May 21, 2017
I have just recently come across a letter that my father Igor wrote on July 18, 1949 to his Minnesota sponsor in the United States. This was the day before he, my mother Nina and I left Germany for the United States.
The letter is preserved in the family archives of University of Minnesota professor Dr. Alexander Granovsky. He was the sponsor for our family to leave refugee camp Lyssenko in Hannover and start a new life in the United States.
The role of the sponsor was to invite and guarantee work for the immigrant. After arriving at Ellis Island in New York, my parents took the train to Faribault, Minnesota where my Dad Igor was given a job working at an apple orchard. The three of us ultimately became naturalized US citizens.
When I read this discovered letter, I was deeply moved. In this brief missive to his sponsor, my father briefly encapsulated hope, gratitude, anxiety and relief from demeaning suffering during seven years of life in Germany from 1942 to 1949. My parents survived work camps, concentration camps and refugee camps in Magdeburg and Hannover, Germany. They left Germany forever on July 19, 1949. I was not yet two years old.
Bremen - Grohn
Monday, July 18, 1949
Highly respected Sir Professor!
I am happy to inform that on the 19th of this month we completely will leave these inhospitable camps, which all got into our skin during these seven years. I don't know whether you realize, Sir Professor, what a great favor you've done for me and my family by taking us out from that cursed German nest, and we are, those who experienced those seven years in those camps, had eaten not one ration of bread or ladle of soup, which was given from their hands as if to the lowest of people. We appreciate the great favor, that you have shown us. At the earliest opportunity we will thank you properly. On Tuesday, 19th of this month we are sailing off from Bremen to New York. Our ship is named "General Muir." With my wife we together are a bit anxious about how the American society will accept us, how we will be taken, but I think we are not the first ones to go through this.
Bye then. stay well and greetings from us to all your family.
With great respect to you - Igor Kubik
More related information about my parents coming to America:
- Transcript from a message I gave on December 11, 2004 about my parent's life in Germany from 1942-1945
- My Beyond Today blog: Three Things All Refugees Must Understand January 2016
- "And Now a Word to Our Sponsor" - May 25, 2017 in "Update from the President" about my parents coming to America
More Photos of the USS General C.H. Muir courtesy of NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive
USNS General C. H. Muir (T-AP-142)
USAT General C. H. Muir (1946 - 1950)
USS General C. H. Muir (AP-142) (1945 - 1946)