Thursday, January 25, 2018


Our father’s English diary finishes on 22 July 1939. Unless the shorthand bits hide something, I haven’t seen anything about a plan to emigrate to New Zealand. But on 14 August, he boarded the lush French steamer, the Ile de France, at Southampton, with an exempt visa to New York, and listed as a ‘teacher’ in transit to Wellington Technical College, New Zealand.

Fritz's photo of the Ile de France in Southampton harbour
The manifest shows the odd anomaly, however. Next of kin was given as his mother, Rudi, at 28 Jagdschlossgasse, Vienna. Yes, father Pepi was already dead. He is listed as speaking German, English … French and Italian. Hmm. The last two must have got seriously rusty in the New Zealand air. But most interestingly he has given his nationality as German. Well, I know Austria was in trouble at that time. But the customs at New York have crossed that out, and replaced it with ‘Hebrew’. Poor father. Already trying to ‘sanitise’ his background.

On the ship, he obviously didn’t socialize with the other foreigners, but rather with the young Americans. They had a ‘team photo’ taken.
Robert Delmas Bowman (29) from Tompkinsville, Kentucky
Eddie Davis Shake (25) from Bedford, Indiana
William Nagel (32) from Canton, Ohio
Martha Alison Stone (26) from Steubenville, Ohio
Ruth Amelia Meister (28) from Marietta, Ohio
Evalyn Hastings Felty (32) from Kenton, Ohio
Imogene Forsythe (34) from Fremont, Ohio
Mary Chadwick (28) from Vermilion, Ohio

On board the Ile de France
The ship landed at New York 22 August and those young folk all went back to Ohio et al, nine 'aliens' were detained -- three of them jews ... but Fritz Gallas (as he was now), staunchly labelled 'Hebrew', started off on a trip across America and Canada to join his second ship, which would ultimately lead him to New Zealand. And his trusty little bellows camera (I still have it) went with him …

By the way, the little group of shipboard pals seem to have had something in common:
Delmas Bowman born Tompkinsville 21 August 1909; died Morgantown Ky 1987. Teacher.
William Nagel b Canton 1907 d Canton 29 November 1962 ‘French teacher’
Martha Alison Stone b Steubenville 20 May 1913; d Santa Clara, Cal 8 May 1983
Ruth Amelia Meister b Marietta 21 August 1915; d Charlottesvile, Virgina 14 August 2001 ‘teacher’
Evalyn Hastings Felty (Mrs Lowell V Hagemayer) b Kenton 22 July 1907; d Toledo, Ohio 14 May 1991
Imogene Forsythe ‘school teacher’ in Fremont 1940
Mary Chadwick b Vermilion 3 February 1911; d Vermilion 10 April 1910. ‘school teacher’

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