Recommended Reading: A Letter From A Woman In Nazi-Occupied Austria To A Doctor In Philadelphia

Over at Slate‘s The Vault, their new history blog, you can see a scan of a letter from a 25-year old Viennese physician who was expelled from her medical school for being Jewish, after the Nazis had occupied Austria. In an attempt to emigrate from Austria to the U.S., though she had no family or friends in America, Rita Smrcka wrote a letter to Philadelphia doctor Samuel X. Radbill, whom she did not know. The act of desperation did not work for Smrcka (she went on to work as a camp doctor at Auschwitz, a job that Slate says may have helped her survive the war), but thanks to Slate and the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, we can see their correspondence.