By S. Feist, Board of Directors Member of the “Kath. Fürsorge” (Catholic Social Welfare)
(This article, translated from the original, was published in the German-language publication “Clemens Blatt”, May 1924)
After the Canadian Catholic Church Members Society had successfully arranged for the German refugees’ emigration from the Volga and Black Sea Provinces to Canada and their settlement possibilities amongst the Canadian farmers, it was then their most important duty to assemble and conduct their transport, departure, and the travel route. Among the first duties of the authoritative St. Raphael Society in Hamburg regarding the assembling of the first refugee transport was to place it under our care, namely the Catholic Social Welfare. It accordingly then became our duty to prepare the emigrants for emigration. On March 19th I went to the refugee camp located in Frankfurt on the Oder to get and prepare a full and complete list of the emigrants. Immediately upon getting acquainted, those representing the Catholic Volksverein in Canada, which had the prepared emigration requirements, declared that 76 persons were already listed for emigration; however, with the explicit wish that all concerned organizations might do their utmost to have the families of the emigrants soon follow them to Canada. The transport’s departure was firmly set for March 23rd. To lighten the parting of these emigrant heads of families, a wish was generally expressed that our Diocese Bishop, Cardinal Kessler, might conduct a solemn farewell Mass in the Frankfurt camp. Early in the morning of March 22nd Bishop Kessler and I traveled together to the camp, where we were cheerfully welcomed by the refugees.
In the considerably bleak and cold camp-church Bishop Kessler conducted high mass and at its end he gave a short speech. He stated that this approaching parting is a parting from wife and children, even though on unfamiliar soil. He further stated that he wanted the emigrants to always keep their holy faith and always keep in mind to be good Catholics in Canada just as they had been in their homeland diocese. In all necessities he urged them to take refuge in prayer and never give up hope, and that after the bitter hour of parting there will be a happy reunion. He also stated that the St. Raphael Society and the Catholic Social Welfare in cooperation with the Catholic Volksverein in Canada will exert every means possible to succeed in the shortest period of time to have their families soon rejoin them in Canada.
In the evening of March 23rd the emigrants, after a tearful and difficult departure, began their travel from the “Grube Vaterland” station, a branch depot of the Frankfurt-Cottbus line, in three already provided railway cars. Here, too, various speeches of comfort were spoken to the left-behind wives and children and the departing men.
At the railway station in Berlin via a telegraph notification the entire Board of Directors of our Catholic Social Welfare for Russia appeared. Here again the emigrating refugees received wishes for their infinite good, and were promised that everything will be set in motion so that their left-behind families can most quickly follow them. On Sunday, March 23rd, we arrived in Hamburg and were welcomed by a representative of the St. Raphael’s Society and an agent of the Emigration Office. Under the navigation agent’s escort we came to the emigration hall. After the completion of the usual formalities, a breakfast was served for the refugees. Then after a medical examination they were brought into two pavilions. At the suggestion of he emigrants a vesper and rosary service was conducted. On Monday morning the Rev. Dr. Kralewsky of the St. Raphael Society conducted a high mass.
Then the emigrants stepped into the usual completion formalities for emigration. It must be emphasized that the medical examination is strictly undertaken. Up to the examination time the emigrants had been cheerful and their humour also had not failed them. After the last medical exam, then the medical examination results were announced, resulting in a sad picture. Of the 76 persons examined, 27 were denied emigration due to illness. It must also be mentioned that our (Catholic Social Welfare) emigration transport was praised by the Board of Directors and the Navigation Association as having made a good impression. It can therefore be determined that our emigrants also will make a good impression upon the American farmers.
On March 25th, the Annunciation Day, the General secretary of the St. Raphaelsvereins (St. Raphael Society), namely Rev. P. Timpe came and conducted a high mass in the chapel on the (emigration hall) site. P. Timpe at the end of the mass, which he kindly had set up for the refugees, gave a short speech to give courage to the departing emigrant group. He spoke of his hope that by their good and willing work in Canada the farmers there will be ready and willing to also help bring their families to them. On March 26th we escorted the 49 emigrants to the train station, from which they were to go Rotterdam. Rev. P. Timpe likewise was at the train station and once again delivered his promise and pledge before their eyes. Then the train started on its way and everyone shouted, “Auf Wiedersehen”. (Till we meet again.)
That same evening we traveled back with the emigrant-denied people going through Berlin to the Frankfurt camp. To give the American friends an opportunity to help them get to know the emigrants individually, we gave them photographs, which eventually could help establish acquaintanceships or kinships. In closing, I point out with firm satisfaction that the people we selected for the first transport have in all concerns made a very good impression. I also hope that the American farmers will also be satisfied with them. In conclusion, the following request is also made to the Canadischen Katholichen Volksverein (Canadian Catholic Church Members Society): that in due course they will want to do everything possible so that the left-behind family members can soon follow to join their loved ones.
List of Refugees
|Richelhof, Friedrich||Abt, Kilian||Weisbeck, Johannes||Mildenberger, Jakob||Stankowitz, Johannes|
|Diel, Adam||Burgardt, Peter||Gerk, Paul||Blattner, Jakob||Rau, Heinrich|
|Rutzman, Josef||Stalldecker, Albinius||Frank, Adolf||Weichel, Georg||Schermer, Adam|
|Storm, Alexander||Zelbel, Reinhold||Okulewitsch. Leo||Eckermann, Johannes||Dandörfer, Jakob|
|Abt, Florian||Neitzich, Peter||Gottseltig, Johannes||Weichel, Peter||Markel, Georg|
|Martel, Sebastian||Wagner, Clemens||Weingardt, Johannes||Weichel, Peter||Wucheuauer, Georg|
|Meringer, Michael||Herlein, Anton||Stremel, Georg||Seelmann, Heinrich||Werner, Georg|
|Eberhardt, Johannes||Terre, Johannes||Schönberger, Josef||Rolsing, Andreas||Specht, Georg|
|Schowalie, Johannes||Wander, Johann||Schönberger, Dionysius||Specht, Josef||Rohleder, Johann|
|Schowalie, Adolf||Weisbeck, Johannes||Schamber, Raymund||Dandörfer, Peter||Rieth, Georg|