In June 1938 in Berlin, mass arrests of Jews took place. As foreign Jews, the Ginsberg family was at even greater risk than German Jews of being imprisoned. On August 13, 1938, Moses Ginsberg waited in line for hours at the American Consulate for entry visas to the United States. When he reached the front of the line, he submitted the Affidavit of Support and passports for each family member.
Two days later, he received a letter from the American Consulate that the quota for Poles was exhausted and he should reapply on March 13, 1939. Waiting seven months longer while the Nazis continued to terrorize the Jews seemed like an eternity.
Photo: Refugees line up outside the American consulate, 6 place Felix Baret in Marseilles. Before May 1941, Marseilles, France.
Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Hiram Bingham.
Translation of the August 1938 letter from the American Consulate in Berlin to the Ginsberg family:
Attached to this are affidavits and other documents relating to your intended immigration to the United States. The quota for Poles is exhausted, so your papers can not be considered until March 1939. After this date, you will be asked to resubmit your papers for preliminary assessment or to bring them here. However, no requests can be answered before this date.