Translated from the German original
Part 3—Thursday May 18, 1939
Regretfully I could not write further last night, since after the meal they had the Bock Beer Festival. The dining room was beautifully decorated. I also spent an hour with a very nice family, Frank, from Berlin. Had previously a substantial position in a sausage business, assuring that the required sausage was always there. Did actually drink two huge glasses of beer and then fell into bed. In general I am feeling quite excellent, the food tastes good, and I sleep as if I had no worries. Although we are getting nearer to the warmer zones, it still is quite cool, which especially is bad for the ladies, since as a result they cannot show off their wardrobes. Dear Bertha, they wear many sporty things (light and dark), mostly slacks with jackets or also one piece, ski-caps, shoes,…..sandals etc. The children have all kinds of sporty things, complete suits or pants with shirts. (Children do you know who else is on the ship? Your friend Hans [the Hamburger boy] from the…..with his mother).
We now have 9:00, while by you it is about seven since we have set back the clock already three times. We are now nearing the Azores and are therefore now in the Atlantic. What an unusual feeling: one sleeps, one eats and drinks as if we were on land, we are nevertheless on the ocean, and our security is dependent on the Almighty. What good are all the preparations against the elements, when God is not with us. Further goes the travel.
Yesterday I sent a telegram to Miss Gottlieb who wanted to be notified of the departure. It is a so-called Ocean-Letter, which costs Rmk. 4.25. Tonight, God willing, I will send a telegram to you also for Shabbos, so that you don’t have to wait too long for news. This joy does not cost more than Rmk. 5.00.
Friday May 19, 1939
Today is Rosh Chodesh and this morning’s prayers took place with substantial participation. So slowly one finds the otherwise “disloyals” participating, when, on the other hand, later a nice beefsteak tastes quite good for them. The will is there, but the flesh is weak. Hopefully, my writing is for you, my Dears, somewhat legible. I write these lines in my cabin, since I have ordered a bath and I will be called promptly. This morning we also passed the island groups of the Azores. It was an indescribable view. In the middle of the big ocean suddenly land. This island is primarily a weather station, the land belongs to Portugal. One saw at one place about 100 beautiful buildings, windmills etc. But quickly it passed by and then again water, water and sky. Regretfully it is still gloomy, although it is now substantially warmer. At this moment the sailors are getting the swimming pool ready, and then the bathing can begin. The water is salty. Yesterday, dear children, we saw something very interesting. Big fish that suddenly jump up out of the water and after a short distance disappear again into the water. Mr. Gottlieb named them flying fish, others thought they were dolphins. What do you think, dear children, what kind of fish they were? Do you know that dolphins have a very valuable skin that cannot be torn? In the business we had cords made from dolphin leather, which were indestructible. This morning a young man with the name Plaut introduced himself to me. He is a brother-in-law or brother of Paul’s friends. He related to me that his parents are also still remaining back, and that they fall under the Polish quota and that he expects that they will be able to come to the USA in eight years. In my opinion our expectations are quite better. Many of the Cuba travelers have similar chances, many do not have any number at all, others, I think, it is the minority, will have the opportunity to soon continue their travel. Dear, dear Mama, if our good head has any value, the Mazel would hardly be thinkable. We hope, we hope. Lunch is completed; we had salmon with various vegetables, baked fruit, coffee with rolls etc. To start out with we had smoked herring. I already have gained a lot with which I am not happy. The new light jacket is already difficult to close. Well when it will be really hot, the fat will go down again. I will now interrupt my description until Sunday. Since at 6:00 is already the first table, we daven already at 5:15. In my mind I wish, my dear good wife, you dear children, you dear Mama as well as all dear ones a really good and happy Shabbos.
Sunday May 21, 1939
The Shabbos has passed well. Although today we have radiant sunshine, I first want to undertake something else, to converse with you and to continue my reports. First of all, my thanks for the telegraphic greetings. Yesterday at the table the telegram was delivered to me. It gave me great happiness; I could see that everything is well. The postscript also made me happy, especially since I could translate it right away. Yes, my dear Mama, I accept it the way I must under the……circumstances. But I can tell you, that here on the ship one really does not notice that we are on an emigrant ship. Consequently I have the opinion that although I understand and comprehend the travelers here, I nevertheless can’t get over the behavior sometimes, and lack of care, yes, one can say……to shake the head. One does not have to be a pessimist, in order to know that we all will not be lying on a bed of roses, even if one or the other will have better connections. But our co-religionists forget too easily. “Take it easy” my good Mama; I will try to take it as easy as I can.
My Dear, it is said that we will arrive in Havana harbor already on the 27th, and the mail should be delivered Wednesday or Thursday. I therefore have to hurry since on Wednesday and Thursday is Shawu’os. The festive Shabbos has passed quietly, Friday evening minyan, Shabbos Shacharis, Mussof, Mincha and Maariv. Everything is as at home and the Sidro was said out of a Chumosh, since a sefer is not available. The meals are as always good and I have quite a variety because of my own big supply. The cans I did not have to make use of so far.
My dear children, again today I have something very interesting to report to you. Yesterday a portion of the passengers could visit the command bridge. An officer who was present explained all the content. The ship is steered with a compass. The one who steers, a sailor, stands on the bridge at a tiny steering wheel, considering the size of the ship, about the size of a car’s. The route which the ship has to travel is fixed, and accordingly, the ship is steered through the big ocean. At night the ship is lit up at the mast with signal lamps, and with fog, the fog horns will be utilized. At the same time the ship is always in constant contact with all neighboring ships as well as, naturally, with all the different weather stations. Up to this hour we have not yet seen any other vehicle. Always only water, water and sky. The trip goes on, yesterday evening at 8:00 we are already eight days on the ocean, the days pass on. Mr. Gottlieb, the….. plays again his Skat.
In the meantime, it is 10:00; my material is at an end. Until tomorrow then.