Streckerau & Marienberg Newsletter


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Granpa Reit History

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Córdoba, 24/03/2014 Año 1, Número 2 GRAMPA REIT'S STORY INTRODUCTION This is the story of George Reit as told to his granddaughter Brenda Nevard and her husband Gary. The majority of this information was related to us between September of 1999 and December of 2001. All the details were carefully recorded and notes made concerning all his memories. We had grampa tell the stories over and over to ensure that the details were correct and that he wasn't confusing events taking place in different time periods. Grampa was 94 when we began recording the events of his life and was living in a care facility in Summerland B.C. We began this exercise because we realized that no one in the family had really talked to him about the earlier periods of his life and that his history would be lost if we didn't make the effort while he was still alive, and could still remember this amount of detail about his early years. Some details that we would have liked to have gotten from grampa have been lost to time. We do not claim one hundred percent accuracy here but we have done our best to tell the story as close to the truth as we could verify. THE VILLAGE


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My grandfather George Stephen Reit was born in Marienberg (Bisiuk) on December 26, 1905. Marienberg was the German name for the village and Bisiuk was the Russian name for the same village. The Russian name may have also been spelled Besuk or Bezuk. Later the Russian name was Pestschanoje. The village is located about 100 miles southeast of the city of Saratov and 20 miles east of the Volga river. Very little of the village still stands. Today there are only a few houses and what remains of the church that the Red Army tried to destroy in 1941.


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We believe that George's ancestors came from Hanau Germany. Catherine the Great of Russia, following the Seven Years War, invited German farmers to immigrate to Russia and start communal villages in the great plains of the Ukraine and Volga river valley areas. These original villages established in the 1760's would later become known as the mother villages or colonies. Each village had a Church, a school and houses and was inhabited by members of one religion. Marienberg was a Catholic village but others were either Lutheran or Mennonite. Land was given to each family along with some necessary live stock. Each family had about two acres in the village proper and many acres of land in the surrounding area, where the crops, mainly grain, were grown. Land was also set aside for orchards. The farmlands were equally divided between all of the men in the village. Every ten years the land was divided and reallotted to all the males in the village. This meant that every ten years less land was available to support each family. Eventually there were too many villagers for the land to support. The Tsar at this point in history, the mid 1800's, gave new lands to these villagers and new villages were established. Marienberg, a daughter village, was established in 1855. The origins of the new villagers is unclear at this time but it is believed that they came from the Mother villages of Josephstal, Kamenka, Rothammel, Leitchling and other Catholic Mother villages on the west side of the Volga river. The villages on the west side of the volga were known as the Bergenseite (hilly side) villages, whereas the villages to the east of the Volga were the Wiesenseite (plains side) villages. Marienberg is located very close to the 51st parallel. This is the same parallel as the Canadian west where many Volga-germans would eventually end up. The climate is similar to the prairies hot dry summers and cold windy winters. The village being situated along the river made the location ideal for growing whatever they needed to survive. Each village was self supporting. They grew or produced most of their needs. Each family would keep there live stock on their two acre plot. Orchards and vegetable gardens were grown along the river, on land set aside for this purpose, where water was readily available for irrigation. At Marienberg there was land completely around the village where each of the families grew their grain crops. By the early 1900's Marienberg had a population of about 3000 people. The village at this time consisted of a church, a school, a wagon transport company, a number of general stores, shoemakers, leather tanners, a vodka factory, two bakeries and a lumberyard. In the lumberyard logs were hand sawn by two men, one above and one below the log being cut into lumber. THE REIT FAMILY George's (12/26/05- ) family in Marienberg consisted of his grandfather Georg Stephan Reit I (1846-1911) and his wife Anna (1849-1914); Georges' father Georg Stephan Reit II (1/11/80- ?) his mother Monika (Appelhans) Reit (2/11/83-?); his sisters Anna (7/7/01-?), Paullina (1/1/03-26/7/76) Rose (?), and Molla(?). George also had a brother Ronimus (1922 - ?) but he was not born until the family had traveled to Germany. George's uncle Peter, his wife Mary and two children, names unknown, along with uncle Jakob, shared a second house on the Reit family land in the village. Uncle Jakob was single until after he returned from WWI, when he married a deaf girl from the village of Seelmann. They continued to share the house on the Reit property with his brother Jakob and his wife. By this time Jakob's two children had died in a flu epidemic.


