University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Cherished Treasures

Cherished Treasures:  Toys, Postcards, Music, Books, Coffee Grinder, "A Yorgan"


John Alabilikian was born in 1908 and arrived at Ellis Island in 1922. This 1985 interview is taken from the Ellis Island Oral History Program Archives

"I think most of the people brought their, they called it, 'yorgan', which is their blanket. It is made out of ...wool, and we thought that was a great big thing because it's wool...and...most of the people, this is what [was left...It was] nothing, because what can you bring? Things that we brought, we thought we were bringing something, but it was valueless. I think the best thing I had was a boy scout suit. I was a boy scout in the orphanage and I had the suit on, the boy scout suit. And I had the belt, which is in Armenian, and it says on there,'be educated and educate'...Finally I gave it to my nephew so he can wear it, have it, and remember me. And he still has it."

Treasures: A Purse, Christening Dress, Lace, Bath Shoes and a Utility Knife


Treasures: Games, Scarves, Trinket Boxes and Souvenirs