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Devin Naar, Sephardic and Ladino expert, questions family’s immigration to U.S. // PRI

November 13, 2019

Devin Naar, Stroum Center Sephardic Studies Program Chair and Professor, recently wrote a Public Radio International commentary titled “I’m an American. But my family came to the U.S. fraudulently.” In his personal essay, Naar explores his family’s journey from former Salonika (Thessaloniki, Greece) to America in 1924.

Naar writes: “My great-grandfather doctored the “official” birthdates for several of his children, making them younger by a few years. He wanted to be sure they would be registered as minors and eligible for a visa that would keep his family together as they immigrated from Greece to the US in 1924. When I first put the pieces together, I wavered between thinking that it was no big deal and recognizing that I had stumbled upon a never-before-spoken family secret. Was I the progeny of immigrants who came to this country by illicit means?”