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Researching the History of Immigration to the U.S.

With NEH support, Alan Kraut published two books: American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1993–1945 (1987) and Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (1994). Both the books, which delve into the history of American immigration and refugee policy, and Kraut himself have had a long public impact by proving a resource for documentaries, museum exhibitions, and the press and providing expertise in policy settings.

Project Timeline (scroll for more)

NEH travel grant for research on “Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the ‘Immigrant Menace,’” 1880-1940


American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 is published by Indiana University Press.


NEH Fellowship for “Silent Travelers: Germs Gense and the Immigration Policy,1880-1940” supports training and research in the history of medicine and the history of public health


Consults on film “Journey to America,” a segment of the PBS documentary series, The American Experience, broadcast on WETA on December 13, 1989.


Contributes to an interactive computers system on immigration history which is used by U.S. National Park Rangers to teach student visitors at Ellis Island.


Testified for the U.S. Commision on Immigration Reform on the need for the provision of healthcare services to immigrants and refugees.


Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” is published by Basic Books, Inc. The book is awarded the Theodore Saloutos Prize for the Outstanding Book in Immigration and Ethnic History from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the Phi Altha Theta Book Award for the Best Book in History by an Established Author.

Consults on documentary, “America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference,” an episode of The American Experience, a PBS series, broadcast on April 6, 1994.


A paperback edition of Silent Travelers is published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Consultant (on camera) to producer Larry Hott on documentary “The People’s Plague: Tuberculosis in America,” broadcast on PBS on October 2, 1995.


Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” is translated into Japanese and published by Seidosha.

Testified before the Subcommittee on Immigration of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate on “Examining Both Past and Present Immigration Policies”


Serves on the Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families, a two-year study co-sponsored by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine that wrote From Generation to Generation, The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families.

Consultant to producer Nina Seavey on A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio, shown at the 1998 New York Film Festival and aired on the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) on October 5, 1998.

Served as expert witness for New York State in Supreme Court Case, New Jersey v. New York no. 120, on the disposition of Ellis Island


Principal historical adviser for The Ellis Island Experience, a web-enabled CD-ROM co-produced by the History Channel and South Peak International (a division of SAS software)


Begins serving as a consultant to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security on the revision of the history and government portions of the citizenship examination and creation of the “U.S. Guide for Naturalization Applicants.”


Consultant to Nancy Porter Productions, Inc. on documentary film, The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Typhoid Mary, aired on PBS’s American Experience, October, 2004.


September 11, 2007 Featured on “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio story on Immigrants and the English Language.

Featured in TV story on immigration/migrant labor by BBC’s Spanish Services.


Consultant to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on exhibit dealing with public health and the immigrant community

Co-directs “We the People Project” entitled “American Immigration Revisited,” an NEH Summer Institute


Consultant (on camera) to Conway Films on documentary film, Forgotten Ellis Island: The Untold Story of the Ellis Island Hospital which aired PBS, February 2, 2009.

Quoted in “Ellis Island visitors to get history lesson on Dalton.” TV, PBS NEWSHOUR, Interviewed by Ray Suarez on “Kennedy’s Immigration Legacy Shaped Makeup of U.S.”.


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Consultant to Against the Odds, American Jews and the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which opened in 2013.

Consultant on Jews and Medicine, a traveling exhibition developed by the Jewish Museum Maryland

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