by Katie Quan
One of the lesser known chapters in the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station concerns the arrival of Jewish refugees who left Nazi-held territories in 1939 and 1940. Their journeys took them across Russia into China and Japan, where they boarded ships headed for San Francisco. AIISF came upon this story because Alice Edelstein Steiner recounted her story to researchers in 2001. Judy Yung and Erika Lee feature her family's story in the forthcoming book, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (Oxford University Press).
Isaak Alder, also known as Ignaz, age 49, was born in Rzeszow, Poland, but was a citizen of Austria. He was born on August 17, 1890. He was married to Mathilde Adler, who was born in Kapeczance, Poland, on May 17, 1900. He left Vienna, Austria on March 3, 1939 for Shanghai where he lived for one year.
Mr. Adler and his wife were going to New York because if he were to stay in Vienna, "(he) was put in a concentration camp, and there we had to stay until we found a free way out. And the only free way was to Shanghai." He and his wife were destined to go to New York City. His daughter, Stephanie Adler, age 19, lived in New York and hoped to live there permanently.
We wish to thank intern Katie Quan, who helped research this article.
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