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"Asama Maru" photograph

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2001.342

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    Contains a group portrait of the passengers of the "Asama Maru," which sailed from Yokahama, Japan to San Francisco, California, arriving on March 6, 1941. Many of the passengers, including Irene Malowist (now Irene Malowist Rothenberg) [donor] and her parents, were European refugees.
    Collection Creator
    Irene M. Rothenberg
    Irena Malowist (now Irene Rothenberg) is the daughter of Szymon and Maria Malowist. She was born in 1928 in Łódź, Poland, where her father was a physician. Her parents were friends of the Dynenson family, with whom they met frequently in the months before the war to discuss the deteriorating political situation. Anticipating the outbreak of hostilities, Maria took Irena and fled the city together with the Dynenson women and children on August 29, 1939. Fleeing eastward, they found refuge in a town that was later taken over by the Soviets. Soon after they left Łódź, Szymon was mobilized by the Polish army. When the fighting ended, Szymon was also in eastern Poland. After the Soviets marched into the area, he was instructed to report to an internment camp for Polish officers. Szymon asked the Soviet officer in charge of the camp whether he could first be given a temporary pass to find his wife and daughter who were living somewhere nearby. His request was granted and he found his family, but he did not return to the camp. Meanwhile, the Dynensons, who had moved on to Vilna, cabled the Malowists. Using coded language, they urged their friends to flee at once to Vilna, because it was about to be handed over to the Lithuanians. The Malowists followed their advice. They remained in Vilna for about a year, all the while looking for a final destination. Szymon was able to obtain legal immigration certificates for Palestine, but had no way to get there. He then learned about the Japanese consul in Kaunas who was issuing transit visas to Japan. After receiving the coveted visas, the family left Lithuania in October 1940. Once in Japan, the Malowists hoped to proceed on to Palestine, but the British would not let them travel through Iran and Iraq. Eventually, Szymon was able to secure visas to the United States. They sailed from Yokahama on board the Japanese liner Asama Maru which arrived in San Francisco on March 6, 1941.

    Physical Details

    1 folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The Museum is in the process of determining the possible use restrictions that may apply to material(s) in this collection.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Asama Maru (Ship)

    Administrative Notes

    Irene Malowist Rothenberg donated this photograph to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Jan. 30, 2001.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:20:58
    This page:

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