Emigration from Cherbourg (1918-1939) #general


Francois Chetreanu <chetreanu.gen@...>
 

Dear Genners,

Last January I posted a message to obtain testimonies about the stay of
Jewish emigrants in the port of Cherbourg between 1918 and 1939. About 10
people answered me and some presidents of American Jewish Genealogical
Societies accepted to edit my inquiry in their newsletter. I think that
I've thank everybody privately, but in the case I've forgotten some, I say
again to them that I'm very grateful of their help.

I enclosed in my private message a text about the stay of these emigrants
in Cherbourg, that I translated fom French to English. I think it would be
also have an interest for others people, so I share it with you. Please,
note that thisa first sketch that I wrote with the first elements I found
about this survey. Of course, it could be improve.

Francois Chetreanu
Cherbourg / France

searching in Romania for :
CHETREANU, CHETRARIU, PETREANU (Buhusi, Adjud and Bucharest)
HERMAN, HERMANN (Roman)
CHENDLER (Bacau)
LEIBOVITZ

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The emigration via Cherbourg really became very important as >from 1918.
Each year until 1932, there were approximately 45 000 emigrants who
transited by the port. After 1932, because of the american quotas, this
number was reduced much.

At the beginning, nothing was organized to accomodate as many emigrants
also they had to manage as they could and organize their departure. The
Transatlantic Companies (White Star Line, United States Line and Cunard
Line) understood that it was urgent to frame the passengers and they joined
to build an establishment dedicated to their stay. Thus the "Atlantic
Hotel" opened in 1922. According to the newspapers, it was a single
establishment with moderns equipments, famous around the world for its
services, It was immense (5400 m2) and it could accomodate on the whole 2
500 emigrants. It was located vis-a-vis the sea and near the maritime
station.

In general, the emigrants arrived to Cherbourg by train. Once that they
were in the "Atlantic Hotel", their identity was controlled, they owed to
take a shower (that was obligatory) and they have medical examinations
(delousing, vaccination, etc.). When these examinations were finished,
their meal and their housing were take care by the Hotel but they were free
to go downtown until their loading. They remained approximately 10 days.

from 1924, the city of Cherbourg constituted a committee of assistance and
each emigrant received on his arrival a guide of the city with the
addresses of the various consular services, the addresses of shops, etc.
The expenses of the stay to the "Atlantic Hotel" were included in the price
of the bank note. I am completely unaware of this cost, nevertheless, I
know that all the emigrants which was fortunate didn't accomodate in the
"Atlantic Hotel". There were besides two large hotels restore Kasher (the
"International", one run by my family, and "Bristol" run by Polish Jews).

In the "Atlantic Hotel", there was a Jewish restaurant which was controled
by a rabbi (or at least by a sho'het) delegated by the HIAS (Hebrew
Immigrant Aid Society). >from 1922 to 1925, his name was Haim Baras, and
from 1926 to 1932, Jacob Chaywitz (Shayevitz). R. Baras and Chaywitz
supervised the Jewish emigrants and animated a religious life (I've found
two articles in newspapers which account for Kippour, where more than 200
Jews assisted). In addition to the emigrants, there was about thirty Jewish
families settled in the port.

Thanks to the passage of the emigrants, Cherbourg had an intense commercial
activity and emigrants had even impromptu a district around the" Atlantic
Hotel" with small shops, cheap restaurants, etc. The newspapers called
besides this district "=E9migreville" !

Unfortunately, this prosperity and this cosmopolitan atmosphere watered
down progressively. The activity reduced as >from the Thirties and the
"Atlantic Hotel" closed in 1933. Cherbourg was still a place for the
emigration until 1939.

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