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Geddes Urges Kosher Immigration Station

August 15, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In a report on the conditions on Ellis I sland, prepared for the British Government by Sir Auckland Geddes, British Ambassador to the United States, the establishment of a special station for those requiring kosher food is recommended.

There are twelve recommendations offered by the British ambassador. The one referring to the kosher question is as follows:

“Provide a new station for those requiring kosher food or, alternatively, let Ellis Island be the ‘kosher’ station and provide a new station for the rest.”

The ambassador finds fault with many things on the Island, but points out that the heterogeneous mass of humanity representing all races and conditions of life naturally makes the problem difficult.

Speaking on this point, the report of Geddes says:

“They speak many tongues and dialects. They are all – lady, prostitute, mechanic, rabbi, and what not – all frightened, nervous, shy and strange to their surroundings. They are quite ignorant, too, of what is expected of them and have no conception of what is going to happen to them.”

The report also recommends the introduction of more cleanliness, the improvement and painting of many of the buildings, to expedite the handling of the immigrants, especially in the matter of appeals.

One of the recommendations urges the abandonment of “the quaint custom of delivering lectures on Americanization to criminal and other deportees.” Strangely, says the report, “this well-meaning activity seems to be more annoying to its victims than any other single detail in the life of Ellis Island.”

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