Re: Logistics of emigration from Pale of Settlement to America #lithuania #poland

Alyssa Freeman

     My grandmother, three of her sisters, and their parents walked from Odessa (now Ukraine) to Rotterdam (family name at the time FAVILYUKIS) around 1920 - a little passed the time you mentioned but probably very similar. They had false papers saying they were from Tiraspol (where my great-grandmother was from - maiden name DIKERMAN), which was in either Bessarabia or Romania at the time and not part of Russia (not quite the USSR yet and not part of Russia at the time, but there was a lot of infighting in Ukraine, at the time, and there were allied troops that had entered into Odessa to try and fight the Bolsheviks on behalf of the Tsar, and Poland was threatening from the west). The papers were very expensive. To the best of my knowledge, they avoided countries that were known to be hostile to Jews and probably took a southern route. It took them about a year. It's my understanding that they had help from HIAS and they sewed up all their money and their silver in their clothes so no one would see it and steal it. I don't know all the details, but I do know my great-grandfather was arrested for murder along the way and was released based solely on the testimony of my grandmother (who was 8 at the time). When they got to Rotterdam, my grandmother and her sisters got sick and ended up in the hospital. 
      I believe my great-grandfather knew English - or enough to get by. He had visited the US once before. They were processed through Ellis Island and my grandfather's brother has been in the US for a while so I think he's the one that came to greet them and helped them get set up in NY. The agent who spoke Russian to them to find out if they could read and write, etc, didn't speak to my grandmother who was small for her age. He thought she was about 6. She got very indignant and told her father, "Tell him I'm not a baby and I've been to school and I know how to read."
Alyssa Freeman
Henrico, VA

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