The Passengers
"Getting to know more about them"

Leie(a)Leika Lena Reiter, 1897-1965 Born in Mielnitza/Mielnica, Galicia, Austria
Lena Reiter c 1915 May 28, 1913 Lena Reiter, the youngest of the four passengers, turned 16. A few months later, the end of September, she and her parents arrived in the United States. This had to have been a most significant birthday for Lena. Outgoing, enthusiastic, full-of-life and teenager that she was, my mother probably arrived with high hopes for her future, ready to take on and adapt to her new home and country. She would be reunited with her older siblings whom she loved and looked up to:

Leibish/Louis Reiter c 1865-1930 (emigrated in1890); his sister Bela Rivka/Rebecca Reiter Schneider c 1870-1940s (emigrated about 1900)--both Fischel's children from first marriage.

Julius Reiter c 1882-1950, (emigrated in 1900); and Hyman Reiter c1892-1950, (emigrated 1912) --both sons of Fischel and Chana
Lena's young age was an advantage for making the transition to a new country and culture. On the other hand, she was manipulated by those she respected because of her innocent, trusting, nature. She probably led an insulated and protective childhood. Her mother, Chana, was away from home much of the time deliverying babies. Lena told me there were maids to look after her. And she was home with her father, Fischel, whose tailor shop was in the home; the workers were probably family, too. Chana was about 46 and Fischel 57 years old when Lena was born. Although they had about 6-7 children, only three survived to adulthood. Lena was the baby and most likely the darling of a huge extended family.

Chana and Fischel were somewhat financially secure. Chana was highly respected as a midwife, her clientele included wealthy non-Jews and Jews. At Holiday time, Chana (or the maid) baked pastries . They were placed in baskets. Lena would take the trolley and deliver them to Chana's patients.

It was not essential for Lena to work. On the other hand, having her mother away from home probably limited Lena's opportunity to learn basic home-making skills such as sewing, cooking, and management of household monies (usally handed down from mother to daughter).This would be a critical deficit for Lena.

Lena had a large contralto voice (a Reiter trait). To learn English, she attended night school with expectations of further education to become accomplished like her mother. More than anything, Lena wanted Chana's approval and love.
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Compiled by Susana Leistner Bloch and Edward Rosenbaum.

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