Letter to person unknown residing in Australia from Isabella Steiner of 18 Hofstattgasse 15, Vienna 'German Austria', dated 21st July 1938. The letter is a request for assistance by Isabella for this Australian resident to support her application to migrate to Australia with her family.

Isabella states that they are 'compelled to emigrate from this country'. She describes her family, her qualifications as a dressmaker and her husband's as a locksmith and welder, and states that they have two children.

She requests that the person (who is known to a friend of hers) write a letter of support to the Department of the Interior in Canberra to supplement their application, and also to write to her in Vienna to confirm any support possible - hence the reply paid coupon. She also states that they require no financial assistance.

Physical Description

One page typed letter on fine paper with a reply paid coupon pinned to bottom left of the page.


This letter provides a snapshot of a moment in time when Jewish people had a small window of opportunity to flee Europe just prior to the Second World War. Australia at this time was accepting a small annual quota of Jewish refugees from 1938-1940. This letter has been written just after the German annex of Austria, hence the reference to 'German Austria' in the address of the sender. It is assumed that Isabella Steiner is Jewish, indicated by both her name and her stated compunction to leave Austria. Nothing more is known about Isabella Steiner and her family, or the recipient of her letter.

It may be assumed that since the reply paid coupon is still attached, that the recipient of the letter never responded to Isabella. The letter as it stands provides a significant and rarely offered material record of this immediate pre-war migration period and the fate of the Jewish refugees who struggled to find safe havens at this time. It is highly possible that this family did not make it out of Austria.

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