Jewish immigration from Vienna, April 1939 - Robert Weiss

Did the US Government assist in getting scientists, particularly Jewish scientists, out of Europe before the onset of WW II?

I'm assisting my wife on a query about her grandfather that perhaps the National Archives can help with. She knows, from ancestry dot com research, that her grandfather, Robert Weiss (no middle name), arrived at Ellis Island on April 27, 1939. The ship he traveled on departed from The Netherlands or Antwerp. The ship was the S.S. Ilsentein of the Red Star Line. Immigration paperwork for Robert Weiss was done between Feb - April, 1939.

Robert Weiss' date of birth is October 22, 1903, Karlsbad (now in the Czech Republic).

He spent his formative years in Vienna, Austria. He is Jewish, and held a PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna, 1933.

We have heard family stories that the US Government, possibly the State Department or the precursor of the OSS (if one existed; the OSS was established in 1942), was working to help Jewish scientists immigrate to America. If that is correct, was Robert Weiss included in this effort? If so, then perhaps some records related to this exist at the National Archives?

Thanks is advance,

James Hecker

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