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September 30, 1983 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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In her dramatic story of
how 982 escapees from
Nazism in 1944 were per-
mitted to enjoy refuge at
Fort Ontario in Oswego,
N.Y. Ruth Gruber tells
about the first Bar Mitzva
conducted by the Jews who
formed a synagogue during
their stay there. The story is
told in Gruber's "Haven"
(Coward McCann), re-
viewed in The Jewish News
Commentary column Aug.
12.
The Bar Mitzva* was
Joseph H. Langnas, now as-, ,
sociate pathologist at
Botsford Hospital in Far-
mington Hills, Mich. Dr.
Langnas • was naturally
moved by the Gruber ac-
count. Upon reading the re-
view of "Haven," Dr.
Langnas contacted The
Jewish News to give his im-
pressions, based on his re-
collections of the camps,
where Ruth Gruber played
a role after having per-
formed the duty, given her
as a member of the staff of
the then Secretary of In-
terior Harold Ickes, to ac-
company the rescued during
a perilous sea, voyage from
Italy on an American war
ship. The story as related by
Dr. Langnas, who also ac-
companied his reminis-
cences with photographs,
follows:

.

"I read with great interest
and surprise your review of
the book, 'Haven' by Ruth
Gruber. I was very in-
terested in your review
since, until that time. I did
not know Ruth Gruber had
written about the refugees
in Fort Ontario.
"I am interested in the
book since my family
were some of the refugees
living in Fort Ontario,
Oswego, N.Y. from 1944
to 1946. I was surprised
the Jewish Resettlement
Service did not re-
member the name of the
family that came to De-
troit in 1946, the first im-
migrants to arrive here
after the. Second World
War.
"The family that came di-
rectly from Fort Ontario to
Detroit was the family of
Ignaz Langnas, age 47, his
wife, Dora Langnas, age 34,
his son Joseph, age 15, and a
daughter Bettina, 10. They
arrived in Detroit and lived

"Ignaz applied to leave
Italy and come as a re-
fugee to the United States
on the ship well de-
scribed in the book, 'Ha-
;yen.' The fact that he was
chosen to come and ac-
cepted the invitation by
the President of the Un-
ited States, Franklin. De-
lano Roosevelt, was a dif-
ficult decision due to his
lack of skill, education
and age, with the possi-
bility to be sent back to
Europe at the end of the
war.
"The book in its final
pages described the con-
tributions a few refugees
made to the United States.
Missing from this group was
the Langnas family.
"Ignaz -and Dora settled
here. Ignaz died in 1972
after working in several dif-
ferent pOsitions. Dora re-
tired as a seamstress from
the J. L. Hudson Co. and is
now remarried, living in
Montreal and Miami. Bet-
tina married Bernard Lis,
who lives in Southfield hav-
ing three sons, all living in
Michigan. Joseph married
-Frieda Zalc and is now an
Osteopathic Pathologist
practicing at Botsford Hos-
pital. They have four chil-
dren, the oldest is now mar-
ried and lives in Far-
mington Hills.
"As a young particip-
ant in the Oswego experi-
ence, I did not find the
time spent in Oswego •as
wasted. It gave me the
opportunity to go to

school and begin the love
for the United States. I at-
tended public school in
Oswego, learned English,
and every evening I went
back behind the fence in
Fort Ontario. Real free-
dom was not achieved
until the family arrived in
Detroit.
"I deeply admire Ruth
Gruber for her courage in

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1944 ana I am also 'Haven,' by Ruth Gruber, is
grateful she wrote a book a revealing book to be read
about it so that the children by anyone interested in
and grandchildren of the American and Jewish his-
immigrants will remember. tory."

Library Presents
Jack McCarthy

Detroit television per-
sonality Jack McCarthy
will appear at the Far-
mington Hills Library 7:30
p.m. Tuesday discuss his re-
cent book, "Jack McCar-
thy's Restaurant Recipes."
For information on the
free program, call the lib-
rary, 553-0300.

1,1. 4

ttlitf, rAtZ

Ruth Gruber s 'Haven Revives Detroiter r's Memories

in the House of Shelter on
Gladstone near Woodrow
Wilson for a short time until
the father was employed.
"Ignaz and Dora
Langnas, originally from
Vienna, went to Italy in
1938 where they spent the
entire war. Ignaz was in-
terned twice in Italian con-
centration camps and each
time freed. The family was
interned in . southern Italy
but released to live in a
small town in the northern
part of Italy.
"After the surrender of
Italy, when the Germans
tried to round up all the
Jews in Italy, the family,
with the help of the Italian
underground and the Ita-
lian people, hid and were fi-
nally liberated in Rome by
• the American Fifth Army.

19817 19

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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