A Story from the Archives: Is This Goldie?

Posted on October 22nd, 2018 by

Blog post by JMM archivist Lorie Rombro. You can read more posts by Lorie here.

In 1948 the United Jewish Appeal, with the help of numerous international organizations assisting in moving over 240,000 displaced Jews from D.P. Camps, France, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, North Africa, Shanghai, and other places to new lives in Israel, America, Canada, Australia and all over the world.

One of the vessels moving refugees was the USAT General Stewart that was originally used in 1946 to transport the troops home from Europe and Asia. By 1950 the General Stewart was being used to transport refugees for the International Refugee Organization, traveling from Bremerhaven Germany to New York and Halifax, Novia Scotia. Many of these refugees fleeing to the United States and Canada were Jewish.

On December 1, 1950 Abraham, Sonja and their 4-year-old daughter Goldie Friedman would board the USAT General Stewart in Germany with almost 1300 other refugees and twelve days later arrived in New York. Aaron and Sonia were the sole survivors of their families, their lives had been torn apart by the Nazi regime and after ten years of living in ghettos, concentration camps and as a displaced person they would be able to start a new life in the United States.

The Friedman’s were met by workers of the United Service for New Americans, part of the United Jewish Appeal, an organization that was supported by the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund in Baltimore. From the harbor the Friedman family boarded a train to Baltimore and were met by Mrs. Julian Adler, a representative of the Council of Jewish Women in Baltimore.

Above images from the 1949 Associated Jewish Charities scrapbook.

Sonia, Aaron and Goldie Friedman and Mrs. Julian Adler from the Council of Jewish Women in Baltimore, JMM 1996.063.041.

I learned about the Freidman’s in the 1950-1951 Associated scrapbook in the museum’s collection. The Friedman family would have an entire article written about them in the New American magazine distributed by the United Service for New Americans. The first article, ­Baltimore Opens Its Doors to a Newcomer was printed on December 29, 1950. The article starts with “The recently liberalized immigration law has resulted in a new flow of refugees to this country…. Baltimore is receiving an average of ten such families a month…Approximately $300,000 is spent annually by Associated agencies for its refugee aid program, a quarter of a million dollars of which is expanded by the Jewish Family and Children’s Bureau. The Story of the arrival of and adjustment of one family under the auspices of the JFCB, the Friedman’s, will be told pictorially as a regular weekly feature of the Jewish press.”

As I moved on the next page of the scrapbook something about the picture on the cover made me turn back the page, the names were so familiar. On a whim I took a picture of the article and texted it to my mother, “Is this Goldie?” After a few hours, my mother texted back, “YES!”

I couldn’t believe it, the little girl in the article was one of my mother’s closest friends. I had grown up my whole life knowing Goldie and her family, we took family trips together, my first time at Disney was with them. I had met her father as well and remembered him as the kind and sweet grandfather of my friend. Because of this I was able to find information in our HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) records on Goldie’s arrival to this country and her parents’ history.

At the museum we often get to help families find information on their history, sometimes it’s hit or miss but it’s always very gratifying when we can use our collection to help someone understand their past. And in case you were wondering I always take a peak to look for my own history as well. United Hebrew Charities Donor Booklet, 1915, JMM 1997.134.067.

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The American Delegate(s)* at the First Zionist Congress Part 5

Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

Written by Avi Y. Decter. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel

Sidebar II: The Other Americans: Davis Treitsch (1870 – 1935)

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Davis Trietsch, later in life.

Davis Trietsch, later in life.

Davis Treitsch was a prominent Zionist leader and author. Born in Dresden, Germany, he was educated in Berlin. From 1893 to 1899 Treitsch resided in New York, where he was studying immigration problems. It was during his period of residence in New York that Treitsch attended the first Zionist Congress and was listed as one of four participants from the United States (though it is not clear if he ahd ever entertained the idea of permanent settlement in the U.S.).

