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The American Experience
December 1941

Ludwig Klein December 6, 1941
Groupe 3A
Camp des Milles, France

My Dear Children,

You must be in receipt of our cable from Marseilles, sent to Max last week. As you will have gathered from it, we were at the American consulate on Dec. 3, at which time our [main] visas were supposed to have been issued. Although everything was in readiness, they could not be handed over to us because no more German quota numbers were available [that day or week.] However, they ought to be available again within a few days, at which time the visas can be picked up. So you can see, nothing goes as quickly as expected.

Once we do get the visas, we'll have to apply for the Portuguese transit visa, after that the Spanish one which will take approx. two weeks to get and once that is accomplished, we'll have to request the French exit visa [visa de sortie] which will lead to our "liberation." Only then will we be able to get out of Lisbon by Dec. 26, presumably making it necessary to leave on a ship sailing the beginning of January ['42].

The $50 which you paid to HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] will not do us any good because $100 is necessary for the trip to Lisbon. We can obtain that [amount] at the local official rate. That's why I cabled you to withdraw the former amount from HIAS. I already obtained Ffrs. 3,000 from Camille Beermann, as well as Ffrs. 1,600 from Thalheimer. Whatever other funds will still be needed, I'll be able to get from the local sources, so that you should not remit anything further. At any rate, I thank you much for you remittances. It's totally unclear to me why you made this remittance through HIAS, inasmuch as our passage was not booked and paid for at that agency which therefore has no interest in us at all. The fact is that their passengers all travel via Oran-Casablanca-Cuba-Mexico-New York. Such a ship will depart with 300 passengers from Marseilles on the twelfth of this month, including some people from here [Les Milles.]

You'll no doubt have had direct news from Mother in Marseilles and I received your most recent letter of Nov. 3 and one from Kurt, dated Nov. 4. All of them made us very glad and we hope to be able to bring you up-to-date soon on everything else in person. Even if we shouldn't reach the ship by Dec. 26 any more, the brief waiting time will also pass. I'm sure you have no idea how much red tape we encounter here and how difficult it is to comply with all the formalities. We'll more than happy once we reach that point.

Other than that, we are all right, thank goodness, and were so glad to hear the same about you. In particular, I wish you, dear Gerdi, an easy time [until her confinement] and hope you all continue to be well. Best regards to all relatives and friends and accept my most heartfelt greetings,

Your Father

P.S. Mother sends regards, but can't add her own lines today because this letter has to get in the mail.

[The day after this letter was sent, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, rendering all of this null and void once more.]

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