U.S. Rescinds Visas
The story about the Wildmann’s non-emigration before the war was written by Herbert Kolb as a memorial to his wife, Laure Kolb z.l., nee Wildmann. The Non-Emigration (pdf). The letters below were collected by Herbert Kolb.
Margot’s description: After Nov. 10, everybody tried to leave Germany. We too went to the American Consulate in Stuttgart. The consul, with a huge cigar in his mouth told us our papers are not enough and as Papa’s vision was impaired, he would not be able to earn a living for a large family. This vision impairment on one eye never bothered him, but the consul didn’t want to have so many Jews come to the U.S. So we waited.
American Consulate, Stuttgart-N Koenigsrasse 19a
Mr. Wildmann Heinrich, Philippsburg, Thuengenstrasse 16
You are registered with the number 9454 in the waiting list for requesting a visa and you should report any change of address. As soon as there is sufficient proof of the possibility to make a living in America and your number comes up, a summons for a formal request will be sent to you. This summons will be sent about four weeks ahead of the examination. In each letter the waiting number has to be given.
(End of September 1938)
To the American Consulate Phillipsburg, September 16. 1940
Stuttgart – N Koenigstr. 19a
Reference: Heinrich Wildmann, born 5, 11, 88 in Hoerden/Murgtal living Philippsburg Baden and Family File number 9454
I have received your letter from 8. 19, 40 in which you tell me that after careful examination of all conditions, as well as the submitted papers it became impossible to give me and my family a visa. I am still trying to get the accreditation from my sponsor for a future summons. At that time I ask you politely to keep my old priority on the waiting list.
Sincerely Heinrich Wildmann
THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATED OF AMERICA
Mr. Heinrich Wildmann October 2, 1940
In answer to your letter of September 16, 1940 the Consulate regrets to inform you that all Consulate officials responsible in your case, after impartial and just examination, feel compelled to decide, in view of the present situation, to withdraw the previously given tentative approval of your documents that are in our possession.
Your name will continue to be carried on our waiting list and your case might be considered again, when those reasons. Which led to the rejection of your visa, no longer exist.
For the Consul General
Hugh H. Teller
American Vise Consul
A letter from the cousin of Rebekka Wildmann
St. Louis, Mo August 19, 38
Honored Family Wildmann.
Mr. Simon Mosenfelder asked me to write to you that he is willing, to my great pleasure, to give a affidavit to your whole family. Mr. Mosenfelder is in a high position in the shoe factory of his father-in-law. Mr. Mosenfelder is a lovely fine human being, who wants to help you in the United States to build a new life here. I am here in the U.S.A. for a year and a half and work in the same company. I am happy to assist you in any way possible. I ask you to give me, on the attached form, the exact names, birthdays and the exact birth places. Please print it. As Mr. Mosenfelder has told me, he will help you financially as it might be necessary in the first year, until you are able to manage. Anyway send the names, so that the papers can be filled out. I also would like to tell you about things to bring along. Bring along anything you have. The best transfer is to learn English day and night.
Once more I send you my greetings and my congratulation
Best regards Yours Curt Levi
File # 811.11 BCH/LE
May 27, 1939
Mr. Heinrich Wildmann List of Quotas: German Number: 9454
Approximate waiting time March 1940
With your letter from May 25, 1939 the consulate received documents (for examination in relation to your request to prove that you have enough sources to sustain life in the United States) from the sponsor:
Simon Mosenfeld in St. Louis, Miss.
You are asked to immediately write to your sponsor that the documents have arrived and that these will be checked closely as soon as possible. The time of this examination depends on the amount and the workload of the consulate here and of your place in the waiting list. In any case you will have enough time after the documents are checked to get additional documents if the consulate believes to be necessary, before your number on the waiting list will come up. Until you hear from the consulate, you have nothing to do then to report eventual changes in your steady address or of your postal address. It would be appreciated, if you would not write meaningless letters which would lighten the work load of the consulate. Therefore you would probably not get an answer.
In case at the examination of your papers they should be insufficient in any way, I would notify you at once. You would have to provide us with additional documents, which you will get exactly described for qualification for a visa.
Attachment: Affidavits and other documents which were sent to the consulate for the giving of the visa can under no condition be sent back to the emigrant. No copies or photo copies can be made of it.
For the Consul General
Boies C. Hart, Jr.
American Vice Consul
Milius Shoe Company
O’Fallon at Twenty-third . Saint Louis Missouri
May 1, 1940
I’ve just received a letter from the American Consul General, Samuel W. Honaker of Stuttgart, Germany, sent to me through the courtesy of Senator Wagner of New York, one of the foremost statesmen and United States Senator who has kindly written to the American Consul at Stuttgart in your behalf.