Treitsch was a proponent of “practical Zionism,” as distinct from Herzl’s “political Zionism,” and he advocated for immediate settlement of Jews in Cyprus, which he conceived as part of “Greater Palestine.” In 1899-1900 he attempted to settle a small group of Russian Jews in Cyprus, but this effort failed. Shortly after, when Herzl negotiated for Jewish settlement in El-Arish with the British authorities, Treitsch categorized this as “an acceptance by Herzl of his program without him.”

For a time, after the practical Zionists took control of the Zionist Congress in 1911, Treitsch was supportive. But he rejected “slow settlement methods” and purely agricultural colonization, agitating instead for “Zionist maximalism,” industrial development, and garden cities. He wrote several German-language books promoting his ideas, including Palestine Handbook (1907 with nine later editions) and Jewish Emigration and Colonization (1917), in addition to editing several journals.

During World War I Treitsch served in the statistics office of the German Army and published several pamphlets arguing for German-Zionist collaboration. Arnold Toynbee responded to Treitsch’s gambit, arguing that the Allies would be better partners with the Zionist project.[1]

Continue to Sidebar III: “The Time is Now!”


[1] Rabinowicz, “Treitsch, Davis,” 146; Rabinowicz, “Davis Treitsch’s Colonization Scheme,” 119-206.

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A Naturalization Ceremony to Remember

Posted on June 20th, 2017 by

A blog post by Education Interns Sara Philippe and Erin Penn.



Today, June 20th 2017, the Jewish Museum of Maryland was lucky and honored to host a Naturalization ceremony especially in light of the fact that today is also World Refugee Day. Twenty-eight new Americans were welcomed and embraced by their families and our community. The ceremony kicked off with a welcome from our executive director Marvin Pinkert. He shared his own family heritage as he told the story of his grandmother Ida, who emigrated from Lithuania. Then, Raha Mirzadegan led the crowd in the Star-Spangled Banner with her strong, beautiful voice. Her rich vocals struck a cord bringing many people to tears.  The Immigration Services Assistant, Iyabode Sodipo read the names of the seventeen countries from which the immigrants hailed. These countries included Nigeria, China, Belarus, and the Dominican Republic. The room vibrated with excitement as the candidates stood up and were applauded upon hearing the name of their country of origin. As the candidates recited the Oath of Allegiance, the gravity and the importance of this event rang true. The new Americans pronounced their love for the United States and their willingness to “support and defend” it.

Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Martha Weiman, this event’s keynote speaker, shared her own immigration story: she emigrated with her family from Germany to the United States during the Holocaust. She offered her personal ties to naturalization and the American Dream as a parallel to the stories of the 28 people being granted citizenship.  The Baltimore community jumped into the ceremony again as the Museum’s community partner, City Springs Elementary and Middle School students led the new citizens and the rest of the attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This wonderful ceremony concluded as Bari Myers from the local Immigration Services Office handed out the Certificates of citizenship. Each person joyfully leaped up to receive his or her document. Some walked up with their children, others with an American flag. One man collected his certificate in his wheel chair. All were excited to take pictures with their certificates, families, and the American flag following the end of the ceremony.

Some of the happy families celebrating their new citizen!

Some of the happy families celebrating their new citizen!

This ceremony brought to life the immigrant experience for us. While the Jewish Museum’s Voices of Lombard Street exhibit displays the life of the immigrants from the turn of the century, this event put into perspective the hopes, dreams, fears, and other emotions involved in the immigrant experience today. These people who were granted citizenship today accomplished a huge dream, surely having overcome many obstacles; they have left their country, learned a new language, and vowed to support the United States. Both of us have a great grandmother who emigrated from Lithuania. They and their families traveled across the ocean to an unknown world in order for a better life and security. This ceremony today reminded us of our history and provided a chance to discover the true significance and continuation of the American dream.

Die cut card of an immigration scene, 1909 by the Heb. Publishing Company. Lady Liberty opens a metal gate for the family, while an American eagle watches overhead. JMM 1997.101.3

Die cut card of an immigration scene, 1909 by the Heb. Publishing Company. Lady Liberty opens a metal gate for the family, while an American eagle watches overhead. JMM 1997.101.3


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