Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sonia Diamond's A-File

After "only" 16 months, I received my grandmother's A-File.  Some of the documents were contained in her C-File, but there were lots that I hadn't seen before.  [To learn how to order A- and C-Files, see here.]

Sonia Diamond's Alien Registration form; page 1

On my grandmother's Alien Registration form for her initial entry, filled out while still in Europe, she mentions her potential future address in the United States and also says that in the past five years she was "engaged in the following activities":  "41 till 42 ghetto; hidden at farmer's until 1944."
Sonia Diamond's Alien Registration form; page2
On the second page, she declares that she had been arrested for "racial reasons," with "disposition of case" listed as "internment in ghetto and forced labor camp."
Sonia Diamond's Application for Immigration Visa
She also applied for an immigration visa, listing towns where she had been for the past years.  She consistently uses Luck (now Lutsk, Ukraine) for many places--which just happened to be in Luck district, not the actual city.  She lists her parents as Abraham and Szewa Beicz (nee Fajn); her mother is listed as living in the DP camp with my grandparents, and her father was deceased (as he had been killed during the ghetto's liquidation).
Sonia Diamond, Certificate of Identity in Lieu of Passport
They also enclosed a copy of her certificate of identity which was issued by the US Consulate in Munich in lieu of a passport; I actually have the original of this which my grandmother had saved.
Sonia Diamond Declaration of Intention Preliminary Form, page 1
She also filled out the information to apply for a Certificate of Arrival, listing the date and ship on which she arrived.  She again mentions were parents' names and states that she came to the US along with her husband and mother.
Sonia Diamond Declaration of Intention Preliminary Form, page2
Her signature is spelled with both her European spelling (Sonja Diment) and the Americanized version of her name (Sonia Diamond).
Sonia Diamond Photo
A photograph of her was also attached, possibly submitted along with the above application
Sonia Diamond--Statement of Facts (for making Declaration of Intention)
The A-File also included a form which helped to gather information that would be used to fill out the Declaration of Intention.  It looks like someone (other than my grandmother) went through and corrected some of the entries, primarily noting border changes.
Sonia Diamond's Immigration File Card
Also included was a copy of a file card noting when various naturalization-related documents were received by the office.
Sonia Diamond Alien Registration Card - Front
Sonia Diamond Alien Registration Card -Back
An alien registration receipt card was included as well--with the April 1, 1947 date stamped on the front showing that she handed in the form the day she arrived in America.
Sonia Diamond - Corporate Affidavit Report
In October 1947, HIAS gave a corporate affidavit saying that my grandmother was fully-supported by my grandfather, with no assistance from HIAS or any other social agency.
Sonia Diamond Address Report Card

In 1951, my grandmother was still an alien and had to register her address; by this point she was living on Harlem Avenue where she and my grandfather ran a corner grocery.
NOT Sonia Diamond's Certificate of Arrival
There was a document that looked very much like a Certificate of Arrival, but whose header made it quite clear that it was NOT a Certificate of Arrival but rather to help with filing a Declaration of Intention.
Sonia Diamond Certificate of Arrival
However, the actual Certificate of Arrival was included as well.

The rest of my grandmother's immigration documents were included in the C-File which I'd already received; you can see those documents here.

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  1. Wow! In the statements of facts document my mom's birthdate was corrected by hand. Can you tell what year was typed in under the correction?

    1. I think the date was put where the location should have gone, so they just crossed the date out there.

  2. These are amazing documents. Do you know when the US started using these forms? Was it just for those arriving after World War II? I've never heard of this before. Thanks, Lara. I always learn something new from your blog.

  3. This is such a wonderful document to find. I'm so happy she was able to immigrate safely to the US after everything she went through. And the picture - she is so beautiful. Do you know what year they started with these documents? Our Jewish Ancestors arrived around 1905, we can't find any immigration records yet

    1. Alien registration started in 1940, but earlier C-files can have a ton of information as well. An index search on one of those ancestors will help figure out if any had stated (or completed) the process to become a citizen and allow you to get their paperwork.

  4. A wonderful post, fascinating photo and documents.