Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Gluckman, Harry : Harry Gluckman by Reese Erlich
Year of Arrival 1940

Harry Gluckman's family followed the same path as Eva Schott Berek and Lotte Loebl Frank (see their stories in Immigrant Voices) as they fled Nazi Germany in 1940 and made their way across Russia to China and finally to the United States.  Reese Erlich's account of Harry's journey as an 11-year old boy paints a picture of hardship, perseverance, and survival.  Harry recently translated his father's diary, which offers a detailed look at their perilous journey.

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Friesen, Nick : Remembering Nick Friesen (1913-2011) by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1929

Nick Friesen, a former Angel Island detainee who I had the good fortune to interview in 2008, died of a massive stroke on January 4, 2011.  I was told that he had purchased a three-wheel bike at a thrift store in Reedley, California, and was riding it home when he had the stroke.  He was 97 years old.  I thought to myself, that’s so like Nick—active and on the move to the very end.

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Frank, Lotte Loebl : From Vienna to Angel Island by Reese Erlich
Year of Arrival 1940

For many years Lotte Loebl Frank didn’t want to talk about her ordeal. The memories were too painful. She and her family had escaped occupied Europe in 1940 along with a few hundred other Jews who crossed the USSR, China and Japan - ultimately arriving at Angel Island.

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Fong, Jimmy Mee Ning : Angel Island Story by Madeleine Fong
Year of Arrival 1936

Jimmy Ning Fong (aka Fong Mee Ning) of Sacramento, California thinks his Angel Island experience did not have much of an effect on him.  He can recall it well and likes to start with the day he first left his home in China. 

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Lee, Charlie : A Family Profile of the Charlie Lee and Mary Sullivan Family by Marilyn Lee McConnell
Year of Arrival 1911

My name is Marilyn Lee McConnell, and I am a member of the Ng family.  I grew up in Oakland, California, not knowing that I belonged to the Ng/Eng family. Why was that?

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Campos, David : A Champion Through Education by David Tan
Year of Arrival 1984

Through his hard work and commitment to striving for the best in education, David Campos is now a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 9.  Yet, Mr. Campos came from humble beginnings. The following  article examines David’s life and journey from Guatemala to America as an undocumented immigrant and explores how his experiences shaped his views as Supervisor today.

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Berek, Eva Schott : Incredible Journey by Reese Erlich
Year of Arrival 1940

The yellowing old photos show a sprightly young woman of 18 taking a sea voyage to San Francisco. It could be any vacation photo from 1940. But the smiling face and sea breezes belie the harrowing journey taken by Jewish refugee Eva Schott.

She and her family fled Berlin in 1940, among the last Jews able to leave Nazi Germany. They took a train through the USSR and China, and then sailed on an ocean liner from Yokohama to the U.S. immigration station on Angel Island.

While historians have explored the long and often unjust treatment of Japanese and Chinese on Angel Island, much less is known about the thousands of Russians, Eastern Europeans and Jews who came to the U.S. via Asia. Angel Island immigration records show some 500 Jews arrived on ships from Japan and China from 1939-40.

 

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Wong, Tyrus : A Profile of Tyrus Wong by Rosalind Chang
Year of Arrival 1920

Immigrant Voices is a collection of stories of Angel Island and Pacific immigrant experiences.  We are proud to present a profile of Tyrus Wong, a renowned artist and kitemaker, as he prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday.

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Prokofiev, Sergei : Passage through Angel Island by Jordan Yee
Year of Arrival 1918

Prokofiev was an established pianist and composer in Russia when he journeyed to the United States in 1918 for series of performances.  The following essay by Jordan Yee, an AIISF volunteer and ranger at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, brings to life Prokofiev’s intense four-day detention at the Angel Island Hospital.  Prokofiev was a prolific diarist who kept a detailed and contemplative record of his thoughts and feelings.  Yee’s masterful blending of Prokofiev’s journal entries and citations from Prokofiev’s immigration files provide a fascinating glimpse of one person’s experience at the Immigration Station.

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Haskin, Henry and Miriam : Profile of Henry and Miriam Haskin  by Kimberly Jew and edited by Eddie Wong
Year of Arrival 1916

AIISF is very pleased to present the story of Henry and Miriam Haskin, Russian Jewish immigrants, who came to San Francisco in the early part of the 20th century.  We wish to thank Gretchen Haskin and Ernie Haskin for sharing their remembrances of the family and the wonderful photographs that accompany this story.

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Blum, Bertha : Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria at Angel Island by Katie Quan
Year of Arrival 1940

One of the lesser known chapters in the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station concerns the arrival of Jewish refugees who left Nazi-held territories in 1939 and 1940.  Their journeys took them across Russia into China and Japan, where they boarded ships headed for San Francisco.  AIISF came upon this story because Alice Edelstein Steiner recounted her story to researchers in 2001.  Judy Yung and Erika Lee feature her family's story in the forthcoming book, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (Oxford University Press).

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Adler, Isaak and Mathilde : Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria at Angel Island in 1940 by Katie Quan
Year of Arrival 1940

One of the lesser known chapters in the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station concerns the arrival of Jewish refugees who left Nazi-held territories in 1939 and 1940.  Their journeys took them across Russia into China and Japan, where they boarded ships headed for San Francisco.  AIISF came upon this story because Alice Edelstein Steiner recounted her story to researchers in 2001.  Judy Yung and Erika Lee feature her family's story in the forthcoming book, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (Oxford University Press).

During this centennial year, we also mark the 70th anniversary of several hundred Jewish immigrants who had the good fortune to have relatives and sponsors in the United States who aided their emigration.  As one reads the immigration files of these immigrants, one is struck by the desperate situations cast upon Jews under the Nazi regime.  They were stripped of their jobs and livelihoods; they were forced to abandon all their property and leave all assets behind.  But they kept something even more precious - their dignity and their lives.

AIISF would like to learn more about their lives. If any of you reading these short profiles knows descendants of these families, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Li, Beleza : On the meaning of being Chinese by Daughter of Beleza
Year of Arrival 1950

Beleza was born and raised in Brazil, and has been living in the Bay Area for over seven years. As the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Brazil and an immigrant herself in the United States, she has witnessed the struggles and difficulties of newcomers. She has seen how cultural and language barriers prevent even the most hardworking from successfully adapting, and how broken immigration laws also prevent high-achieving students from becoming active members in society. Beleza's work towards social justice include teaching  at-risk youth, writing for ethnic media, and mentoring immigrant students.

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