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George remembers going to Streckerau to visit his aunts. One of these aunts, his mother Monika's sister, was married to a Johannes Baal (Bahl) who later emigrated to Coronel Suarez, Argentina. This was the original destination of the Reit family when they left Marienberg in 1921. The main house on the property was shared by George's immediate family and his grandparents. It was the custom that the eldest son was responsible for taking care of his parents. The grandparents lived in a small room attached to the one room main house. George's father had also purchased a second piece of property in the village. It was directly east of the main house. All that was on the property was a small house. The Reits used this as their summer house. The immediate property around the house and barn was fenced by a wooden fence made from 6'x6"x1" boards. The fence had originally been built to keep out marauding thieves who would raid the village for food, slaves and livestock. Within the fenced portion of the Reit property were two houses, a barn, a fowl coop, a drive shed, an ice house. a root cellar, and the out house. The Reit property was located on the south side of the Bisiuk river. It was across the river from the church and business section of the town which ran alongside the north river bank. The main road which ran from the north, crossed the river at a shallows and then went south east passing alongside the Reit property. The river and road created the triangular piece of land the Reits called home. Besides the large acreage where their grains were grown to the north of the village, George's grandfather also owned an orchard and vegetable garden at the northwest intersection of the river and the main road. Just down from this intersection there was a large water wheel which dipped into the Bisiuk river picking up water. Water was then directed through a series of ditches and flumes to irrigate both the trees and vegetables. The water was directed to a specific row, then allowed to flow in a ditch to the last tree or vegetable plot in the row. When the well which had been dug around the tree was full, the water to that tree was cut off and the next tree in the row was watered. This process was continued until each tree or vegetable plot was watered. George's grandfather looked after the orchard and gardens until he died at the age of 65. The orchard produced apples, pears, cherries, apricots and prunes. The vegetable garden produced both cantaloupes and watermelons, potatoes. carrots, beets, turnips, onions, cabbage, parsnip and squash. On the large acreage to the north of the village they grew grains and tobacco. The usual crops would be wheat, rye, barley, oats and sunflowers. On this acreage there was a small house that the men of the family would stay at during planting and harvesting time. The grain was cut with hand using scythes. The women would then tie the grain in bundles and stand them up to dry. When dry, the grain would be separated by a piece of equipment that the horses pulled. It had some sort of cog arrangement that broke the grain away from the shafts. The women would then throw the grain and remaining shafts up in the air and catch it until the wind separated the lighter shaft by blowing it away, leaving only the grain. Later a Puttsmill or Millener was used for this purpose. On the outskirts of town, on the road north to Streckerau, the next village, there was a windmill where the grains and sunflower seeds could be ground into flour and sunflower oil. Salt from a nearby salt lake was also brought to the mill to be ground for use. The salt obtained from this salt deposit was either blue or pink in colour. Interestingly enough, the pulp and husks from the sunflower seeds were kept and made into blocks that were later broken up and mixed with hay during the winter to feed the live stock which included horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and camels.


