Lawrence Meinwald recalls coming to America from Poland in 1920, at age 6. His family traveled in steerage. Meinwald describes the ship, the sleeping arrangements, the food, and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.
Manny Steen arrived on Ellis Island in 1925, at age 19. He came from Ireland. He describes arriving in New York Harbor and the crowded, noisy, smelly conditions at Ellis Island.
The Oral History of Lucy Attarian From Turkey
Lucy Attarian was a five-year-old Armenian child from Turkey who came to America in 1921. During the legal inspection on Ellis Island, the immigration officials doubted that Attarian was her parents' child because she had light coloring and they were darker. The officials thought her parents may have been bringing an orphan into the country and so separated them during the legal inspection to test that theory.
The Oral History of Rachel Chenitz From Palestine
Rachel Chenitz was 10 years old when she came to America from Palestine. She arrived in 1922. She describes going through the medical inspection. She also explains how her mother, who was not used to walking in high heels, wore them during the medical inspection and was almost detained because of how she walked!
Paul Lauric arrived from Yugoslavia in 1940. He was 14. Lauric had the right papers to enter the country, but his 16-year-old brother's visa was rejected. His entire family opted to stay on Ellis Island to be with Lauric's brother. He talks about their three weeks as detainees.
The Oral History of Manny Steen From Ireland
Beginning in 1909, you had to have at least $20 to enter America. Steen explains how some immigrants had to scrounge for the money to be sure they could enter the country.
The Oral History of Estelle Belford From Romania
Estelle Belford arrived on Ellis Island in 1905 at age 5. She traveled with her mother. Belford's father was already in America. She describes being reunited with her father, whom she didn't know.