VW: My name is Vern Wieland, I am talking
to Fred Wieland, my father. Fred was born April 16th, 1901.
This is July 26th, 1990. Tell about those wagons in (8).
FW: There were four wagons, each with a team
of horses. They were driving to the depot to take the train
to (11), Germany, where a ship was waiting for us. That is all
I go to say.
VW: How did they get the three seats and stuff
for John and Andrew?
FW: There were three seats, and then there
were some shorter wagons with two seats instead of three. That
was just for driving people in that shorter wagon. Sometimes
in the longer ones there would be a little corn and grain or
something like that. It would go into the wagon all sacked.
The shorter wagons were just for passengers.
VW: Describe your feelings when you left grandmothers
FW: I was not old enough to read or anything,
but I think I was kind of sad to go to move. But I would never
believe that we would never come back. Because it was so far,
I thought a year or so and we would come back. I didn’t
believe that we would never see them again. But just then it
was only three hours with the team, and just in a few years
we would come back again. That’s the feeling I had.
VW: When you saw her house, when you went
FW: I went out into the street and the house
was gone. The house was behind a six foot wall, you couldn’t
see much of the house.
VW: How far was your trip to Germany with you wagons?
FW: How far was the trip?
VW: How far was it, or how long did it take?
FW: I think it was about till noon we ate lunch, we had bread
along and sausage, with the people before the train got there.
VW: What do you think would have happened to your family if
you would have stayed later, if you wouldn’t have come
into the United States?
FW: I give a little more than myself, if I am thick enough
I (033) him again, my old house, the older you get the more
you go away. Your little grandkids are big and they don’t
know you anymore. It’s not much fun to grow up.
VW: What I mean is as far as war was concerned, why was it
good that you left in 1909?
FW: That was my fathers business. He thought if we stayed then
Stalin starts the army, they would have to serve for four years,
and when he was done then (040), would have to serve, then Emanuel,
then Jake, then myself, and it just goes on, and then the war
broke out and so many got killed. We were under a lot of hardships,
when that war broke out, and they were glad that we were here
then. Every day it got better.
VW: Your (043), What do you think happened to your (044) after
FW: My what?
VW: Your (044)? Your village, what do you think happened to
your village during the war?
FW: Well, many things, we were traded to Romania, that south
Bessarabian, they run us through the land, after the Romanian’s
went to war with Germany. And then when the war was over, then
the wars court decided that no body won. The Germans had to
go back to their homeland through France, and they were far
in Russia. Back to Odessa, and they all old us we had to go
back to our own border. But the (052) couldn’t protect
us the Bessarabians and Romanians, But then he had control over
the Bessarabia, and then in a few years, When the (055) gets
strong enough, and then he asked for that piece of land back,
because that was the best land in Europe, that part, and the
Romanians couldn’t move against the Russia, because they
know they were licked before they started. So the Russia got
all the land back, and then Hitler talked to us Germans, and
moved into Germany.
VW: Now that was a trade between Stalin and Hilter?
FW: Yes, that is what they came back for their second load,
of clothing, and wire, furniture, they were glad to leave, because
almost (063) all the animals, and all the dogs they couldn’t
take along, and they were howling, it was pitiful because they
needed food and comfort. I know there were more than 100 or
maybe 200 dogs, and we had two, but our little dog was with
us and he was howling because he knew something was going on,
but he couldn’t speak.
VW: When did they shoot all those dogs?
FW: Right before they were gone. Before they left to go to
Bessarabia. They only came back twice, and they took cattle
along and their horses, and they loaded all the wagons, they
could come back once. What they couldn’t take in two loads
VW: And then the moved back into Germany then?
VW: So then all of your relatives would be in West Germany
today or would they be in west Germany today? What do you think?
FW: Well I think they are settled in East Germany
VW: They were settled in East Germany.
FW: They were right across the border. They were settled on
that land that the Germans took from the Poland’s. See
they were far in Russia. As I said before, they had no were
to go, there was even our leader, President Roosevelt, out there
to help settlement. So it was (084), (084). And they couldn’t
claim no land at all, they had to go back to their own borders.
There was just too many people. My dad always said there were
too many people. That’s why they shot, that’s why
the started a war.
VW: That could be, That could be.
FW: And there was a (089), I heard there was a number one’s
was in the 40s that got killed.
VW: During the war?
