I come from Spain. My name is Carmina Diaz.
I immigrated because of the Cristero War, in Spain. The war was actually a rebellion of the Roman Catholics in Spain who were persecuted by the government. There were dangers such as raids and the death toll was growing higher every day. Being a Catholic Christian family who simply wanted to live in peace, we moved out to escape the war and the persecution that had caused it.
We travelled from our hometown in Spain, a place called Badajoz in a train to Lisboa, Spain. Lisboa had a harbor and from there we boarded the ship that would take us to America.
Dante Alighieri (sailed in 1926 the beginning of the war, according to the official Ellis Island records).
Our family was quite poor, perhaps due to the pre-war persecution. It was for this reason we could not settle in a country inside Europe. My parents could barely make ends meet. We travelled in third class.
There was little food for third class passengers. We survived on two meals a day: small quantities of cheap, cold packaged food from Europe, which tasted as if it was several years old. Once, we were given food by some of the more generous first class passengers, as they must have felt pity when I, a cute nine-year-old who was thin and scrawny from the lack of food, accidentally stumbled into their area. (Third class passengers were given small residences at the bottom of the steamship, and generally never mixed with the more affluent passengers)
I didn't really like the voyage, though there were good things as well as bad. Food was scarce and our bunks were cramped. I generally don't get seasick, but even I spent a large part of the voyage on my bunk, feeling nauseous. Most other passengers were throwing up and the stink of vomit hung in the air. There were very few...