Gertie Katz (from an unknown German town) and Edith Schumer (my mother) of Stockstadt am Rhein immigrated together on the Deutschland. The ship left Bremen, Germany on a cold, gray day, March 8, 1938 and arrived in New York City on a sun-splashed March 19, 1938. Gertie and Edith, who were both 12 years old, became inseparable on the ship.
“We had so much in common,” Edith says. “We both left our parents and we turned to each other for support during the passage. She immediately became my best friend since I didn’t have many friends left in Germany.”
When the two girls parted in New York, Gertie gave Edith this photo. On the back, she wrote 21 März 1938. Zur Erinnerung Deine Freudin, Gertie Katz. “March 21, 1938. For remembrance. Your friend, Gertie Katz.”
“Gertie didn’t know where she would be living,” Edith remembers. “All she knew was that she would be placed in a home with strangers in Seattle. I gave her my address, but I never heard from her again. I always wondered what happened to her.”
That was 72 years ago.
“Gertie?” Edith says, “I’ve thought about you all these years. I’d love to hear from you or your children.”
Edith’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both books, Is It Night or Day? and Motherland, tell part of this story.