FW: Yes, there was a native boy and two negro’s, they
got killed. You know (092) and then they had (093) boys, one
was as old as I was and the other was more. So we go, At that
time if you think back, it hasn’t gotten much better.
-----Interrupted by telephone----
FW: I don’t know anymore
VW: Your mother was, your mother was how old when your mother
and dad when we came into the United States?
FW: How old?
FW: Well I think my mother was 36 and my dad was two years
older. So I was young yet. I had a lot of other things to think
VW: I would say as a family, moving away from your relatives
like that would be the hardest thing.
FW: Well sometimes. A lot of the times, but not always. Friends
are pressed through sometimes.
VW: Now in Brehmen you went on the ship, what was the name
of the ship?
FW: Karlsruhe the second (120). They usually how they welcomed
us. They had one of the biggest bands in the world. The marched
right on the ship, there was a bridge built going up, because
the ship was higher than the ground you know. I bet it was 30
feet wide, and that was one hell of a beat, and they had the
biggest band playing all kinds of music. As long as we marched
in there. I was standing outside on the deck on the second class
and you could see there were all dressed in white and had caps
on. The steer on the top would stay out flat yah know, I could
hear that band yet how the played. They had big bass’s,
just slammed it on them, and it echoed off the water. And you
didn’t see any water or nothing, because it was all closed
up on the sides, and there was a guard from Germany, and he
traveled with us. He was going to New York. His name was Hanker,
Hanker and he knew all about traveling. And we went down in
the ship, went down about too flights. And Hanker came down
and grabbed us by our necks, with all he had, and drug us up
to the first flight. And you would have all the fresh air coming
in from the outside, and my mother was so glad that he took
us up there, and I think he went up to the top of the deck,
I think he and his wife spent all their time up there. See the
top deck is where we sleep. It looked like a house, except it
was built of steel.
VW: You remember that pretty well, Sailing in?
FW: Yes, There was another old lady that went along with us,
and she warned us. She said lay down in the bed, because when
the ship starts to move, you will get sick. Then lay in bed,
and then my dad said he was going to go up and see when they
were going to start. But he couldn’t’ see anymore
land. We were that far away that the land was gone. We were
all waiting for the ship to start.
VW: What things do you remember bringing into the United States
from the foreign countries?
FW: Each community came to the United States, and each family
had a tank to carry. They were full of pots, you know we needed
pots. High chair and a pouring thing, made out of glue, that
you made the coffee in. That’s what I brought, (164-167).
And we stayed at their house for 6 weeks, that house out on
the country. I remember my mother being so tired. Somebody had
to sleep on the floor, 3,4 in a bed cross ways. It was hard
VW: yah, I can about imagine with a big family like that. So
there was (176).Who was this (177)?
FW: Adam Intzfringer, he had one child, the other girl, and
she died from pneumonia. And the doctor said if they would have
listened to my mother the girl would have been saved. They put
her in wax paper and ice, wax cloth in a bed and ice, and my
mother said they should put warm, you know hot those crocks
little one, you know they wrapped cloths around to make it hot,
because they didn’t have heating pads. The doctor said
the girl got weaker and weaker and died. Adam’s son had
a hired girl and they were driving with a load of lay, and lighting
struck the wagon and started the wagon on fire, and killed the
boy and the girl, the hired girl. The horses were running with
the fiery wagon, running like mad, and then it started to rain,
and took it out. That’s how he lost his only son. And
then the girl they lost a year later, and then the doctor from
Streeter, and a doctor from Edgely came over late one evening
and the next morning they went home. And they had a hospital
in Edgely. They took her down to the hospital. They treated
her with ice, to stop the fever, and the killed the girl.
End of interview
Next it begins another interview with his father.
Interview with Fred Wieland (FW)
Conducted by Vern Wieland (VW)
September 8th, 1990
VW: My name is Vern Wieland and I am talking to my father Fred
Wieland. This is September 8th, 1990, and we are going to be
using some phrases of modified wanker sentences with the curiosity
of Professor Paul Shuk.
VW: ok say the dry leaves.
VW: The hot milk
VW: the cold weather.
VW: the good man
VW: Her daughter
VW: You old ape
VW: my dear boy
VW: such bad times
VW: the new story
VW: this evening
VW: a half pound of sausage
VW: an entire loaf of bread
VW: a little bit of cheese
VW: a nice time
VW: his younger brother
VW: some white soap
VW: hurry up, supper’s ready!
