Seeking refuge in the U.S. after fleeing persecution in Hitler’s Austria

Claire Ellinger. (Courtesy photo)

This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.

Claire Ellinger, 93, immigrated to New York City from Vienna, Austria, in 1939, some months after Hitler’s troops invaded her native country. Her family, who were Jewish, faced persecution by the Nazis

She was 14 years old.

But her family turned out to be among the lucky ones. Years before, Claire’s mother had registered the family with the Hebrew Aid Immigrant Society, an organization that helped Jewish people relocate to the United States.

Some of Claire’s friends were not as fortunate.

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