Mrs. Hanstien at AFSC


Thomas Doeppner  McPherson, October 28, 1940.
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Mrs. Kathleen H. Hanstein
American Friends Service Committee

Dear Mrs. Hanstein,

Today I received the following letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, Ellis Island:

"Dear Sir:

The Department of Justice has denied your application for an extension of your temporary admission to the United States.

You are, therefore, advised that your departure should be effected not later than November 5, 1940.

At least five days prior thereto, this office should be notified of the date, manner and place of departure. If you leave by steamer, please furnish the name thereof, date of sailing and numbers of your ticket, stateroom and berth, so that your departure may be checked to clear your record in our files for future reference. Very truly yours, Byron H. Uhl District Director, New York District." The letter was mailed October 25, my reference number is 99503/254.

I went down to the immigration and naturalization officer of McPherson, asking him for advice. However, he could not help me at all, he did not even know about my staying here. The conference Mrs. Schauffler had with the State Department in Washington showed that there the case has been handled favorably, thus I figure that the two departments don't know about the fact that my extension of the visitor's permit and the application for the student's permit have been handled separately. Do you think there is any possibility of obtaining a student's permit before November 5, of any other way of avoiding that limit? I am going to write to Mr. Uhl, asking him for suggestions as to how he imagines I can leave the country by that time, not having either a visa for another country, nor a passport, nor a passage.

Please forward this letter to Mrs. Schauffler, too. I would be very thankful to you if you would answer me immediately, telling me what in your opinion are the best steps to take.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Doeppner.

I cannot even imagine Opa's fear, but what really shines through in this letter is his pure frustration and annoyance. He shares with Mrs. Hanstein his letter doom. Then he tells her he went to the local Immigration and naturalization officer in McPherson (guys- I have been to McPherson- this HAD to be a VERY part time job)- and this guy didn't even know Opa existed, much less how to help him. Opa talks about Mrs. Schauffler's supposed amazing conference were everything was to be A-OK. Then he wonders to Mrs. Hanstein- where the INS seems to think he should be able to go without a passport or a boat ticket? Of course I'm sure the ships to Europe were having a sale on tickets.  

Opa's ultimate request: what should I do?!?!

Letter to Mr. Uhl of INS from Opa


Thomas Doeppner          October 26, 1940.
McPherson College
McPherson, Kansas

Mr. Byron H. Uhl
District Director
New York District
N.Y.                              99503/254

Dear Mr. Uhl,

Today I received your letter dated October 25, 1940, in which you state that the U.S. Department of Justice has denied my application for an extension of temporary admission.

As I stated in my application as well as in the conversation I had with an officer of the immigration office in Kansas City, who came to me on August 27, 1940, it is impossible for me to leave the United States at the present time for the following reasons: My passport, a Dutch certificate of identity, expired on August 28, 1940. It cannot be renewed, first, because this kind of passport is not renewable, second, since the country Holland as such does not exist because of the German invasion. Being a German refugee, I cannot go back to Germany. As far as I know, there is no country which would take me or even grant me a temporary permit.

When I came over to the United States, I ca e with the intention of leaving the country after studying one year at McPherson College. In the meantime conditions have changed completely such that it is no longer possible for me to leave the United States.

I want to ask your advices to what I shall do either to find a way to leave the United States or to apply again for an extension of my permit. There is an application for a student's visa pending for me in the State Department, Washington. Might that help to clear up my situation?

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Doeppner.

This is Opa's mic drop. He basically says- how in the hell do you imagine I leave by November 5th without passage, a passport, or a country to go to? Opa pulls out the refugee  card, which he hasn't done much in the past because it doesn't actually help you get in the country- but in this case he's hoping it'll help him stay in the country. Opa's letter is specific, informative, and a little snarky. I love it.

So..... where does he go from here? November 5th is eight days away. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

October 18, 1940: Turn the Light On!

Letter from Ella to Opa


Berlin, Charlottenburg October 18th 1940

My very dear boy, For so long I have not heard from you. Please Hunschen write to me more often. Today I will send only a short note to let you know I am well. I hope, on Sunday I can write more in detail, and answer several of your questions. 

Your eye matter has me worried. Why did you not wear your glasses? When you were here, you always did. I did not know that you don’t use them anymore. Make sure, that you always have good light for reading and working. That is so important. You will need your eyes a lot later on, so treat them with as much care as you can. It made me very happy to hear that the Shelley’s are so nice to you. It is always a comfort that there are people like them. I wish I could one day thank them myself. That they can have my boy with them, has to be a great joy for them.  

Let me end for today, my beloved boy.

I kiss you much,
Your Mama

Ella sends a short note to let Opa know that she is alright- and to remind him to write her. I'm sure he is writing her- I hope enough because she really does depend on his letters for her sanity at this point. 

Why on earth is Opa not wearing his glasses? Surely he's not trying to be cool or something? He wore glasses as long as I knew him. No one in my Dad's family could see- and I'm lucky that so far I still don't need glasses. Just hearing aids. But that's another set of genes.

