Grodno (Hrodna, Гродно, גראדנ)
The Republic of Belarus (Белару́сь)
September 10, 2014
The Family Lifschitz: “Ich Baink Noch Grodno”
In 1902, Jehoshua Lifschitz bought a one-way ticket. All the Lifschitz Family purchased travel tickets. “One-way!” Jehoshua’s brother Schmuel bought a one-way ticket as did his brother Yitzchak, his sister Lena and Jehoshua’s wife Pesha Tziril. Lifschitz nee Lubitsch. I think she was a relative of Ernst Lubitsch, the German motion picure director who was born in Grodno.
They left Grodno, their home town, traveled overland across the Russian Empire (horseback? cart? train?) to the Baltic Sea where they boarded a ship (more than one?) bound for the dangerous, often disease-ridden “steerage” crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. The Atlantic crossing took at least eleven days.
The Lifschitz Family was not alone. Between 1900 and 1914, eleven million immigrants from Europe made the crossing, 85 percent of them in steerage. Steerage was the lowest fare and passengers sometimes were housed below the main decks of the ship.
Immigrants landed in New York, or Boston. If they were sick, they may have been refused entry. So some stayed aboard the ship and traveled to Galveston, Texas.
They arrived. Most stayed. They never looked back.