The Noordam
Our Ship to America
Family on board 
Franciszka (Francis) Kaczmarek (mother, age 33)
Marta (Martha) Kaczmarek (daughter, age 8)
Regina (Virginia) Kaczmarek (daughter, age 3)


Port of Departure:  Rotterdam, South Holland, The Netherlands.

Port of Arrival:  Ellis Island, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Date of Arrival:  August 27, 1912.


Ship Data:  Built by Harlan & Wolff Limited, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1902.  Displacement:  12,531 gross tons.

Length: 575 feet.  Width: 62 feet.  Engines: triple steam expansion, twin screw.  Speed: 15 knots.  Passenger
capacity: 2,278 (286 first class, 192 second class, 1,800 third class).


Ship History:  Built for the Holland-America Line, the ship was christened Noordam and, under Dutch flag, placed into
Rotterdam-New York service.  In 1922, Swedish American Line chartered it, renamed it Kungsholm, and placed it into
Gothenburg-New York service.  In 1924, returning to Holland-America Line, it reverted to the Noordam and sailed under
Dutch flag between Rotterdam and New York.  It was pulled from service in 1927 and scrapped in Holland in 1928.


Family Lore:  In the fall of 1982, Virginia (Kaczmarek) Plummer traveled with her nephew, Ron, by automobile from
Stuttgart, Germany, to Bremerhaven, on the North Sea.  Arriving at the Bremerhaven city center, Virginia suddenly 
shouted, "Stop the car!"  Parked at the edge of the road, she began to reminisce.  "I stood on this very spot in 1912,"
she said, "holding my Mother's hand.  Your Aunt Martha stood on the other side, holding the other.  We had arrived
by train from Warsaw and were waiting for a taxi to the harbor and our ship to America.  I remember staring at that red
brick building across the road, but it looked different then."  Fifty yards away stood the main railway station, a tall
square structure with one-story wings on either side.  "I don't think those wings were there when we traveled through
here," she said.  Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the bricks in the two wings were of a different size and pattern
than those in the central portion -- obviously having been added sometime after 1912.  Aunt Virginia continued her
narrative: "I don't recall much from the voyage across the Atlantic, except that all three of us slept in one large web
hammock, far below decks in third-class steerage; and we had to bring our own food -- enough for the entire week or
so we were on the open sea.  At the port of New York, we transferred to a train en route to Chicago where Father
waited to greet us.  Porters on the train sold sandwiches and fruit, and Mother saw a banana for the first time in her
life.  On an impulse, she bought one and bit into it.  It tasted so bitter that she threw it away, unaware that one peeled
away the skin first, exposing the fruit inside.  Later, walking the streets of Chicago, she saw a man eating a banana
and realized her mistake.  We had little money, and it aggravated her to realize that she had discarded a perfectly
eatable piece of food.  Over time, the banana became her favorite fruit, as she ate one almost daily for the remainder
of her life; and, every time she peeled a banana, she lamented having once thrown one away."

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