“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from”

As a child, my grandmother arrived from Belarus to Ellis Island with her sister and parents, around 1910.

Her sister though had red eye, conjunctivitis, which though not serious was highly contagious and on the list of diseases that excluded one from entering the U.S. (as did Syphilis and TB). They were put on the next departing ship, which landed in Hamburg, Germany. The eyes had cleared by arrival, and instead of trying to start afresh in Germany, they tried the next ship back to New York. It must have been tempting to stay, given their only language was Yiddish. I thought of this as I was serving in a Haitian camp in Guantanamo and spent time with the HIV positive refugees who were prohibited entry into the U.S. We know of the success, but I also think of those not allowed to stay, and move onwards, sometimes to new dangers.


by Larry Bottinick, USA
posted: Monday, 16th June, 2014

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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