• 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 »
  • Elevator Notice

    Elevator maintenance will occur on October 22 and 23, 2014. As a result, there will be NO elevator service on Ellis Island.

Armen Remembers Trying to "Fit In"

 

Armen Remembers Trying to "Fit In"(Transcript)

Interviewee: Armen Jermakian
Date of Birth: September 8, 1923
Date of Interview: September 26, 1996
Interviewer: Paul E. Sigrist, Jr.
Immigrated from Turkey in 1923 at Ellis Island
Ellis Island Collection: EI-808

Jermakian (Armenian Music and Foreigner):

My mother used to love to play the music. It was Armenian and Turkish music that they played. And in the summertime the windows would be opened. And my playmates now were both Armenian and non Armenian. And they'd hear that music coming out, you know, they'd call us "foreigners" and things like that because of that music. And I used to go home and tell my mother, "Shut it off," or "Stop that music. Everybody thinks we're..." and that I distinctly remember because we didn't want to, and I love that music now myself but at that time, you know, they always think you're, they always looked upon you as being not native, you know. They looked down on you, they did. At the beginning they did look down on you.

Download Copy of Transcript: Jermakian "Fit In" Transcript

Did You Know?

Angel Island aerial cropped2

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US, leading to it sometimes being referred to as "The Ellis Island of the West". Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Access to the island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Ferry services are reduced during the winter. More...