My great-grandfather was the first in my family to immigrate to the United States in the early 20th century. Due to his experience working in a millwork factory in Germany, my great-grandfather built a woodworking business in the United States. Immigrating during the Great Depression presented a new set of difficulties for his business. However, my great-grandfather understood that the United States would offer many more opportunities than Germany. Through struggle and hard work, my great-grandfather was able to build a woodworking business, which supported both his family and helped the United States in World War II.
In Germany, my great-grandfather’s family business was a millwork factory, which is a factory that produces woodwork. In Germany, it was a custom that the eldest son inherited the family business, however my great-grandfather was the middle child of five children. Therefore, he knew that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to own any part of the family business. As a result, my great-grandfather chose to move to the United States where he hoped there would be a prevalence of opportunities.
Both my great-grandmother and my great-grandfather lived in a town called Rosenberg in Germany. My great-grandfather wanted to immigrate in order to succeed in building his own business which he couldn’t do in Europe due to the difficulties starting a business and gaining loyal customers. Before immigrating to the United States, my great-grandfather had proposed to my great-grandmother, as he wanted to provide the best possible life for her.
In order to find a job and a place to live before his fiancée came to the United States, in 1926 my great-grandfather immigrated to the United States while my great-grandmother immigrated in 1928. Both immigrated through Ellis Island, my great-grandfather had only 75 dollars. After immigrating, my great-grandfather lived with Reverend Herman Mellen in Wisconsin, who was a family friend and had immigrated a few years earlier. Herman Mellon represented my great-grandfather and sponsored his immigration to the United States.
Only a few years later, in 1930, my great-grandfather started business with a relative who had recently immigrated to the United States. Only one year after the start of the Great Depression in 1929, it was a constant struggle to keep the business afloat. During the difficult economic years of the Great Depression, my great-grandfather’s business made examining tables for doctors.
During WWI, my great-grandfather and his partner made bunk beds and seats for the United States army. Building off his experience of working in his family’s millwork factory in Germany, my great-grandfather made numerous wooden items for the war effort. This was an especially difficult time for my relatives as both my great-grandmother and great-grandfather had brothers fighting, and dying, in the German army.
Throughout his career, my great-grandfather would work twenty-four hour shifts at his factory, always dedicated to working hard and doing his best. My great-grandfather always encouraged all to work hard and do their best, no matter what. A dedicated United States citizen, woodworker, husband, and father, my great-grandfather came to the United States with a mission to seek out opportunity and worked hard to take advantage of his opportunities.