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661 Singing, Shouting Youngsters Leave Germany on First Leg of Journey to Palestine

April 11, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Singing Palestinian songs and waving blue and white flags, 661 Jewish children from various camps in the American, British and French zones left here for France this evening on the first leg of their journey to Palestine.

Three-hundred of the children were ready to leave here at noon, but since the nearly 400 from the Munich area had not yet arrived, it was decided to shift the children to the Jewish Welfare Board’s building here, where they could be fed while waiting. As the children lined up in military formation in Frankfurt’s main station, shouting and singing, they were watched by passing Germans who maintained a cold silence and impassive countenances.

After lunch, the youngsters performed folk dances in the street outside the JWS building and when a group of correspondents arrived they were pulled into the circles of dancers. The children greeted with shouts of joy bags containing candy and soap which were donated by American newspaperman here at the behest of the JTA correspondent. The children from the British camps sang: “It’s a Long Way to Palestine,” parodying the famous British soldier song of World War I.

Among the young refugees from the British zone was three-year-old Judith Hirschfeld from Bergen-Belsen, who was the youngest making the trip, and red-haired 13-year-old Inga Leonhardt, who was taking care of her two brothers and two sisters ranging in age from five to 12. She has been caring for them for five years, since her parents were murdered at Belsen.

The oldest person in the group is Stanislaw Tottenberg, 65, from Warsaw, one of the few adults in the transport. He is going to join his children in Haifa.

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