auger drill, circa 1905

Benjamin Schussheim and Anna (Kamp) Schussheim came to the lower East Side, and later were able to move to Williamsburg. Everything was done by them, so that this simple drill was purchased and used for repairs.

Ben Schussheim grew up in a village in Poland.  With no easy way to make a living, he was a strapping young man, and so he was given
the job of ferrying people across the river outside of town.  His imposing physical presence and strength insured that he could collect
the toll for the ride.  When he was 14 years old, the job was taken away from him and given by the mayor to his own son.  With no way
left for Ben to earn a living, he traveled to Hamburg, got on a ship and came to Ellis Island.   He worked in the garment industry, developed
skill and a reputation as a pattern cutter, and worked his way up to a job for a fancy department store which still operates in NYC.  This allowed
him to save money and buy a building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The first floor had a "dry goods" store in the front, otherwise known as a clothing store for working men and women.  There was a kitchen behind the store, and an upstairs apartment with another kitchen and two small bedrooms.   My grandparents never talked about the hardships of their lives, and only through my recent visit to the Sweatshop Workers tour on
the Tenement Museum do I have more of an idea of how their lives began on the Lower East Side.   

Place(s): Krakow, small towns in Poland which were obliterated

– Bruce M Freedman

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant