Letter to the Cuban Refugee Assistance Program (CRA)

Ana Anders worked as a medical social worker in Cuba before coming to the United States. Here, Anders expresses her thanks to Mrs. Pence for her commitment to the CRA. At the time of the letter, Anders had relocated with her husband, a doctor, and their daughter to Washington, D.C.

Ana Anders to Fern M. Pence, July 26, 1961

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Ana Anders to Fern M. Pence, July 26, 1961

Text from letter


Washington, July 26, 1961

Dearest Mrs. Pence:

This will almost look like another letter of the many you receive from a thankful cuban refugee. For I am a cuban refugee, and I am very thankful to you.

For what? Because working with you was a wonderful experience I will never forget. Because you’re kind, understanding and most of all, because you feel the program you’re working in, and you give effort, and knowledge, and time for the benefit of it.

How could I feel toward a person that achieves so many wonderful things? And personally, you have been so good to me. Every time I came to you with a problem, and heavens knows how many we have, you always solved it with humanity and wisdom, without interfering the basis of the program.

Through persons like you, we learn to understand and love the people of this country. It is not only the financial help given to the refugees that courts, but the feeling of warmth, of friendship, of brotherhood, not only because we’re only 90 miles away from the U.S. coasts, but because we live in the same world. It should be the same with Chinese, or African negroes. I think one of the strongest weapons we could fight with is tenderness. Is there a person so strong or wise that he doesn’t need tenderness? I doubt it.

I will always remember and keep it in my mind, the day before my leaving when you called us to a “staff meeting” in your office, and I saw you with all my friends with a special look in all your eyes. I don’t know what I expressed, but I’m sure I couldn’t put in words what I felt. I said “Thank you”, and I really meant “God bless you”, and when I said “Goodbye”, I wanted to say “I’ll be lonely without you”.

I’m sure you understand how I was feeling. I even wanted to cry, and there were no tears in my eyes.

Mrs. Pence, the most unforgettable moments since I came to this marvelous country, I spent them in that office. From the small, “garage looking”, warm and crowded old building to the new restored, air-conditioned building, I enjoyed every minute of my work.

I only hope you will not ever forget me, and that we could meet again soon, if not here, in a free new Cuba, where I am sure you will have thousands of homes. Because you have gained it.

I hope my English writing will not be so difficult to understand, I’m now alone with no one to help me and with a dictionary.

I am looking forward to your answer. In the next letter I’ll write you about my house, Gigi, David and how I am doing here. Give my best regards to Mr. Weiss and Mrs. Stewart.

Receive all my love,


My address is: 3418 – 10th Place, S.E., Apt. 2B, Washington, D.C.
My phone: 562-1539 (new ones with no letters)

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