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Title

Zachary Thomases

Date

Description

This is a survey of the Thomases family, tracing the family tree back to the early 1900s when Zachary's ancestors came to the United States from Poland to escape anti-Semitic persecution.

Duration

0:03:15

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

This is my family’s story.

My siblings include my older sister, Alexa, and my younger brother, Jake. My parents are Andrew and Stephanie. My maternal grandparents are Jettye and Dan. My maternal great-grandparents are Catherine and Donald. My paternal grandparents are Judi and Bob. My paternal great-grandparents are Fred and Florence. My great-grandmother Florence's father, Herman Josephson, came from Sweden when he was two years old. Florence's grandfather, Aaron Levy, came from Poland before Herman. When Herman arrived, he lived in Rhode Island because that is where his uncle lived. That was the start of my family, on my father's side, in the United States. I learned of this story from talking with my great-aunt, Susan Thomases, who lives in New York City.

My father's family lives mainly on the East Coast, in and around New York. My mother's family lived in Minnesota and Iowa and then in Idaho and Washington. My parents met in San Francisco, California.

My father's family is Jewish and so the experiences of the people in the family who lived in Poland, Sweden and other European countries has influenced our family. They wanted to come to the United States to become citizens and be able to own property and be safe. They were pushed out of their home countries because of the mistreatment of Jewish people, including the threat to their lives. They were pulled to the United States by the hope of better treatment, religious freedom and the ability to own property.

My family has changed over time because as the generations passed, we no longer have direct ties to Europe or to the experience of Jews there in the first half of the 20th century. Today, although there is still mistreatment of Jewish people in the United States, it is not like it was in Europe in the 1900s.

Since part of my family history includes people whose lives were threatened at all times because of their Jewish ethnicity and religion, we recognize that many people today experience similar situations. Sometimes that is what makes them want to come to the United States and sometimes they do it illegally. These people are no different from our ancestors who wanted to come to the United States several generations ago.