Thursday 5 February 2015

A small taste of an immigrant’s welcome

The cataloguing of the cemetery and writing up of the website work is still ticking over. Every story that I have researched has given me yet another perspective; not only into historical events, but also into the way we treat each other and life in general.

I spent a fascinating morning recently with a friend, gathering information for a story about her father who is buried at the cemetery. It is now posted onto the website and you can read it here.

There are two things in this story that I’d like to talk about. The first is the way that non-English speaking immigrants were treated in the early 1900s. It could be that immigrants are still treated the same way today. I don't know. My friend said that her family was convinced that the immigration officers gave out a generic name for all Jewish immigrants if they couldn’t understand the Yiddish speakers. In their case, all the families were given the name Goldberg. I accept that this is not an act of cruelty, but it is a dehumanizing approach to people who are already displaced and escaping persecution.

My second point is the photograph. Do visit the web page and have a look at the two men. Don’t you just love those Victorian male bathing costumes? I think they’re fabulous!