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My husband and I with our two year old son arrived in New York City on Erev Rosh Hashanah, 1938. We stayed with my husband's sister and brother-in-law for the next few weeks while my husband spent time looking for work, any kind of work. We had known in advance that he would have to make a new start. He had been  in the wholesale hardware business in Germany. I had completed three semesters of medical school before marriage, but now with a small child and my husband's spirits sagging, I thought it wisest for the time being to give moral support and help to follow all the leads that might enable us to get a new start. I even went to Providence Rhode Island by bus, and naturally had to take my little boy along. Our good friends there had no trouble finding work. There were only a few refugee families there and you had your choice of a job.

We returned to New York in good spirits, but as we disembarked from the  bus,  I bubbling with the good news of our move, choice of jobs. My husband gave me a letter from our old friends from Heidelberg, the Ehrmanns. They had, after much traveling around, bought a chicken farm in Toms River. They were very happy and wanted us to visit them soon.

The following Sunday, we took the bus to Toms River. Our friends had a house to themselves (we had never lived in an apartment prior to coming to the United States, and never in a large city). There was fresh air and grounds for a child to play in and peace and quiet. The chickens and the chicken coops (the business part) discussion  I left to my husband and the men in the Ehrmann family. I noticed my husband's changed spirits. He started figuring, could we swing a business like that financially. This was the foremost point to consider. I was all in favor, house and business were together. We could share the work.  All three of us would find a job with our stroke of luck, and we did!

Then came the time of looking for a farm. It had to be in Toms River. There were a few refugee farmers living there already, more had moved there in the 20's and early 30's. They were all helpful with advice. Everybody knew of someone who wanted to sell and they knew the real value of the properties. We walked through town and  were introduced to the Jewish merchants. They told us how they happened to move to Toms River. They had founded the Jewish Community Center. We had found a new home, ours to which we could bring both our parents who were still in Germany waiting for affidavits. Well, we bought a farm with the financial and practical support and advice of the Jewish Agricultural Society. By this time (early 1939) there was a real avalanche of Jewish families (German refugees, people who had reached the United States after the first World War from Eastern Europe as well as American born younger and older people who had saved up some money and wanted a healthier, better life). Many, like most of us who had fled Germany, had originally tried to get to Eretz Israel, but in our time the English, in order to appease the Arabs, gave out less and less certificates for immigration.  So, we personally had taken second best and settled in the country side on a chicken farm.  I suspect strongly, we would have done the same thing if we had gone to Palestine.

On our first vacation in Israel in 1959, we found many former friends from all walks of life, both business and professional people, settled, happy and contented on "farms."

I don't want to go into detail describing our adventures , or more appropriately misadventures, during the first few years on the farm.

The Jewish Community Center served our religious needs in those years. The most important functions were the lectures given by the County Agent and agricultural professors from Rutgers University, experts from the Jewish Agricultural Society and the Jewish owners of the two local feed companies. Even though you did everything by the book, the chickens did not always cooperate. They got sick when egg prices were high and during the time of high egg production when prices were low.

During and right after the second World War, there was a new influx of Jewish farmers . I remember very well a few single men who worked on farms when we arrived for "room and board and $30.00" in cash. Some went back to New York when the war economy made jobs available. We ourselves had one man boarding with us. He did the real heavy work on different farms one day a week (for six different farms). After having saved enough for a down payment, he bought a farm in Vineland, New Jersey, got married and is now happily retired there.

My own parents arrived in September, 1940. With the help of our loyal "Egg Dealers", we submitted affidavits to the American Consul in Stuttgart, Germany. They received their visas in June of 1940. That same week the last European port, Genoa, Italy closed to United States shipping.

Hitler had entered a nonaggression pact with Stalin and by paying in those days horrendous sums , they in German Marks, we in U.S. dollars (borrowed from relatives in our case), the German lntourist and the Russian government shipped them from Berlin to Moscow via Siberia Express to Vladivostok, then to Japan and Seattle. There were groups in all the major cities and ports that helped people along. (Many stayed in Shanghai). But, thousands were saved this way.

This part of my story in a certain respect has nothing to do with the Jewish farmers in Toms River. However, my Father having been in the grain and feed business in Germany, put on an old pair of overalls the day after his arrival, (they arrived in Pennsylvania Station, New York City with what they had worn on their backs for the previous four weeks). Their hand luggage was stolen on the way and the big pieces they had shipped from home were never found either.

As I stated above, my Father helped on our farm. Not finding enough to do, he got day jobs (he was 59 years old when he arrived here) and after two years, my parents were able financially to buy the farm adjoining ours. We then worked the 25 acres, with a total of 7,000 chickens together until progress got in the way. The Board of Education needed our land for a new school. It was a shock!! At this point we even called them "The Gestapo," but who can fight "City Hall?" We call ourselves proudly, "retired chicken farmers" now.

Irma Weil; (Mrs. Julius Weil)