Although the journey was slow, it must have felt like she was being catapulted into a strange new World. Among the frazzled masses from Eastern Europe who tried to change their fortunes by emigrating, was a 9-year old Polish girl called Zotia.
Together with her father she travelled to Amsterdam in 1929, where they stayed at Lloyd Hotel until they could board one of the Royal Dutch Lloyd ships. In three weeks they sailed to Santos, Brazil. This was a regular service of Royal Dutch Lloyd between 1921 and 1935.
For an illiterate child from the Polish countryside, Zotia would have had no idea what Brazil was like. Through agents of the Royal Dutch Lloyd, poverty-stricken farm-hands and labourers were chartered to work on Brazilian coffee and cocoa plantations. Their tickets were paid for by the Brazilian government.
Zotia’s story – which is fact-based fiction – is being presented in an educational programme for pupils of Key Stage 2 level. It is emblematic for the emigration history of Lloyd Hotel. Teaching materials include a school paper, a digital presentation and an exhibition at Lloyd Hotel.
The exhibition is open to everyone and has free admission. In photographs, texts and interior scenes of a Polish farm house and a third class cabin, Zotia comes to live.
Tip: In the first floor hallway, squat in front of the small glass pane which is low in the wall. You will see a crystal ship, and leaded windows with scenes of the 17th century Dutch tall ships.
Zotia Emigrates is part of Lloyd History.