This letter of the American Consul was a very kind answer and shows a kind interest in doing his duty in giving every consideration within the immigration laws and regulations.
Mr. Honaker explains why your visa was not granted, and I desire to say that my affidavit and my procedure would have been sufficient to grant a visa had it not been for the report of the United States Public Health Service who examined Mr. Wildmann and found, “afflicted with loss of vision of the right eye, light perception only, a serious physical defect which might affect his ability to earn a living. The American Consul, therefore, could not grant a visa in view of the number of applicants in your family with the serious defect of Mr. Wildmann under the Public Charge provision of the immigration law.”
Furthermore, the Consul states “The loss of the use of one eye requires additional evidence of the readiness to furnish you and your family a reasonable continuing source of support for what might be an indefinite period of time”.
You did not tell me this or I would have known why your visa had not been granted. I did more than necessary under the immigration laws to get your visa, and it would have been granted without any question otherwise. I did everything that would have been requested, and you would have been in the United States long ago had there been no complications that you did not tell me about, so it is not my fault.
Furthermore, the Consul does not request a deposit from me but requires now that I submit a supplementary affidavit indicating that I am aware that Mr. Wildmann has suffered the loss of the use of one eye and would submit evidence of the definite financial arrangements made to furnish your family a reasonably continuing source of support which might be an indefinite period of time.
You will agree that this is asking a lot to take on this responsibility. However with your fine boys and family, I’m hoping everything will work out, if I’m able to arrange for your visa. Brother Gabe promised to send an additional affidavit. I don’t know if he has done so, but I‘m sending the American Consul’s report to him so that he will know the conditions. If Gabe will consent to send an affidavit such as the Consul now requires, this in addition to what I’ve already done will be all that is necessary to grant a visa. I will also send the Consul additional evidence of my further resources and responsibility. Of course, all of this will cost more now. Had I known these facts before, everything could have been arranged more than a year ago, and transportation cost would have been half of what they are today.
I’m willing to supply $ 500 of the transportation cost and Gabe will also help with $ 100 and perhaps you can arrange for any additional cost and let me know about this after the visa is granted.
Now Bekky, you will appreciate that all I did, what the immigration laws require, and that, as explained, there were circumstances of which you did not tell me. I handled this matter through my lawyer who knows all about the immigration laws and told me that a deposit from me was not required, but we did not know the other circumstances.
I will now see what we can do, if Gabe is willing to send his affidavit, I think perhaps that will take care of it. I don’t mind taking responsibility on myself, but I’m not willing to place responsibility of this kind on my family for an indefinite period.
I hope everything will work out alright, but please understand, all of this delay is due to your failure to tell me the whole story.
Love to all S. Mosenfelder
May 7. 1940
Dear honored Mrs. Mane,
You have to excuse me that I did not answer you yet. The reason is, that besides the Wildmann matter, I have a lot more to write. Besides, because of strange people things get very confused. Mr. Mosenfelder received 2 days ago a letter from a senator that the 3000.00 dollars which the Consul requested only are supposed to be given as Mr. Wildmann almost does not see at all on one eye and the other eye also will get bad. Mr. Mosenfelder opposed from the beginning to deposit this sum after he heard about it and everything is finished. But he has made his brother to send a second affidavit to Germany, which will soon arrive there. I am very sorry that the matter does not work out, but I can’t do more than Mr. Mosenfelder tells me he will give
$ 500.00 for passage and might be moved to maybe give a little more. I have reported this to Germany
With friendly greetings
Your Curt Levi
Application for Receiving
A Student Monthly Ticket and Student Weekly Ticket
University Eye Clinic
Director Professor Dr. Engelking May 27, 1940
Eye Doctor’s Testimony
Mr. Heinrich Wildmann, printer in Philippsburg was carefully eye-examined by me.
The eyesight in the left eye without glasses is 5/4, therefore completely normal. Close up the smallest print (Nieden 1) was read without any difficulty. The vision in the right eye at 2.5 meters will not be better with glasses.
Both eyes are inside as well as outside completely healthy. The lesser eyesight on the right eye existed from birth and not a change from any sickness. A danger of losing the eyesight does not exist. To prove this, Mr. Wildmann has performed his job without any effort during his whole life and is able to do this in the future as well. There is no danger at all.
The treating doctor
Signed by Professor Dr. Engelking
The Non-Emigration (pdf)