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A number of years ago, my father was interviewed for the Jewish Migrant Oral History Project. Thankfully, I have a copy of the interview, and I will be publishing excerpts from it in his memory.
Interviewer: I would like to talk about all of those things in post-war experiences. But coming out on the boat presumably you didn’t know much, you weren’t getting much news about what was going on.
Dad: I was a nuisance to the other passengers because I had been treated like a prince by my families and here were people with problems, middle aged people, not young. They weren’t wealthy by any means. My father was the only professional man there. There was a painter there, there was a type of plumber there. That’s all I can remember.
Interviewer: So here you are approaching Adelaide – what were your immediate thoughts on arrival?
Dad: Well I was pretty happy, I had my eighth birthday in Adelaide Harbour and they made a big fuss of me. I was given a present by the ship’s captain. We were met by Rabbi Rubin Zachs and a couple with a car (they had driven the rabbi because cars in 1938 were at a premium). And there was an uncle, a bookmaker, with his niece named Flora. Anyway, Flora looked after me – she was older than me – and I think we played darts or something. Then I got on to a boat that was even worse than the German boat. It was even smaller, an interstate boat, and we were third class. But the crew took pity on us. We were all horribly seasick and they came and brought us what they thought would be a delicacy and that’s frankfurts and sauerkraut but they had to make it, it wasn’t… they had to put vinegar with the cabbage and… but they went out of their way to try and make things nice for us. I remember that. And we were very grateful about that.