Hand Woven Wool Shawl

In Attire

My great grandmother Celia Solomon Silverman immigrated here in 1909 from Volkovysk (or Vaukavysk), a small town in what was then Imperial Russia but has since been Poland, Lithuania and is now Belarus. At the time Russia was not a pleasant place for Jews so this shawl was given to my great grandmother by her father to comfort her before her and her sister were sent to live with their two older brothers in New York City. Her two older brothers were sent about five years earlier to earn enough money to send back to bring the rest of the family over. They planned to bring their father over as soon as my great grandmother and her sister were settled and found jobs but unfortunately he was murdered by a group of anti-semites before they were able to earn enough money to send for him. This shawl not only represents the immigration of my family and the push and pull factors that lead to it, but it also represents the tragic loss that so many split families felt. My great grandmother adored her father, she thought he was the most wonderful man, and the fact that she was never able to be reunited with him was a real hardship for her. The fact that this shawl was the last thing he ever gave her made it her most prized possession, and possibly even inspired her eventual entrance into the garment industry. 

Place(s): Volkovysk, Imperial Russia, New York City
Year: 1909

– Mikaela Goodman

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more