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Linked only by their common last-name, Kurt and Helen take a leap of faith

“Before I go much further, please let me impress this fact - that my entire family are eagerly awaiting the day that you will arrive in New York [...].”


When 28-year-old Kurt Kleinmann of Vienna wrote to the Kleinmans in America, he could not have hoped for a kinder, more exuberant response than what he received from 25-year-old Helen. After finding the address of a Kleinman family in the US, Kurt had asked the total strangers in a letter dated May 25 to help him leave Austria by providing him with an affidavit. He had finished law school in Vienna and was now running his father’s wine business. Helen readily adopts the theory that the Kleinmanns and the Kleinmans might actually be related to one another, promising her “cousin” to procure an affidavit for him within the week. Affably and vivaciously, she assures him that the Kleinmans will correspond with him to make the time until departure feel shorter.



Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin


Kurt and Helen Kleinman Collection, AR 10738


Box 1, folder 2

Source available in English


on the days before