Anna Lloyd Braithwaite Thomas to Margaret Loring Dike Thomas, October 1, 1921 (excerpt)

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Extract from letter of Mrs A. B. Thomas of OCT. 12 1921

One almost fears that the unfortunate Viennese will all be dead before anything really is accomplished. Politicians work so very slowly, and after these two years of slow agony, no real steps have yet been taken to improve the situation. The work of the Relief Missions cannot go on indefinitely, especially now that Russia must have help, and the economic situation is so bad in England. And yet a letter from Vienna, which came yesterday, speaks of the condition of the middle-class people there as "terrible" and of our workers breaking down from the strain.

I attended some of the sittings of the International Women's Conference, in July, just before I came away. The Conference had the usual drawbacks which attend such gatherings, but I believe it was very useful in at least one way, that it brought together representatives from all the new Independent States of the new Austria-Hungary. They all sent representatives, partly, I suppose, because it was a novelty, and they wanted to assert their right. And many of them came without any idea of promoting peace and fellowship, but rather to complain of want of recognition, or [to] assert the importance of their especial State. Still, it was very good for them to be there, and the mere fact of meeting face to face people with whom they had national feuds, and learning to know them personally, was good. Jane Addams presided, with a great deal of ability and dignity. But the hall was a large one, a concert hall, but not well adapted for hearing an ordinary speaker. Several of the American delegates arrived late, owing to the delay of their steamer. But, as I said, I believe the net result was good. At any rate the delegates had opportunities of seeing for themselves the desperate state of things in Austria. Our Mission fitted up all its transport lorries with seats, and took the delegates round every afternoon to see the different parts of the Relief work. So that anyone who cared had an opportunity of seeing the actual state of things.

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