“I can understand how worried you must be…”.
As First Lady from 1933 to 1945, Mrs. Roosevelt was enormously influential with her husband Franklin in matters of policy. In 1945, she was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by President Harry S. Truman. She served as the first Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission and...
As First Lady from 1933 to 1945, Mrs. Roosevelt was enormously influential with her husband Franklin in matters of policy. In 1945, she was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by President Harry S. Truman. She served as the first Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission and played an instrumental role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At a time of increasing East-West tensions, Mrs. Roosevelt used her enormous prestige and credibility with both superpowers to steer the drafting process towards its successful completion. In 1968, she was awarded, posthumously, the UN Human Rights Prize.
Mrs. Roosevelt was always noted for her concern for others. With her, it was not just a show, but reflected her real empathy for individuals, and she often held her husband’s feet to the fire to attain goals for the underprivileged and needy. That same level of concern followed her to the UN, where she continued her tradition of getting personally involved to aide specific cases. No worthy case was given the cold shoulder.
Typed letter signed, on her United States Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations letterhead, December, 2, 1946, to Elsie Anthes, whose mother was stuck in the Soviet zone of Germany at the conclusion of World War II, and who wanted to arrange for her to come to the United States. “My dear Mrs. Anthes: I have received your letter of November 15 telling me of your concern for your mother who is living in the Soviet Union zone in Germany. I can understand how worried you must be. As you know, a gift parcel service is now in operation to the American, French and British occupation zones in Germany. The Soviet Government has not as yet indicated its willingness to participate in this service. You mention, too, that you would like to bring your mother to this country. An American citizen has the right to obtain a preference for his or her mother under the appropriate quota to which the parent is chargeable. This first preference status must be approved by the Commission of Immigration and Naturalization, the main office of which is located in the Franklin Trust Building, Fifteenth and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia 2, Pennsylvania. You should request a printed form which is a petition to establish such a preference, which is known as Department of Justice form I-333. These forms may also be obtained from any branch office of the Commission of Immigration and Naturalization. If the beneficiary of your petition who is located in the Soviet occupied zone of Germany has means of applying to the American Consulate-General in Berlin, she will, be given every consideration for immigration to the United States by the American authorities.”
It is extraordinary that Mrs. Roosevelt responded to this plea personally, rather than have a secretary or aide do it.
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