French Letter

I came across this French Letter in Theodore Roosevelt. It is 5 pages starting at the below, handwritten and is legible but I started to do it and found it a little beyond my French comprehension. Whoever would like to review it, it would be appreciated.


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  • Dear Henry (Rosenberg),

    Thanks for your work on Page 14 (most of whose text at right seems to largely be a France Entry Visa stamped text (with information filled in by hand), and most of whose text at left (with the notable exception of a stamp indicating something "SPÉCIAL" ("SPECIAL", in English) which seemed to be made (if I read the blurry place name correctly) at a location in the city of Thionville in the French region of Lorraine (and "Département" of Moselle) ) mostly -- indeed -- seems to be in not-completely-clear German (and to consist of stamps made by entities in Hitler's Germany in early May of 1939 (about 6 years before Germany surrendered in 1945) .

    I will try to at least do my best to review all material in French in Pages 14, 15, and 16 soon -- and will do what I can with the (sometimes undecipherable-by-me) German-language stamped and written text in Page 14's transcription.

    (I wish to note that Google has helped point me to a published mention of a Gabriel Richard as author of a report from Königsberg (a historic city of East Prussia which was conquered by the Soviet "Red" Army in World War II -- and belongs to "Russia" today as the city of Kaliningrad (where Hannah Arendt spent much of her childhood) April 18, 1939 (seemingly 1 week before he signed his name in the document seen in Page 14) concerning (I'm translating fro the French of my source) the "political situtation and state of mind in eastern Prussia" -- and designates him as "Consul de France" (= "Consul of France") there as of April 25, 1939 -- so I believe that the partly-unclear signature beneath stamped "Le Consul de France" is a (somewhat-strange-looking) "Gabriel Richard".)


    Before I post this, I would like to note a few other things about Page 14:

    1) If one goes back a few pages (and consults the current English-language Wikipedia biography of Hannah Arendt), you will see that Pages 10 through 18 constitute parts of a "Reisepass" (a travel document) issued by the Government of Hitler's Germany to Hannah Arendt's mother, Martha Beerwald (this woman re-married after Hannah Arendt's father died during Ms. Arendt's childhood, and decided after "Kristallnacht" (the widespread attacks on Jewish individuals, institutions, and businesses in late 1938) to leave her 2nd husband behind in Königsberg and join her daughter in France) -- presumably to allow her to leave Hitler's "Reich". (I expect to revise the spelling of Mrs. Beerwald's name in the transcription.)

    2) I would never volunteer to transcribe a passport of passport-like (like this one) document's text -- precisely because such documents's contents are mostly stamped and/or handwritten pieces from various governmental authorities documenting arrival in various countries/places; since there is only "continuous" text mostly in short pre-printed parts of the document and within each separate stamped piece, it is hard for me (myself) to decide what to signal as "marginalia" and what to not signal as such. (For example: Should the handwritten line containing "No 108 Beerwald Martha" at the top of the page at right in Page 14 be considered a "primary" part of the transcription, or a "marginal" one -- and what about the separate stamped texts within it produced by Nazi German and Republican French authorities? (And what to say (if anything) about some actual "stamps" (in the postage form, although not seemingly used for postage here) seen in Page 14, at right?)

    (Personally, I would prefer special rules for transcribing passports and similar travel documents; I may post to another"thread" (or create one) within "Citizen Archivists" concerning passport/travel-document transcription.)


    I think I've said all that I can in this post; Best Wishes to Henry (Rosenberg) and Matyas (Niedermeier).

    Good Weekend to all who will read this during Friday, Februrary 10, 2023. [Smile.]

    Ethan Kent/"EthanFromBellmore" (in New York City).

  • Hi Ethan- thanks for the shout out and hard work you are doing on these pages (and others).

    On the pages with many stamps, I bracket [* *] all of it. I go back and forth on documents that are typewritten and then have a name or something else handwritten in. Sometimes I [* *] the handwritten part and sometimes I don't. I don't think it makes a big difference to LOC. They are more interested in the content.

    Best wishes to you,


  • Thanks, Henry (Rosenberg).

    (I think that I might leave material (very little) which seems to have been a printed part of the "blank" document un-bracketed; I'm leaning toward leaving the line with Mrs. Beerwald's name and (Reisepass??) number un-bracketed; I will probably leave stamped texts in brackets.)

    Good Weekend to you.


  • It probably doesn't make a big difference and you are at the mercy of whoever reviews the page anyway.

    You have a nice weekend too.