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Ellis Island Oral Histories

The oral histories have been edited for length and to follow chronological order. Each oral history includes reading comprehension questions and a graphic organizer. Some oral histories include photographs of the immigrants and their families.


COUNTRY of ORIGIN



IMMIGRANT



YEAR



IMMIGRATION STORY



AUSTRIA



NELLY RATNER MYERS



1940



Jewish girl escapes the Holocaust, only to be detained at Ellis Island because she is deaf



BARBADOS



VERA CLARKE IFILL



1921



Black immigrant faces poverty, prejudice in the U.S.



CHINA



(Hong Kong)



GEM HOY "HARRY" LEW



1951



Interrogated at Ellis Island for two months



CROATIA (formerly part of



Yugoslavia)



PAUL FRKOVICH



1950



Illegally enters U.S. by bicycling from Argentina with a friend



GERMANY



OTTO HEINEMANN



1930,



1933



Twice enters U.S. illegally, once as stowaway escaping Nazi officials



IRELAND



MARY MARGARET MULLINS GORDON



1925



Vivid description of Irish Civil War and processing through Ellis Island



IRELAND



EMANUEL "MANNY" STEEN



1925



Denied a job in the U.S. because of his religion



ITALY



JOSEPHINE GARZIERI CALLOWAY



1922



Spends a year at Ellis Island's hospital for treatment of her trachoma



ITALY



LEO MANZONE



1921



Illiterate brother denied entry to U.S.



LEBANON



RICHARD HERBERT



1913



Mother and children escape from father to U.S.



RUSSIA



(born in Romania)



LOU WINNICK



1922



Knowledge of English forces him into a parental role for Yiddish-speaking parents



SWEDEN



LINNEA HALLGREN



1924



"Feeble-minded" sister denied entry to U.S.



TURKEY



(immigrant is ethnically Greek)



DOUKENIE BACOS



(NOTE: This is required reading for all on-site programs.)



1921



Underage girl enters U.S. to study to become a doctor, but unscrupulous family members force her to make a hard decision



UKRAINE



(formerly part of both Russia and Poland)



BARBARA BARONDESS



1921



Jewish family escapes pogroms, revolution only to be detained at Ellis Island. Later becomes a movie actress.


 

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