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The Voyage of their Life: The Story of the S.S. Derna and its Passengers 1

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Product Description

Media: BOOK - paperback, 528 pages
Author: D. Armstrong
Year: 2001
ISBN: 9780732268688
Other: b&w photos, passenger list, bibliog, index
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

On a sultry Summer's day in August 1948, 545 passengers boarded an overcrowded clapped-out vessel in Marseilles with light suitcases and heavy hearts, leaving behind their familiar world to face an uncertain future in Australia and New Zealand.

They came from displaced persons camps in Germany, deaths camps in Poland, labour camps in Hungary, gulags in Siberia and stony Aegean islands. There were those who have been hunted by the Nazis and those who had welcomed them; those who had followed the Communists and those who had fled from them. Among them were a Russian princess, a Polish ghetto fighter, an Estonian submarine commander and sixty-one Jewish orphans.

The epic voyage lasted almost three months and was marked catastrophe, conflict and controversy until it seemed as though this hell-ship had absorbed the traumas of its passengers.

As conditions on board deteriorated, tension and violence simmered above and below decks. But romances, affairs and seductions also flourished, and lifelong bonds were formed.

Diane Armstrong set sail on the 'Derna' with her parents when she was nine years old. Like a detective searching for clues, she has managed to locate over a hundred of the passengers. Through their recollections and memorabilia, as well as archival documents, she has recreated the voyage and traced what became of their hopes and dreams. The result is a unique portrayal of a migrant ship and its passengers.

Evocative, poignant and compelling, 'The Voyage of Their Life' is a remarkable human story. It celebrates the spirit and resilience of those who have lost everything yet found the strength to rebuild their lives. It is the story of Australia.

** Please note: this book secondhand, but other than some yellowing of the pages the book is in good nick.**

Author's Note
Part 1: The Voyage
Part 2: Their Life
Passenger List
Index of Names
Selected Bibliography

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