In August 1948, 545 passengers boarded an overcrowded, clapped-out vessel in Marseilles to face an uncertain future in Australia and New Zealand. They came from displaced persons camps in Germany, death camps in Poland, labour camps in Hungary, gulags in Siberia, and stony Agean islands. There were those who had been hunted by the Nazis and those who had welcomed them; those who had followed the Communists and those who had fled them. Diane Armstrong set sail on the Derna with her parents when she was 9 years old. Like a detective searching for clues, she has located over a hundred of the passengers. Through their recollections and memorabilia, as well as archival documents, she has recreated the voyage and traced what became of their hopes and dreams. The result is the unique portrayal of a migrant ship and its passengers.More
This audiobook from Diane Armstrong isn't a memoir in the singular tradition of most memoirs. It is a memoir of a community, the inspiring and heartrending tale of those aboard the Derna in 1948. With little certainty of success, hundreds crammed themselves onto the ship leaving behind a world of Nazi reign, death camps, and gulags in hopes of a new start in Australia and New Zealand. Performed with a sincere empathy from veteran narrator, Deidre Rubenstein, The Voyage of Their Lives: The Story of the SS Derna and Its Passengers is an incredible look back at some of the lives that were forever changed from one of the darkest periods in modern European history.
"Deidre Rubenstein's energetic reading keeps [the story] moving. She gives each word its due and enlivens conversations and life stories, many of them harrowing." (AudioFile)
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Could have been magnificent; still pretty good
- Mark U.