VW: Little birds
VW: the brown dog
VW: his heart
VW: a headache and a cold
VW: tomorrow morning
VW: wait one more minute
VW: the warm water
VW: the thin ice
VW: the talk too much
VW: up in the air
VW: in the oven
VW: with the busht
VW: with the wooden spoon
VW: with a horse
VW: from the young women
VW: for a little girl
VW: with out salt or pepper
VW: the last word
VW: across the pasture
VW: behind our house
VW: on the stone or brick wall
VW: to stay here
VW: his own child
VW: ok now here are some words and I want to tell you what
they are in German.
(Please listen for the German words from 272-
Now Count to 15 in German.
Now Say the days in the week the way you would say it.
Now Say the Seasons of the year.
Now say the following
----Switch to side two----
You children have:
You all are:
Now we have some sentences I would like you to say in German.
I like vegetable soup.
Put the meat on the table.
The farmers were very angry.
We went to church every Sunday.
He acted as if he was sleeping.
They will eat at the neighbors place.
Nothing but cream, cakes, and noodles.
They heated their house with coal.
They heated their house with wood.
We had bought a new car already.
Let me tell you, my feet hurt.
How much do you want to have?
We don’t understand you.
Who stole the money.
Where are you going?
I was too tired.
VW: Michael wants you to talk a little about Elis Island. Can
you tell us something about that?
FW: All I can remember, we came in a big ship in the New York
harbor. And the law is that all the immigrants must be examined
for several days before they are allowed to come into the United
States. Then they took a small ship. I sat outside on the porch,
and hung my feet in the water, while the ship was going to Elis
Island. And then there was more people there and they were all
bunched with their families, and they had a room, no beds. You
had to sleep on the floor. They gave you food, and they arrived
on Elis Island, they come to the shore. A white dressed man
and a wagon behind him. And he had cookies and pumpkin pies,
and cheese. They gave us free each got a present. And we stayed
there about three days, and then they took us with a little
ship to New York, and then we took the train and went on. That’s
all there was.
VW: ok, what did the doctors examine you? Tell what it looked
like. Didn’t you have to stay there an extra day?
FW: No, The next day my dad walked around and looked for a
railroad, but everywhere he looked there was water. If they
had a railroad we wouldn’t be using this little ship yah
know. That was quite a big island. And that was all, now there
is no more elis island, just the memories.
VW: Well what did you see on Elis island? What kind of buildings
were there or whatever?
FW: I don’t remember, they had so many flowers there.
Right where you looked there was flowers. I don’t remember
VW: Didn’t you say you had to stay an extra day at Elis
Island because someone was sick?
FW: No. That was out in the old country we had to stay longer
because of Jake and Landels eyes. They had to heal first. That
was out before we got on, before we had to go. Elis Island was
VW: ok, Then who hauled you to the railroad from Elis Island?
What happened there?
FW: Well, they took us on a little ship back to New York
VW: Did you then get on the railroad right away?
FW: Oh, we walked stairs, we walked up and up and up and when
we came up, There was the train, on top of the building!
VW: Were there a lot of tree’s on Elis Island?
FW: Not a lot of tree’s but a lot of flowers. I don’t
remember seeing on tree.
VW: The white man came and gave you free stuff?
FW: He was all white. White cap, suit white, box and crackers,
and pumpkin pie, and American cheese, and boy did we gulp that
VW: So was it fun, when you slept on the floor of this room?
VW: Was there a Mattress?
FW: No we had quilts, most of our bedding we had along. We
had a big sack with bedding and quilts.
VW: How many families do you think stayed in this one big room?
FW: Well, there were petitions, each family had a petition,
it was just like walking through a cow barn. And we were all
standing there, and holding their little (475) so they wouldn’t
VW: And you were in the petition, did you get all your family
in this petition? Was it big enough? How big was the building?
FW: Big that’s all I know. I didn’t know how many
feet or yards or that stuff, but it was a big building. You
could look down and you couldn’t make out if there were
people down there or cattle.
VW: Did everyone from the ship go on there, to that building?
FW: I guess so, because they only had a day because more ships
were coming in. We all had to go there.
VW: They all had to sleep there. And you had to sleep on the
floor, everyone slept on the floor? And they brought your food?
So the federal government fed you, all of you that came in?
