Today we would like to present you with an excerpt from our book, which reveals a moving letter from Syngman Rhee to Franziska Donner:
My dear Fanny!
More than a year has passed since we met in Vienna. But when I close my eyes, I have the memory of you and our beautiful time in the Vienna Woods before me.How are your mother, and your sisters Betty and Maria? I have good news for you: You will soon get the visa. After I read your last letter, I got very angry. It is really a nuisance that the American Embassy in Vienna has not given you the visa yet. I thought about it for a few days and then went to see Mr. Hornbeck, a political advisor at the State Department.
Here in New York, I know many high officials and politicians. But so far I have never intervened for a personal cause. But your visa problem is not only my personal matter, but our common one. Since I have been in America, I have often been offered American citizenship. But my answer has always been: Korea will soon be independent. I would like to remain Korean if possible. Please, wait and see.' Mr Hornbeck listened to my request with an open mind and promised me that he would be happy to help you. And he has already congratulated us on our marriage. It was a good conversation! Maybe the embassy will send you the visa soon. When you come to New York, we'll have a beautiful wedding. And then we will drive across the American continent, from New York to San Francisco. During the journey, we will meet my friends and the supporters of Korea who are in all the major cities. They will give you a warm welcome. The destination of our journey is Honolulu in Hawaii. We will stay there for a while. Hawaii is my second home. There I have school, church and my political friends who share my joys and sorrows.
Give my best regards to your mother. When my country is independent again, I will invite her to Korea. Many greetings also to Betty and Maria. Please let me know as soon as you get the visa.
These words testify to the deep bond and historical background that shape the story of Franziska Donner and Syngman Rhee.
Experience the events surrounding the Korean War and discover the extraordinary love story of two people from different cultures, embedded in political upheavals and the struggle for independence.