Browse Interviews

  • Subject is exactly "Immigration"
47 total

Barbara Hermes and Erika Wagner interview, 02 December 2020

This interview details the lives of two sisters, Barbara Hermes and Erika Wagner, from their time spent in Niedersachsen, Germany, at the end of World War II to their immigration to the United States in 1954. Their story continues with a transatlantic journey and travels across the American Midwest to Cleveland, where they both live today.

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James Chin interview, 23 March 2018

James Chin, an immigration lawyer, describes growing up in the Shaker Heights community. He discusses his family's businesses, living in the back of his mother's laundromat, and his involvement with the community as an immigration lawyer.

Ernest Biebel interview, 07 November 2019

Ernest Biebel was born in 1941 in Uivar, Romania, and immigrated to the United States in 1955 to pursue a new life after World War II. In this interview, Biebel discusses his childhood experiences in Europe, his family's move to the U.S., and his life as a native German speaker.

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Ruth Rubio-Pino interview, 11 August 2017

Ruth Rubio-Pino is a Mexican-American and long-time activist. She has worked closely with Club Azteca and provides a detailed history of the formation and evolution of this Cleveland Mexican-American landmark. She discusses the plight of Mexican migrant workers and urban dwelling Mexican immigrants. She remarks on how the heightened consciousness and enforcement of immigration has affected the Mexican-American community as a whole and in Cleveland. Throughout the oral history, she comments on…

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Lena Aburaad interview, 22 March 2017

Lena Aburaad is a Palestinian and works as an Arabic instructor at CSU. She graduated from CSU with a B.A. in Speech and Hearing and a Master in Education. She was born in Amman and grew up in the UAE. She has 2 girls and 2 boys. She came with her family to Cleveland in 1992 as a result of the First Gulf War. They chose Cleveland because her husband's brother was living in the city. Her father began a new newspaper called al-Bayan in Dubai. The challenges that Lena faced when she arrived in…

Donna Ciborowski interview, 06 October 2015

Donna Ciborowski was born to a Polish immigrant family. The family took up residence in the Warszawa neighborhood in South Broadway, where Ciborowski subsequently spent her childhood. She discusses the importance of the church in the community, specifically St. Stanislaus. She also discusses numerous Polish traditions that the community continues to observe. Ciborowski notes the change in the neighborhood as Poles started to move to the suburbs. Finally she discusses the origin of the term…

Rita Golubski interview, 04 November 2015

Rita Golubski grew up in a Polish immigrant family. After immigrating to the United States, the family lived in several Polish neighborhoods around the Cleveland area and eventually settled in Warszawa, a Polish enclave near South Broadway. Golubski describes the social environment of Warszawa and the Polish community that called it home. Golubski reflects on the centrality of St. Stanislaus church and the many changes in the neighborhood over time.

Gladys Martinez interview, 16 January 2014

Gladys Martinez, originally from Guatemala, describes how she made a life for herself in Cleveland after arriving in the United States when she was only ten. Martinez took advantage of the educational opportunities that the United States offered. Her traditional cultural and family values kept her focused on the future and her personal betterment. Martinez's story highlights how education transforms lives regardless of ethnic backgrounds.

Janet Thomas interview, 27 March 2007

Janet Thomas was born to Italian immigrant parents and lived in the Gordon Square neighborhood. She describes the neighborhood's bakeries, theatres, drug stores, and ethnic shops. Thomas mentions how the Depression impoverished her family, but notes that the Depression brought the different ethnicities of the community together. Her family never fully recovered financially from the Depression, therefore the family's leisure activities included going to church and visiting nearby parks like…

Mary Ann Early interview, 2006

Mary Ann Early was born in 1923 to Italian immigrant parents. Her father relocated to Cleveland for work. She describes growing up on Herman Avenue near Detroit Avenue and going to West High School. The neighborhood was predominately Italian, Irish, and Romanian at the time. She shares her remembrances of downtown Cleveland including shopping, theatres, the YWCA, and riding the streetcars. In addition, Early lists the places she worked including the Terminal Tower, the Department of Veteran's…

Marilyn Anthony interview, 13 September 2006

Marilyn Anthony was born in Cleveland and describes growing up in Ohio City. She remembers the various European enclaves that were present in the area, specifically mentioning Hungarians and Gypsies. She shares her experiences of walking to the West Side Market, bakeries, butchers, and other local shops. Anthony also mentions her relationship to the multitude of ethnic Catholic churches in the area. Finally, Anthony discusses the changes in the neighborhood and how it impacted residents.