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The sheep and goats were sheared in the spring for their wool. Grampa can remember his grandmother carding and spinning the wool into yarn. His grandmother was also the one who did most of the knitting for the family, socks, sweaters etc. Hides from slaughtered livestock were scraped clean of flesh and nailed up to dry. They were then taken to a person in the village who would cure and tan the hides into leather. Leather was required for many things such as shoes, belts, and reins. They also had chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks which provided them with eggs and meat. George told how he would go to the hen house and get an egg. He would then place it out in the farmyard which would cause the hens to gather around and make quite a fuss. When his mother would notice she would tell George to get the egg and take it over the river to the general store where he was able to trade it for candy. He believed his mother always new what was going on but she never let on. Houses in the village were of two types. The wealthier residents had wooden homes and furniture much like we do today. George's families houses were made of clay or mud bricks. This type of house was called a "semlinka". The mud clay was mixed with hay and then allowed to dry into 14"x12"x4" bricks. These were then used to form the walls of the house. There was no foundation. The floor of the dwelling, which of course was dirt, had been dug down about two feet below the original level and the walls built up around the dugout portion. There would usually only be one large room about 16'x32'. The Reit's main house had an additional 12'x12' room attached where the grandparents lived. This attached room was called a"stubcha". The roof had wooden supports but the actual covering was made from bundles of reeds, much like a thatched roof. The furniture consisted of one large table and two benches. There were no beds in the house. Straw was spread on the floor nightly and removed each morning. Everyone including the grandparents slept on the floor with blankets. Clothes were kept in trunks or hung on pegs. Cooking was done on what was called a”bakoven.” It was essentially a fireplace with an area where small amounts of baking could be done. Fuel for the bakoven could be wood, animal dung or peat. Lighting was provided by a coal oil lamp. Often the adults would play cards in the evening and all the children would watch the adults. Most of the food that was prepared was in a large pot or cauldron over the fire. Almost everything in the Reit house was boiled. Soups and stews were their regular diet. A typical meal would consist of coarse black bread, soup or stew and perhaps some cheese or eggs. They owned no cutlery or dishes as we are familiar with. They had only large wooden bowls from which everyone ate, dipping their bread into the communal pot. Their cutlery consisted of only large knives and wooden spoons. White bread was a real treat. It was only served as a dessert during holiday celebrations very much as cake is today. Meat, fish or fowl was eaten usually fresh but some meats were preserved by smoking, drying or making it into sausage. The fish that was caught in the Bisiuk river was sometimes dried for future use. There was no electricity in Marienberg. Refrigeration was accomplished by storing foods in an ice house. Ice was cut during the winter and the blocks of ice were stored here and used to keep food from spoiling. Another way of preserving food for later use was to make sauerkraut. Salted cabbage from the gardens was stomped into wooden barrels by bare footed women. During this process often a watermelon was placed in the middle of the barrel. Over time the melon would become pickled. George can remember getting this pickled watermelon during the winter and it was considered a real treat. Vegetables were stored in the root cellar to be used during the winter months. Most of the villagers had a well on their property but the water from these wells was only suitable for irrigation or for watering the livestock. Drinking water for the townspeople had to come from the government well which was located at the northwest


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corner of where the river and main road intersected. Women of the village had the job of carrying pails of water from the well to their homes CHILDHOOD MEMORIES George's childhood was pretty happy. He has often told stories about things that happened to him as a young boy. The school which was a two room brick structure was located over a walking bridge and two blocks north of the river. Here he went to school and studied German, Russian, math, a little history and science as well as religion. He went to school five hours a day. He only attended school for five years as the revolution ended his formal education. A block further north of the school there was a vodka factory. It was owned and operated by the only Russians in the village. Grampa said that all Russians had long whiskers. At the end of the work day the russian workers would come out of the factory and before going home would drink from a large vat outside. Being extremely alcoholic they would get drunk and then all stagger home. What made George and his friends laugh was that the workers beards would be all covered with the foamy potato mash that the workers had stuck their heads through to get at the vodka. Georges father didn't drink but apparently his grandfather liked a little drink of vodka on occasion. One story Grampa used to tell was about watermelons. He always loved watermelon and would eat it with a knife. When he was a boy he would go out in the field looking for a ripe melon. When he thought he had found a ripe one, he would cut a square hole in it and take out some of the core. If it was ripe he would eat the melon. If it was not ripe, he would carefully replace the rind over the hole and turn the melon over. Needless to say all of these tested melons would then rot. His grandfather knew it was George who had been the tester. Grampa also smoked for 75 years of his life. He quit when he was about 84. He started smoking when he was nine back in Russia. He and his friends would go to the fields and pick tobacco leaves. They would then roll them up and smoke them. Like everyone else who starts smoking he could remember getting quite ill from his first smoking experiences. Some of the simple games they played were using sticks and horse ankle bones. The horse ankle were used in a game something like horse shoes. The stick game which he most often talked about used sticks and a mud hole. Each player had a stick. One player would throw his stick in the mud hole and the others threw their sticks at the first stick to knock it over . If the stick was knocked over then the first boy had to dig in the mud to retrieve the sticks. If the first boys stick remained upright them the losers retrieved the sticks. I guess no one wanted to have to dig into the mud hole to get the sticks. There were lots of camels in Marienberg, both one hump dromedaries and two hump bactrians. They were used in the same way as horses to pull plows and other farm equipment in the fields. They were kept in the drive shed in the Reit's yard in the village. George can remember playing with the baby camels as a youngster. Young camels are apparently very playful. For some reason the families camel didn't like women. George liked to torment his older sisters by pulling their braided hair. When they chased him he would always run to the drive shed where the camels were housed. If he got there before his sisters caught him he was safe. This was because if the sisters got close to the camels they would spit a horrible smelling saliva at the girls. I guess


