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February 20, 2008

Give Us Your Sick


John Wilberding was only 6 years old when he came from Germany to America in 1928. But when John arrived at Ellis Island, doctors wouldn't let him into the country. That's because right before leaving he'd gone to say goodbye to a little girl chum ... and she had the measles. So he and his brother were quarantined in a contagious disease ward where thousands of other immigrants were kept.

John remembers always wanting the blinds to be up on the windows of his room so he could see the Statue of Liberty. For almost 40 years, the hospital complex has sat deserted. Now it's finally under restoration, and John is featured in a new documentary about this nearly lost chapter of Ellis Island history.


Peter Pohlhammer wrote in to tell us about his encounters with the great American baritone, William Warfield.  He tells Dick about the profound influence Warfield had on him, both musically and morally.

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