Category Archives: W. Europe

A Postwar New Start (Germany)

Bombs falling from the sky, the walls and ceiling of the bunker shudder and rain dust onto the cowering citizens that line the floor. My grandmother is one of these people, bundled in a mass of shawls and elbows of her mother. For privacy reasons, my grandmother will be known as Jane for this retelling. Jane, my grandmother on my ... Read More »

Friendship Goals (Austria)

Many people have very dramatic immigrations stories, but the truth is not everyone does. Moving from Austria to America was definitely an experience, however it wasn’t a particularly difficult one, and in the end I really thought it was a good thing. Most of my struggles were pretty typical for people moving from their home. For example, I really missed ... Read More »

Commonality (France/Italy)

This story is based on an interview and the real experiences of Diana Modica, who immigrated to Johnson City, Tennessee for her father’s job after living all around France and Italy for 17 years. The woman next to me kept knitting her blue-green sweater as I sat there in turmoil. The repetitive sound of her needles clacking grounded me as ... Read More »

Enfrentando Medos (Portugal)

I needed my tonsils removed, but I was terrified of the doctor, Dr. Webb, which is why I brought my friend Maria with me. The thing that I was most scared of was the doctor, because I was unable to communicate and didn’t speak English. Everything had remained the same after I moved from Portugal forty six years ago, as ... Read More »

The Immigration story of Robert Johnston Carson (Ireland)

“Honk!” The foghorns call fades as it slips through the ears, and feet clamber unsteadily up the swaying dock towards the ship waiting beyond. The weak wood, barely held together through the metal spikes impaling them, cries out as it’s stressed. The salty breeze stings the eyes and rips through the sails, whipping the air. The breath hitches in the ... Read More »

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 »

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