Category Archives: 1900 – 1950

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 »

True Courage (Poland)

As Atticus Finch said in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what”.  It was courage like ... Read More »

Lester Torok (Hungary)

My Grandma was a spoiled brat. When she graduated high school she demanded her father to buy her a fur coat. Lester Torok, my great grandfather- who I unfortunately never had the honor to meet- immigrated from Hungary when he was a young boy. He came with his mother and two siblings. My grandma told me his story to the ... Read More »

Hideo Tomoyasu – Japanese American Experience

  Being an American doesn’t mean you’re a citizen, it’s a feeling. It’s faith, believing in your country, supporting it through good and bad, and paying your duty. When you have that, nobody can touch you. I interviewed my mother in order to learn about my grandfather, Hideo Tomoyasu, and his immigration to Hawaii.  My grandfather was born in 1920 ... Read More »

Russian Healer and Hero

  Screaming filled the streets, as communist soldiers pushed down innocent civilians. Above the chaos was a vast dark sky that stretched high over the rolling mountain ranges of Russia. The country was distraught, Tsar Nicholas II had just lost his power and revolutions had begun. Not a single person was safe from the aggressive soldiers of the Communist Party. ... 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 »

Amy’s Journey from Greece

What if I told you that a young girl, living in a family of ten in northern Greece, would find her way to Palo Alto, California, married to a New Yorker with a daughter and two loving grandsons? My grandmother, Amy Lewnes, was born on November 30th, 1933 in a small town in northern Greece called Serres. She lived with ... Read More »

Huey Leong

In the early 1900s, my great grandpa smuggled himself in a boat, hiding from the authorities, coming to America, not knowing what his future held, in a foreign land thousands of miles from his family. My great grandpa, Huey Leong, was born in Canton, China, a period of many cultural uprisings. Huey felt that his life was unfulfilled, and was ... Read More »

From Persecution, to Palestine, to Paradise

One day, a strange woman showed up at the door, saying that Sarah was alive, but she and her family were starving in Kiev. My Great grandfather lost it all when the Communists took over. Joseph was born around 1899 in a village outside the city of Kiev in Russia. He had four brothers and sisters. His parents were upper-middle ... Read More »

Navy Family Finds California Hospitable (Cayman Islands)

I was born in 1943 in Louisiana. I lived in a small yet prosperous neighborhood of mostly black families, one or two Mexican families. No white people. Similarly to all the scary stories that were told to the white people about us blacks, we heard many stories about the white people that made us on edge. One chant they used ... Read More »