FC: Our Family Arriving at Ellis Island | Our family arriving at Ellis Island
1: June 5, 1885 Our ship leaves tomorrow. I am ready to start a new life in the United States of America. I am a fifteen year old boy named Lars Fenstermacher. We are ready to leave Germany my family , which consists of my parents and four brothers and four sisters, are struggling. We had to save for ten years to be able to make this trip. Both of my parents picked up a second job and I've been working since I was ten. We believe America is the land of opportunity. Anything must be better than our struggles here in Germany Lars | Our German Flag
2: June 7, 1885 I just woke up this morning. We boarded the ship last night. It is even more crowded than I thought it would be. I barely have any room to move. Our family got separated on the boat. My mother and I are together while I have no idea where the rest of my family is. We are in the steerage which is the worst living conditions on the boat. I have four brothers as well as four sisters. There names our Georg who is 8, Jan is 9, Karl is 12, and Leon 13 for brothers and Ilsa who is 3, Karla is 1, Lili is 5, and Lulu is 7. My parents Burke and Frieda are both 45 years old.
3: My parents Burke and Frieda
4: June 9, 1885 We have been on the ship for four days now. The days are going really slow. I am really cramped in what is called steerage. The smells are just awful. No one has bathed for at least four days and it will only get worse. Steerage is the lowest class and cheapest ticket you can buy. There is a man who is near me who I don't think will make it through the trip. He is coughing constantly and just looks like he is in horrible shape. The next I will write in my diary will be once we are in the United States. Lars
5: Everyone on our boat getting ready to leave for America
6: June 21 We just arrived yesterday and went through Ellis Island. Our trip two weeks to complete. It was so confusing. I heard so many different languages. My whole family got through the immigration process relatively easily with no problems. Everything is so different here. The US dollar is different than the German Gold Mark. I don't really know any English either so I am unable to speak to anyone but my own family in German. My parents want to open a restaurant serving German food including German sausage and cheeses. Along with German beers. The plan is for me not to get a job right away and look after my younger siblings. We will play lots of games like Topfschlagen.
7: German Gold Mark
8: June 24 Our family was going to move to Kansas but it ended up costing too much money to get there. So we are just going to stay in New York and live in tenement housing with two other families. We barely have any clothes to wear since we were only able to bring one suitcase everyone only has two pairs of clothes. We also brought a picture of the rest of our family back home. Now that we found a place to live we are saving money so my aunt and uncle can come to the United States. Since we have been here it has been hard communicating. My parents both know English well enough to get by, but my brothers and sisters only know the basics like "hello" and "goodbye". Our diet consists mostly of bread, potatoes, and sometimes meat. Until my parents can get their restaurant going they will be working in a sweat shop.
9: My father with our suitcase.
10: Our tenement house | The sweatshop my parents work at
11: Map of Germany 1885
12: The American Flag. 1885
13: Dear Family, I have just got back to Germany to go and fight on the Western Front against France. We fight in trenches. It is called trench warfare. A plan was out forth called the Schlieffen Plan. We are going to take out the French before Russia can get their troops together and then go and fight the Russians after we have defeated the French. We are doing this so we don't have to fight a two front war. On the next page I will show you our plan.
15: Dear Family, I am stationed in the trenches along the French German border. I am near the river Somme. The trenches are horrible there are dead bodies everywhere. The battle of the The battle of the Somme is taking place. On the first day we killed almost 60,000 British men. This is also the first battle in which we used a tank.
16: Dear Family, The battle of The Somme has just ended. Over a million people overall died. Now our troops are moving to the Battle of Verdun. We have lost many troops already. The battle is taking place right now in northeastern France. We have to hurry because more troops are needed. The next picture is our troop in a trench at the Battle of the Somme.
18: Dear Leon, We have some terrible news. Your sister Lili has passed away. She was really sick she had been battling the flu for the last two weeks. I hope you are doing alright. Your stories that you are writing to us are really scary. Please be careful. Please know that we all love you. Be safe.
19: January 2, 1915 Something magical happened on the battle field this past week. On the Western front both the Germans and British troops ceased their fire for a Christmas truce. They stopped fighting on December 24 and did not fight on Christmas. Some areas resumed fighting on December 26 and others didn't start fighting until January 1.
20: September 17, 1917 The Great War is turning out to be quite a deadly war. This is because of many reasons. Machine guns were used in this war. As well as tanks. This is the first time they have ever been used. The use of artillery is also a main reason why some many people are dying.
21: World War I Tank
22: Draft Card
23: Anti propaganda of us Germans