1      Dear Gilbert, I am sure you have been reminded of me several times in these last days reading the papers about Austria. As you can imagine I have been, & am, greatly troubled by the events. My relatives so far as I can judge are in no sort of danger as they || almost all of them are retiring & very respected people. I & My brother & sisters are, under the new laws, Jews (not however their children, (as they had no Jewish grandparents & baptized great-grandparents). Nevertheless, of course, the new regime is || must be hateful to them. It is however mainly || Now it is about myself that I really want to write. I have
not yet heard from home at all since the invasion, but there hasn't yet been time, & my people would always try to give me news in the mildest possible form so as not to worry me. I have written home saying that I would come any time if they needed me, but I almost assume that they have no need for me (not that they wouldn't like to see me). ¥ I am placed in a queer position. As you know I am automatically becoming a German citizen, i.e. a German
Jew. The || Now I must say the very thought of becoming a German citizen is awful || appalling to me, even apart from the degrading position etc., but this latter I would share with my relatives & could, I think, bring myself to bear. Though I don't know whether it may || would not continuously prey || be preying on my mind. A still graver consequence however is this that on visiting Austria I shall, in all likelihood, not be let out || back to England again. You understand of course that it is out of the question for me to
get any job there & that || but even if it were possible I could hardly face such a possibility || this idea. You may call this weakness but such it is¤. My people are wealthyish & will probably even after all the changes have money enough to keep me. But I needn't say what that would mean to || for me. So I am now || Therefore now I have been considering seriously || seriously considering the idea of acquiring British citizenship. You know that I had just thought of this possibility before though never giving it any serious consideration
for reasons which you & I have talked about. They roughly are, that I don't wish to become a sham-Englishman. The situation has however changed in my eyes now as I have to choose between a new nationality || citizenship which deprives me of everything & one which at least gives me the opportunity of working in a country in which I have lived most of my adult life have made my greatest friends & have done my best work. I wish to God that there did not adhere to British nationality || citizenship
the respectability etc. etc. which (though it does not repel me) is not what I seek. But this can't be helped. There is one enormously strong reason which would for me speak against acquiring a new nationality & it is this, that in all likelihood as a British citizen I shall be barred by the Germans from re-entering Austria & therefore from seeing my family, except by meeting them, say, in Switzerland. But I don't see at present that this would be worse for me or them than my rotting
alive in Austria or being haunted by a false position & anxiety in England. I am therefore || For these reasons I am considering trying to acquire British citizenship seriously || seriously considering trying to acquire British citizenship. It may of course be that before even this comes about I shall be summoned home by a letter from my people (in which case I would || shall go) but I have no reason to believe this; they would never dream of calling me unless in the greatest emergency.
I have as you can imagine had || held many Cabinet meetings || As you can imagine many Cabinet meetings have been held in my mind about these matters, but I also wish to talk them || all this, but I also wish to talk it over with you – level-headedly. I intend || should like therefore to come to England in 12 days time i.e. on the … if you can possibly save the weekend for me. You might, just to make discussion easier, make some enquiries about the proceedings of nationalisation – unless, that is, you are in my case dead against it. Please let me know as soon as possible if, where &
when you can meet me. Forgive me for making you read such a || this long letter please don't throw it away & read it again || once more if you can. Whatever you may think about my problem I am
always yours

Editorial notes

1) Gesamtbriefwechsel, Letter to G. Pattison [15.3.1938].