Opa not wearing his glasses prompts Ella to say something that I have heard my dad say multiple times throughout my life- so Opa must have heard it multiple times from Ella and repeated it to my Dad: "make sure you always have good light for reading and working." My Dad was constantly turning on lamps, overhead lights, etc. for me when I was reading or working on homework. I love light- but natural sunlight- and so it's not intuitive for me to turn on a light. So I admit that I would be reading by a dull light many days, and my Dad would just flip the light switch and remind me that I needed to have good lighting so I don't wear my eyes out. He would tell me how he didn't do it and he started losing his sight in college. I'm not sure that story is true- but he's sticking to it. Either way- it's a Doeppner thing to nag about lighting. 

Ella is so appreciative of the Shelley family who shows Opa such hospitality and kindness. She then says the sweetest thing: "that they can have my boy with them, has to be a great joy for them." Ella's love is so full. I love how kind and sweet she is to her children.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

October 15, 1940: Refugees in Shanghai

Letter from Patti to Opa


Grenoble, 10.15.40
My dear Hunschenboy,
As I am going to pick up my English this year, I’ll write you an English letter and you must give your opinion about it. You can’t imagine how much I have been glad with your dear long letter this time. It is not longer than formerly, but it so much more heartily, more personal notwithstanding a certain lack of personal news. I find my dear little brother in this letter and not a foreign student. I’m glad you give me an answer to all my questions and I appreciate so much your having got up earlier in the morning in order to write me. My dear, I always fear you over-drive your forces by all your work. Do you feel as well as formerly, do you really? How can you manage it? I fear I couldn’t. But you are much stronger than I and I hope you’ll get through all difficulties without illness, without any loss of power. And you will do, won’t you? I am sorry you can’t make a close friendship over there and I would you felt not too lonely. Do you really imagine the unsteadiness of your life, the uncertainty of future to be an impediment for a real friendship? I don’t. But another question is your work that takes so much time and makes a rich personal life quite impossible. I know you appreciate also true comradeship and you surely have lots of good fellows in the college. I also felt very lonely during my first time here, not at the very beginning but soon afterwards, then I knew Emma and we became excellent friends in spite of two long separations (the last one a whole year).
The visa matter is rather troublesome, isn’t it? Why don’t they wish to give you the extension you applied for? I think they finally will as there is no other way for you. And now let us speak about Putschi. Do you know that she can write me now? I have a new girl friend in Switzerland who passes her letters and mine. You may imagine how much we enjoy it both of us. She doesn’t write anything about the situation there nor about her health. She spoke of having still lots of lessons and of her wish to go to Shanghai, should she not depend on Martha and Erich. For the time being they are both living with her as they could not go away yet. Poor Putschi! You certainly read the last news concerning the treatment of foreigners in Shanghai and I think we have to wait and see. In the principle we should try to get her over there and afterwards she must join you or me. We must not play with hypothesises as for the conditions of emigrating in the future, but for the time being life would be impossible for her in Shanghai. 
By the same friend in Switzerland, I got a letter from Austi yesterday! What do you say now? I yet gave up all hope in this regard and was awfully glad on receiving it. He writes that he is alright and that he has still his job, only a reduced one and he doesn’t know for how much time he may conserve it. He is learning professional photography in order to do it afterwards should there be a possibility. May-be he has already something in view. He hopes to see Pinkley in the near future and in that case he could discuss everything with him. But his visit is not sure yet. He begs me to give him news of you but only the important facts you write me. I think he avoids to write you (or he cannot) and doesn’t like for many details concerning your situation to be mentioned in our letters. It must be the same reasons for which he doesn’t write to Putschi in a direct way. He received my letter of June with my present address and did not answer me, neither did Putschi, I think they are not allowed to, both of them. So, I think it would be better if you tried not too much to write to Austi. I shall give you news of him if I receive a letter. Emma is not well and Aust will go to see a doctor with her. He hopes it will not be very serious, so do I. For the time being, Aust cannot be of any financial help for us, and I fear he troubles much about it. But I shall write him that we can do without it. 
As to your plan for Putschi, he thinks that your friends have got better information than he and I and that you inquired about it before you got anything settled. You see that we have much confidence in you and in your friends in this matter.
I am very sorry, two of your letters have been lost. I think you wrote me about your holiday work. May they still reach me? I got neither an answer from Lillie nor Hanna.
I have to beg your pardon, for I left this letter for almost a week. Even now I am very tired and I shall not make it very long.l I was interrupted by a visit in the midst of my writing, we went all to the movings [movies?], and you know how dangerous it is to let a letter for to-morrow. The next day, I had lessons and shopping and other work and now we are preparing our removing, working from early in the morning until night. I don’t remember w[h]ether I told you that we are going to live with Emma now. Mrs. Herz will not return to Gr[enoble] this year and so she leaves her apartment. Her furniture is at our disposal in the meantime; so we have to do the removal of all her furniture, books, clothes, plates, etc., work on the attic level and in the cellar. Maurice shipped 40 sacks of coal yesterday and to-day. When we have finished her removal we have to do ours and Emma’s, for we shall live together in another apartment with Mrs. H’s furniture. So we shall have a real home with kitchen, and lots of room till next summer when we shall leave Gr. for a town where Maurice can prepare his last exam. Excuse me please if my English is very bad this evening. I am rather tired. I have been astonished myself when seeing that this letter was begun so long ago and I feel ashamed. Excuse me please for this time. I send you many prints to console you. You may keep them. I shall send others to Putschi.
My dear little one, good night, and write me very often. Even if I am a bad sister who keeps a letter to her brother for so long a time. I shall write you soon again.
Your sister kisses her little Tom.
[in French] My dear Tom,
I feel very [r/vasine? r/vaseur?] this evening, after the moving, but that is not a reason for me not to write you, you who works so much and who must often be even more tired! I truly admire you, my dear Tom, and I am sure that all this courage and perseverance will have something marvelous as recompense. We have been well favored by luck, Brigitte, you and I. Finally, after some long weeks of uncertainty, some good news of the whole family. Clearly the material situation of your father is less good than earlier, but that is nothing important, that that [?] livelihood. Don’t worry at all about the question of money on Brigitte’s behalf. My parents, without being rich, get enough for the moment. And as for you, if you have a hard moment, do not hesitate, do not stand on ceremony to ask us for what you need. Au revoir, my dear Tom, I embrace you very fraternally.  Maurice

