Annual Letter 1983

100 Ivyhurst Road Buffalo, NY 14226 December 4, 1983

Dear Friends:

It is a quiet Sunday morning and I am sitting in the empty departmental office practicing on the new word processor. This is my second attempt on this ingenious machine. I had almost completed the letter yesterday when I hit a wrong key and lost it.

This has again been a busy year. Wilma in particular has been very occupied. In addition to a full teaching load at Canisius College, she continues to be graduate fellowship advisor, a task which involves a good deal of counseling, which she enjoys but which also takes much time. She is still busy with her book on the Bohemian Jews. She has a complete manuscript, but it is much too long and she is now making final revisions. The book is to appear in German in 1985 with C.H.Beck, one of the most renowned German publishers. This is a work of love but also a memorial to a community which no longer exists. On the less scholarly side, Wilma is working with Jeremy on a Bohemian cookbook which combines recipes with her recollections of the world she knew.

This is my third and last year of my term as chairman of my department. I accepted the position with a good deal of apprehension, since I had no administrative experience and no inclinations in this direction. Actually I have enjoyed my term. I have had very good cooperation from colleagues who in the past have often been badly divided and the guidance of an excellent administrative assistant, who has been with the department for over twenty years and has not only handled much of the bureaucratic work but given me valuable advice. But the chairmanship has taken a good deal of time. I have had relatively little time for my writing and reading. Further time has been taken up with close work with a number of interesting graduate students. I look forward to our sabbatical 1985-1986, which we intend to spend in Goettingen and Berlin, to return seriously to my research and writing.

We have been fortunate that we have seen a lot of our children and our granddaughter. Jonathan still lives at home. He too is very busy. He has been working for over a year now in the county’s division of social services as a welfare examiner, often a very taxing job. In his sparetime he continues to manage the student housing he acquired when he was without a position and to handle the postering of advertisement material at the various colleges in the area. Daniel in Toronto started a new position in spring with the Law Society of Upper Canada which he enjoys. He is secretary to the society’s discipline committee and sits in on all disciplinary hearings and then formulates the opinions. Janet, his wife, has resigned her position as a director of research in the Ontario ombudsman’s office and is expecting a child in April, our second grandchild. We have a very nice relationship with Sarah, our granddaughter now six years old and in first grade. She spends every other weekend with Dan and Janet; the rest of the time she lives with her mother in Hamilton with whom we are on friendly terms. Sarah is alert and affectionate. Dan and Janet bring her to Buffalo approximately once a month and in between we see her occasionally in Toronto or Hamilton. Jeremy continues as food writer for the Detroit Free Press. He has negotiated an arrangement with the paper by which he works a reduced schedule. This permits him to turn to his other interests. He freelances. He is working on a book on journalistic ethics which may become the basis for his dissertation. He has been fascinated by the idea of founding a small brewery and in connection with this has visited not only small breweries in this country but in Europe. For the time being the idea seems too risky but will probably result in a book on beer. His cheese cake cookbook continues to do very well. At the latest count over 135,000 copies had been printed.

We again did a fair amount of traveling. In May I was in Little Rock on my annual visit as a guest of and consultant to Philander Smith College. It has been twenty—seven years since Wilma and I taught there and I am very pleased that this relationship, strengthened by our involvement in the civil rights movement at the time has continued. During July and most of August we were in Europe. Upon our arrival in Frankfurt we were met by various of our students from Darmstadt with whom we spent two days. Buffalo has had a small but active exchange initiated at the Buffalo end by me with the TU Darmstadt. We have become good friends with most of the German and American students who have participated the exchange. Next we went to nearby Offenbach to visit our good friend Irmgard Bokemeyer with whom we lived in Rauschenwasser on our various stays short or long in Goettingen. Irmgard as a result of poor health, she is now in her upper seventies but still very actively interested in family and friends but also her many peace and social justice concerns, has moved to her son in Offenbach. She accompanied us nevertheless to Goettingen. In Goettingen this time we stayed with the Friedrich family, the children of Heide Friedrich, a survivor of Nazi prisons very active until her death two years ago in civil liberties and pacifist concerns and in Jewish—Christian reconciliation. We have known her since our first stay in Goettingen and her children have since then become good friends. Dagmar Friedrich, herself an editor for a publishing house, helped Wilma edit her manuscript. Goettingen, as you know, has become a second home to us over the past twenty years both in terms of human contacts and scholarly relations. I again, as in previous years, enjoyed the hospitality of the Max Planck Institute for History which has been very valuable to me not only as a place to work but also to discuss my own work. Our stay in Goettingen was interrupted by two trips, one to a small international conference on historiography, well attended by Western and Eastern scholars, in Montpellier in Southern France,the other as guests of the Academy of Sciences of the German Democratic Republic. I have been instrumental in arranging visits of GDR scholars to the United States and this trip gave us an opportunity to continue and expand scholarly contacts and to see friends. Next summer we shall probably not go to Goettingen. I have been invited to go to China on a lecture trip as part of an exchange between the Peking municipal university system and Buffalo. Wilma will accompany me and hopefully lecture too. We expect to be in Peking from the middle of May to the end of June.

I cannot complete this letter without expressing our deep concern about the international situation. We are deeply worried about the impasse in the nuclear talks and the beginnings of a new armament race, and about the attempts by all sides, whether in Poland, Central America and the Carribean, or the Middle East, to solve political problems by military force. And finally, we are troubled as Jews with an attachment to Israel by the settlement policy which denies the right of self—determination which should be guaranteed to Jews, Palestinians, and Lebanese alike.

To all of you, all the best for the holiday season and the New Year.

The lggers Family Georg, Wilma, Jonathan

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