the voyage: Dora
Karben posed with
was just like that, Dora Karben said to her daughter, Shirley, of the scene with
the bundles in "Fiddler on the Roof." Tevye and his family are standing on
the platform at the railroad station, waiting to get on the train with their bundles.
"We didn't have suitcases either." Dora said.
At Ellis Island, when you enter the main building, the first thing you see is a huge pile of bundles and woven baskets in front of large photographs of new arrivals coming off the boat carrying those very items. To save money, immigrants would carry their bedding for the rail trip to their port of departure and for the ship voyage.
They would not have to rent them from the steamship company, I learned from an oldtimer at my first encounter with the Jewish Genealogical Society. "And," he added,
Bundles and baskets, like those used in "Fiddler on the Roof" and by the Karbens in their voyage to America, are heaped in front of a photographic mural of arriving immigrants in the entrance hall exhibit of the main building at Ellis Island, where I took the Polaroid photo at right.
|Photos of an East
Berlin production of "Fiddler on the Roof," above, are from the Research
Archives of the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, which also has the
original Broadway Playbill drawing.
"the family's Kiddush cup, the Sabbath candlesticks and the spice box would be carefully wrapped in the bedding; that's how those things got here."