I was scared to death ... In Europe at the time the reputation of Ellis Island was terrible; that it’s a dungeon and they beat people up. It was a horror even to hear the name.
I remember a woman, a matron, in a white robe with a big bunch of keys at her side coming toward me, and I was trembling ... And this matron suddenly said, “Are you hungry?”
I said, “Yes, I am.”
“The cafeteria is closed, but I can get you something.”
I said to myself, “This is Ellis Island? They are so nice.”
“Eat whatever you want.” And I did ...
The matron came back and guided me to a room where there were other women sleeping. She lifted up the cover of the bed and she looked at the sheet and said, “That’s not clean.” She changed the sheets and said, “Would you like to have a shower? We have hot water.” She showed me the bathroom. I had a shower. It was unbelievable. Where was this horrible Ellis Island?
» interview with Ellis Island immigrant Catherine Timar Donath Adler