Night School Certificate

Night school certificate
Night school certificate

My maternal Great Grandmother, Dora Haftel, nee Kohn, came to the United States as a teenager in 1911. She arrived at Ellis Island speaking, reading and writing at least six languages including Yiddish, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian, and German. As a seamstress, living on the Lower East Side, her family and neighbors all spoke one of the languages Dora already knew. While she would develop conversational English over time, she did not formally learn to read or write it for many years. She was busy working, getting married, and raising a family.   Years later, taking phone messages for her husband’s plumbing business, Dora wrote that a neighbor’s ‘Tujlet pip’ - her phonetic spelling for toilet pipe - needed to be replaced. This message did not escape the notice of her children. Seeking to avoid further embarrassment, and her children's teasing, my great grandmother a enrolled in night school. Graduating in 1939, she learned to read and write English, the dominant language of her new country. The pictured certificate of graduation was given to my Great Grandmother upon the completion of the program.

Year: 1911

– Scott Brevda

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