"We are Jews and forced to leave Vienna very soon. Therefore I appeal in our great trouble to you--an Aryan--and ask you whether you, perhaps through your esteemed parents or another noble-minded personality, would be so good as to provide us with an affidavit." Thus writes Catherine Spiegler, a typical oppressed German Jewess, to Samuel Burrit Lacy, Jr. '41, who claims she is a perfect stranger to him.
Catherine Spiegler, 45-year-old Czechoslovakian-born stenographer with some knowledge of German, English, Slovakian, and Hungarian writes for her mother, her sister Hedwig, and herself.
"May It Be a Lucky One"
"By chance may it be a luck one!" she says, "I learned your address. When you were studying at the Vienna University two years ago you surely had occasion to get acquainted with Viennese people and to esteem them. May I therefore with regard to those, I daresay, happy and pleasing days utter a certainly very immodest request which nevertheless might be fulfilled?"
Nowhere in the letter is there any explanation of what the "affidavit" is to be used for. Lacy, who Hyon in Kirkland House and has his home in Buffalo, is, therefore, rather chary of taking any direct action for fear he may become involved in a political whirlpool.
"Honest, Respectable People"
"We are honest, respectable people," continues Catherine Spiegler as she describes how her family has been prospering since it moved to Vienna in 1908.
"A merciful Providence may give it that this letter may be taken well by you as a noble and understanding man and bring us rescue from misery and despair," she concludes in her broken English. The letter was postmarked Nov. 11 from Vienna.