FW: Yes, I guess so.
VW: Where did you wash? Did you have outside bathrooms?
FW: There was water inside, but we didn’t’ take
water baths, because we thought we didn’t get dirty. There
wasn’t even water on the railroads. It was in front of
the railroad station, and then (493) filled with water and that’s
what you took on the train, and then we drank that water as
long as we were on the train, and we had to wait for another
station to get more water. I think they had some kind of chemical
that was stored within the railroad cars.
VW: How about in Elis Island, what kind of bathrooms were there?
FW: You could sit down on a seat, and you would all sit in
a row. There were about twenty of us that could sit in a row.
VW: They were all open!
FW: all open, (500)
VW: Did you go out to play at Elis Island, or what did you
do during the day there?
FW: We had to stay in the room. My dad walked around and looked
everything up. You had to be careful because they were stealing
kids yah know. There were bad people too. If they got a little
far they could tie his mouth shut right away, and hide them
and you wouldn’t know. You could walk right by them, but
they couldn’t make no sounds.
VW: You mean that went on at Elis Island, where they would
steal little kids?
FW: Well, that’s why we had to stay together by the mother
or the father. See we couldn’t run around, that was not
allowed, they told us stay together. And then dad went to look
for a railroad station, and he walked all over (514).
FW: (517) and then he stayed with us, and they told us, they
steal children, you have to watch on the ship and on Elis Island.
The railroad wasn’t too bad, but the ship was too big,
you could go three, four stairways down, you would never find
them. See the ship had great big stair ways, you could just
run down there, there were about three flanks where people were
just sitting. But we were from the deck, one stair way down,
and from there the stair way was all open. Out on the deck,
and we got all that fresh air, but the people who were two flanks
down, they didn’t get that fresh air, they had to open
the little windows, round windows that were all around the sides
of the ship. Not big ones, so that nobody could crawl out, or
be thrown out or something like that, not big ones, just little
ones, oblong windows, so that’s all I can remember about
the trip. And then we came to Streeter, and the train was running
and good, and a quarter of a mile out of town, Adams Enzminger
jumped on the train and he stood looking in the glass door,
and then Andrew said to me (538). The train was still going.
VW: Well how did he go, Did he leave his horses there at the
place or what?
FW: He lived in town. He lived right were we went to him. That
was my dads (543) in the old country. See?
VW: Why did you call him (544)?
FW: That was the old country style. There was real good man,
and the kids were taught to call him (546). And everybody did
it out there.
VW: Maybe you can name some of the things that you brought
into the United States that you brought from Russia. Like the
kettle you mentioned, what are some of those things that you
brought to the United States with you?
FW: I don’t think we brought anything in.
VW: oh, well you talked about the thing were the cheese was
in, and were the teapot was in, wicker basket.
FW: We didn’t bring anything but a few clothes, that’s
all, and the pot. See little kids, they had to go quite often.
That was (561), See they used the pot and then threw it out
the window. On the ship we had water.
VW: You told me one time that you brought blue stuff. The tea
kettle. And then you had the little basket that you said you
brought from Russia.
FW: Yes we brought that in. Baskets? Yes we had several where
we had clothes packed in. One basket we had was a big one. Andrew
carried it where there was food packed in. Bread and stuff like
that cookies, whatever we could get by on on the road we packed
it in there. And on that little basket there was something packing
into it, but I don’t know what. John always carried it
under his arm. It had a collar on. That’s all, we didn’t
bring in anything. A few clothes. I know I borrowed my dad’s
coat, it was a dress coat in the old country. My mother used
it in the bottom of a box to warm up, and my grandmother washed
it once and it never turned out to look like a coat. So I said
I will burn it then.
VW: I see. I also know that you had that little blue thing
that you had cheese in. that I got from Manuel
FW: Yes we had sheep cheese in it, but we never ate it. And
when we came in here the (585), they ate it like hot cakes.
VW: What is sheep cheese?
FW: Cheese. From the sheep milk, that is the richest cheese
you can get. Sheep and goat cheese.
VW: And your mother made that?
FW: She packed it in that little (591), and salted it and packing
it in tight. And she tied a solid rag around it, and then she
put the cover on and tied it down. And we traveled 17 days,
and the sheep cheese didn’t stink anymore than it did
in the old country.
VW: What kind of food did you eat on the ship?
