What happened next? That is a question which comes up a lot when cataloguing and it can be so frustrating not to know. What I mean is when you’re cataloguing a file of correspondence you might find a run of 4 or 5 letters about a subject then nothing, no conclusion, no neat summary of the chain of events. In the case of this set of correspondence I really hope with all my heart that things worked out with a ‘happy ever after’.
The correspondence starts with a typed copy of a letter dates 12th June 1939. The letter is from a Professor from Budweis, in the Czech Republic. I imagine anyone reading this may begin to get an inkling as to the nature of the content of the letter now. He writes to the NUWT with a request for help for his 15-year-old daughter. After praising his daughter’s studios nature and her talent for languages he explains that given the current situation for Jewish people in the Czech Republic he wants to send his daughter to England to live in safety and pursue her studies. The number of children being put forward at the British Committee for Children in Prague is so great that he fears they will not be able to help him. His request to the NUWT is to see if they know a family who would be willing to take her in.
Then follows correspondence between Ethel Froud (General Secretary of the NUWT) and an NUWT member, presumably a Headteacher, from a school in London. In the final letter dated 21st July 1939 Ethel Froud explains the situation and that all that is required is an initial £50 guarantee and then she hopes one of the Refugee Committeess could help bring the girl over. She is looking for a school who would help in finding a home for the girl with a British family. The NUWT Central Council have considered the matter and will ask the Board of Management of the Mutual Aid Fund if they would guarantee the £50. Then, nothing. This is it, the end of the correspondence. What happened? Did they find a school? Did they find a family who would take her in? Did the Professor find anyone to help him? I know this is only one case out of a heartbreaking number but I would so love to know the outcome, or maybe I wouldn’t. For now though, I’m just going to hope that the outcome was a happy one, as the letter from Ethel Froud sounds encouraged and hopeful that they would find the money and a family to look after the girl.