Rose Agnes Bastian interview, 2006

Rose Agnes Bastian was born in Cleveland in 1926. She grew up on Cory Avenue off of East 79th Street and later settled in Brook Park. She describes her neighborhood surroundings, going to St. Agnes Parish School, traveling around downtown on the streetcar and explains how the Depression and wars have affected her family. Bastian vividly describes what she and others did for fun while growing up in the area and compares the family dynamics of her youth to today.

Sayyid Sadiq interview, 13 August 2016

Sayyid Sadiq was born in northern Lebanon in the area of Batron where family worked in agriculture. He has three brothers and one sister. He owns a gas station in Berea. His grandfather was a brick layer in Cleveland. He came first to the US (Mississippi) in 1977 because of the Civil War in Lebanon. After graduation from the University of Mississippi with a BS degree, he worked for a while in Chicago in steel. Sayyid went back to Lebanon and then to Saudi Arabia. He came back to US in 1989 to…

Eugenia Vainberg interview, 25 October 2016

Eugenia Vainberg, originally from Kiev, Ukraine, arrived in Cleveland as a Russian Jewish refugee in 1977. She starts by explaining the persecution she and other Jews had to face while living in communist Russia. For Vainberg, mathematical and scientific achievements were the common threads that wove throughout her life. Once she arrived in Cleveland, Vainberg explains that the Jewish community was strong and supportive. She and her family found great success in Cleveland and elsewhere in the…

Abdullah Almualem interview, 28 May 2016

Abdullah Almualem is the director of AACCESS-Ohio, an organization that at one time in Cleveland was thriving and helping Arab immigrants settle into the area. The organization is located on Cleveland's west side, near West 117th and Lorain Ave., an area designated by the city of Cleveland as 'Little Arabia'. Abdullah explains why he immigrated from Aleppo, Syria in 1994 to Cleveland and why he believes Aaccess to be integral to a prosperous immigrant population seeking to assimilate into…

Mary Jo Mazzarella interview, 09 June 2007

In this 2007 interview, Mary Jo Mazzarella, a resident of the Detroit Shoreway area of Cleveland and owner/manager of American Limousine Service, talks about her history with the Detroit Shoreway area of Cleveland. Mazzarella spent her early years in the 1960s living on West 112th Street, but remembers visiting her Italian grandparents who lived on West 69th and ran a delicatessen on the corner of 69th and Detroit. She also remembers many stories that her father told her about the Detroit…

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Beverly McClintok interview, 09 June 2007

In this 2007 interview, 74-year old Beverly McClintok, who was born in Bedford, Ohio, talks about her experiences living in Cleveland. She recalls memories of Euclid Avenue and Municipal Stadium in the 1940s. She talks about her work at Peoples Hope Church at W.65th and Bridge, where she was married in 1952. She lived in Ohio City from 1953-1963, and remembers the tornado of 1953 which killed 5 people on W. 28th St. Since 1963, she has lived on Madison. She talks about changes in the…

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Juanita Ortiz interview, 2007

Juanita Ortiz shares stories of living on the west side of Cleveland after moving to the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood from Puerto Rico in 1960.

Matt Zone Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Matt Zone, Councilman for Ward 17 of the City of Cleveland, discusses his family's history on the west side of Cleveland and his political career. Zone is a third generation Italian-American. His grandparents came to the Detroit-Shoreway area of Cleveland shortly after WWI ended. His father and mother grew up on West 65th Street and were both Councilpersons for the Ward--from 1960-1982. Matt has been Councilperson for the Ward since 2001. Zone talks about neighborhood…

Judge Ray Pianka Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Raymond Pianka, Judge of the City of Cleveland Housing Court, discusses the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. He first discusses the historical ethnicity of the neighborhood, including the immigration of Irish, and then later Italians and Romanians, into the area. He also discusses his own Polish heritage, and talks about his father and grandfather's industrial employment in Cleveland for a large part of the twentieth century. Judge Pianka also talks about the architecture…

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Jeff Ramsey Interview, 2006

Jeff tells about his family immigrating from Italy in 1890 and settling into an ethnic neighborhood. Later moved into what is now called the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Jeff talks about the different places he lived as a child including the Lakeview Terrace public housing. He moved to Detroit Shoreway after coming home from college. He likes the diversity of the neighborhood which has strong Italian, Irish, Gay and Lesbian communities. Through Judge Pianka Jeff joined the Detriot Shoreway…

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Ursula Korniechouk Interview, 28 March 2014

Ursula Korniechouk, a native of Germany, describes her life in Germany and the experiences she had in Cleveland. Growing up during World War Two had a tremendous affect on Korniechouk. Her father was outspoken against the Hitler regime, and her mother was concerned that he would be apprehended by the authorities. She came to Cleveland because of her husband, and she quickly became acquainted with the racial divide in Cleveland. She was shocked at how people could be so racist in a country that…