FW: We got very good bread. It was like buns. A little bigger
than a bun, and they had about three in a row and about eight
in the other, on a pan. They were stacked on the bread house
way up, and they took home. When they were all sick yah know,
all they eat is bread. And there was and old Sailor his name
was (608), and then we went out and give me a whole pan full
of that bread, I was the only one that could walk good. The
other ones would tumble down the stairs. And when we got that
we ended up eating on the bread all the time, and drank some
water. The coffee they didn’t like. The tea they didn’t
like. And the meat that was no cooked like if a wife would cook
it yah know. They cooked it in big quantities, and that doesn’t
taste as if a wife would cook it in here alone.
VW: What is the name of the ship again that you came over in?
FW: (619) We were going to go on (624), but we were late. We
were three days late, and then we had to stay three days before
we could, before that ship started. And then we found out, the
telegram came back to Brehmen that they ran into a big fish
and it stopped the ship, and the sailors they had a mess. They
went down there to see if they could cut off some of the meat
of the fish, and they said that he knocked his tail so hard
against the ship that they thought he would knock a whole in
the ship. Them (634) fish are big buggers, and he finally got
away, and the run spears in him and spears in him, and they
thought they would kill him. But he got away. He kill him with
spears, they had little boats, they are called lead boats, if
they are full of water, they won’t go down, they will
stay up. And they had very sharp spears and the (642) fish would
come to the surface and they would throw these spears all they
could, the air was full of spears, and then he got away. He
probably died sometime, but very seldom would they stop from
the spears, his meat was so thick that it wouldn’t reach
the heart, because that’s the only way it would kill him.
If they had guns, but the guns were not allowed, and so my mother
was so glad that they didn’t get on that ship, because
she was always so scared.
VW: She was scared of the water. Could you explain how much
sickness you had on the ship at that time, and why the people
were so sick.
FW: Well that’s just the water, that made the people
sea sick. Actually, my whole family except me, I was just as
alert as I ever was. They had to have somebody to get them their
food. They couldn’t walk. They would fall. They would
fall down the stairway, all they would do was throw up. Eat
a little, and then they would throw up. And not just you would
throw up, there were others throwing up, because it was a double
deck. There was the throw up stuff coming from the other deck.
VW: When you had to sit at Brehmen from three days, where did
FW: On the floor.
VW: Was there a building there?
FW: Oh yes, there was tables to eat, just like a church. The
tables would sit with two sides. And they would come up and
they would slide the food down and you would have to catch the
food. And there was a room in that restaurant, and plenty of
food there before we went on the ship, that’s were my
mother packed all the left over stuff that she could save. She
packed that basket that we could back, just like everybody else
that goes down for waste.
VW: Could you remember what kind of food you had there?
FW: There was potatoes and meat and I don’t remember.
But when we walked around, we had two women to guide us around
town, Brehmen is a nice town. All nice streets. And there was
a great big dog, the biggest dog I have ever seen, laying in
front of a two wheeled cart, little wheels, and the top was
on, the top was put back and the dog was laying down, and we
were around there, and we were going to wait until the man came
out. We waited to see the man tell the dog to go. The man came
out, but he didn’t say anything. He just got in his wagon,
grabbed the reins, and went and the dog followed. They had a
photograph playing, and we looked in there and we thought someone
was in there playing, and everything, and them to ladies held
us all together. They always said come here come here! (709)They
had guards there all the time.
VW: Do you remember what kind of food you got at Elis Island?
Was it the same thing you got every place?
FW: I don’t remember the food. The most interest to me
was if I could only get something to eat. They couldn’t
talk, and we stopped once in Canada our railroad went through
Canada. A lot of Germans could talk German, and then we met
an old man, and the big people in New York. Then he asked my
dad where we came from. Dad he goes back home, that’s
no good in America. And my mother started to cry. Then my dad
said you all stay here, I am going to look for some bread, and
then he walked by a door and there was bread you could taste
and cheese. Then he went in there and took four loaves of bread,
and he laid it all together and two packages of cheese, long
packages, and then a man came up to him and said something to
him, and then my dad said yes. And he give him a big money bill
and that man gave him some change, and well that man knew he
wanted that bread, and when he came down with those four loaves
of bread, they were gone in no time.
VW: That’s why you were in New York waiting to leave.
FW: No that was in Canada. See we had to change trains in Canada.