• 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, including most of the exhibits and both elevators, remain closed at this time. More »

William Remembers the Storm


William Remembers the Storm (Transcript)

Interviewee: William Greiner
Date of Birth: July 18, 1912
Date of Interview: March 3, 1991
Interviewer: Paul E. Sigrist, Jr.
Immigrated from Italy (on French Quota) at Age 12 in 1925
Ellis Island Collection: EI-28


It's hard for people to understand today what it was like to be on a boat then in a storm like that. Tremendous noise. It sounded as if the boat was heading for some rocks. The great waves would smash, the noise tremendous, and I thought we would flounder at any moment. They posted Morse Code, messages received from other ships in the ocean, sending "S.O.S. We are floundering!" and so on, "Help!" and the captain let us know that he couldn't get out of the way. They were hard pressed, too. So they wanted to get to New York as soon as possible… all the other people were so sick. But I get over very quickly any sickness. I would go up on the captain's deck and I enjoyed this wild sight, and especially looking at the prow of the ship going way, way down under the sea and then lifting up. And the waves coming, rushing right up to the captain's...to live...that's a terrifying scene but, as a boy, I enjoyed it.

Download Copy of Transcript: William Remembers the Storm

Did You Know?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Many government agencies have administered the Ellis Island immigration depot. The Bureau of Immigration, later called the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), inspected immigrants. The agency was restructured in 2003 under the new Department of Homeland Security and is now 3 entities : U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services.