On May 14, 1914 the SS Vaterland sailed from Hamburg on her maiden voyage to the United States. Traveling in third class was 16 year old Mina Emma Bebensee. How exciting it must have been for her to be on such a beautiful ship and going to see her brothers who she had not seen for so many years. I’m sure it was a bag of mix emotions also, knowing she likely would never see her Mother or Sister again.
Brother Hans had emigrated with his father in 1898 so at that time Emma was barely a year old so I would guess she had no memory of him. Brother Gustav emigrated when she was 9 and he had been sent to live with an Aunt so they barely knew each other. I can guess as the days grew closer to her arrival there would have been a great deal of excitement in Elk Creek, Nebraska for her brothers. Finally after 15 years Hans would get to see his baby sister who he called his “Little Syropstrummel” (no translation found) – now all grown up.
I wish I had known my Great Aunt Emma but, I never got to meet her. Over the last few months I have been so fortunate to make contact with her Granddaughters and feel so blessed to be able to get to know them – even though it’s from a distance.