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  • About the Taylor Oral History Collection at the Breman Museum

    The Taylor Oral History Collection at the Breman consists of a thousand oral histories that document Jewish life in Georgia and Alabama. There are four main categories: Atlanta Jewish History, Georgia Jewish History, Alabama Jewish History, and Holocaust Survivors. The oral histories that are featured on our website have been transcribed to a professional level. These oral histories only constitute a small percentage of our collection. A star next to the name denotes an interview that contains historical information that is core to our mission and unique to the Southern Jewish experience or th...

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  • Alterman, Chippie

    Chippie Rubin Alterman was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1917, but her parents emigrated from Russia and Poland. Chippie was active in the community and was a member of a number of Jewish organizations, including Young Judaea, Hadassah, Brandeis University National Women's Committee, Temple Sisterhood, and United Jewish Appeal. She describes Jewish life in Atlanta during the mid-twentieth century.

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  • Amiel, Lydia Sarda

    The Amiels came to Atlanta from Crete and Cairo, Egypt in 1905.  They were the first Sephardic couple to settle permanently in Atlanta, where they joined a handful of Sephardic men already here. This interview is, in large part, about Lydia’s father-in-law and mother-in-law, Rebecca and Ralph [Raphael] Amiel.

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  • Amir, Frieda

    Frieda (Fradel) Kiwetz was born in Zbaraz, Poland on May 6, 1921. She recalls growing up in a very strict, religious environment, her exposure to Zionism, and her interactions with non-Jewish Poles. She also discusses her Holocaust experience and immigration to the United States and settling in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  • Baron, Albert

    Albert Baron was born in Nancy, France on October 6, 1934. Albert Baron describes fleeing with his family from Nancy, France in 1940 as the Germans began bombing and their further flight by train to a town near the base of the Pyrenees Mountains called Luchon, where they rented a small farm from a non-Jew. When the Barons moved to Atlanta, the city was beginning to grow, and although there were not many restaurants or synagogues, the Barons found less antisemitism and racism than they thought they would find. Albert discusses how his family joined the Temple, a reform congregation and sponsored a Russian Jewish family and how they try to help financially, especially with older Jews.

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  • Breman, Elinor Angel ★

    Elinor Angel Breman was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1922. Her family belonged to a Reform temple and her parents were active in the synagogue. Elinor participated in Ballyhoo in Atlanta where she met her future husband, Herbert Jerome (Herb) Rosenberg, Jr. In Atlanta, Elinor participated in Jewish community organizations as well as in the art, theater and cultural world of Atlanta. She became a successful real estate agent and married M. William Breman, who died in 2002. She is actively involved in the Breman Museum today.

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  • Breman, M. William

    William Breman has been a resident of Atlanta since 1908 and is the founder of the Breman Steel Company.  He was both a participant and spectator of major Atlanta historical events including the flu epidemic of 1918, the bombing of the Temple, the civil rights movement, and the making of the moving  "Driving Miss Daisy."  He was a major philanthropist in all areas of Jewish communal life. With a lead gift of more than $2 million dollars, he made possible the creation of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, which opened in June of 1996 and currently occupies half of the Selig Center.  He married Sylvia Cecile Goldstein and had two children, James and Carol.

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  • Breman, Sylvia Goldstein

    Sylvia Goldstein Breman was born in 1911 in Rochester, New York. Sylvia tells about childhood, education, and meeting her husband M. William (Bill) Breman at the Temple in Rochester, New York.  She also recalls her marriage to Bill in 1934, moving to Atlanta, and their affiliation with the Temple in Atlanta.  She discusses her many years of volunteer services in Jewish organizations in Atlanta and Rochester.

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  • Cohen, Tilda

    Tilda discusses her family and life in Split, Yugoslavia. She talks about how life changed for her and her family after the Italians invaded Yugoslavia and the anti-Jewish laws were enforced in Split. She discusses her father and other family members who were involved in armed resistance with Tito's partisans. She recalls leaving Split after the Germans occupied northern Italy, fleeing across several islands in the Adriatic Sea, and eventually ending up in Bari in southern Italy, where she met Allied troops. She also remembers leaving Bari to escape the bombings being carried out there by the Germans. She discusses how, after the war, her family decided to immigrate to the United States, where she was married. She reflects on her impressions of the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and how it impacted her family, and on the civil rights movement in Atlanta. She shares her feelings of isolation in the United States, and how she found fulfillment with friends who were not part of the mainstream of Jewish life in America.  Finally, she provides advice to future generations about the importance of having an open mind and broadening your horizons.

