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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Immigrants Of The Week: Helen Wanderer, Gabriel Byrne, Jagdish Bhagwati

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are some entries from Greg Siskind's blog.

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: HELEN WANDERER - TEACHER/SURVIVOR

The excellent New York Times reporter Nina Bernstein writes this morning on the archiving of a massive number of documents chronicling the resettling of Holocaust refugees in the United States in the 1950s. The stories told in the files tell of a group that had a number of difficulties in settling in this country but who ultimately succeeded despite the obstacles.

One of the things I like about the NY Times online site is their inclusion of video stories that go along with the written story. And in this story is a video interview with an elderly woman by the name of Helen Wanderer who tells Bernstein her story of coming to America in the 50s and trying to rebuild her life. I recommend watching it.

I've had the privilege of meeting many Holocaust survivors over the years. I've not only learned a lot from them from their experiences with the Nazis but also from their ability to start over in this country. They were the first folks admitted under our refugee law which was enacted in 1950 and their success paved the way for millions of others over the next few generations. Ms Wanderer's story represents many in her generation and reminds us that the challenges refugees face today are not so different than in yesterday.