MY PARENTS ARRIVED in Australia on a fine September Sunday in 1946, a light to moderate westerly blowing across Sydney Harbour. Their ship, the MS Yochow out of Hong Kong, had entered the heads on slight to moderate seas; it berthed at number 10 Walsh Bay at midday. It was as though nature had decreed a balmy day for the fifty or so refugees on board, the first to arrive from Shanghai under a new scheme negotiated between Jewish Welfare, Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell and the new head of his still new department, Tas Heyes.
The few Polish passengers among the refugees were surviving members of their families, the rest slaughtered in the Holocaust, drifting out of the camps or emerging from hiding places underneath the landscape of a battered Poland. The family group included my father and mother, and her mother and brother. Behind them were the incinerated bodies of... Read more
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