Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
Aug. 4, 1907
The Times reports on the Jewish Territorial Organization headed by author and playwright Israel Zangwill and banker Jacob Schiff to help Jews fleeing persecution in Russia.
In July, the first group of 50 immigrants arrived in Galveston to be hosted and then dispersed throughout the American Southwest. “Whenever an agent of the branch society heard of a Hebrew in stricken Russia who planned a journey to America, he called upon him,” The Times said. “Go to Galveston,” he advised. “Join us and find a home in the West.”
“The growing cities and towns of the West and Southwest sent news of their urgent needs and among these the newcomers were divided because the demand was far greater than the supply, for all through the West the cry is for more workers,” The Times said.
The newcomers spoke in Yiddish, German and Polish, but “America in a dozen different accents always sounds like ‘America,’ ” The Times said.
“The sound of splashing came from the bathrooms. It had been three weeks since any of the party had enjoyed a fresh-water event of the nature. It wrought a transformation. High Russian boots that had been worn outside went inside of wide Russian trousers. Blouses and shirts that had once waved full length in the breeze were stowed away in the manner of an American.”
The Galveston Plan brought about 10,000 Jews to America between 1907 and 1914.