Joseph and his wife Dorothy had to flee the village with their five young daughters. For several years bandits and government police had been freely roaming through the streets, assaulting residents, sometimes randomly killing.
Along with other fleeing families, they put all their belongings into carts and escaped. After illegally crossing several borders, they finally arrived in the United States. There was considerable public pressure on officials to send the immigrants back and close the borders to future illegals.
However, Joseph and Dorothy succeeded in staying in the US, work at menial jobs, learn English and live to see grandchildren serve in the military and go on to college and successful careers. In old age, they could look back in satisfaction on the year they came to America from Russia illegally. It was 1905, and one of their five daughters was my mother.