America via England

Seeking a Safe Haven

"All of a sudden, they see this light form a flashlight coming through the departure hall and it's my grandfather!"

"When they were in England – my grandfather couldn’t work. I know he was really disturbed that he wasn’t able to work so I think they just lived in the country house of their relatives until they were able to get passage to the United States. 

"He was interned in the Isle of Man. And, when they finally got passage to the States, they were set to leave out of Glasgow and my grandmother and my mom and her sister were already on the boat in Glasgow and my grandfather was supposed to arrive and he wasn't coming, and he wasn't coming, and he wasn't coming. Apparently they sent him to the wrong port. They sent him to Liverpool, and then had to quickly get him from Liverpool to Glasgow. 

"My grandmother was begging with the captaiin of the ship to wait, that my grandfather would be coming, and he wasn't and they were leaving in a convoy because it was wartime. And so the captain said 'you know, I just can't wait any longer.' And all of a sudden, they see this light form a flashlight coming through the departure hall and its my grandfather!"          

“They were received by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, when they arrived in the United States and they were housed by HIAS originally, then once moved out of a more communal living situation they were, I don’t know if they were given or found an apartment which they rented, you know my grandfather had to look for work.”

Editor’s Note: During World War I and World War II, the British government held German citizens in internment camps on the Isle of Man on suspicion of being loyal to an enemy government. Classified as "enemy aliens," the majority of the 2000 - 3000 German men held on the Isle of Man during World War II were Jews who were no longer granted citizenship status by their home government. 

Once they arrived in New York Jackie’s family received aid from The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which helpeed get them on their feet. Founded in 1881, HIAS helps refugees to live stable lives and can provide anything from basic necessities to career mentorship and English tutoring.