Friday, January 1, 2010

This day in history: ELLIS ISLAND OPENED ITS DOORS (But what happened later?)

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division,
Detroit Publishing Company Collection,

[reproduction number, e.g., LC-D4-10865]

On January 1, 1892, Ellis Island opened its doors, becoming America's processing center for immigrants coming to America. Before it closed in 1954, it admitted over 12 million people seeking freedom and a better life in the United States.

But some of those same people were eventually incarcerated in this place of "freedom".

During World War II, Ellis Island became a detention center for about 7,000 people who were considered enemy aliens. Most were Germans, Japanese, and Italian but there were others as well. In many cases, the individuals were naturalized citizens who loved America and would never betray it. Some Germans were shipped back to Germany in exchange for American soldiers who had been captured and imprisoned by the Nazis.

Ellis Island was only one of many sites where "enemy aliens" were interned. The German American Internee Coalition and The Freedom of Information Times offer much more info. So if you'd like to explore this topic you can:

History is full of ironies. We live in uneasy times but I hope the history that we are creating is one of hope, renewed trust, and new freedoms for people around the world.


  1. Informative post as you start off the new year and your new blog look well. I am speaking in a month or so about targeting your blog. Guess whose blog I'll have to reference?

  2. Your WIP sounds very interesting.