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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Escapee from Iran Marries Portland Girl by Nadene Goldfoot

My cousin's daughter has married an Iranian Jew, Daniel, who escaped from his country. His parents had to use all their money to pay a group of smugglers to get him out. He became part of a group of 14 boys who fled on camels at night to a border town. After another nightfall they continued their journey in pick-up trucks and were carried over the border to Pakistan, also a Muslim country.

After being in Pakistan for two days, the Pakistani Police caught them. They tore Daniel's shirt while looking for hidden money. Finding none, they threatened to send the boys back to Iran, and were about to, but changed their minds for the price of twenty dollars. Luckily they hadn't found the $1,000 Daniel's mother had sewed into his shirt. That was for a plane ticket to Austria. One cannot go directly to USA from Pakistan, so there is an arangement with Austria to allow Iranian refugees to stay there until their receive immunity from the American government.

After they arrived in Pakistan, they went to the UN embassy and were granted official UN protection papers requiring all UN member countries to help them. With this backing they received temporary Swiss passports. They showed these to the Austrian embassy and were granted visas. This took a month to be completed. Then they were allowed to travel to Austria. He stayed there for 8 months until the American Embassy had his papers ready.

At the age of 16 years he arrived in America. He stayed with religious Jews and went to a Satmar camp one summer where he won a scholarship to Yeshiva University. Daniel decided to study Talmud and to become a doctor, so he studied religious subjects in the morning and medical studies in the afternoon. Luckily he had a brilliant mind. Not many could do this at the same time. He loved studying the religious subjects and was torn between the two. Finally he decided that he could bring happiness into homes by being a doctor.

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