Short Social History

This is from a set of immigration papers
This is from a set of immigration papers

My grandmother immigrated from Italy at the age of fourteen with no money, belongings, or known living relatives She was born in what is now Zadar, Croatia. Although ethnically Croatian, she identifies as Italian in every way because at the time Italy owned the territory and it was the only culture and language she was taught. In 1944, Zadar was being bombed so frequently that half a dozen students, herself, and two nuns fled from present-day Croatia to northern Italy on foot. This journey was about 160 miles and was made particularly dangerous by the constant bombings and Nazi patrols that the group encountered. After arriving in a city in Northern Italy called Trieste, she moved through a series of refugee camps. At different times, she thought she would go to Australia, Ireland, and Canada before it fell through. Finally, she was put on a train to Germany, where she boarded a boat to New York and arrived at Ellis Island. She lived in the Bronx for a short amount of time before she was adopted by a family in Connecticut, where she still lives today. She did not know that any of these application papers existed, as she did not know any English at the time they were written, until last year when I found them through an online database. 

Place(s): Trieste, Italy
Year: 1951

– Nicole Perkins

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