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George was a bit of a tease because he also can remember having to stand in the corner at school for tying two girls braids together. Being a typical boy George liked to play with his fathers tools. Apparently, one day he was fooling around with his father's axe when the axe head broke into two pieces. Not wanting to get into trouble George carefully replaced the axe in its rightful place with the pieces all together. The next time his father picked up the axe it fell apart. When George was questioned about the axe he disavowed any knowledge about the broken axe. His father knew that it was George who had broken the axe. His father kept questioning him until George finally confessed. Did he get a licking? Oh yes! Not for breaking the axe because it had probably been fatigued earlier, but he sure got a licking for lying. The river was a source of enjoyment for the children of the village. Although the river at the main road crossing was shallow enough for wagons and people to cross, there were sections that formed pools deep enough for the children to swim in. When the water was running high they could also jump off the walking bridge into the river. George and his friends would also fish in the river. In winter the river froze and the adults cut ice for the ice houses. The children would ice skate. Some of the wealthier children had proper skate runners but George and the other not so rich kids had home made skates. They were made from triangular wooden blocks that had a round piece of heavy wire stuck in a hole in the front of the block, then around under the bottom and into a hole in the back of the block. These rudimentary skates were then tied onto their boots and became ice skates. Some children would only have one skate or would share their skates with others. So many of the children would be seen skating around pushing with one foot. There must have been Carob trees in or near the village. George often talked about how good Johannes bread was when he was a boy. He said they would chew and suck out the sweet chocolate substance that was found in a bean-like pod. As it turns out this is the bean from of the carob tree. Today a chocolate substitute is made from this same bean. The pods look very similar to the seed pods on a locust tree. On a sadder note George can also remember having to carry a cross at the head of a procession from the church to the cemetery when a large number of people, both young and old, had died in the village. A flu epidemic took the lives of his younger brother and sisters and his uncle Peter's two children during this period. Monika, George's mother, gave birth to some 12 or 15 children. Only three are known to have survived to adulthood. Georges grandfather who took care of the orchard and vegetable gardens, was working in the garden one day when all of a sudden he yelled out that he had gone blind. In a panic, he ran through a small stream that crossed their property, across the yard and headlong into the side of the barn. Then fell to the ground dead. He was sixty-five years old. That was a great lose to George because he really loved his grandfather. Georges grandmother lived for another three years and died of natural causes in 1914. Both George's father and uncle Jakob served in the Russian army during WWI. Georges father left and came home after about 18 months. George remembers how happy his mother was the day his father came home. Jakob who was younger didn't come home until the end of the war. George remembered that uncle Jakob had a dog and although Jakob had been away from home for a couple of years, his dog began barking and carrying on as soon as Jakob was seen crossing the river on his way to the house. When George was little Jakob on occasion would baby sit George, but he would sneak out and to Seelmann to visit his girl friend after George fell asleep. When Jakob realized that George knew what was going on George had to promise not to tell on his uncle. After


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that George would get presents for keeping Jakobs secret. Jakob married this girl after he returned from the war. Apparently she was very pretty but unfortunately she was deaf. REVOLUTION YEARS In 1916, the revolution began in Russia and life in Marienberg, as well as in other villages, changed drastically. The Tsar was overthrown in 1917. By 1919 Russia was in the throes of a full scale civil war. The Bolsheviks and White Russians fought skirmishes all over Russia. Most villagers who had always been in favor of the Tsar were inclined to support the White Russians. During the years of fighting the Bolsheviks would come to the village looking for men, horses and supplies for their army. It was during this period that George saw his first motorized vehicle, a truck, which was driven into the village by the Bolsheviks. George can remember a time when the men of the village were warned that the Bolsheviks were on their way to the village; George, the men in his family, and all the other males in the village fled on their horses. As they were heading out of town the Bolsheviks saw them and gave chase. Fortunately, they all escaped but it was close. Grampa remembers the machine gun bullets hitting the sand directly behind them as they made it over a hill. Had the men stayed in the village they likely would have been taken into the Red Guard or shot for being loyal to the Tsarists. The men remained away for a couple of days. It was during one of these episodes that Paully, George's sister, met Leon Trotsky when he came with the Red Guard to the village. Trotsky was a prominent member of the communist party who was later assassinated by Stalinists in Mexico. When it was thought to be safe George's father gave him and another boy horse halters and instructed them to go down to the village and see what was going on. If they were stopped and questioned by the Bolsheviks they were told to tell them they had been out looking for their horses which had run away. Fortunately the Bolsheviks had gone. So they returned to the camp and all the men from the village returned home. Another time George remembered that a young boy was acting as a lookout in the church steeple. When the boy saw the approaching Bolsheviks he gave the warning signal and then came down from the steeple. As he was running to his home and attempted to climb the fence he was shot. He then slid down the fence leaving smears of blood behind. By 1920, the Bolsheviks won out and the Communist party took over the government. Appointed commissars were in control of all village activities. The schools which were controlled by the church were now taken over by the state and the German teachers replaced by party members. If anyone spoke out against the policies of the party there were severe consequences. The priest and eight other men were executed one day for their crimes against the state. The priest had dared to speak out against the communist oppression in his Sunday sermon ESCAPE TO FREEDOM By 1920 -21 things in the village were very bad. There had been a drought in Russia and food was scarce. The commissars confiscated all the food and livestock in the village, leaving the villagers only a few horses and almost no food. All the villagers were starving. Many decided to leave their villages and try to return to Germany, the home of their ancestors. On August 2, 1921 the Reit family with members of 18 other families left Marienberg in hopes of finding a better life. They packed their meager


