New York (May. 20)
Six-hundred and seventy-seven displaced Jews from Europe arrived here this morning aboard the converted troopship Marine Flasher, after a nine-day trip from Germany. They are the first immigrants to be admitted under President Truman’s directive facilitating immigration of displaced persons.
Youngest of the arrivals was five-months old Johanna Koiser, whose parents are natives of Poland. The oldest was 82-year old Siegfried Neu, a veteran of three years at Theresienstadt, who is bound for Minneapolis.
As the ship proceeded up the river to its berth, the refugee passengers sang American patriotic songs they had learned on the trip over. They waved and shouted as passing vessels blew their whistles in welcome. The loudest outburst came when the ship entered its berth and they saw several hundred persons lining the dock to welcome them, among whom were representatives of Jewish organizations which had helped to make their trip possible.
The immigrants represent sixteen different nationalities, including 343 Poles, 218 Germans, 45 Latvians, 30 Hungarians and 27 Czechs. Among them were former members of the Yugoslav partisan forces, veterans of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt and several who fought with the Red Army. Most of the refugees had been inmates of concentration camps which have become bywords for Nazi cruelty, such as Oswiecim, Dachau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen, and many of them bore the numbers tattooed on their arms by Nazi guards.
Virtually every one of the immigrants had a harrowing story to tell of survival in Hitler Europe. Seventeen-year-old Moritz Frischman, who does not know where he was born and can only remember that his parents names were David and Ida, is seeking a relative in American named Firschman or Singer. Several years in concentration camps destroyed all other memories of his childhood.
Dr. Ignatz Alter, 35, told of how a Catholic girl in Cracow had married him so that he could secure papers which would enable him to pose as a non-Jew. He never saw the girl after the marriage ceremony was performed, and has no idea of what happened to her. Others told similar tales of Nazi savagery and miraculous escapes from camps and prison.
Among the organizations which had representatives on the pier to aid the immigrants were the Joint Distribution Committee, the HIAS, National Refugee Service, National Council of Jewish Women and the void Hatzala.