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#1888: Willa Cather to Edith McClung Sawyer, September 26, 1938

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Edith1:

I do not wonder that you are feeling anxious about Isabelle's3 situation in Italy4, but in so far as I can tell, Mussolini's5 aim in expelling a great number of Jews6 from Italy is to give more jobs to the native Italians. His action seems to arise from the unemployment situation, rather than from personal hatred as it unquestionably does with Hitler7. As Jan8 is not engaged in any business which would take a job away from an Italian, I think there is a very good chance that he will not be troubled. I understand that Jewish tourists are admitted to Italy and courteously treated. Mrs. Vermorcken9 of Pittsburgh10 has lately gone over to Italy, and is at the present time at the Hotel Cocumella11. If she saw anything threatening, I think she would write or cable me.

I got back from Canada12, where I have been all summer, only the day before yesterday, and found a short letter from Isabelle awaiting me here. She has never given me any indication of feeling alarm about the Jewish situation in Italy. But in this last letter, the last paragraph reads as follows:"If we should be going away from here, I'll cable you. As long as I do not cable, you will know that we are here in the shelter of this simple and comfortable room with the kind Garguilos13".I believe the G-s are the proprietors of the hotel.

This summer (July 1 to September 15) I have heard from Isabelle less often than usual, and I know that she was less well than in the winter. But when she did write, she always told me that there were some nice Americans staying at the Cocumella, and that she enjoyed their company when she was well enough to see them. One of these people was Miss Overton14, director of the branches of the New York2 ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Public Library, and as soon as I get my trunks unpacked, I shall go to see her for information. Miss Overton was in Sorrento15 for a good in the early part of the summer, but and I think the Jewish question had not yet arisen when she sailed for home. If, from her or from any other source, I get any information about the Hambourgs' actual position there at the present time, you may be sure that I will let you know at once.

Very cordially yours, Willa Cather