Dr. Vera Glarner was Ayn Rand’s first cousin. She left Russia before World War II and lived in Switzerland. On her way to America in 1926, Rand spent her 21st birthday with Vera in Berlin, where she was then living.
The letter below is a translation (by Dina Schein Federman) of a two-page draft handwritten by Ayn Rand in Russian. The page break is not noted in the translation. Mrs. Glarner answered Rand’s final version on December 21, 1945.
December 2, 1945
I am writing to find out where you are and how you are. I hope very much that you have survived the war without too much awful suffering and that this letter will reach you.
Do you need help? Money or medicines or food? My acquaintances here send packages with food to their friends in Europe. I know that the situation over there is terrible. Write me whether I could help you. I would be very happy to help in any way I can—and this will not be difficult for me to do now.
I will not write details about myself, for I do not know whether you will receive this letter. I will say only that I am doing very well. I am now a famous writer here and, after many years, I have achieved everything that I wished to achieve.
I haven’t had a word from our family in Russia since 1938. If you know something about them, do not write me about it now. I am afraid to know and do not wish to ask questions. I am waiting for the day when it would be possible to learn something from Russia with certainty—and to send them aid. I am afraid to hear something that would be impossible to ascertain and about which I would not be able to do anything.
Please write me about yourself and tell me whether I could help you.