This heartbreaking letter from Fedia Pasman, son of Alter and Chana and uncle of Bronia, was written just months before the outbreak of WWII to his brother Grisha who was living in NY. It details the letter he got from the US consulate indicating that because of filled quotas, he could not come to the US. Fedia died in a German prisoner of war camp near Lubin.
May 8, 1939
Rafalowka (today Rafalivka, Ukraine)
My dears and precious, be well.
I am thank G-d in good health. We should hear the same from you. I haven’t written in a long time. Everyone awaits a letter from you so I postponed writing to you. Today I received a letter from home that included your letter from the consulate but I am sorry but it was not a happy one. So it is. It is like with the butter down. (saying about bread falling butter-side down ) Reading your letter my dear brother I understand well that you would want to do everything you can to help me. What can I do that we don’t have any luck.? You can’t buy luck for any amount of money. Therefore one thing remains…waiting for G-d to change the luck. Luckily I am working now and my head is busy with other things and I am busy all day so I don’t have time to worry. It would be very hard if I wasn’t working. The time flies by and I wish it would be happier times so I can arrive at my goal. In the letter from the consulate they write to me the same as what was in the postcard I sent you long ago. But they wrote that the quota was filled so they can’t process my papers and when the time comes that there is an opening they will let me know. The quota is exhausted for a few years. From the letter I understand that no other way exists and we must wait. You write that you can get a letter from a Senator to send to the consulate. I understand what you write and that would perhaps help. Try to get the letter and perhaps something will help. I understand that the consulate will reply to such a letter. The letter will go from me name Bogdanov name. We will see how the consulate will respond to that letter. [unable to read some words here]
Otherwise there is no news. It is not happy times. Hilter is again stirring up and I understand that Poland put him in his place a little and he (?) thinks things will continue. We will see what time will bring. As long as there isn’t a war, then everything will be good. From Nusha (Note: Nusha is in the Feinstein family in Canada) I have letters quite often. She writes everything, however she can’t help me because all the doors/gates are closed. I must be patient and wait until who knows when my turn will come. I haven’t been home for a long time. This week I will go there and from there I will write with my parents. Please prepare the letter and write to consulate and maybe? Yesterday a girl left from the shtetl where I am working to America to her cousin. It took her a year to get the papers but she never received the type of letter I got from the consulate, therefore I believe that the quota wasn’t as over filled. Everyone in town was envious. How is the World Fair (exposition)? Did you see the Polish Pavilion? Please write about everything. I had expected to be there at the Fair...it goes on without me.
Stay well and happy.
I send many kisses to each one.
Stories of Survival: Sam and Bronia Bronkesh