Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Sue Tin, Susie : Unbound from Tradition - Susie Sue Tin's Adventure from Australia to California via China by Cathy Huang and Sue Pon
Year of Arrival 1923

From the Orient to Oceania

Oh, to be a young woman in the 1920’s, unbound from tradition. This is the story of Susie Sue Tin, unbound, who journeyed from Australia to California to marry, in her own words, “for the adventure.”

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Honigberg, Zelik, Rajzla Matla, and Bronislaw : From Warsaw to San Francisco by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1941

On May 10th, 1941 the Honigberg Family: Zelik, Rajzla Matla, and Bronislaw, arrived in San Francisco, California and were held at an immigration facility on 801 Silver Avenue. Here they were detained, interrogated, and inspected by U.S. Immigration Officials due to ‘suspicion’ concerning the family’s paid passage to the United States. Immigration officials stated that not only did they need to verify who paid for their steamship tickets to the United States, but that they also needed to verify the family’s ability to sustain themselves financially while residing in the country. The family’s interrogation on Silver Avenue was just one of the many challenges for the Honigberg family in finally obtaining their liberty and safety.

 

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Yep, Ernest : Ernie's Story by As remembered by his children, Marilyn, Rosalyn, Raymond, & Helen on March 12, 2012
Year of Arrival 1926

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Jang, Louise (AhLee) : Louise Lee Jang's Journey from Courtland to China. by Jeffrey Lehman with editing by Eddie, Louise and Randy Jang
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

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Ang, Mabel Lim : Mabel Lim Ang - In Utero on Angel Island by Kathy Ang
Year of Arrival 1924

In 2009, after Mabel had passed away, our family obtained the Freedom of Information Act A-files on Mabel’s mother Soto Shee. Within those files were details of their immigration experience that were previously unknown to us. It is a story of survival and hope.

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Wong, Myron (Yao Nam) : Through a Child’s Eyes: Myron Wong (Wong Yao Nam) and His Immigration Experience by Erika Alvarez
Year of Arrival 1940

Though many detained in the purgatory of Angel Island remember it with no great fondness, for Myron Wong, it was simply part of a boy’s great adventure. It brought the 10-year-old Wong Yao Nam from the mountainous Chinese province of Guandong across the sea to America to live with a father he had never met. It is an immigrant story that begins with ancestors; is triggered, as so many are, by war; is sprinkled with hardships and hard work; and ultimately ends well, with an old man looking back on a full and happy life.

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Choy, Ben (Buck-tone) : Stories from a Paper Son  by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1930

Ben Choy (Choy Buck-tone) was born in China, in a little village called Wing Ho Wan in 1917. His father left for Australia soon after he was born.  There he worked as a cook and squandered all his earnings at the gambling table.  Ben remembers seeing his father only twice in his life—in 1927, when his father returned to China for a visit, and in 1963, after his father had retired in Macau.  The decision to bring Ben to America was made by his father in 1930.  “As a thirteen-year-old, I couldn’t refuse,” said Ben.  “When they say, you go, then I go!”

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Ginsberg (Guensberg), Rosa Sara : Looking for Love…or Just a Better Life by Anne Hawkins
Year of Arrival 1940

On March 7, 1940, 18-year-old, Rosa Sara Ginsberg, arrived in San Francisco, California aboard the Asama Maru.  An Austrian Jew, carrying a German passport, Rosa traveled alone to the United States via Shanghai, China where she left behind her parents, Bernhard and Erna Guensberg, as well as her sister and brother-in-law.

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Lee Masters, Margaret : Margaret Lee Masters, M.D. (Lee Jee Jung): From Churches to Pediatrics by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1900

In the early fall of 1940, sixteen-year-old Lee Jee Jung (Margaret) left war-torn Hong Kong with her seventeen-year-old brother Lee See Jung (Philip) to go to America. Margaret’s father, Rev. Shau Yan Lee, had sent for them.  Eleven years ago, he himself had gone to America to be a Baptist minister to the Chinese in Northern California and later, Mississippi and Texas.  Initially, Margaret’s father did not intend on bringing her to America. However, due to the death of her oldest sister and brother in China from typhoid fever around the time of the Japanese invasion in Canton, and her second oldest sister being no longer a minor, she and her brother were selected to join their father in America.

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Tom, William : From a young boy from Hoi Ping, Guangdong, China to a successful optometrist in Los Angeles, CA by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1937

The following was written by Steve Kwok based on an interview by Roy Chan with William Tom in Monterey Park California on March 15, 2012.

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Yee, Tet Ming : Activist, Entrepreneur by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival 1932

After arriving at Angel Island on September 6, 1932, Yee Tet Ming (the true son of a Chinese merchant) was almost deported back to China for fraudulent entry when certain answers that he gave during the immigration interrogation did not match those of his father and brother.  As a result, he had to spend six months locked up on Angel Island while his attorney appealed his case to the higher authorities.  The experience would mark him forever.  After he was admitted into the country, he devoted much of his life to fighting racial discrimination, labor organizing, and helping to build a stronger China.  His work served to better the lives of Chinese Americans both during his time and for future generations.

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Rubin, Jakob and Ernestine : Riding the Trans Siberian Railroad to Angel Island by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival 1940

Jakob Rubin and his wife Ernestine arrived at Angel Island from Vienna, Germany on August 28, 1940.  Jakob and Ernestine were both Jewish, and although neither directly stated their reason for leaving Germany, it can be assumed they were trying to escape the mounting persecution against Jewish people in the years directly preceding World War II.  In Vienna, Jakob worked as an office clerk buying and selling men’s clothes in a department store; however, according to his interrogation records, he “was forced to leave that business.”  His response hints at actions of Hitler’s early regime that forced Germany’s Jewish population out of employment (Krystallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in which over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed in Germany and parts of Austria, had occurred just two years prior).  Jakob also mentioned not being able to contact his brother in France for five months “Because it was impossible to get anything” and that his other brother in Vienna was no longer operating his business for similar reasons—“because it is impossible”—again suggesting the presence of the Nazi regime.  According to an account by Jakob’s brother-in-law Alfred Marill, at the time Marill Rubin left the country (Jakob mentioned in this interrogation report that his sister Klara and her husband Alfred came to the US with him and Ernestine on the same ship), 25,000 out of Vienna’s 30,000 Jewish residents were “fed by the community.”

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Pera, Philipos : Locked Out by the Quota Law: The Case of Philipos Pera, Assyrian Refugee by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1922

World War I and religious persecution wrecked havoc in the pastoral life of Christian Assyrians in Persia and the Ottoman Empire.  Their participation in the war, fighting on the Allied side with the Russians and the British, left them vulnerable to massacres by Turks, Kurds, and Persians of the Moslem faith.  By the end of the war, nearly 100,000 Assyrians, along with tens of thousands of Armenians, had been slaughtered, their homes looted, their lands destroyed, and their women carried away.  Approximately 10,000 Assyrians found shelter in Russian Transcaucasia while many others escaped to Europe, Australia, and the Americas.  Over 600 men, women, and children sought refuge in the United States, 200 arriving in San Francisco on Japanese ships from Yokohama between 1918 and 1922. Among them was 16-year-old Philipos Pera.

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