On coming to America

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 02, 2010

The story of the emigration of Morris Moel and his family from the Ukraine in the 1910s/20s demonstrates what an amazing pull America then had as the land of opportunity.

My father was here [in the USA]. He came in 1913. We didn’t hear from him for many many years during World War I, and after this the revolution in Russia. Things were terrible. So we didn’t hear from my father for 12 or 13 years. We finally got a message. It came through from Warsaw, from HIAS, the Hebrew immigration society. So my mother went to Warsaw, she left us with my grandmother. She was there for two months, three months, and during that period my grandmother passed away, and my older brother who was 17 became our mother and father. And one winter day a big sleigh approaches the houses and a man comes out and asks if we are the Moel family. “We’re here to take you to the mother.”