Journey to America

Helga and Elly's arrival in NY in 1941

Valery Bazarov, the present-day historian at HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), the international refugee agency that helped Elli, Hilda, and Helga at several points in their three year long oddessey across France and Portugal to the safety of America, offered to look in the organization's archives in New York to see what they have on their case.

Visa stamps

Nice work, Walter. Too bad the full file is missing, but it is great that you found those records. The visa information and Ecuador story are consistent with the stamps in Elly's passport, which we have. Here is a page with a stamp for the transit visa in New York and a visa issued in Lisbon for Ecuador.

a few new findings--The Bloch-Ratners arrived in 1890 or 1891

Dan gave me the password to Ancestry.com and showed me around a little bit, and I managed to make a few findings from the census. The 1900 census lists the arrival date of Abraham and Rose Ratner in America as 1890 (whereas the 1930 census says 1891). Assuming that one or the other is correct it solves the Ellis Island mystery--they arrived shortly before the opening of the Island on January 1, 1892 and were probably processed in the barge office that served as the site between the closing of Castle Garden on April 18, 1890 and the opening of Ellis Island.

Elly's passport

A couple of days ago, Walter posted about HIAS and Helga and Elly's arrival in New York. He mentioned a scrap of paper with a birth date and birth place, and he surmised these would have been taken from Elly's false Polish passport.

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