"The Immigration of Ungarländische Deutsche (Danube Swabians) prior to the Wars
In Hungary emigration was illegal until 1903. But it was simple enough to travel illegally to the ports in Western Europe, there were no passports, and one could sail to America, if one had the money and passed medical inspection.In that year Hungary entered an agreement with the British Cunnard Line and emigrants could now sail from Fiume (Rijeka) on the Adriatic Sea. This was an expensive and arduous journey and most of our people preferred the illegal route to the west.
After a few years it became legal to also depart from Germany, Holland, Belgium, France. The ensuing competition between steamship companies lowered the one-way fare in 1908 to $8 -less than two weeks wages for a laborer in the USA -that is steerage: 100 cubic feet space per passenger, including the iron berth with straw mattress, the life preserver as a pillow, no privacy, salt water for washing, men and women separated, steep narrow ladders up to the deck, up to 1,500 persons on one ship; guaranteed meals: salt pork, dry peas and beans, gruel, rice, noodles, sauerkraut, potatoes, hardtack, tea or coffee for breakfast and supper during 3 weeks on an unfriendly, sometimes violent sea amid a vile smell. "