Patti is pleased with Opa, he's written a more personal letter. Now that he is not solely responsible for all the information from Ella and August, I think Patti can relax her standards a little bit. 

I love how gifted Patti is with language. That genetic trait did not carry over to the rest of the family. We are fantastic over here with English - but that's about it. Patti just decides to practice her English and writes an entire letter in it. Although it isn't perfect- it's significantly better than what I could write in Spanish after many years of learning it. I bet Opa found it a little bit fun to be able to correct something of his sister's related to language. (Side note, Opa was the supreme editor in his later life- even of personal notes- he loved to make things grammatically correct.)

Once again everyone is worried about Opa working himself too hard. Little do they know it is the American Way to work hard. We could probably learn a little of the French lessons on leisure. 

Patti's mention of how Opa feels lonely, like he can't find a true friend - reminds me that Opa is still a German boy in a foreign country. Few speak his language, fewer still (if any) can understand his situation. I can't imagine how isolating that must have been to be the only refugee for miles. No one really has an understanding of what he is going through. Opa has lost contact with many of his friends, he does not hear from his father, his mother is in danger every day she remains in Berlin. His sister's safety is marginal. He hasn't seen his family for at least a year, more like two or three for his sister and mother. He has no guarantee of ever seeing them again. His culture and world-understanding is completely foreign to everyone around him. On top of that- he's in Kansas, a landscape and culture further removed from his own than perhaps a town on the north east coast would be. I have these moments when I feel alone because of how I see the world and what I care about- it's hard to find friends as an adult who you can truly connect with. It's hard enough within your own culture. I imagine Opa's loneliness weighed on him- who can he tell about his fears and worries?

Patti doesn't seem to be overly worried about Opa's visa- like everyone else. I think he isn't convinced or he wouldn't have shown concern to Patti. She's most concerned about Ella (Putschi) and whether or not she should go to Shanghai. Apparently the foreigners aren't being treated well there. However, I did little searching, and though that might have been the case at some point- here is a link to an article on the Holocaust Museum website. There you can read a little bit about why Shanghai actually became one of the only valid locations to emigrate to from Germany. When other countries where closing their borders, Shanghai remained open. The article is really interesting- don't forget to read it!

Now we have more information on August's situation, but it isn't helpful in any way. All we know is that somehow he's managed to write to Patti and Ella, but not to Opa - and not directly to anyone. I'm really confused about all of this. Patti also says he still has his job- but not the full job. I wonder if this is right, or if the information is old and Ella was right when she said he lost his job.  He is learning professional photography- so hopefully that is helpful to him. How entrepreneurial everyone had to be when their options were slowly stripped away. 

August and Patti both approve of whatever plan Opa has for Ella- they talk about friends having better information. That may have been intended to be code- but it really is likely the "Friends" or Quakers that they are referring to. I'm confused though, because last time we checked- the Quakers basically told Opa that there was no hope for Ella. Maybe something has opened up? Patti and August trust him - what responsibility!

Patti leaves her letter and comes back to it a week later- she and Maurice are moving in with their friend Emma. I'm sure that wasn't the plan- but she's being positive about it. They have a place to live and furniture- that's good! Patti then hands the letter over to Maurice, who writes a nice note. He reassures Opa of their situation, and reminds Opa to ask if he needs anything. It's funny because it's kind of like Maurice is taking the big brother role- but he's exactly the same age as Opa. He is being sweet though- which I appreciate. He calls Patti by her real name "Brigitte" which reminds me that likely she is only known as Patti to her family. 

This was a good letter! So now- go read that article on the refugees in Shanghai.