1945: Dear Opje

Letter from Haakon Chevalier to Robert Oppenheimer, whom he calls Opje, pronounced Oppie

Stinson Beach, California, August 7 1945.
Dear Opje,

You are probably the most famous man in the world today and yet I am not sure that this letter will reach you. But if it does, I want you to know that we are very proud of you. And if it doesn’t you will know it anyway.

We have been irritated by your reticence these past few years, but under the itchy surface we knew that it was all right, that the work was progressing, that the heart was still there, and the warm being we have known and cherished.

I can understand now as I could guess then the somber note in you during our last meetings. There is a weight in such a venture which few men in history have had to bear. I know that with your love of men, it is no light thing to have had a part—and a great part— in a diabolical contrivance for destroying them. But in the possibilities of death are also the possibilituies of life. You have made history. We are happy for you.