Publish
Maryland

By Lynnsey O.
Grade 4, Maryland
Country of Origin: Germany

On January 9, 1950 seventeen-year-old Jack emigrated from Germany to the United States with his brother Peter who was eighteen years old. Mr. Jack was born in Vienna, Austria, but moved to a small town in Germany. He started working full time at age twelve and had to finish school by fourteen. World War II had just ended and things in Europe were tough. Mr. Jack said that many people went hungry, but he was lucky. He had gotten a job catching shrimp and fish on a fishing boat and working on a farm. That way he always had things to eat. Sadly, Mr. JackĂs family died in the war. Both his parents were put in concentration camps. Mr. JackĂs father worked for the Austrian government and was put in a concentration camp with the President of Austria. Mr. JackĂs father was the only one who made it out of a concentration camp. Unfortunately, he died shortly after he was released because of bad health conditions. The U.S. government found out what happened to Mr. Jack's family and invited Mr. Jack and his brother to come to the United States. Bringing few belongings besides the clothes on their back, the brothers made the thirty-six hour airplane ride to New York City. Once in New York, Mr. Jack was amazed by the many cars in the streets and by the many, many people in the city. ˘I just couldnĂt stop looking around,÷ recalled Mr. Jack He was told that he had to stay in New York until his papers were filled out. Mr. Jack's waited six months until he was free to go where he liked. During that time, he went to the library and he read about different states such as California and Maryland in order to decide where he would go after his papers were completed. He decided that he would go to San Francisco, California. When the day finally came, Mr. Jack found himself at the bus station telling the driver where he wanted to go. She said something about money so he showed her all of his money. The bus driver informed him that it was only enough to take him to Baltimore. Mr. Jack decided to go to Baltimore until he could earn enough money to travel to San Francisco. In the end, Mr. Jack stayed in Baltimore, but he still visits San Francisco. After coming to Baltimore, Mr. Jack met a person at an employment agency who in one day helped him find a job in a necktie factory. At six oĂclock Mr. Jack had to be at the factory to turn on the furnace in the basement. The furnace allowed steam to run through the pipes so that the workers could iron the neckties. All day long Mr. Jack packed neckties into boxes. In the evening at five oĂclock he had to clean the bathrooms and the rest of the factory. He usually got home at six oĂclock. After working all day long, Mr. Jack took English classes on Monday through Thursday nights. In one year, Mr. Jack learned four years of high school English because he took it four nights a week. After working at the necktie factory for one year and learning English, Mr. Jack wanted to find a better job. He met a man that owned a stationary company and the man helped him get an interview within four weeks. The interview was at an insurance company located in the Maryland National Bank building downtown. He remembered saying ˘This building is so neat.÷ The building was big and beautiful and the office employees wore crisp white shirts and neckties. After the interview, they hired him even though he didnĂt have any idea what insurance meant. He had to look it up afterward in the dictionary. That started his career as an insurance agent. In 1953, three years after he came to the U.S., during the Korean War, Mr. Jack was drafted into the United States army. Since Mr. Jack was fluent in German, he was sent back to Germany as an interpreter. While he was in Germany, a law was passed in America that anyone serving honorably in the military for a certain period of time (six months to one year, he believed) could become a citizen. Normally, immigrants have to live in America for at least five years and take a test. Mr. Jack became a citizen while working in Germany. The law was later repealed because so many Europeans were joining the U.S. army overseas to become citizens and had not even set foot in this country. Today, Mr. Jack is the President of Diversified Insurance Industries, a local Baltimore insurance broker that employs 60 people in the Village of Cross Keys, including my dad. In his free time, Mr. Jack enjoys things like fishing and reading. ˘ I could eat fish all day long÷ says Mr. Jack. Mr. Jack's brother left America for opportunities in Africa and now lives in Australia. Mr. Jack stated that he loves America and feels very lucky to be here. ˘ It is my country,÷ says Mr. Jack ˘Such a melting pot of people. Everybody was an immigrant at one time or another. We can all live together as one. Whether we are German, or Irish, or Russian. I think that is what is great about this country.÷


Back to Immigration