lombard illinois


“There are in the little town of Adams four people who will pray for the soul of this great man every day and thank the Lord that such men were born.” Dr. Ernest Spicker to Mrs. Roosevelt.

This week marks the anniversary of the unexpected death of President Roosevelt on April 12, 1945,  while in office during World War II. This letter is part of a new exhibit at Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

Nearly 70 years after Dr. Spicker mailed this letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, some current residents of Adams, Massachusetts visited the Roosevelt Library. During their tour of our Museum they read Dr. Spicker’s letter and noticed the Adams address.

When they got home, they alerted a town historian in Adams who publishes a newsletter for the Adams Historical Society. He set out to find descendants of the doctor and was able to locate Spicker’s granddaughter, Marianne Spicker, in West Lafayette, Indiana. Marianne guided him to her aunt, Inge Wegener (Dr. Spicker’s daughter), who lives in Lombard, Illinois.

Dr. Spicker and his family were German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany who came to the United States in 1939. They eventually became American citizens and forged a new life in western Massachusetts. The doctor’s parents and many members of his extended family perished during the Holocaust.

Inge Wegener had no idea that her father had ever written a letter to the First Lady and was moved to tears when she learned his letter was on display at the Roosevelt Library. On April 8, Marianne Spicker phoned the Library to see if she could confirm the story and get a digital copy of her grandfather’s letter.

Museum staff quickly provided her with a high-resolution scan of the letter and she gave us background information about her grandfather’s story, including this photograph of Dr. Spicker. Professor Spicker died in 1998. He is the little boy in this 1938 family photograph provided to us by Marianne. The girl is his sister, Inge.

Read the full story on the new FDR blog: http://fdr.blogs.archives.gov/2015/04/12/remembering-fdr/