Daily News from New York, New York on November 13, 1921 · 5
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Daily News from New York, New York · 5

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 13, 1921
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5 CONDITIONS AT ELLIS ISLAND IMPROVED SINCE OUR K EXPOSURE, ACCORDING tq ARRIVING IMMIGRANTS SUNDAY NEWS, NOVEMBER 13, 1921. Newcomers, Miserably Quartered, Tell of Petty Tyranny by . ; Overbearing Officials - . By INVESTIGATOR. Conditions on Ellis Island have commenced to improve, it would appear from the reports of immigrants who have just arrived. i . ' As a result of the trip of investigation made by Miss Genevieve Forbes and her consequent articles in THE NEWS and the Chicago "Tribune" there is already a notable change in the attitude of many officials in handling the immigrants. On Ellis Island the newcomers to America have good food, sanitary quarters and adequate sleeping arrangements. Though many officials are still intolerant and overbearing, the official brutality and uniformed savagery with which Miss Forbes reported she had to deal seem to be being brought under control. - Though the state of affair on Ellis Island is better,, the immigrants are still miserably quartered and claim to be inhumanely handled aboard many of the steamships. These facts were gleaned from interviews with a large number of immigrants of different races and a trip of investigation to Ellis Island. The improvement of conditions on tbe island is due in part to the thorough and energetic investigation and report on immigration made by Miss Forbes, who was sent disguised as an Irish immigrant girl from Ireland to New York. She reported intolerable conditions, j duty in maintaining the law, but also to weed out the sneering type whose method of working with the immigrants, as described by Miss Forbes, was "to treat 'em rough." Much of the inefficiency on the island at present and inefficiency in some departments certainly exists seems to be due to an inadequate staff in point of numbers and in some cases one lacking in sense of duty or ability. The medical inspection is a farce. The mental test3 are too perfunctory. Boring Routine. ' Neither the army doctors nor the civilian inspectors appear to have sufficient regard for the vital She found that the quarters aboard P0.1 as whether they are per-the ships were crowded and bad,lH""lm? t( enter into the United and that personal cleanliness washes persons who will make bad impossible. She told of the rough-j citizens through either physical r.t k otaoec tnvwA or mental defects. Many seem to the steerage passengers. On Ellis carry t?ut thir inspection duties as matters or Dorisg routine, it is possible that both these departments are handicapped through lack of personnel. On Ellis Island itself, outside of the harsh attitude and ways of some of the officials and the manner in which the law is carried out by Island Miss Forbes declared she found the immigrants were badly handled by brutal, profane and insulting officials. Storm of Indignation. "When Miss Forbes's series of articles were published there was a E-torm of indignation. Comm is- others, there can be very little com-sioner General of Immigration W. I plaint by the immigrant. An in-W. Husband and Secretary of i vestigation revealed the following Labor Davis announced an attack j conditions: on the reported evils. A Congres- The dining room was clean. Each sional investigation was promised. table had a, clean white paper put A special expert was sent from j on it before each meal for a cover-Washington to look into conditions j ing. The food was well cooked in on the island. jan immaculate kitchen, and was The new Commissioner of Ellis j sufficient and of good quality. Spe-Island, Robert E. Tod, has begun jcial food was served to the Jews, to make thinsrs hum there. j who, due to religious views, wished Much of the improvement is due specially prepared dishes. .... " . - V-.v : X - Berta Friedman. This is How Uncle Sam Greeted One Little Girl from Far-off Hungary. "It wasn't nice at all on the ship. But I was well treated on Ellis Island." So spoke eighteen-year-old Berta Friedman from Dombrad, Hungary, who had just set foot in New York at the Battery and was going to her relatives at 3766 Park Avenue. ; "On the boat they crowded us all together, and it was hard to keep clean. We didn't eat very well, either. I didn't like that. But when we came to the American immigration quarters things were better. "The men weren't a bit polite, but then they were not rough, either. The food was clean and all right. "We had to go through all kinds of funny inspections and things. I was afraid of the doctors, but they didn't hurt me. I was afraid of the inspector, who asked me a lot of questions. But I showed him I knew how to read, and then everything was all right. And then they let me come ashore." to his energy and attitude. His intention to make the machinery of the island run smoothly and efficiently is already evident. He is making a real effort not onlv to see that the officials do their full i exercise. . The sleeping quarters were washed out and disinfected. The toilet3 were clean and sanitary. There were large porches on which the immigrants were permitted to "Big Men Shouted at Me; I Was Scared." "I way afraid until the nice lady took me to play with the other chil dren. Then it was fine." Little Maria Nieze from Sicily was telling of her experiences in the hands of the American immigration authorities. "The big men weren't so nice. They shouted at me. And I was scared. But I had a good place to sleep, and good things to eat and drink, so it was all right. "It was better here in the house on the island than on the boat. til .V li v ;v.