DECEMBER 19, 1945
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Not long ago my little dog and I got a taxi on West Street, near Christopher and meandered through the snow looking for the old YMCA. It was ten o'clock in the morning and I had been asked to come and see a building which housed permanently about one hundred and fifty old seamen. Seamen who, even though they were over sixty, had returned to sea during the war.
One man had been torpedoed three times. But now there is no longer a call for their services and they can't all be housed in Sailors Snug Harbor.
These men have no families; they've lived a roving life. One thing they do have, their self-respect and perhaps a few small savings. Others are on welfare, but here they can live for $6.00 a week. Each room is clean as a ship's cabin, with a bed, locker and chair. Their food is good. How it is done only the cook and the steward can tell.
They have a floating population here, too, much younger men who come in for a few nights before shipping out again, or groups of men who have been stranded for one reason or another and are waiting for their government to see that they are re-employed or shipped to some other point.
There is a new, much better YMCA on the water front, but this old building is needed. The time has come, however, when like most old structures it must have some repairs. New plumbing, a new heating system. I hope that all of us who have been served so faithfully and well by the men of the sea throughout these years of the war, are going to make our small return to them by responding to this appeal.
Their dayroom at present is very bare with few comfortable chairs and not very many of the things which they like to do for recreation. They have to hire a projector and a movie screen if they want to show a movie. The games on the tables looked well-used and none too plentiful. Perhaps some kind friends will remember them with Christmas gifts that may be used in the dayroom during the coming year.
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On Sunday I went to Philadelphia to receive an award given posthumously to my husband by Brith Sholom. The citation read: "For his devotion to humanitarian principles and his untiring efforts on behalf of the stricken and oppressed peoples of the world."
Rabbi Wise, with his usual eloquence, spoke words of praise which I greatly value. He and Mrs. Wise had spent two days in Atlantic City hearing of the need of the displaced persons in Europe from the lips of some of the men who had survived the horror camps. I think that background gave added emotion to his appreciation of my husband's real feeling for the importance of equal justice throughout the world, coupled with his devotion to the cause of oppressed peoples at home or abroad.