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  • Ehrlich, Bertram Adolph

    Bertram Ehrlich was born in Bainbridge, Georgia in 1913.  This interview covers the Ehrlich and Kwilecki family histories in Bainbridge.  Bert discusses his youth, education, career as a pharmacist, marriage to Bernice Jacobs and his family.  He also details the history of the Jewish community in Bainbridge throughout the 20th century, his mother's role in starting Temple Beth-El and her later involvement in the community.   Bertram discusses Rabbi Edmund Landau and his friendship with Marvin Griffin, leter the Governor of Georgia.  This interview is a microcosm of life in a small Southern town.

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  • Friedman, Karl Bernard (2009) ★

    Karl Friedman was an influential player in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama.  He discusses his family origins, childhood, military service, marriage and his own family in depth, including his mother, Sidney Stein's, influence on her children's lives and the Jewish and general community as well.  Karl relates in detail the Jewish community during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham including his interactions with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other important civil rights leaders as well as his interactions with Bull Connor.  He recalls the episode of the 19 rabbis coming to Birmingham to "witness" and what that did to the Jewish community in particular and the general community as a while as well as the Children's March after which he helped to get the 450 black children released.  This interview is one of our finest and is unique.

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  • Friedman, Karl Bernard (2012) ★

    Karl Friedman was an influential player in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama.  He discusses his family origins, childhood, military service, marriage and his own family in depth, including his mother, Sidney Stein's, influence on her children's lives and the Jewish and general community as well.  Karl relates in detail the Jewish community during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham including his interactions with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other important civil rights leaders as well as his interactions with Bull Connor.  He recalls the episode of the 19 rabbis coming to Birmingham to "witness" and what that did to the Jewish community in particular and the general community as a while as well as the Children's March after which he helped to get the 450 black children released.  This interview is slightly longer than the 2009 interview and goes into more depth on the Civil Rights Movement.  It is one of our finest interviews and is unique.

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  • Gallant, Henry

    Henry describes a happy early childhood in Berlin, Germany as the only child of a perfume manufacturer. Henry recalls in detail the events of Kristallnacht, the destruction and its aftermath in Berlin and the impact it had on his family. After Kristallnacht, Henry recalls how the Goldsteins fled Germany on the St. Louis, and remembers the voyage itself. When the St. Louis was denied entry to its destination port in Cuba and later to the United States as well, Henry describes his family's return to France after the St. Louis was turned back. Henry remembers how his father was sent to the Gurs internment camp in France and later to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Convoy 17 which left France on August 10, 1942 and arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 12, 1942. He describes the strange predicament of waiting for his father to return and not knowing that he had died until after the war or of his ultimate fate until very recently.

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  • Garey, William

    Garey discusses his childhood and upbringing in an interfaith household in Atlanta, Georgia, and the anti-Semitism his family experienced. He discusses his family genealogy and how they settled in Georgia. Garey talks about his primary education in Atlanta and the Pennington School in New Jersey, as well as his secondary education at Georgia Tech. Of special note is Garey's discussion of his experience in World War II and Israel's War of Independence. Garey served as a radio operator in both conflicts. He discusses his influences for participating in both wars.

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  • Goldgar, Vida Daab

    Vida Daab (Goldgar) was born in Columbia, Illinois in 1930. She came to Atlanta from New York in 1959. She worked for the Southern Israelite (later the Atlanta Jewish Times) on a part-time basis as she was raising four children. On January 1, 1979 she purchased the paper and became editor and publisher. She owned The Southern Israelite until August 1986, when she sold it to Stan and Shirley Rose of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle and retired.

