First page of a letter in Yiddish from Paul Olberg to Lasar

“As I’ve already telegraphed you, the American consulate found [her case] too weak.”

Stockholm, Sweden, 1946. Letter from Paul Olberg to Lasar

Letter from Paul Olberg, a friend of Lasar who lived in Sweden and helped locate Beba, to Lasar Epstein. He discusses Beba’s life in Sweden, how she views her prospects, and her pending application for a United States permanent resident visa. Full translation below.

Dear Friend Epstein,

Please forgive me for not responding to your personal letter for such a long time. You must certainly understand that I am horribly busy with our work. We often fret about whether one thing or another will work out and are often distressed and disappointed in people: You surely know that vis a vis your own experiences.

Now about Beba. She is well, still in the same apartment, but we’ll have to pay 150 krona a month for it, and that doesn’t include pocket money*. Then the government has taken the position that all who are healthy must work. Under that state of affairs, it’s possible people will be sent far, far away from here to work. But Beba wants to remain in Stockholm. That is understandable as she already has a circle of friends she’s met here, and she doesn’t want to be separated from her friends. Aside from that, there is the issue of whether her health issues will allow her to work. We confer with each other every day, mostly on the telephone. When important issues come up she naturally consults with me and my wife and follows our advice. There are exceptions — those who’ve survived those frightful experiences think they can handle everything on their own and are very independent. In time, that will probably iron itself out. Difficult social problems will straighten out by educating the survivors. Even children, whose morale is on firmer ground than all the others.

In a few days, Beba will be going to visit a friend for a week. We know him as well. He was here and visited us. It will be good for her lungs to go ice skating.

As a Baltic citizen, she is entitled to live anywhere in Sweden. As I’ve already telegraphed you, the American consulate found [her case] too weak. I’ve intervened on her behalf and am awaiting the results of it. In any case, a strong affidavit will naturally be required. As things stand now, she will probably be able to travel in April. She is cheerfully awaiting a visa, so there’s nothing to worry about, as she’s beginning to understand and express that Sweden is a very good country and possibly a place one might live well in. More and more survivors are acquiring that perspective. As far as Palestine, even Zionist survivors are losing hope. And also, of America, not all are very enthusiastic. They understand how hard life is there.

Beba has already been to the dentist several times and her treatments there will be going on for a while. Many of the survivors are in need of arduous operations/surgeries.

*I deposited the $100 into Beba’s account.