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belongings into wagons and set off. Uncles, Peter and Jakob, accompanied them as far as Seelmann where they said their final goodbyes. Peter and Jakob who were staying, told their brother George that his land would be returned to him if he came back to Marienberg. The Reits who left Marienberg consisted of George Sr., Monika with a small baby, Anna, George Jr., Rosie, Molla, Paully with her husband and a newborn baby. They had a wagon, two horses and a pony. In Seelmann, after saying goodbye to the family that was remaining in Russia, they loaded their wagon onto a barge and crossed the Volga river. About halfway across George's pony became frightened and jumped into the Volga. Fortunately the pony swam alongside the barge and made it to the other side. The pony was later traded to a farmer in exchange for food. They traveled by way of Veronish to Rogashev, where in mid November they had to stop because the snow was too deep for the horses and wagons to continue. There were terrible hardships along the way. Food was almost impossible to obtain and many of the villagers died from starvation or disease. The food for themselves and hay for the horses was begged for, or given to them by generous, sympathetic farmers and city dwellers along the way. At this time there was a tremendous amount of very serious flu and something Grampa referred to as the black pox which could have been smallpox. Between Marienberg and their eventual arrival in Germany, Monika lost daughter Rosie in Minsk, she was buried in a Jewish cemetery. Molla and the baby, died of starvation en route to Minsk. They were buried alongside the road. Paully lost her husband to disease and her newborn baby because of starvation, on the way to Minsk. Monika and Paully's infants were fed by their mother's chewing the food until it was fine enough for the babies to eat. Unfortunately there was not enough food for mother or child. There was so little food the mothers milk dried up and the babies starved as a result. All the villagers remained in Rogashev until mid January of 1922. Arrangements were then made for them to trade all of their wagons and horses for a train ride to Minsk in cattle cars. In Minsk they were housed on the third floor of a large building on the edge of the Jewish section of town. The room was not furnished nor heated. Food was very scarce. At times a soup kitchen was set up where they were able to get a little food. At other times, George and his friends would go around knocking on doors begging for food. There was very little work and conditions were unbelievable. Then the city was hit by a flu epidemic. By the time it had run its course, more than half of all the people who had left their villages had perished in Minsk. George often told the story about corpses in Minsk. Where they lived was directly opposite to a funeral parlor. Apparently, when a person died the corpse was dressed and then left in front of the funeral parlour, so it could be prepared for burial. If the corpse remained there over night it would be naked the next morning, as people would steal all the clothing from the body. So many people died that wagons frequently passed by filled with naked bodies on the way to the cemetery. In December of 1922 arrangements were finally made which would allow these poor suffering German-Russians to leave and go to Germany. The problem had been that conditions in Germany were very bad. There was rampant inflation and these German Russian refugees were not really welcome in Germany unless they were only going to be passing through on their way to another country. Arrangements had to be made with a number of countries and agencies. Finally negotiations between Russia, Germany, Poland, Canada, United States, Argentina and the World Relief Agency made it possible for these refugees to cross Poland and enter Germany. The first 900 refugees entered Germany on December 9. 1922.


