Please Don’t Make Them Leave

The telegram received by Dad in July 1942 was sent by his sister Anna. That was the first time he learned that his brother Pete was lost. It was a very brief correspondence.

Anna told Dad that permission to remain in Kuibyshev had been refused by the local authorities, and she begged him to forward money to the embassy. The handwritten note on the bottom of the telegram said, “Paid for from indigent funds.” Well, the embassy was at least paying for the telegram to Dad.

That same day, the American Embassy appealed to the office of foreign affairs—The People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the USSR—to allow my three aunts to remain in Kuibyshev. “It will accordingly be greatly appreciated by the embassy if, for humanitarian reasons and in order that the difficulties of their position may not be further complicated, the Commissariat will be so kind as to intervene with the appropriate local authorities to the end that the persons in question be allowed to remain in Kuibyshev for the present.”

Our embassy in Kuibyshev explained that they were trying to arrange for the repatriation of the girls but were being unsuccessful because of their inability to obtain funds for their return trip to the United States.  It was a time of war, and they feared “some time may elapse before they will be able to depart.

It was important to stay close to the embassy in order to maintain regular contact with them.  It did not seem like an unreasonable request, but they were not Soviet citizens. Would my aunts request be granted?

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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