The USNS General CC Ballou, Part 1


When we came to the States in April, 1952, nearly all traffic across the Atlantic was by ship. Our ship, loaded with cargo and immigrants, was the USNS General C. C. Ballou. This picture was taken in Bremerhaven, Germany, sometime in 1952.


We departed Bremerhaven for the United States, together with over 1000 other refugees. Most were heading to America; for some the final destination was Canada. Seeing our names on the inbound (to NY) passenger manifest is quite exciting.

Because I can speak German, lived in Germany, and taught German in my second career, most people who know me think I was German. The manifest shows we weren’t German citizens, instead we were “Roumanian” displaced persons. Our names are listed on lines 7, 8, 9, and 10.

We sailed for America on March 31, 1952.

7 Thoughts.

  1. My sister-in-laws family (Konyens from Zendresch, Romania) also were on this same ship on the same date (sailed from Bremerhaven on 3-31-1952, arrived in NYC on 4-12-1952.) Can you please advise how I can get a copy of the manifest that you have? I have had no success finding it online. Thank you!

  2. I was on this same vessel with my parents. I was only four but remember we all had to go on board as someone died and they had the burial at sea. Also remember that the men and women were separated and I hardly saw my dad, as we were in the women’s section of the vessel.

    • How great to hear from a fellow traveler on our “luxury cruise”. Do you recall some of the other descriptions of our trip across the angry North Atlantic that I describe in my book? My mother’s and my cots were very close to the bow. Maybe we saw each other? We are a bit older now. 🙂 My memory of the trip is quite good since I was almost nine. Just the other day another passenger on the ship contacted me, although he sailed to the USA one year before you and I did. His story and my story are similar. Thanks for contacting me!

  3. Thank You Gerhard for your beautiful book that also shared my own distant memory of my trip to America. I am in a positive-shock state-of-mind…you are the first person I have connected with that was on that voyage to America…I am so very grateful that we connected…we will speak again soon. I will send you the money for the book and will order several more… will also speak to our library about ordering… Thank You. Gerda Konyen (Wickett). Konyen is the name I came under…..

    • I too am thrilled that we connected after 65 years. Thank you for contacting me. Anything you can do to spread the word, such as contacting your local library is appreciated.

    • Hi Stephanie, the name of my ship was the USS General Ballou. We departed Bremerhaven, Germany May 31, 1952. Refugees from many countries were on board. I found the manifest through I do not recall the details of how I searched the website, but you it was not difficult to access the manifests for ships departing from Bremerhaven. The more you know about your departure and arrival dates the easier the search will be. Good luck.
      Gerhard Maroscher

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