• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Ellis Island is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.

    Ellis Island has reopened on a limited basis. Due to the nature of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, parts of the historic Main Building and museum remain closed at this time. The museum's artifacts remain in off-site storage. More »

Charles Remembers Maintaining His Jewish Identity

 

Interviewee: Charles W. Beller (Kalman Bilchick)
Date of Birth: November 4, 1903
Date of Interview: August 29, 1991
Interviewer: Janet Levine, Ph.D.
Immigrated from Russia at age 6 in 1910
Ellis Island Collection: EI-82


Levine:
Did your mother and father have the attitude that they wanted their children to become Americanized and they wanted them to hold on to the traditions of Jews in Russia?

Beller (Maintaining Cultural Identity):

My father would want us to go to synagogue on the high holy days; and I always went with him. The other boys, they strayed away from the religious part of it. But I always went with him on every high holiday and the like. I went to Hebrew school. I had the rabbi come to the house for awhile. Then I went to the Rabbi's place in order to learn until I was thirteen years old. And after that I didn't care about that. I wanted to be Americanized. I want to be an American, and I want to accept my opportunities and take the, make the most of them. Take advantage of everything that I could learn. And I did just that.

Download Copy of Transcript: Beller Identity Transcript



Did You Know?

Great Hall circa 1900

In its time, Ellis Island was the busiest federal immigration station in America. In 1907, Ellis Island processed 1,004,756 immigrants, a record number for the Immigration stations. April 17, 1907 was the Island's busiest day, when 11,747 immigrants were processed. Today, the US Customs and Border Protection processes over 700,000 visitors daily through 326 official Ports of Entry. More...