Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Documents Discovered in Brooklyn Basement

In 1890 a travel agency named Modern Tours opened in Manhattan, owned by a man named Isaac Berman.  He apparently advertised to the local Jewish community for helping people immigrate to the United States, along with transferring money and making loans.  At some point he moved Modern Tours to Brooklyn.  His brother David was a partner in the business.

At the beginning it probably was a legitimate business, but in the 1930's and 1940's something changed.  An 8-year-old boy recently discovered boxes of documents in his grandparents' basement in Brooklyn.  The boxes contained hundreds of passports, immigration documents, and requests for more documents from people in war-torn Europe and Mandate Israel, wanting to immigrate to the United States, all sent to Modern Tours.  But during the 1940's people began to complain that they were sending their money and not getting results.  It looks as though Mr. Berman continued to solicit business and accept payments but he was no longer following through on processing people's requests.

The documents are now in Israel, though I can't tell where.  I have had to rely on Google Translate to be able to read this story, which was published in Hebrew.  It seems from the translation that information is being sought on what happened to Isaac Berman, and perhaps on the people whose documents have been found.  Google Translate does what it can, but it is not the same as a professional translation.  Perhaps someone can read the original Hebrew and give us more information.

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