Annual letter 1973

100 Ivyhurst Road
Amherst, New York 14226
December 2, 1973

Dear Friends:

When we wrote you last year, we had only recently returned from our sabbatical leave in Germany. In contrast this year was very quiet, even if busy, and this letter will concentrate more on family news than have previous ones.

Of the children only Jonathan, now eighteen and a senior in high school, remains at home. And he is now making plans for school for next year. He is not yet certain on what he wants to study and for the time being wants to take a fairly broad general course. Jeremy and Daniel both received their BA’s in June, Jeremy from Carleton College where he majored in philosophy, Dan from York University in political science. Jeremy took off a year to work, partly to have time to think in which direction he wants to go on. He has a strong interest in writing and spent the summer at the University of Iowa’s creative writing workshop but decided that writing is something which cannot be taught. He is working at present at Sears in Seattle, in a geographic region which he loves, and has now decided to apply for admission to graduate philosophy departments in September despite the somewhat discouraging employment prospects. Dan and Maggie have been married since August. They stayed with us in Buffalo for several weeks in September and then went back to Toronto in time for Maggie to return to York University to complete her final year for the B.A. Dan enjoys his job as an assistant manager at a new drive-in in Toronto where he does a variety of supervisory and clerical jobs and makes huge quantities of root beer. Maggie and Dan were lucky to find a married students’ apartment right on the York campus. Dan still hopes to go to law school in September.

Wilma and I have been busy with our usual activities. Wilma has had a very heavy teaching load. Canisius College as a private institution has felt the financial pinch with the result that particularly in the modern languages vacancies have not been filled. She has also been involved in her research into the intellectual and cultural history of the Bohemian Jews in the 19th century in the crucial transition period when Jews were entering the main stream of German and Czech culture. With a grant from Canisius, Wilma went to Hebrew Union College, to Chicago and Champaign for short periods during the summer to do the basic bibliographical work for her study on the Bohemian Jews and hopes to go to Prague this coming summer to use the materials in the Jewish State Museum. I too have been very busy with teaching, a smaller course load than Wilma but considerably more graduate students than in the past. I was busy during the summer revising and completing the historiographical essays I had begun during our stay in Germany. My community involvements remained the same, only that the situation in the community has changed. On my return to Buffalo, I was reappointed co-chairman of the education comittee of the NAACP branch, but the branch has been relatively inactive. We have filed a major suit challenging discriminatory patterns in the schools in the Buffalo and the metropolitan area, but this will be long drawn out litigation with few immediate results and relatively limited hope for a decision which would link the availability of educational facilities in the suburbs with those of the city. As in other American urban areas, racial isolation with all its social implications is increasing as the exodus into the suburbs continues. Our hopes of the 1950’s and early 1960’s that the existing social structure would permit reforms in the direction of an open, multiracial society in which the alienation and isolation of those who have been disadvantaged in the past and present could be overcome appear much less likely of fulfillment, today. My main community involvement remains the Military and Draft Counseling Center of Buffalo. The center has remained in operation even after inductions came to an end and has worked with a small but steady number of persons in the military requiring help. If we once counselled primarily students opposed to participation in the Viet Nam War, we now primarily work with enlisted men, many 17 and 18 years old, who escaped into the armed forces from very disadvantaged circumstances only to face new conflicts in the military.

The main family event of the year was, of course, the wedding, which took place outdoors on a beautiful summer afternoon in late August on Maggie’s parents’ farm about 100 miles north of Toronto. It was a simple, informal wedding and an opportunity for friends and relatives to gather. Dan and Maggie had asked Sam Gandy, who had been a close friend of the family since we moved to the Dillard University campus in 1957 and who thus knew Dan since he was a small child, to perform the ceremony. The choice of Sam Gandy was particularly fitting because Sam – while a Christian minister, now Dean of the School of Religion at Howard University has always had a very deep and active interest in Judaism and has shared our family’s concern in the broader issues of social justice and peace. Sam composed a very meaningful service for the ceremony rooted in ideas common to the Jewish and Christian heritage. Our rabbi, Daniel Kerman, participated in the ceremony. It was a very nice day. It was encouraging how a group of people, as diverse in their ethnic and religious backgrounds as this wedding party was, could come together in a rural Canadian setting to celebrate an inter-religious marriage.

Even with Jeremy and Danny gone, our house was by no means empty. During the spring and summer we had a steady stream of friends visiting, mostly from Germany. My father spent a part of the summer here after a cataract operation performed in Buffalo. He has not been in the best of health this year and since last February, when he was briefly hospitalized, has virtually had to give up his work. He is still living in Richmond but is now seriously considering moving to Buffalo after the winter.

This letter turned out longer and chattier than originally intended. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.

Georg and Wilma

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