With Jewish Refugees in Hong Kong, 1946

While googling for more material about the six months or so I lived in Hong Kong in 1946 while we were stranded there on our way to Australia from Shanghai where we’d lived during most of World Was II (I published a few photos I had from then in a previous post) I found a photograph that truly surprised me. Until I saw it, I’d been under the impression that during this period I gave very little thought to “Jewish” things. But there it was, a photo of Jewish worshipers in the hotel room that had been set aside as a synagogue, all of them grown men, except for one little boy at the far left, and that little boy was undoubtedly me!

pen synagogue me AJL-CoverFeature-Issue11-5Star-2
In the course of that googling I also found another photo in which I appeared, with a some other boys (& one girl in the background) more-or-less my age from that same group of refugees, in the courtyard in front of the Peninsula Hotel. That’s me at the extreme right.

kids at pen x Feature_Lost6
The boy next to me & the one in the center wearing a tie, were my friends Peter Pulvermacher & Eric Kisch . Below is a photo of me & them holding bouquets for our mothers one day (did they already have Mothers Day then?).

3 boys wbouquets

& here are two news items about our being stranded there that were published at that time in the Melbourne morning daily The Argus:

argus article aug 46
argus sept3
My mother & I were not among those who could pay any ” higher cost of transport”. In the end we were shipped out in “steerage” on a small Chinese freighter (1800 tons! is the figure I remember) which tossed & rocked us most of the way to Oz. My mother was seasick most of the time. I, who liked to spend most of my time on deck, looking at the sea, was almost swept overboard in a storm. I fell, slid from one side of the deck to the other on my back, & barely missed one of the holes in the side of the opposite deck that my small body could easily have gone through…

Here, anyway, is the banner that appeared on the front page of The Argus, a newspaper I remember well: it was still operating when I arrived in Melbourne in late 1946, & continued to come out every morning (except Sundays) until it closed in 1957, about two years before I left Melbourne on my way to become a member of a kibbutz in Israel.

Argus banner aug 46


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s