Category Archives: 1900 – 1950

Rivka Lifschitz – the odyssey

Bob Rosenzweig shared with me the story of his grandma’s harrowing journey from Bobroisk, Russia, to Osaka, Japan, to Seattle, WA, and finally to Detroit, MI. His grandma’s name was Rivka Lifschitz. Rivka was born around 1896 in Russia. Her husband, oldest daughter, and oldest son had gone first from Russia to Detroit, MI in 1911. It was around 1914 ... Read More »

Phillip & Bessie Espar

Bessie and Phillip Espar were born in a small Yiddish town of Olizarka, Russia. They married young and had three children; Meyer, Ruth, and Sadie (the interviewee). Meyer and Ruth were born in Russia and Sadie was born in the U.S. Phillip was known to be spoiled and high-spirited, and was always ready for a fistfight. He was apprenticed by ... Read More »

Lottie Burger

Lottie Burger left Stuttgart, Germany because of anti-semitism in April 1938 at the age of eight with her mother, father, and grandmother. As there was no port in Germany they traveled first to France to depart, where her grandmother took her underground to see the subway for the first time. They arrived in New York on the Queen Mary and ... Read More »

Fritz Weinberg

Fritz Weinberg originally lived in Norden, but moved to Hamburg with his Jewish family, as it was a bigger, safer city to live in. They considered themselves very poor, as they only had two servants, but in fact had enough money to escape later on in life. Fritz had an older brother who was six years older than he, named ... Read More »

Polly Bergtraun

Polly Bergtraun grew up in Holland during the time of the Holocaust. When she was a teenager, Holland was raided by the Nazi’s. Every year after the Nazi occupation the situation for Jewish people worsened. She was forced out of her school and her home and she had to give her valuables to the Nazi party. As the situation became ... Read More »

“From Russia With Love”

Dey Rose was one of 8 featured storytellers at the Media Center’s salon called “Foreign Correspondents: Immigrant Odysseys.” Her story, recorded in this 10 minute video, is about her grandmother.  She has also submitted this story in writing here.  Dey is an instructor in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Read More »

Chiu Yook Lon aka Wong Foon Yen

Imagine for a moment…  It is the ides of February 1926.  You are Chiu Yook Lon, an eighteen-year-old woman and a passenger on the Pacific Mail Steamship President Pierce, bound for San Francisco from Hong Kong.  The seas are rough, and you are seasick the entire twenty-eight day voyage — a voyage destined to end in a ferryboat ride to a minimum-security prison ... Read More »

Conflicting Traditions

When I was first getting started to begin writing this story, I felt as if this was going to be a difficult topic for me. After watching all the stories on madeintoamerica.org I did not think that my story had anywhere near the same difficulties. I have lived in the same culture my entire life, and I was born into ... Read More »

Italian War Bride Francesca Nicolina Tommasina Sorvillo Stewart

I am from Naples, Italy. Naples is a beautiful city. But October 1, 1943 when the American troops finally came in the city, Naples was a big gigantic mess. No electricity, no gas, no water and no food, just garbage everywhere. You see, when the German troops left they blew up and destroyed whatever was left. Anyway, I’ve barely started ... Read More »

History of the Fine, Dorosin & Kopelov Families

(Editor’s Note: This is a bit of a departure from the usual format. It is a fascinating research paper written by Maddie Bennet, for her 11th grade US History class at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, CA.) I am a third generation American Jew, and, like many Jews, my roots go back to Eastern Europe.  My research focuses ... Read More »

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