|Letter to Freida from Moshe: May 3, 1939. Abe and Freida were married in 1937|
Dear Freida and Abe Shalom,
Yesterday I got your letter to me and today the letter you wrote to the family, where your concern and your great will to help us is much appreciated. We all thank you and hope that your work for us will bear fruit.
Mama already wrote to you about my decision to marry Miriam Elkind and to come with her to America. Miriam Elkind wrote to her uncle in New York and asked him to bring us there. They will have to send us papers in which they are asking us to come; she didn't receive a response from her uncle, and in the meantime the immigration situation to America changed.
The American Consulate in Kaunas [Kovno] announced that the quota for five years is filled and they do not accept new requests for travel to America. This is perhaps because of the crazy times in general and in Klaipeda [assumedly a town in Lithuania] specifically, but because I am lucky God sent me one section of the immigration law and there it is written in black and white, that an expert in agriculture [Moshe was an agronomist] has first place in the immigration queue. This of course does not mean that I do not need all the required papers from the United States. Just one change: I need to get the papers from a farmer, a landowner or a gardener, in short someone who is asking me to come as an expert. If this happens then I will be the happiest person who can go to America to you. Of course it will be difficult for you to do it, therefore I decided with Miriam to ask you this: Miriam has two uncles in New York, Louis Elkins , the one you met when Miriam visited [A year before Miriam Elkins had visited America and met Abe and Freida. This was before she was going to marry Moshe] and the other uncle is Willie. You met him when you escorted Miriam to the ship. We ask you to visit them, particularly Willie, or to speak with them and decide how to realize this plan that I'm writing about.
They are two people who own houses and surely they will be interested in Miriam. You must of course convince them to do these things. Freida, in your letter to me you say that America is very good and you made an effort to make me love America. Actually this was not necessary, because in Lithuania, the Jews' desire to leave is so strong that they would go anywhere, but especially to America.
For Pessie, I think maybe you can send papers anyway in fact she will not have to wait five years. There are probably many Jewish Lithuanian residents who want to immigrate to America, but among them there are many who put their names in but don't have any chance to receive the necessary papers. So we think that the waiting time will be cut in half. I was in HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] in Kaunas to see how the papers have to be written and they told me that there must be a money guarantee, probably not a small amount, and a promise that the immigrants will not become a burden. All the details you can obtain at the HIAS offices in NY.
When I was in Kaunas, I met Pessie and we visited a few places. She is happy and is looking good. Also I met Yitzchak Cohen. He works in Metatukas. This is a government cooperative. He is working in the Grains department and his salary is not bad, but because of the situation he too would like to leave Lithuania. The brother and parents of Rachel Abel in South Africa are trying to bring him there, as an expert agronomist, the same as in America. You see agronomists are welcome guests everywhere. Yitzchak and Rachel will probably marry before they leave.
From home you sure get a lot of letters they are all in good health and all the time they are waiting for letters from the family daughters and sons. Today they sent me a letter they had received form Shoshanna. Reizale [Shoshanna's Yiddish name] also is trying to make plans for us to go to her [Eretz Israel], but it seems to be even more difficult than to go to America. Shoshanna wrote to us about the illegal aliyah ships [ships coming from Europe bringing Jews to Israel] that get caught by the British, the terrible situation of the immigrants and the demonstrations in Eretz Israel against the British.
Except for this news I don't have what to add about my life. Today the last exams of the school year began [Moshe was teaching at this time in a Jewish school] and that of course is a great event in the school because strangers, Lithuanian government representatives, come in to observe the exams. The students are nervous as if it is Judgment Day. Except for this there is a lot of work. In spite of all this we still make trips outside the city to enjoy things. Now everything is green and begins to bloom. Close to our high school we have a nice garden where we can take walks and play ballgames. Generally the spring is a happy time.
Be healthy and happy, much love and good wishes to you from Miriam Elkind. I am waiting for an immediate response from you.
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Updated 22 jun 2012 by LA