This page is part of Family history documents: Harold Rosenthal & family.
-- Margaret Fulford
NAOMI BROCK ROSENTHAL - ALIEN FILE FROM U.S. NATIONAL ARCHIVES
rosenthal-naomi-brock-alien-file.pdf (large file, 58 MB)
The U.S. government's Alien File ("A-File") for Naomi Rosenthal (1891-1977) contains detailed information about how she was investigated for political reasons in the 1940s and '50s. It also contains quite a bit of family information.
- "Alien Files" (also known as "A-Files") were created by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service beginning in the 1940s, for immigrants who had not been naturalized. A-Files for people born before 1909 have now been made public, so it's possible to request a copy of an individual file from the U.S. National Archives. (See Researching Alien Files (A-Files) at the National Archives at Kansas City.)
- Among the A-Files listed on the National Archives website is one for Naomi Brock Rosenthal (the great grandmother of my husband, Jeff Rosenthal), so I requested a copy, which was sent by mail and which I have scanned and uploaded (see the PDF file above).
- The most striking revelation in this file is that Naomi was investigated for political reasons several times in the 1940s and 1950s, e.g., "to determine amenability to deportation, based on the subject's membership in the International Workers Order." (see page 15 of the PDF file, above).
- The file includes two reports of investigators' interviews (i.e. interrogations) with Naomi (see page 16, re: an interview in 1955, and see pages 48-49 re: an interview in 1941).
- It also summarizes interviews about Naomi with neighbours (see pages 38-39).
- The file is 61 pages long, although that figure is a bit misleading since the file includes some duplicate documents and some photocopies of the backs of documents.
- For privacy reasons, before sending me a copy of the file the National Archives redacted some words on a two-page document (see page 29 and 30): a memo summarizing information from an informant concerning a number of different individuals, including Naomi. The only redacted information is the alien identification numbers of the other individuals.
- The A-File also contains quite a bit of information about Naomi and her family, including information about her immigration to the U.S. and later re-entry (which helped me find the ship manifests on the Ellis Island website!).
- Here are links to the ship manifests for Naomi's entry into the U.S. in 1906 and her re-entry in 1916 with her son Harold.
- The file shows that in October 1967, Naomi submitted an application for an alien registration receipt card to enable her to travel outside the U.S., to Toronto where she had a new great-grandson (that's my husband Jeff!) (see page 8). The Immigration and Naturalization Service then asked their New York "verification center" to verify her entry on Dec. 26, 1906 on the SS Kronstadt and her last entry Sept. 1916. The subsequent confirmation (in 1968) from the New York verification center (see page 10) states that she first entered on the SS Kroonland (not Kronstadt -- presumably Naomi had misremembered the ship's name -- according to the Ellis Island website, there was also a ship named the Kronstadt but it didn't sail to New York in that year).
- The file also contains conflicting information about what year Naomi left the U.S. to visit her family in Warsaw (1912 vs. 1913), what year her son Harold was born (1912 vs. 1913), and what year she returned to the U.S. with Harold (1916 vs. 1917):
- When under investigation in 1941 (see pages 48-49), according to the notes by a Special Inspector about his interview with Naomi, she is reported as saying "In May 1912 I went back to Poland to visit my people, while there the first World War started and I was unable to leave until September 1916, when I again entered the United States [...]. My husband's name is Albert Jack Rosenthal [...] we were married September 10, 1911 at St. Paul, Minnesota [...] he was naturalized in the District Court, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Minnesota, July 25, 1928. (Presented naturalization certificate No. 2867077) [...] I have three boys; Harold, born December 3, 1912, Warsaw, Poland; Irving, born August 5, 1919, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Sanders, Born September 2, 1925, St. Paul, Minnesota."
- An Agency Name Check form from May 1955 (see page 18) lists Naomi's prior entries and departures as "Departed May 1912 reentered September, 1916." But it's not clear on what they are basing this information (perhaps on the 1941 report?).
- An investigation report from August 1955 in Connecticut (see page 16) claims "On June 3, 1955, SUBJECT was interviewed in Guilford and testified that she has made but one entry into the United States, which was in 1917, when she was admitted for permanent residence; that she married her husband, Albert ROSENTHAL, about thirty years ago; that they had three children as a result of this marriage; and that two of her sons served in the United States Army [...]."
- In her 1967 application for an alien registration receipt card, Naomi filled in her date of entry as Dec. 26, 1906, her date of last departure as 1913, and her dates of absence as 1913-1917. (see page 2)
- The year Naomi returned to the U.S. is actually confirmed as 1916 by a ship manifest from the Ellis Island website, the S.S. Noordam.
- Harold's year of birth is given as 1913 in the family tree shared with me by Wally Rosenthal (Harold's son), and his date of birth is listed as December 3, 1913 in the U.S., Social Security Death Index. And in the Sept. 1916 ship's manifest, Harold is listed as being 2 years old (which makes sense given a birth date of Dec. 3, 1913).
- I haven't found any clear evidence about when Naomi left the U.S. (I wonder if anyone in the family might have information about this?)
Did Naomi leave for Poland in May 1912 or May 1913?
Was Harold born in Dec. 1912 or Dec. 1913?
-- In 1941, Naomi is reported to have said "In May 1912 I went back to Poland to visit my people [...]" (See pages 48-49.)
-- An Agency Name Check form from 1955 lists Naomi's prior entries and departures as "Departed May 1912 reentered September, 1916." (see page 18)
-- In her 1967 application for an alien registration receipt card, Naomi filled in her date of last departure as 1913. (see page 2)
-- In 1941, Naomi is reported to have said "I have three boys; Harold, born December 3, 1912, Warsaw, Poland [...]". (See pages 48-49.)
-- Harold's date of birth appears as Dec. 3, 1913 in the U.S., Social Security Death Index.
-- In the Sept. 1916 ship manifest, Harold is listed as being 2 years old.