I first heard the story on a Christmas Eve sometime during the late 19702, at the NY apartment where Wigilia, the Polish Christmas Eve dinner, had been celebrated in my family for as long as I could remember.
And on the high altar of that cathedral I shall place my own votive offering in thanksgiving for the miracle of my rescue, when after the horrors of this war have been overcome I return to my native land.
On September 17, 1940, the British liner SS City of Benares was sailing in the North Atlantic with more than four hundred peole on board; they were considered lucky-leaving WWII behind and heading for peace, quiet, and security. At a little after ten o'clock that night, a German submarine torpedoed the Benares. Mind-bending examples of courage and endurance took shape in the hours and days that followed the attack, the children in particlar exhibiting what one naval officer later called "courage beyond praise." Based on firsthand accounts from the chld survivors and other passengers, including the author's great uncle, Miracles on the Warer is a vivid retelling of that fateful voyage in wartime-a story of tragedy and hope, courage and triumph in the face of terrible odds.
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On Sept. 17, 1940, at a little after ten at night, a German submarine torpedoed the passenger liner S.S. City of Benares in the North Atlantic. There were 406 people on board, including 90 children headed for peaceful Canada, their parents having elected to send them away from Great Britain to escape the ravages of World War II. The Benares sank in half an hour, in a gale that sent several of her lifeboats pitching into the frigid sea, more than three hundred miles from the nearest rescue vessel. Not one of the survivors had any reasonable hope of rescue. The initial "miracle" involves one British destroyer's race to the scene; the second is the story of Lifeboat 12, missed by the destroyer, 46 people jammed for eight days in a craft built for 30. Based on first hand accounts from the child survivors and other passengers.--From publisher description.… (more)