On February 14-15, the public is invited to attend free events planned by St. Mary’s University students and staff to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the M.S. Gripsholm voyage to Europe, carrying German American and Latin American internee families to be exchanged for U.S. civilians and soldiers held in Germany during WW II. The press release, detailing the locations, times, and dates is below.
Feb. 11, 2019
Contact:Teresa Van Hoy
New Yorkers Interned during WWII
75th anniversary of internee exchanges
M.S. Gripsholm Reunion in New York
75 years ago, the M.S. Gripsholm sailed from the New York harbor with 1,117 civilians of German descent, including children. Most were interned in Texas; most were from Latin America; several were from New York. Many of the M.S. Gripsholm’s passengers suffered bombardment and deprivation upon arrival in Germany. Liberated in exchange were Jews from the Vittel camp, US diplomats (notably Gen. MacArthur’s nephew), and wounded American POWs.
St. Mary’s University is hosting a two-day commemoration of the 75th anniversary of German-American prisoner exchange during World War II in New York and New Jersey on Thursday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 15.
The New York and New Jersey military district had the highest arrest rate of German Americans in the United States during WWII, said Teresa Van Hoy, Ph.D., Professor of History at St. Mary’s University. Ellis Island was a major detention center, interning hundreds of civilians including American children. Van Hoy and history major, Nicole Johnson, are partnering with former internees, one surviving State Department official, and the top Gripsholm ship expert for this “Year of Remembrance.”
300+ history students at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, have been working for one year toward this commemoration in New York and New Jersey. The students and internees seek official recognition of German-American internment during WWII.
“WWII child internees and their children are converging on the NY Harbor from as far away as Ecuador and Berlin to remember internment. They urge public and official remembrance lest this history die with these last survivors. They bring never-before-seen documents and mementos. Please stand with them on Pier F, February 15, 6 pm exactly 75 years to the minute since their exchange liberated Americans and Latin Americans.”
The public is invited to the following free events:
Events on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Bronx:
Location: Manhattan College, Kelly Commons, Meeting Room 5B, 4513 Manhattan College Parkway, Bronx.
1:30- 3:00 pm: Pop-up Exhibit and Internee Q&A: Surviving internees will create a pop-up exhibit at Manhattan College (Kelly Commons Meeting Room, 5B) with rare memorabilia to answer questions such as “Who Was on the Ships?” and “Who was in the Camps?”
parking permit: please identify yourself as “St. Mary’s University, WWII event”
subway directions: 238thSt. stop, walk up Gaelic Park drive to Kelly Commons, 5thfloor
driving directions: https://manhattan.edu/admissions/visit/maps-directions.php
Events on Friday, Feb. 15, at Ellis Island:
9 to 11 a.m., Ellis Island Internment Commemoration: The public is welcome to join a commemoration of those interned on Ellis Island and participate in an Ellis Island oral history project. This program is co-sponsored by UTSA.
Events on Friday, Feb. 15, in Jersey City (Harborside Atrium, next to Pier F):
3-5 p.m., Mapping Internment onto New York: Mini-workshops to record testimonies, design historical markers, build a model of the M.S. Gripsholm, and other activities
5 to 6 p.m., M.S. Gripsholm Reunion: We call the names of those internees exchanged and remember all WWII exchange voyages and internees.
Directions to Harborside Atrium:
public transportation from Manhattan: Harborside Ferry or PATH train to Exchange Place
driving directions: 210 Hudson St, Jersey City, NJ 07311
For daily updates, follow our twitter page @YearRemembrance