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Disembarking from the Queen Mary ocean liner – September 1939

I found myself in a new world. The United States was just emerging from the worst depression in its history triggered by the stock market crash of October 27, 1929. Unemployment was rampant. As we disembarked from the ocean liner that early September day, neither I nor my parents were aware of the breadth and depth of the staggering economic crisis. Nor had we grasped the import of the unfolding catastrophe sparked by the coordinated attack on Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union. While Britain, France, and others declared war on Germany, the United States decided to remain neutral. The signs of normalcy gave a false idea of a peaceful life as the United States hosted the World’s Fair in New York even as Albert Einstein convinced President Roosevelt to launch the A-Bomb program. My interests lay elsewhere. I was mesmerized by the surrounding kaleidoscopic milieu as we disembarked from the Queen Mary ocean liner. Then, seven and a half years old, I looked around at the massive buildings, the throng of people disembarking and the even larger number who were there to greet the new arrivals. Automobiles, taxis and busses clogged the pier area. Papa directed me to stay close together. He had to shout to be heard over the tumult. Clearly the bustling crowd, though peacefully excited, milled about in disorderly agitation as the new immigrants sought to make eye contact with waiting relatives. Outside the pier whistle-shrieking mounted-police ordered the shuffling throng to keep moving. Years later we would learn that New York City was a major historic gateway for millions of immigrants of amazing diversity.

We landed at the Port of New York in September 1939- the week my wife, Blossom, was born. We were married on November 28, 1959 and lived most of our married life in Brooklyn, New York. In 1995 we moved to Manalapan, New Jersey, to be closer to our younger daughter and her family. In August 2005 we made Aliyah to Israel where both of our daughters were then living with their families.

We have been truly blessed. Life (read G-d) has handed us some beautiful memories. Someone once said, “Part of genealogy is nostalgia”, so enjoy reading some of my recollections.

Please go to my website: ARBAKANFOT.COM

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