On June 18, 1904, Meyer Wagner boarded the ship Germanic in Southampton, England. He was bound for New York. So were his two younger sisters, but his young wife, Rose, remained in Warsaw. The couple’s three-year-old son, Walter, wasn’t quite ready for transatlantic travel.
The trip took nine days. Upon arrival, Meyer went straight to see his uncle on the Lower East Side. J. Marcus – we don’t know his full first name – lived at 100 Orchard Street. The Eldridge Street Synagogue was just a few blocks away, and when it was time to go to service Uncle Marcus took Meyer there to worship. It was an experience that Meyer Wagner never forgot. Even after he had left the Lower East Side, Meyer still spoke about its grandeur. Meyer’s grandson, Dr. Eugene Wagner, recalls, “I always remember my grandfather talking about how magnificent this Synagogue was, more beautiful than the one he belonged to in Poland.” It is Dr. Wagner who shared with us Meyer’s story.
Once in America, Meyer got a job working for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. He traveled wherever they performed. The money was very good and over the course of the next year he finally saved enough to bring his wife and young son to New York. Rose and Walter arrived in 1905, and by the time the 1910 census was taken, daughter Lena and son Albert had been added to the family.