Jewish Refugee Admissions to the U.S. in 1940 #usa #holocaust


Scott.leo@...
 

Through Ancestry.com-scanned images of ship records, I've come across my great-grandmother's aunt, Melanie Goldschmid, who arrived on the SS Lancastria in New York on March 21, 1940. The ship is listed as having departed Liverpool, UK (with a stop, I believe, in Halifax).

I know (from the 1940 U.S. census, where she is listed) that Melanie was living in Vienna in 1935 (her family's roots were indeed there for decades prior). On December 14, 1939, she was issued by the UK government a "Female Enemy - Exemption from Internment - Refugee" card. She is listed in that card as having a UK address.

The Lancastria manifest for her arrival in New York lists her as being issued a visa or passport (it's not clear, and I assume this is a U.S. visa...) in London on December 11, 1939.

The SS Lancastria manifest if full of German/Austrian Jews, such as Melanie. My understanding was that the U.S. no longer granted admission to refugees at this time. Does anyone have further background on this particular issue in this time? I cannot seem to reconstruct the series of events that allowed her to sail from the UK to New York and be admitted to the United States in this period.

So appreciative for any thoughts.

Thank you!

Scott Leo
Washington, DC


Sherri Bobish
 


Scott,

This detailed page from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will answer your question.
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-united-states-and-the-refugee-crisis-1938-41

Regards,

Sherri Bobish


Jill Whitehead
 

My mother's family in Edinburgh,Scotland and another person in Kent, UK took in one brother and his two sisters from Berlin during the war as Kindertransports. Their mother escaped the Nazis via the Iberian peninsula, but could not get into the USA. She went onto Cuba (with other women in a similar situation), and entered Florida "unofficially", marrying a Polish Jew with US citizenship (her German husband had died of natural causes pre war). The marriage did not last, but she obtained visas for her three children in 1942 and they joined her in respectively 1943, 1944 and 1945. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


Susan&David
 

Melanie Godschmid was issued  QIV 14778  i.e,  Quota Immigrant Visa, probably  under the German quota. She was eligible under Section 5 of the Immigration Act of 1924 which defines a Quota Immigrant.  In  March 1940 Germany was not at war with the United States and she would not have been considered an enemy alien.   Admission for refugees who had no visa was not an issue in her case.

David Rosen
Boston, MA


On 2/15/2021 8:38 PM, Scott.leo@... wrote:
Through Ancestry.com-scanned images of ship records, I've come across my great-grandmother's aunt, Melanie Goldschmid, who arrived on the SS Lancastria in New York on March 21, 1940. The ship is listed as having departed Liverpool, UK (with a stop, I believe, in Halifax).

I know (from the 1940 U.S. census, where she is listed) that Melanie was living in Vienna in 1935 (her family's roots were indeed there for decades prior). On December 14, 1939, she was issued by the UK government a "Female Enemy - Exemption from Internment - Refugee" card. She is listed in that card as having a UK address.

The Lancastria manifest for her arrival in New York lists her as being issued a visa or passport (it's not clear, and I assume this is a U.S. visa...) in London on December 11, 1939.

The SS Lancastria manifest if full of German/Austrian Jews, such as Melanie. My understanding was that the U.S. no longer granted admission to refugees at this time. Does anyone have further background on this particular issue in this time? I cannot seem to reconstruct the series of events that allowed her to sail from the UK to New York and be admitted to the United States in this period.

So appreciative for any thoughts.

Thank you!

Scott Leo
Washington, DC


Linda Higgins
 

That is about the same time my grandfather's brother immigrated from the Russian Empire.  His descendants have told me that the United States was not taking any more immigrants at the time and he went to Argentina.

Linda Gordon Higgins


Sherri Bobish
 


Hi Linda,

We probably have to separate two things here.  The U.S. allowed a very restricted amount of immigrants at that time, and we now know that for years The U.S. was not even using the small allocated amount of permissible immigrants in from certain countries, i.e. Germany.

It makes sense that people would remember it as The U.S. not taking any more immigrants, considering how hard it was to get a spot.

This page from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is very informative on the subject.
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-united-states-and-the-refugee-crisis-1938-41


Regards,

Sherri Bobish


On Thu, Feb 18, 2021 at 08:46 PM, Linda Higgins wrote:
That is about the same time my grandfather's brother immigrated from the Russian Empire.  His descendants have told me that the United States was not taking any more immigrants at the time and he went to Argentina.