quite similar to the German ear, and the Nazis did indeed suspect the president of being Jewish, but perhaps this was taking family connections a bit too far. But beads of perspiration formed on the brow of the Nazi officer. “Franklin D. Rosenfelt? You mean—?” The old woman rose up on her toes. The pince-nez stayed perched on her nose. There was power here. “Exactly!” spat Frau Rosenfelt. “My great-nephew. He will be quite interested to hear the trouble we have been put to over a few small documents. He will certainly relay such information to Hitler. The embarrassment of holding his relatives in Germany when they wish only to go home—” Now the old woman let the pince-nez drop to the end of its cord. It jerked and bobbed. The lynching was quite effective. The colonel put his hand to his own throat as he stared at the pince-nez. He smiled nervously. “One moment, Frau Rosenfelt.” He said the name with an astonishing respect. He rose from his desk and clicked his heels before he hurried from the office. One hour later Bubbe sipped tea in her parlor with Maria and Klaus. The five girls were presented with peppermints and sent off to the bedroom to concoct a play. “I told Sadie that naming that child Franklin Delano Rosenfelt would come in quite handy as the years progressed. Oy! But I did not think it would be so useful so soon!” Along with the peppermints, she had pulled out a handful of travel documents and exit visas from the black velvet handbag. She fanned them out neatly on the tea table and counted them again.
Bubbe Rosenfelt had accomplished much through sheer bluff and bravado at the Hamburg Office of Immigration. All of that meant nothing, however, as she stood at the high counter of the American Consulate and peered through her notorious pince-nez at the stubborn American clerk. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Rosenfelt.” The clerk shrugged in bureaucratic helplessness. “But surely you can see that the papers granted by the Nazis are valid for only two weeks! You don’t have eyes, young man? If my grandchildren are not out of here within two weeks—” she drew a finger across her throat in an unmistakable gesture—“Like a chicken at the butcher’s!” The “young man” behind the counter was actually more than fifty years old. His gray hair was parted in the center, and he wore a high celluloid collar that had been an American fashion when he left the country years before. Years of experience had taught him now to turn away even the most persistent individuals. This old woman was no match for his expertise. “Look, Mrs. Rosenfelt, there are laws now restricting the number of immigrants we let into America. Remember? Fifteen years ago there would have been no problem.” “ Oy! Fifteen years ago Hitler was hanging wallpaper, not Jews!” she let the pince-nez fall. “Fifteen years ago Germany was a cultured civilized country!” “That may be so, but the fact remains that all quotas for immigration have been filled. For months the quotas of Germans have been filled. Every Jew, every democrat, every socialist in the Reich wants out of here. What are we supposed to do about it?” “Give them a place to go, maybe? Save a few lives?” “America is already packed with a lot of hungry people. Men out of work. Looking for jobs. Trying to feed their kids, see? Sorry, Mrs. Rosenfelt. There just isn’t any room on the list for your granddaughter and her husband and five more children. My hands are tied. The quota is filled.” “How many a month is my country letting in now?” she asked bitterly. “A thousand.” “Only eight hundred,” the old woman corrected. “And such a big place, too.” “And what kind of life do you think anyone is going to have if we throw away the quotas and let every undesirable—” Mrs. Rosenfelt slammed her cane on the counter to silence this discussion. The head of the clerk snapped back in startled