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The American Experience
April 1941
Ludwig Klein is transferred to the concentration camp Les Milles, which is closer to Marseilles and makes it easier for him to work on his visa application.

Alice Klein
Ilot I, Bar. 12
Basses-Pyrenées March 10, 1941

My Dear Children,

We hope you came into possession of our various letters, especially the ones of last week, because they contained the confirmation that the documents went to Marseilles and that passage has been booked. I am repeating this because one never knows whether all of those letters arrived. The most recent ones from you are of Jan. 24 and 29 and we are now again awaiting further news from you. We are also expecting the decision from Marseilles [American consulate] and, as we found out, those papers are allegedly already here at the camp headquarters [Kommandantur]. Therefore, it can only be a matter of 8-10 days until we'll get the call [to go to Marseilles]. Father was already put on the list [of men going to Marseilles] yesterday. Almost daily, people are able to leave here, partly on an individual basis, i.e. those who intend to go to the U.S.A. The women go to Marseilles and the gentlemen to Les Milles! Children's transports, as well as childless couples, are also being delayed for another 8-10 days. Thus, progress is being made only very slowly.

From what we hear, the camps--or whatever other sites exist for ladies--are supposed to be overcrowded to such an extent that there isn't going to be any room until further notice. At the same time, the ban on parcel and money remittances is only going to be lifted a few days from now, according to reports. Therefore, we are in hopes that the $15 of which you notified us already a few weeks ago, will finally be paid out. Most of the people are bemoaning the delay, as is also the case with the many food shipments which have already been expected from the U.S. for such a long time. Not only that we are badly in need of all that, but we regret as well that you have to sacrifice so much hard-earned money, whereas we unfortunately may never have the benefit of it. The surest way is still via Lisbon, from where daily shipments are arriving. Perhaps you can try this route once more, although by the time this reaches you and something is actually sent off, we hopefully won't be here anymore. Father was already twice on the list of men to go to Les Milles--regrettably without me--and the women will have to go to Marseilles, as I mentioned. I feel doubly bad that in such a case I won't be able to take care of Father any more the way I'm doing it from here.

In recent times, I've been able to send him some meals I prepared which naturally taste very good to him. We also were allowed to visit each other 2 to 3 times, something that will be impossible there because of the distances. In spite of that, we are glad to get one step closer and, God willing, the rest will then fall into place, so that we may soon begin to think of early emigration.

How is Aunt Carrie and all the other relatives? Please extend our regards. Dear Kurt, please do write again about your activity and how you are spending the rest of your time. Everything will be of interest to us. The same goes for you, Gerdi, Guenther, Max and Suse. Do give our regards to all your friends and acquaintances, especially to Aunt Alma, Erich and Margot. If only the Munich and Frankfurt families, along with all others, can go to the U.S., instead of having to set off on another type of journey. [i.e. one that would take them to Auschwitz.]

Inasmuch as Father also wants to add to this, I'll close for now and remain with my most deeply-felt regards and kisses, your loving


Dear Children,

As Mother already mentioned, I have the prospect of moving on to an emigration camp near Marseilles, although the outlook for a departure [to the U.S.] is minimal. The [American] consulate is swamped and the processing goes very slowly. In addition, all ships' bookings are taken up until the end of July. According to regulations, only people with passports can travel via Lisbon, while the others would have to go by way of Martinique which requires travel of 6 to 8 weeks duration. Dear Max, can you not intercede with the steamship line to request that their Marseilles representative instigate everything that is necessary for an early departure at the consulate? At the moment, only those who have received a summons from the consulate can even ask for information along those lines.

Yesterday, I visited Mother, where I also met with Uncle Bernhard and his ladies. The latter make a frightful appearance and completely let themselves go. Both of us are in good shape, thank goodness, and hopefully, the same holds true for you. Yesterday, I was notified by a French bank that Ffrs. 431 [$10] are on the way again, for which we send our very best thanks. For now, take my warmest regards, to all of you, as well as the relatives, from your,


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