FROM ALLGENERATIONS

From Tom Weiss, a Survivor in Newton, Massachusetts:

Hi Serena,

Thank you for your kind reply.

I learned of Allgenerations, Inc. from Rose Feldman, Secretary, Tel-Aviv Branch of the Israel Genealogical Society.

I am writing a family history meant primarily for my family. As a side project, I decided to try to research Myles Standish. I hope to write some kind of article about him pointing out his role in helping refugees. I believe that he needs to be recognized.

I was born in 1934 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. My family left Prague after the German occupation and we spent 20 hectic months as refugees primarily in France. My father joined the Czech army in France in 1940 and was evacuated to England. My mother and I remained in France and ultimately immigrated to the US in 1941. I went to school in NYC and to graduate school in Cambridge, MA. I taught at MIT for four decades and retired in 2000. I have been researching my family history since my retirement.

Standish’s family seems quite excited about the project. He has been a very difficult person to research; there is very little readily available information on him. But, I now have contact with two of his daughters and will be in touch with them again next month. I plan to interview them (and Standish’s second wife) and they have told me that they will make some of Myles Standish’s papers available to me.

I am trying to reach Survivors who were helped by Myles Standish during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Here is the background:

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, refugees from all over Europe, particularly from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland streamed from the German occupied territories to France.

When France was defeated, many of these refugees went to the port city of Marseille in the then unoccupied part of France. Here they were often stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire created by the reluctance of the French government to issue exit visas and the reluctance of the American State Department to issue entry visas to the US. Most American consuls followed the orders of the State Department to limit immigration to the US.

But, the Marseille consulate contained two Vice Consuls who were sympathetic to the plight of refugees. These were Hiram Bingham and Myles Standish. These two men also worked closely with Varian Fry who helped to rescue prominent Austrian, Czech, French, German, and Polish intellectuals then resident in France and whose names were on a Nazi hit list.

Varian Fry has been honored posthumously for his rescue efforts. Hiram BIngham has also been posthumously honored for his conscientious stand on behalf of refugees against State Department orders. His career ultimately suffered for his stand. A commemorative stamp has been issued for him, he has gotten a State Department commendation, and was honored by Yad Vashem. Myles Standish worked closely with Bingham and Fry, also suffered professionally for his moral stand, but his good works have not been recognized.

I am beholden to him since he signed both my entry visa into the US and my mother’s in 1941 enabling us to escape Europe shortly before the curtain fell and no further emigration was possible. My mother was born in Vienna, Austria and I was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

I am researching the life of Myles Standish with the intention of honoring him for his works. Unfortunately he is no longer alive but some of this family members are and I am in touch with them.

I would like to hear from other former refugees who were helped by Myles Standish. I would also like to hear from anyone who has any knowledge of Myles Standish. I would be happy to help people who were assisted by Standish contact each other upon request and with their permission.

I appreciate your help in my making contact with survivors who were helped by Standish.

Thank you,

Tom

[If anyone can help, please contact Tom Weiss directly at: tfweiss@MIT.EDU Thank you. Serena]

Thomas Weiss
Newton, MA
tfweiss@mit.edu