Immigrant Soldier: The American Journey of Albert J. Heim

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Follow-up Lesson- Exploring the treatment of Immigrants at the turn of the last century.

Oral History Interview-   Victoria Farley grew up in Milltown and was a classmate of the young Immigrant boy, Albert J. Heim.   Age at time of Filming, 95.
View short clip were Mrs. Farley describes how the children of Milltown “assisted” in the “Americanization” of the young Albert Heim. 

Questions/discussion topics-

  1. Compare/Contrast the traditional American view of America serving as a “Melting Pot” vs.  the contrasting view of noted Immigrant Historian Oscar Handlin (The Uprooted) that American Society acts as a “Brutal Filter”.  We accept immigrant groups into the American mainstream only after they have given up those native qualities we find unacceptable. The use of Brutal in the term suggests that is follows a period of discrimination.  Which view is correct?
  2. Why did the children of Milltown play “dirty tricks” on the boy? Mrs. Farley said that he “couldn’t talk” and he “didn’t know anything”.  What does that mean?
  3. What type of “dirty tricks” did they play?
  4. Mrs. Farley said they teased him by “singing songs”.  What might that mean?
  5. Albert Heim came from Austria, yet she speaks of him coming from Germany, and the children called him the “Dutchman”.  Do Americans tend to lump groups together?  Does this have a negative impact?
  6. At the age of 16, Mr. Heim joined the National Guard and his fellow soldiers gave him the nickname “schnits”.  What does that nickname suggest?