Paul Goldman Interview, 20 September 2013

Paul Goldman was the son of immigrants and a Cleveland native. He discusses his life's experiences with regards to World War II, the Great Depression, and growing up in an ethnic neighborhood. He begins by describing that neighborhood and the schools that were available to the kids. He moves into a discussion about his experiences during World War II. He especially focuses on his time working with a medical corps treating transcontinental truckers. He goes back to talking about growing up in an…

Ivan L. Otto Interview, 18 March 2014

Ivan L. Otto, an immigrant to Cleveland, recalls traveling from Hungary as a refugee after World War Two. He describes the schools he went to throughout his life, and how he befriended an African American in the sixth grade who taught him English. According to Otto, they were two outsiders who stuck together. He mentions the different areas and neighborhoods that he lived in as a Clevelander. He also describes the big cases that he worked on as a lawyer. The biggest being the Doan Brook Dam. As…

Takhar Kasumov Interview, 20 February 2009

Takhar Kasumov discusses the Azerbaijani Cultural Garden and the development of a small Azeri community in Cleveland. Born in Azerbaijan, Kasumov, a ten year Cleveland resident, explains the impetus behind the creation of the garden and the significance of the hearth that serves as its focal point. He also talks about the nature of Azeri community in the city and how it has grown over the years, describing the garden as a force for tying Cleveland Azeris together. Kasumov briefly comments on the…

Raj Pillai Interview, 20 February 2009

In this 2009 interview, Raj Pillai discusses the recent improvements made to the Indian Cultural Garden. After a nearly 20 year delay, Pillai and other members of the Indian Community worked together to renovate the nearly empty garden, breaking ground in 2005. Pillai discusses the significance of some of the gardens features, including the steps to the Doan Brook, the six inscribed pillars, and the statue of Gandhi. He also talks about the process of decision making that went in to renovating…

Olli Patrikainen Interview, 20 February 2009

Olli Patrikainen, a delegate of the Finnish Cultural Garden, discusses the history and role of the Finnish community in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. A native of Finland, Mr. Patrikainen came to Cleveland in the early 1990s with his American wife. The interview focuses on such topics as vandalism, immigration, the current Finnish community, the importance of nationalism as it pertains to the Gardens, and finally his vision of the future for the Cultural Gardens.

Andrew Chakalis Interview, 20 February 2009

Andrew Chakalis, a native Clevelander, is an artist, President of the Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeast Ohio, and the Greek Garden delegate in the Cultural Gardens Federation. In this 2009 interview, Chakalis describes how he and others went about renovating the Greek Cultural Garden in the mid-1990s, describing the cultural and historical significance of many of the garden's features and stressing his desire to stay true to the garden's original 1940s design. He also talks about the…

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Bill Leshinetsky Interview, 2005

Bill Leshinetsky, a representative of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden, discusses the continued presence of Ukrainians throughout the Cleveland area. An immigrant from western Ukraine, Mr. Leshinetsky came to the United States in 1950. He discusses his life prior to coming to the United States, what would have happened if he had stayed in Ukraine, and the life he created for himself in a foreign country. Mr. Leshinetsky also discusses the creation, maintenance, and sculptures within the Ukrainian…

Paul Burik and Mila Hyuner Interview, 2005

Paul Burik, the delegate of the Czech Cultural Garden, discusses his role in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. He discusses statuaries within the Czech garden, the history of the Czech Republic, Czech neighborhoods in Cleveland, and his experiences growing up in Cleveland. Other topics include events within the gardens, promotion of the gardens, and how the gardens are advertized.

Jim Cull Interview, 30 October 2002

Jim Cull, delegate of the Finnish Cultural Garden, discusses his role in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Mr. Cull is chair of a development committee responsible for trying to find ways to increase funding and membership for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. As delegate to the Finnish Cultural Garden, Mr. Cull discusses statues within the garden, future plans for garden, and the need for local support from the community at large. There is also a discussion about vandalism, neglect, and development…

Maria Minko Interview, 10 April 2005

Maria Minko, a first generation Ukrainian immigrant, recollects on her life in Ukraine and the United States. There is a detailed conversation regarding life in Ukraine during World War II. Other topics include World War II, family history, coming to the United States, and establishing a life in Cleveland.

