This is a request for assistance.
I have been told that my father, William J. Eberz, was in the Merchant Marine during World War II. Some years ago received a photograph of him as a young man standing in front of a fountain I could not identify. Based on the cars in the background and his youth I presumed it was Europe pre-war and having lived in Europe for almost ten years i was almost certain I could identify the location. I was wrong. After several months I had the idea of placing the image on the Internet and offer a prize if someone could identify the city. With 24 hours I had a winner, Buenos Aires Argentina.
This led me to the question what was my father doing in Argentina in 1939?
I thought it was a port of call when he was in the Merchant Marines but I wanted to be sure so I set on the task of finding some records of it.
The first clue there may be an issue was from my mother's memoirs. Granted she did not write volumes but she did cover the major periods of her life, Dad and their jobs, businesses, good and bad times. I found it odd she did not mentioned his time in the Merchant Marine or even his time away. There was an entry for that period which was that Dad had a frozen foods business that went broke during that time. That was all she wrote. It struck me that it was a rather long and significant period not to write something about.
I set about the task of knowing more. I found out that in time of was that the Merchant Marine was attached to and under the command of the US Navy. I wrote to the Merchant Marines, which replied with a form - of course - for me to complete. After several months they replied that they had no record of him in the Merchant Marine but recommended that I check with both the US Navy and the US Army. Several letter, forms, and months later I received confirmation that the neither the Merchant Marine, Navy or Army had any record of him. I even have tried researching shipping companies from that era and their records to no avail.
I now have no idea what is the truth. It may be that he was a private seaman and all records, sailing documents, passports, and ship's manifests are lost in a sea of rotten old paperwork.
I am now reaching out to anyone who may have either first had knowledge of his service and better yet any sort of documentation showing his status.
I am sure there is something out there that will bring this quest to an end. At least I hope so.
Please let me know.