Friday, June 14, 2013

A Hundred Years Ago Today - Part II: Liverpool

Previously I wrote about my grandmother's trip to Hamburg on her way to the United States. There, she boarded the Stockport for the ten-day trip to Liverpool.

A hundred years ago today, she arrived in Liverpool. The ship from Hamburg stopped in Grimsby, on the east coast of England, before traveling to the west coast and Liverpool.

What else was happening in the world at that time? In Stamford, Connecticut, a train accident killed 5 and injured 17. In New York City, a subway cave-in crushed 12 laborers to death. And in Canada, the Atlantic Navy was disbanded.

But my grandmother didn't know about any of that. Like thousands of others, she was fleeing persecution in Russia, and (according to the Merseyside Maritime Museum), "Liverpool was the most popular port of departure for emigrants from Europe to the Americas and Canada."

As in Hamburg, my grandmother would have been assisted by Jewish emigrant groups. According to the Jewish Chronicle, "The Mansion House Relief Committee, convened by the Lord Mayor of London and supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Darwin and others, raised what in today’s terms would be millions of pounds to assist the journeys of Jews to America... People lodged in a hall ["Hachnasath Orechim"] capable of holding 400 and were provided with kosher food, clothing if needed and money. Many stayed, building Liverpool into at one time the most populous regional Jewish community. For others who passed through, preserved kosher meat was sent on to steamships for passengers — and letters of thanks in Hebrew for the good treatment the Jews on the boats received were presented to captains." Famous passengers who passed through Liverpool include movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn and comedian Henny Youngman.

My grandmother would have had to wait several days to board the ship to Philadelphia and her new home. (to be continued...)

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