Rev. Christian C. Tiews – 05/16/2010
Our sermon text is taken from the OT text: “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.”
On the morning of July 11, 1947, a mid-sized packet steamer chugged out of a small port on the French Mediterranean coast.
She had been built to transport freight and up to 400 passengers, but that day the steamer pulled out of the port carrying a human cargo of over 4,500 people.
Walking along the super-crowded deck that day were Germans, Poles, Russians, Czechs, and scores of other nationalities.
Most of the men had removed their shirts because of the heat. Crudely tattooed numbers were visible on many chests or the inner side of their left forearms.
Only seven days after leaving port, the ship arrived at her destination on the far side of the Mediterranean. The plan was to bring the passengers from across Europe to a new homeland.
Yet global politics intervened, preventing the 4,500 voyagers from disembarking. In fact, the steamer was forced to return to Europe, bringing everyone back to France.
In an odyssey that would crisscross Europe and the Mediterranean, it would take twelve months for these people to reach their original destination, although their voyage should have taken only a week.
Who were they?
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