External links are disabled on the kiosk. Please visit archive links from desktop or mobile devices.

What will he live on in America?

Refugee with no English and few skills needs help finding work

“We need not point out to you that Mr. Raskin is already past the age at which the native born experience difficulty in finding new employment. Mr. Raskin speaks little English. He knows no craft. His experience as a candy salesman is of no great help to him when applying for a new job.”


Since the early 1880s, federal immigration law in the US included a provision seeking to keep out people likely to become a “public charge.” Under the impact of the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover reinforced the ban in 1930. Aid organizations were hard pressed to find employment for the newcomers: on October 26, a representative of the Employment Department of the Greater New York Coordinating Committee for German Refugees explains to Willy Nordwind of the Boston Committee for Refugees the challenges of finding work for a man who had managed to enter the country but barely spoke any English and had no work experience to boast save as a candy salesman. Nevertheless, the representative promises to continue his efforts on the immigrant’s behalf.



Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin


Willy Nordwind Collection, AR 10551


Box 1, folder 26

Source available in English


on the days before