Category Archives: W. Europe

Journey to America (Netherlands)

Geert Dijkstra, born on November 16, 1911, spent his early years living in the Dutch countryside just outside Leeuwarden, a city in the province of Friesland. As a boy, Geert enjoyed a fairytale-like Dutch childhood, playing rugby, fishing in the dykes near his home, and frog-hunting in local meadows and bogs. At the age of 18, with his education completed, ... Read More »

Story of Mary Kathrin McDermott (Ireland)

Where in Ireland was Mary from? Having been there what did you think of the town? How does it compare to America? Mary was born in 1914 and was from a small town in Ireland called Leitrim. She was the oldest of 10 children in an extremely poor family who made their income by rolling and selling peat bog. Her ... Read More »

Skiing to the Dream (Norway)

Gunnar Rebne immigrated to the United States from Stor-Elvdal, Norway, a small town of nearly 1,000 where most parents started to teach their children to ski at the age of five. Rebne was a young man who wanted to see what the American Dream was all about, so at the age of 20 he decided to take a boat to ... Read More »

Story of Cecil Flora (Italy)

By 1920, almost two million Italians immigrated to the United States in search of the American Dream. My great-grandfather, Cecil and his family were five of the thousands coming from Southern Italy. To learn more about my family’s introduction to America, I went to my grandma, Tomasina Flora. She is Cecil’s oldest daughter and has always enjoyed telling all of ... Read More »

Guitarist (Germany)

Otto grew up in Germany and at a young age was enrolled with the Nazi youth. After leaving he joined the German Navy and fought in World War Two. He was captured by the British and put in a British camp until the end of the war. He got to go home after the war and got a job playing ... Read More »

Looking to the Future (Germany)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “America is another name for opportunity”. My grandmother, Marianne Kramer, believed this as well. She is a strong woman who came to America for the purpose of opportunity. She was the first person in my entire family to come to America and make a living here. Life for Marianne in Bremen, Germany was pleasant, she ... Read More »

Journey to Safety and Freedom

                  Evelyn Loeb Beilenson immigrated to the United States in 1941 during World War II. She came on a ship from Lisbon, Portugal as a three-year-old to New York City, but her family was originally from Mutterstadt, a small agricultural town in the Rhineland-Palatinate region in Southwest Germany.         ... Read More »

Karel’s Story (Germany)

It was a cold winter day, and I woke to the warming rays of the sun shining down through a small skylight, and the clinking of plates as my mother prepared breakfast. Wrapping the blankets tightly around myself, I struggled to leave the warm embrace of my bed. As I finally pulled myself away from my bed, I looked over ... Read More »

A Sense of Place

  Coming from Argentina to Chicago, there was a big weather change but nothing my parents couldn’t handle.  They migrated to Chicago to start their own family. There was not really a plan.  My mom and dad were only in their early 20’s. It was in the 1950’s, so segregation was still going around. When they arrived in Chicago, they ... Read More »

From the Netherlands to Palo Alto to England to Palo Alto

My mother’s life started with little memory of her hometown of Amstelveen, Netherlands. While Nienke did not remember much of her hometown and where she was born, she remembers key parts of her immigration into America at the age of two years old. One thing unique to my mom though, is she has immigrated twice to the U.S., both being ... Read More »

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