- k Maria Nieze I wasn't hungry or sick." "I Think Ellis Island Is a Terrible Place." "They pushed me around. They shouted at me. They were rough " , and bad, those 7 S . ft:-. --5-'4 r -. . meninuniforms. I wasn't doing them any harm. I wanted to do everything right, but they screamed and shoved me so I didn't know what to do. I think Ellis Isl- What the Arriving Immigrants Have to Say of Their Treatment Rabbi Declares He Was Well Treated. Rabbi Lienen, who objected to having his picture taken on re ligious grounds, said he was treated well, and had no complaints to make. The rabbi has come from Galicia to make his home in New Rabbi Lienen York. "More Like Hell Than With the Angels." "It was more like being in hell than with the angels." Such was the graphic description given of life on Ellis Island from the viewpoint of an immigrant b y John Szabo of Czech o-Slova-kia, who, with his brother, Frank, has come Sohn Zorn to New York to live. John Szabo "Enough of Everything to Eat; Why Complain?" "Why should I complain? There was enough of everything to eat, a blanket to cover me at night and nobody wanted to hit me." Sohn Zarn "rom Poland, seemed quite satisfied with his treatment on the. island. Had to Sleep on Straw Without Blanket. JDora Friedman, from Hungary, said that she had to sleep on straw on Ellis Island and that the authorities did not give her a blanket. "I didn't like the food very much, either,'' she said. "Some men in uniform shouted at all of us sometimes." Dora Friedman V ' j:' ji I Mrs. Hedwig Espenkair and is a terrible place." Mrs. Hedwig Espenkair, from Altenburg, Germany, was glad to be free from the clutches of the immigration authorities and to be on her way to Stone Ridge, N. Y., where she will have an American home. "Everything as Good or Better Than Home." "Everything was as good or better than at home," said Mrs. Sal vador N l e z e, from Italy, who was going to live with her husband in West Virginia. - She was referring to her treatment o n Ellis Island. "We had white bread to eat here, and meaSi too. We don't always get white bread and meat at home. I couldn't understand much what I was to do, but I just moved when the man shouted. I went the same way as every body else, and then nobody was angry at me. "Too Many Inspections; Glad to Be Here." "Ellis Island was not so bad. There was a special kitchen for the Jews, and the food was cooked clean and all right. But I didn't like so many inspections. I suppose they are neces-s a r y. I was glad to do anything t.n iet to Freda Zorn America. We are all glad to come here." This statement was made by Freda Zorn, a Polish Jewess from Galicia, who was going to Massachusetts to live. "They Gave Me Bad Food and Bad Place to Sleep." "They kcpt me from Saturday until Monday, and they gave me bad food and a bad place to sleep," said Brigati Desolina of Parma, Italy, who will live at 586 Waver ly Place, in speaking of the Ellis Island authorities. "The onlv YiiYp thing on the isl- Prigati Desolina land was that thev gave me milk for baby." This was a strong statement from Mrs. Desolina, who spoke modestly and did not appear to be of a complaining type. "Place to Sleep Too Little and Too Hard." "The worst thing about Ellis Island was the bad place I had to " sleep. It was too little and too hard. But even the bed was lean. Nobody pushed m e Hochina Mart'na If ' 'V spy i H 3 f 't pusned me or p f J treated me ff roughly, and I 4.-'t fca,J Sood food." 4S Miss F" e 1 a yt Pie w i n s k a , a Fela I'lewinska German Jewess from Danzig, made this statement just before going to Philadelphia. "Anyhow it is good to get away from so many regulations," she said. "I hope I am free now." "Ship Terrible; Better on Ellis Island." "The ship was just terrible. We like pigs, and every- "Had Enough to Eat and Good Place to Sleep." "I think everything in America is fine. I didn't see anything wrong with Ellis Island. Nobody struck me, nobody talked rough to me. I had enough t eat and a good place to sleep. "I didn't mind the ship, either. I had enough to eat there, too." Kochina Martina had just arrived from Leonarda, Italy, and was en route to Pennsylvania. "Ellis Island Bad Place; Brooklyn Better?" Isaac Bloch, a Jew from White Russia, had many complaints on the way he had been handled by the immigration authorities. "The atten-, dants shoved me along. T h e y were very rough to me," he said. "I think Ellis Island is a bad place. I'm glad I am here in New York, but I am going to 15 Eldridge Street, Brooklyn, to live. Brooklyn is better than here, no?" "Any Part of America Better Than Europe." "We have lived in America a long time before. We know how to speak English. We spoke nicely !to the doctors and .the inspectors iand they spoke all right with uh. I can tell you any part of America Inaac Iiloch Mrs. Salvador Nieze ' had to live body was impolite. The food was bad, too. But when we came to Ellis Island things were better. I haven't a single complaintto make about any-thing that has happened to me in America." So spoke Bila Bila Knmta Knasta, a Polish Jewe from NoYowod, in Poland. Tier new home will be New York... Mary Depner George Depner is better than most parts of Europe now." George and Mary Depner were comin," from Rumania to Mason City, Iowa. "Had to Pay 50 Cents for Potatoes." "Fifty cents I had to give for two potatoes, because I couldn't eat the food for the Christians," said Nathan F i s h -man, a Polish Jew from Warsaw, who has come to live in New York. "No. I wasn't treated so bad. But I had to give the half dollar for two potatoes on Ellis Island." Nathan Finkman

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