Parents as Jews escaped Hitler's germany in 1939 on the ship Geruselemme

See "Trying to find info on the HMHS Gerusalemme"

November 12, 2012

Hi Mac,

My contribution relates specifically to the letter with the title "Parents as Jews escaped Hitler's germany in 1939 on the ship Geruselemme", but also may be of interest to anyone interested in the ship Gerusalemme:

I have just discovered some interesting footage of the "Gerusalemme ~ Trieste" at dock after transporting immigrant Poles to Haifa, Palestine (Israel) in 1938. I believe that the same ship was used to transport German Jews to Haifa via Italy in 1939. This is a few years before the Gerusalemme was requisitioned by the allies and converted into a
hospital ship in Durban She was then used to repatriating soldiers from 1944 to 1946.


In addition, I recently spent some time speaking with Laurie Bryson (18 years old in 1944) who was a "leading rating sick berth” attendant on the Gerusalemme from 1944 to 1946. I recorded his description of the two years he was serving, and here are some brief highlights. Sorry it's incomplete and a little vague in places, but sums up the immense distances these young men and women travelled and the selfless work they carried out at a very young age.

In 1944, Laurie left Liverpool on a Canadian Pacific Liner capable of 33 knots and carrying 5,000 troops. They sailed in convoy with other troopers over Northern Ireland and onto the Azores where they broke convoy at night.

His ship then sailed to the Caribbean and on through the Panama Canal. They arrived in Sydney, Australia in 2 weeks having sailed continuously.

After the war, Laurie worked on the Gerusalemme travelling to Hong Kong to pick up British POWs. Then down to Manilla, Philippines to drop off Dutch POWs and finally took Australian POWs on down to Sydney.

Then sailed back up to Kowloon, Hong Kong, and moored there for 4 months acting as a base hospital after the Japanese had destroyed the existing naval hospital. This was to allow the British to rebuild the hospital. Then sailed down to Perth, Australia to transport displaced people who did not want to go back to Russia or others who did not want to go back behind the Iron Curtain. Then from Perth (Fremantle) to Singapore. Stayed there for 5 months  because the existing naval hospital could not cope with the number of servicemen patients temporarily in need of help.

The Gerusalemme was "swinging around a buoy" off the coast serving as a second hospital. They then had a break in early 1946 while the Gerusalemme went into dry dock to have her "bottom scraped".

They then took 540 former Japanese soldiers back to Kure Naval Base, Japan. (The Gerusalemme could take 240 patients, but transported 540 Japanese back home, "packed in anywhere and everywhere"). A lot of these soldiers were dying of gangrene or tuberculosis and some 50 where mental patients. There were Japanese nursing orderlies on board tending to these ill ex-soldiers.

When the ship arrived at Kure, they had to moor offshore for the night as they got there just at the tail end of a typhoon. The Gerusalemme was just a single propellor ship and the harbour pilot did not want to risk trying to
dock in such high seas.

The day after docking, Laurie and his watch went on a day trip to Hiroshima.

Then sailed back to England via Malaysia picking up ex-pats. Laurie got home to England in September 1946.

Kind regards,

David Godden

All the information you mailed has been lost on my PC.

May I please trouble you to resend your additional info? as it is important that we add it to AHOY.

Sorry to be a pest.




At our

"Parents as Jews escaped Hitler's germany in 1939 on the ship Geruselemme"

Please add this extra detail from David.

Thank you.

Best wishes.

January 10, 2005


Are you looking for information about the Jerusalemme ship? I have a little information and one old picture of the inside Could you give me some information too?
Sam Katz,
Toronto Canada.

Ship Geruselemme 1939

Ship Geruselemme 1939

Hello Sam,
Yes please, and how may I help you?
Mac Gregory.

Hello there Mac Gregory.

My parents as Jews escaped Hitler's germany in 1939 Via Italy to Israel  (Palestine of that time) The ship that took them from Italy with my two young baby sisters to Israel was the Jerusalemme. Attached please find a picture of what it looked like inside.

Unfortunately, my parents are no longer alive and I can't ask them to give me any more information and my two sisters were too young to remember.

Would you have any more information about that ship? 

Thank you, I think the ship's name is spelt as Geruselemme, here is a painting of her by an unknown artist.
All I have about this vessel is: Built in 1920 for the Loyd-Treistino Line at Cantiere San Remo, Treist, she was 8,052 tons.
In 1940 interned in Loueno Marques, 1944 requisitioned by the Allies for use as a Hospital ship, ( she had sailed under the Italian flag ) In or about 1946 the ship sailed for Japan to repatrioate POW's held by Japan.

She then sailed to Indo-China to carry French refugees back to Toulon, France.

Then was handed over to the Indian Navy, to be scrapped in 1952.

Here is a painting of Geruselemme by an unknown artist.



Ship Geruselemme


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