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  • Greenblatt, Harriet Wiseberg

    Harriet Wiseberg (Greenblatt) was born in 1916 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her parents were Arthur Wiseberg and Helen Silverman Wiseberg. She grew up in Druid Hills, an area of Atlanta that was not typically Jewish. Harriett participated in Ballyhoo, Jubilee and Falcon social events and often went to Jester Lake She attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She married Sidney Greenblatt. They belonged to the Temple and Sidney worked for Montag Brothers. Harriet participated in the civil rights movement through the National Council of Jewish Women. She also participated in the League of Women Voters.

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  • Hedges, Renate Bial

    Renate discusses her childhood in Gleiwitz (then in Germany, now Poland), but eventually left Germany on one of the last Kindertransports to England. She recounts her experiences of anti-Semitism and the rise of Nazism in Germany. She eventually immigrated to Canada, where she met and married Robert Hedges and lived until his death, when she moved to Atlanta to be with her children.

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  • Heyman, Martha Strassburger Ringel

    Martha Strassburger Ringel (Heyman) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania although her parents' families emigrated from Germany. She married her first husband, Robert L. Spear, and who was in the furniture business in Pittsburgh, in 1937. She married Herbert A. Ringel, a lawyer from Atlanta in 1961. Martha was very active in the general Atlanta community including working with the unemployed and day care and in the Jewish community as a leader in the National Council of Jewish Women.

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  • Koch, Alan

    Alan grew up in Demopolis, Alabama. His father was an automobile dealer and farm implement dealer, and his mother worked during the Great Depression to keep the family alive. Alan went to Auburn University on a baseball scholarship. He went on to play baseball professionally, with the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Senators. After he left the sport, he earned a master's degree in history and a law degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After a short stint as a lawyer, he had a career in the health care field until his retirement in 1999.  Alan discusses growing up Jewish in a small town in Alabama, his career in professional baseball and later as a lawyer.

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  • Romm, Mendel ★

    Mendel Romm, Jr. discusses his life growing up in Atlanta and how the city changed during his lifetime from a town where he could stand on a street corner and practically everyone who passed by would know him, into a booming city of millions. Atlanta history is woven through Romm's life, including the civil rights movement and antisemitism.

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  • Rosenbush, Bert Jr.

    Bert Rosenbush Jr. lives in Demopolis, Alabama.  He relates his family's history in the town, his father's furniture store and funeral home and the Jewish community's contributions to the community.  He discusses his education and participation in Jewish activities.  He also recalls segregation and his family's attitude toward black people, personally and in their business dealings.  He reflects on the lack of Jewish presence in Demopolis today (he and his wife are the last Jewish people) and discusses the synagogue, B'nai Jeshurun.

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  • Royal, Stuart

    Stuart discusses his family roots in Birmingham and how his grandparents on both the Royal and Friedman sides of his family came to Birmingham in the 1910’s.  He discusses their early experiences in Birmingham, what Jewish life was like for them in the early years, and their involvement in the Jewish community over time.   He discusses where Jews lived at that time and how the community moved to other areas over time.  He also shares his own personal experiences in the Jewish community and at Temple Beth-El as well as his observations during the Civil Rights era.

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  • Sher, Martin

    Martin Sher's father, Morris Sher, came to Birmingham, Alabama with his parents and five brothers and sisters. Martin provides some background on how his grandparents came to Birmingham, Alabama with Martin's father and their five other children. He describes the family business that his father, Morris, started and how it began with Morris peddling clothing to customers on his paper route. Later he opened a store in downtown Birmingham selling clothing on credit which expanded to include appliances.  Martin describes some of his experiences during the turbulent 1950's and 1960's as they relate to store boycotts, church bombings and other turmoil

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  • Sotto, Eliezer

    Eliezer Sotto was born in Salonika, Greece on April 27, 1923. Eliezer discusses his family, and life in Salonika, Greece before World War II. He talks about how life changed for him and his family after the Italians invaded Greece in October 1940 and again after the Germans invaded Greece in April 1941, after which time, he and his brother were forced to hard labor.  His family was required to move into the ghetto from which he and his brother Isaac were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.  In Auschwitz-Birkenau he survived several selections and several more labor camps before his liberation. He survived the Holocaust and settled in Atlanta where he worked as a barber for 60 years.

