The pen used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act was donated to the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and the California State Parks by Miriam Wydra Mendell in 1996. Her sons, Jeffrey and Mark wanted our readers to know that this historic pen will be exhibited at the Detention Barracks and provided the following background story.
As a 16 year old teenager in Germany in 1929, Miriam Wydra was sent alone by her parents to the U.S. because conditions for Jews in pre-Nazi Germany were already becoming difficult. Miriam was detained for a long time on Ellis Island by the U.S. immigration authorities and was almost sent back to Germany, because the authorities did not believe that she was entering only temporarily to be a student. Finally allowed to enter the U.S., Miriam lived with an aunt, learned English while she finished high school, and then went to work for the U.S. Congress as an interpreter.
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