Mila Hyunar Interview, 13 May 2005

Mila Hyunar, a representative of the Czech Cultural Garden, discusses the history, culture, and importance of the Czech community within Cleveland. As of 2005, her husband has been involved with the Czech Cultural Garden for over twenty years. Ms. Hyunar discusses Czech culture and history, generational differences within the Czech community of Cleveland, and influential members of her community. She discusses her feelings about the recent growth within the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, additions…

Frank Leonardi Interview, 2005

Frank Leonardi, a stone cutter and immigrant from Italy, recollects on his life in Cleveland Mr. Leonardi came to the United States when he was thirteen and his family settled on the east side of Cleveland in the ethnic enclave known as Little Italy. Mr. Leonardi became a stone cutter and graduated from the eighth grade at the age of fifteen. He discusses his family history, buying stones from the Cleveland Quarry, opening up his business, and working in downtown Cleveland. (interview cuts out)

Meros Rodis Interview, 2005

An interview with three members of the Hellenic Preservation Society, a society devoted to the restoration and preservation of Greek Culture in North East Ohio. Being delegates of the Greek Cultural Garden as well, they discuss who and what is represented inside the garden's boundaries. They wish for the gardens to become nationally recognized, and recollect on a time when the Greek Cultural Garden hosted a One World Day. Other topics include immigration to Cleveland, the start of the Cultural…

Paul Mueller Interview, 27 June 2013

Paul Mueller is a successful businessman and a Cleveland native. Both of his parents are immigrants. His mother was a house maid for the Halle brothers and his father was a shepherd in Germany and along with being drafted into Kaiser Wilhelm's army for World War I. His parents met in America and had a candy store for a brief stint in the Depression. They started their family in Lakewood. Mueller went to St. Marks, St. Edward for High school, and then attended Cleveland State University. At CSU…

Bill Mitchell Interview, 11 June 2012

Bill Mitchell, owner of Mitchell's Fine Chocolates, discusses growing up in Cleveland Heights and running his father's business. He says that he has many fond memories of growing up in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. He recalls several of the businesses that used to be there and several businesses that are still there. He then moves into a discussion of Greek Immigration and how many concession stands were owned by Greeks throughout Cleveland. He concludes by talking about how he…

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Sam Awad Interview, 17 July 2006

Sam Awad discusses his life here in Cleveland after moving here from Egypt as a teenager. He discusses his work history and how he purchased several businesses in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood. Among his concerns for the future of the area are a need for more police, a desire to see more home owners in the area, and a return to hard working mentality among Americans.

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Carl Robson Interview, 12 July 2006

Carl Robson discusses his experiences as a doctor in Cleveland and elsewhere as well as his deep interest in Ethiopian culture and people. He has lived and worked in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood for several decades. Additionally, he discusses his philanthropic endeavors such as providing housing, jobs, and educations for numerous Ethiopians as well as running an Ethiopian restaurant here in Cleveland.

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Joe Valencic Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Joe Valencic, a second generation Slovenian-American active in a number of local Slovenian-American organizations, talks about Cleveland's Slovenian community. He talks about his father's immigration to the United States and to Cleveland, and the pattern of Slovenian-American settlements in Cleveland. Valencic also discusses the rise and fame of America's polka king, Frankie Yankovic who was a Slovenian-American, and who won the first Emmy for Polka songs. Valencic also…

Matt Zone Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Matt Zone, Councilman for Ward 17 of the City of Cleveland, discusses his family's history on the west side of Cleveland and his political career. Zone is a third generation Italian-American. His grandparents came to the Detroit-Shoreway area of Cleveland shortly after WWI ended. His father and mother grew up on West 65th Street and were both Councilpersons for the Ward--from 1960-1982. Matt has been Councilperson for the Ward since 2001. Zone talks about neighborhood…

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Margot Glinski Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Margaret Glinski, manager and co-owner of Frank Sterle’s Slovenian Countryhouse, discusses her memories of this famous Cleveland landmark. Ms. Glinski is an immigrant from Germany, who came to Cleveland and who initially worked at the Hofsbrau House across East 55th Street from Sterle’s. She worked 16years at the Hofsbrau House before she and her Italian boyfriend bought Sterle’s 18 years ago following Frank Sterle’s death. She talks about the menu—which she describes as…

Ben Stefanski Interview, 2005

In this 2005 interview, Ben Stefanski, son of the legendary Polish immigrant founder of Third Federal Savings and Loan Association, discusses his experiences as the Director of Public Utilities for the City of Cleveland form 1968-1971. Stefanski, a lawyer, was brought into the Stokes administration not only for his talent and experience, but also because of his connections to Cleveland's ethnic neighborhoods. As Utilities Director, Stefanski was instrumental in leading the City's efforts to…

Rob Jagelewski Interview, 2011

This is an interview with Rob Jagelewski, parish historian and member at St. Stanislaus Church in Slavic Village. Jagelewski's parents and grandparents were also members of this Polish community parish.The early part of the interview involves discussion of how St. Stanislaus Church has been the center of Polish culture in Cleveland's Slavic neighborhood and particulars about the membership. History of the parish includes when it was founded and built at its' present location. There is discussion…