Category Archives: Russia/E. Europe

Immigration Story of James Larkin (Ireland)

Filling the air of the living room with the unique smell of tobacco, James Larkin smokes his pipe as he reads the newspaper. His son-in-law, James Connors, asks him, “Want a whiskey Pops?” to which James Larkin nods in the affirmative. Wafting in from the kitchen is the smell of raisin bread, freshly baked by his daughter. This is 1940s ... Read More »

L’dor Vador (Ukraine)

It was a sunny afternoon in Los Feliz, California when my great-grandfather Avram Yitzhak Lehrer, fondly called “Opi” by his children and grandchildren, sat in his garage smoothing out the figures of his latest sculpture, “L’dor Vador,” meaning from generation to generation. In the sculpture, 19 figures stand with their arms around each other, radiating from a Torah (the Jewish ... Read More »

From Wola Ducka, Poland to New York: The Story of David Milliken

Lubelska to Trakt Lubelski to Słoneczna to Zdrojowa. Every day; Lubelska to Trakt Lubelski to Słoneczna to Zdrojowa. This was the path my great-grandfather took to the local grocery market in Wola Ducka, from his house. Clouds of dirt rose behind him as he cycled into town to get food for dinner. Three miles there, three miles back, every day ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

The American Dreamer from Bulgaria

Then one summer day in 2012, our family woke up in 3 AM in the morning to catch our flight to America. Airport security had been increased because of a bombing the day prior to our departure. My father, Danail, was always a mediocre student. He mostly got Bs and Cs while in middle and high school. He did not ... 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 »

Jacob Tucker

He eventually became a very successful attorney and even argued a case against GM in the Supreme Court for workers’ rights. Many years ago, a young boy named Jacob lived in a small Russian town with his family. He lived happily without a care in the world until one day his father left to escape from being drafted into the ... Read More »

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