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George can remember that as they came into the station at Frankfurt an der Oder there were hundreds of cheering people with torches to welcome this first wave of refugees. They had been on the train for several days and had been made to suffer many indignities before reaching their destination. In Russia they had to pay five rubles per person in gold to leave the country. The men, women and children were forced to strip and were then disinfected in a large mixed group. New clothing was then provided to them by the World Relief Agency before they boarded the train. They spent many days in cattle cars on their way to Germany. The only sanitation facility was a pail in the corner. Once a day the train would stop so the pails could be emptied. Only once during the trip did the train stop long enough for them to get off. In Warsaw everyone had a chance to bathe and receive a meal. The only food during the remainder of the journey trip was bread and water. At Frankfurt an der Oder they were all housed at Heimkekr-Lager which had been a prisoner of war camp for captured Russian soldiers during WWI. They were clothed, housed and fed by the International Red Cross. They lived in barracks that were divided by curtains into sections. Each section was set aside for four families. There were as many as sixteen families in each barracks, approximately 100 people. Although things at the camp weren't great, they certainly were far better than the conditions under which they had lived in the previous two or three years. George's father had secured a job at a nearby farm and so he was able to earn a little money to buy food to supplement their diet and to buy clothes. George also worked on the farm. He was in charge of taking the livestock out to the fields in the morning and bringing them back in the evening. We have pictures of the family while they were in the camp and their clothing makes them look quite prosperous. This is quite ironic since they were actually poverty stricken. They were anything but prosperous. George had a friend in the camp named Joe Specht. He had come from Seelmann and they became good friends and eventually came to Canada together. George dated Joe's sister while they were at the camp. While they were in Frankfurt an der Oder, Monika, Georges mother, gave birth to George's brother Ronimus. Paully who had lost her husband and her newborn baby to disease or starvation on the way from Marienberg, met and married Jakob Danderfer. He had come to the camp later than the Reits and was from the village of Seelmann which was not far from Marienberg. Paully and Jakob had a baby while they were in the camp. He was named Jakob. DESTINATION CANADA In March of 1924 a Catholic group from Canada came to the camp. Their purpose was to find as many as 80 refugees that would be willing to come to Canada as farm laborers and work for their passage in Saskatchewan. The CPR would cover their costs and they would pay back their passage at the end of a years work. George, his father and brotherin-law Jakob Danderfer were among those selected. First they had to go to Hamburg for medical and other immigration checks before they could be allowed into Canada. As it turned out nearly one third of those originally chosen were refused entry. George's father was one of these. He had been diagnosed with trachoma or cataracts and this made it impossible to enter Canada unless he had two hundred dollars to pay for his own fare. George was really to young to enter without his father. It was Jakob Danderfer that agreed to be responsible for George so that he could come to Canada.. Those chosen to go, left Hamburg and traveled by train to Rotterdam, Holland where they boarded the CPR Montrose. It sailed from there to England and then to Saint John N.B. arriving there April 5, 1924. George's father and the others who had been denied entry returned to the camp at Frankfurt an der Oder.


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The CPR paid for the immigrants passage and gave them each five dollars for spending money. There was very little to do on the ship. They walked the decks or laid in their bunks. A few would play cards and gamble. George always said that Jakob borrowed his five dollars and gambled it away. The voyage at times was rough and there was considerable sea sickness. George would never eat oranges in his life because he could remember one of his fellow passengers being sick all over a bowl of oranges that had been placed on the table for them to eat. He also remembered that there was a near collision somewhere out in the Atlantic when the Montrose and another ship almost collided in the fog. Upon arriving in Canada an official found a discrepancy in George's passport. What had happened was that someone had pasted George Jr's. picture in his father's passport or George's father mistakenly gave his birth date instead of George Jr's. when the passports were made out. In Canada the immigration people were not going to allow George into Canada because George junior's picture did not match the information. He was identified as a 44 year old male, George Jr. was only 18 at the time. Jakob Danderfer stepped in and explained that grampa was indeed George Reit and all the information except for the birth date was correct. The officials must have decided it was okay because George was allowed to remain in Canada and continue his journey to Saskatchewan. Paully and her infant son who remained at the camp were brought to Canada in1925, after Jakob Danderfer had worked and saved enough money for their passage to Canada. George's father, mother, sister Anna and little brother Ronimus remained at the camp. George sent them money for their passage to Canada but it is believed that George's father was still denied entry because of his eye problems. Correspondence indicated that they had heard from the brothers in Marienberg stating that conditions there had greatly improved and that they could return. One letter was received after the family returned to Marienberg but after that no one was ever heard from again. Speculation is that George Sr. was likely shot. Monika, Anna and Ronimus would have been sent to a camp in Siberia or died from starvation and or sickness. No one in the family knows for sure. Brenda and Gary Nevard



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