Our Family History is Filled with Tales of Courage and Bravery
Meet my grandpa Henry and my great aunt Charlotte. They journeyed along with their parents from Gotha, Germany to the United States in October of 1921. My grandpa was just 7 months old and Charlotte was 4 years old when their ship arrived at Ellis Island.
My great aunt Charlotte had several health problems from birth. She was diagnosed with ‘rickets,’ which resulted from a vitamin D deficiency believed to have been caused by her mother’s malnourishment during pregnancy from WWI food shortages.
Charlotte’s hips were not fully formed at birth. She spent much of her early childhood seeing several doctors and having operations on her hips and legs. She often had to wear leg casts or braces. Since she was wearing leg braces at the time that they landed at Ellis Island, their whole family had to undergo extra examinations before being admitted into the country. If Charlotte couldn’t walk unassisted across a room, they could be sent back to Germany.
After their 11-day boat ride, then waiting through the weekend at Ellis Island (because the offices closed shortly after landing), she was able to inch her way across the room during the exam and they were allowed to enter the country.