Classical Fact

Erich Leinsdorf was an assistant conductor with the Metropolitan in New York when his native Austria was taken over by the Nazis in 1938. Reluctant to return home, the future conductor of the Boston Symphony applied for an extension of his visitor visa. The expiration date of his visa loomed and no word came from immigration authorities. A friend of Leinsdorf offered to contact a young Congressman to see if he could help. The Texas Congressman was able to get a modest extension and also made it possible for Leinsdorf to eventually emigrate to America. Years later, that Texas Congressman became Vice President, and then President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Erich Leinsdorf and Lyndon Johnson remained friendly and in 1965 LBJ signed a bill amending the quota systems in US immigration law. Johnson credited his early work on Leinsdorf's behalf with bringing issues of immigration to his attention.