I have written a novel about my grandmother, Helen Breakstone, who left
Panemune, Lithuania, in 1900, for New York City's Lower East Side. Through
a process of chain migration, she gradually brought over her entire family,
within a few years of hard work.
My book has several early chapters that take place in Panemune. And there
is one chapter on her trip to Bremerhaven to get the boat to New York.
All my research is through the Internet, and I am concerned, given that
Internet information is not always reliable, that factual details, and even
the more general details about life in that place and time may not be
correct. I am looking for someone who is knowledgeable about the state of
things at that time, in that place.
What was the town like? My grandmother and her family lived at the
Breakstone Dairy. What was that like, what were their living quarters like,
how close were all the cousins? What was so bad that they left? How
important was the conscription that hung over the heads of her 4 brothers?
No doubt, they were motivated by a combination of anti-Semitism, poverty,
no room for financial improvement of any sort, and the hope for a new life
in a new world. Were there other factors specific to Panemune, to Lithuania,
If anyone has expertise in this area, and is willing to serve as kind of a
historical editor for my book, I am willing to pay for the service. My book
has been accepted for publication and needs to be at the publisher by
August. So I have a little time. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Mary Helen Fein, Auburn, California, USA
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