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  • Strauss, Henry

    Henry Strauss was born Heinz Siegbert Strauss on July 14, 1928 in Alsfeld, Germany. On Kristallnacht Henry's father was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald for three months. As a condition of his release, he was required to emigrate and Albert left for present-day Zambia. In 1948, Henry and his parents arrived in the United States. They were reunited with Henry's brother and settled in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  • Taylor, Esther Kahn

    Esther Kahn was born in 1905 in Atlanta to Janice and Marcus Kahn, both immigrants from the Bialystok area of Eastern Europe. Esther recalls her childhood in Atlanta and her growing interest and talent in playing the piano and her early musical education. Esther also discusses a series of topics including women's rights and changes in women's lives over her lifetime, marriage and changing sexual mores, drugs, education, music appreciation and music in the 1980, government, her travels in Israel, religion and history, and being Jewish.

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  • Taylor, Herbert

    Herbert discusses the background of his parents and his father, Charles’s, arrival in Atlanta, Georgia where he eventually settled into the bakery business.  He also discusses his religious education, Orthodox home, helping in the bakery and in his brother’s pharmacy, after getting out of Boys’ High School.  He recalls his social activities in the form of youth clubs, the Don’t Worry Club and other activities with Jewish youth.

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  • Taylor, Judith Grossman

    Judith Grossman Taylor was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. She met her husband, Mark Taylor, on one of her many trips to Atlanta to visit her relatives, the Travises. Judith has been active in Hadassah, Brandeis Women’s Committee, United Way, National Council of Jewish Women, the Bicentennial Commission, HOPE [Help our Public Schools], Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Child Advocacy Coalition, Leadership Atlanta, League of Women Voters, Atlanta Women’s Foundation, and the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

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  • Tourial, Ralph

    Ralph Tourial was born in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia to Turkish immigrants.  He was one of three children.  His father, who owned a delicatessen, died in 1923.  Ralph became bar mitzvah on a Thursday morning at Or VeShalom, following Sephardic tradition. He became President of Or VeShalom synagogue in 1937. From the time he was ten years old until 1980 when it was sold, Ralph worked for E. Tourial Leather Company, a leather wholesaling business owned by his uncle, Ezra Tourial, until his death in 1941.

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  • Uhry, Alene Fox

    Alene Fox Uhry recollects nearly 100 years of Atlanta history, both of the Jewish community and that of the wider Atlanta area. She reflects on major events in Atlanta history including the Leo Frank trial and lynching, the publishing of Gone With The Wind and the excitement and glamour of the premiere of the film in Atlanta. She recollects her long career in the civic life of Atlanta, including the arts and cultural community, and other volunteer activities activities in social work. She covers the career of her playwright son, Alfred Uhry, with his success in Driving Miss Daisy and his other plays.

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  • Vrono, Eleanor

    Eleanor Rothenberg Vrono was born in Atlanta in 1925. Eleanor recalls her childhood in Atlanta and her father, Jack Rothenberg's three dry good businesses (including 'Jack's' and 'Wells Fargo'), which prospered even during the Great Depression because his prices were affordable. She recollects some of the people who worked for her father including the future Dr. Irving Greenberg. Eleanor reminisces about her father who loved to play cards at the Jewish Progressive Club and his generosity in the Jewish community.  Her husband, Harold, was in the supermarket business.

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  • Zaban, Erwin

    Erwin discusses his family background and how his father, Mandle Zaban, founded Zep Manufacturing.  He details the growth of Zep, its merger with National Linen Services and how it became National Service Industries, with earnings of $2.5 billion per year.  He also describes his lifelong friendships and business relationships with others such as Milton Weinstein, Meyer Balser, M. William Breman, Sidney Feldman, David Goldwasser, Bernard Marcus, Max Kuniansky, Barney Medintz, Abe Goldstein, Benjamin Massell, Sam Massel, Maynard Jackson and Steve Selig.  He touches briefly on the social life of Jews in the Fifties and Sixties in Atlanta, the cities growth and development, the civil rights years and on his philanthropic contributions to the Atlanta Jewish community.  

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This website is supported by a generous gift from the Jerry and Dulcy Rosenberg Family in honor of Elinor Rosenberg Breman.

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