Red Star Line Museum Opening In Antwerp in September--Erwin Joos Lecture at the Conference on Artist Van Mieghem and Red Star Line Passengers

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

Many of us had ancestors that emigrated from Eastern Europe via Antwerp to the United States via the Red Star Line. The Red Star Line carried more than 2 million people to the United States from 1873 to 1934 — one million of them Jews . The Museum opens September 28, 2013.   The Line was a joint operation between the United States and Belgium and had ports in Philadelphia, New York City, Antwerp, and in Liverpool and Southampton in the United Kingdom.   The city of Antwerp purchased three decaying buildings on the Antwerp harbor that originally served the ship line.  In the museum, a timeline of human migration is illustrated with 20 personal stories of passengers who traveled on the Red Star Line. 

The main exhibit in the museum simulates the immigration experience. A fake Warsaw travel agency, then proceed to the interior of a train carriage which takes them to the simulated city of Antwerp.  The museum also pays homage to the Jews who stayed in Antwerp rather than continue on to the United States, either because they were deemed unfit to travel or because they saw business opportunities in the city.

To read the Forward article go to:

The Museum is looking for photographs of passengers who traveled to the United States on the Red Line Ships. If you want to share your family photograph(s) there is information on how to do that at their website. The website of the Red Star Museum is:

At the IAJGS Conference this summer in Boston, Erwin Joos will be presenting on August 8, the Red Star Line the Gateway to  the New World. The artist Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) made impressive drawings and pastels of the Jewish emigrants that are the missing images between the photographs of Roman Vishniac (life in the shtetls) and Jacob Riis (life in the Lower East side. Having visited the Van Mieghem museum and Antwerp last year following the 2012 IAJGS conference, I can say from first-hand experience the paintings and history behind them depict an interesting part of our ancestors’ history and Erwin’s program will be an interesting mix of immigrant history and art.

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