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The journey was to take six weeks, but an engine room fire
caused the ship to sink and the Kroeger family was among 1200
passengers and crew left floating in life rafts in the Indian Ocean
for more than seven hours.
"The ordeal didn't end when we were picked up by a passing
freighter ship," Karl said.
"Unfortunately the freighter couldn't move on because the
extra weight from the passengers was too much."
Karl said the ship was actually making its final trip to London to
be scrapped, which did nothing for the confidence of the many
passengers who had already been through one ocean ordeal.
He said a second ship eventually picked them up and they were
taken to Aden in South Arabia where they stayed for 10 days
before finally boarding another ship to Australia.
"We had lost everything we owned when the first ship sank,
but the Red Cross and Salvation Army did all they could to help us
with secondhand clothes," Inge said.
The couple said the early days in their new home country were
challenging as they battled being home sick and re-establishing
themselves after losing all their possessions.
"It was a new country, we had nothing and we spoke very little
English," they said.
But in the true fighting spirit that had become typical of the
young Kroeger family they worked
through the tough times knowing
they always had each other for support.
The strength of their marriage was put
to the test again in 1962 when Inge and
Karl were sitting in the back carriage of a
stationery steam train Liverpool when it
was hit from behind by a freight train.
"Inge and I were sitting together when the
accident happened, but we were found about
400 metres apart," Karl said.
"Inge had facial injuries and a broken leg
and I had leg injuries that saw me in plaster for
about 14 months.
"There was a point where the doctors wanted to amputate my
leg because it was gangrenous, but I didn't want any part of that.
I was 32 years old with a young family, I didn't want to lose a
Karl was fortunate to have his case picked up by a doctor who
had been doing ground-breaking research in bone grafts and his
leg was saved.
Reeling from their latest near-death experience Karl and Inge
decided that "maybe they were not meant to live in Australia"
and by 1964 they had packed their possessions and returned to
Germany - this time it was a safe journey by plane.
They lived in Germany for five years, all the time missing the
Land Down Under.
Volunteering together at Highland FM - The German Show
Opposite the War Memorial, Mittagong | Ph: 4872 4672
Open: 7.00am to 5.00pm | 7 days per week
Lyndall & Jane
COME AND TRY OUR LARGE
RANGE OF SOURDOUGH BREADS!
WATCH FOR OUR CELEBRATION
OF EUROPEAN NATIONAL DAYS
Fabulous European coffee, cakes,
pastries, pies & 'yummy' food...
Come and try Oma & Mama's
famous fruit mince tarts.
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