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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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  • Adair, Irving

    Irving discusses the death of his parents when he was very young and the enormous role his older brother, Abe, has played in his life. He talks about living with his cousins after his parents died, and then living with his brother, after Abe got married. Irving talks about living in the Washington Street area of Atlanta where they walked from place to place or rode the streetcar for a dime. He talks fondly of growing up in the Jewish community, enjoying sports, and developing a circle of Jewish friends. From the time he moved in with his brother, to getting married, and eventually buying a home of his own, Irving moved further and further north in the Atlanta area. Interestingly, there are some parallels here with the migration of the Jewish population in the city. Irving reflects on the changes in the way business is conducted during his lifetime, from essentially a horse and buggy, personal approach to faxes and phone calls. He also talks about the decline in the percentage of Jewish merchants, and the decimation of the Jewish wholesale business area around Pryor Street in Atlanta's downtown area, where his family business was originally located.

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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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  • Arogeti, James

    James Arogeti was a Sephardic Jew. His family came from Turkey and Rhodes. His father, Behor (Jack) was a shoemaker. Behor (Jack) immigrated to the United States when he was 19 years old and later brought over the rest of his family. James had five siblings. James enlisted in the air force during World War II and served as a gunner on a B-17 based in England. On his return we went to Emory University and became an accountant. He opened his own accounting firm in 1952, which became Habif Arogeti & Wynne. James discusses his unique childhood and the relations between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews in Atlanta. He discusses his childhood, education in public schools and religious education, his career and family. He also discusses intermarriage (between the Jewish sects), local rabbis and synagogues (Or Ve Shalmon and the Temple), the growth of the Jewish community in Atlanta, Sephardic customs and language, Jewish clubs and social life, and prominent Sephardic Jews in Atlanta.

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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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  • Bases, Irene

    Irene discusses her early life in Krakow, Poland with her family and her decision to go to France for school when she was 17. When the war began in 1939, she describes her family’s experience of going to Wolbrom, Poland and hiding in the woods as the town’s Jewish population was eradicated. Irene discusses how the family returned to Krakow and later was sent to the Plaszow work camp where she describes work in an envelope factory, being beaten and placed in a bunker for punishment. Irene recalls her experience of working as a maid for a SS man and her work in a magazine with plentiful food that she was able to steal for her friends and family. Irene describes how her brother was killed in Plaszow and how her husband had the opportunity to go with a transfer of Jews to Brünnlitz as part of the Oskar Schindler Jews. She describes her transfer by foot to Auschwitz-Birkenau and being reassured by her angel, a friend from Krakow, that they were not being sent to the gas chambers but showers. From Auschwitz-Birkenau she recounts the transfer to Gröss-Rosen camp, Ravensbrück camp, Malchow camp, and Leipzig, Germany. In describing these camps, she recalls the sights, the sounds, and the experience of being a prisoner. In Leipzig, she describes being more or less freed from her captors after a three week death march when they refuse to go on. Irene describes how no one would help them in Germany and how they are attacked by Russian soldiers, many of the girls being raped. Irene recounts returning to Poland after the war and finding only her uncle and cousin still living and her subsequent unsuccessful quest to find her father at Theresienstadt. Irene discusses her religious life as a Jew, religion in the camps and reaction to the formation of the state of Israel. Irene also reflects on her hatred of Germans, receiving reparations from the Germans and her decision not to testify against the Nazi SS man that she worked for while in Plaszow.

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  • Bearman, Howard

    Howard Bearman was born December 11, 1935, in Birmingham, Alabama. His grandparents immigrated to the United States from Kobryn, Poland, in the 1910’s. His father was born in Savannah, Georgia. The Bearman family came to Birmingham with a cousin, who was in the retail business. His father settled in Birmingham and opened Bearman’s Men’s clothing store in downtown Birmingham. Howard Bearman talks about the Bearman family, who immigrated from Kobryn, Poland, in the 1910’s. He recounts that his father is from Savannah, Georgia, and settled in Birmingham, Alabama, with a cousin who was in the retail business. He discusses his father’s store, Bearman’s Men’s clothing store, in downtown Birmingham. He reflects on working in the store from a young age. He speaks of having good relations with the black clientele.

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  • Blonder, Gerald

    Gerald A. (Jerry) Blonder was born in Port Chester, New York. His father was from Poland and was a milkman. Jerry discusses his life in Atlanta in the real estate business (commercial development) and the growth of the city and changes in the real estate business over the past 50 years. He and his wife, Lois, are major philanthropists to Jewish causes in Atlanta, including the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

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  • Blumberg, Janice Rothschild

    Janice Oettinger Rothschild Blumberg was born in Atlanta on February 13, 1924. In 1946 she met and married Jacob Rothschild, the rabbi at the Temple. After the leading the congregation through a time of transition, growth and controversy, Rabbi Rothschild died suddenly of a heart attack on New Year's Eve in 1973. In 1975, Janice married insurance executive David Blumberg who served as president of B'nai B'rith International. They lived in Washington, D.C. After her second husband passed away, Janice remained in Washington, D.C. until she returned to Atlanta in 2009. Janice is active in Jewish community and civic activities and has held leadership positions in numerous organizations including the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum, American Jewish Historical Society, and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. She served as President of the Southern Jewish Historical Society.

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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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  • Brook, Julian

    Julian Brook grew up in the 1960’s during the civil rights era in Birmingham, Alabama.  He was a pre-teen and teenager during that period.  He is a member of Temple Beth-El in Birmingham and is an active member in his community.  He has been a board member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Federation Allocation Committee, and other organizations.

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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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  • Cuba, Joseph

    Joseph Cuba was born in Atlanta. He married Ida Pearle Miller and had three children: Lana, Philip, and Lawrence. He was active in the Ahavath Achim Congregration and founded the Max M. Cuba & Company (an accounting firm) with his brother, Max. He discusses the history of the Atlanta Jewish community in general, including Jewish-Jewish relations. He knew and worked with the major leaders of the Atlanta Jewish secular community including Edward Kahn and Barney Medintz. His children contributed substantially to the museum archives in his name and helped to establish the Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Community Archives and Genealogy Center.

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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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  • Entell, Hanna Kaunitz Weinstein

    Hannah Weinstein Entell was born in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest of five children. She married a Czechoslovakian farmer 14 years her senior in order to get a passport and fled Austria in the 1930s via Shanghai, China and thence to the Philippines. There she divorced her first husband and married her second husband, Dr. Alfred A. Weinstein, a captain in the U.S. Army. During the war, Dr. Weinstein was taken captive by the Japanese and Hannah worked in the underground which provided food for prisoners of war. When Dr. Weinstein was released, he and Hannah married. They moved to Atlanta. Dr. Weinstein died in 1964, and Hannah married Max Entell.

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  • Epstein, Rabbi Harry H.

    Rabbi Harry Epstein was born in 1903 in Plunge, Lithuania, into a rabbinical family. In 1909, the Epstein family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where his father became the rabbi of the largest synagogue in Chicago. Rabbi Harry Epstein was educated in a yeshiva in Chicago and New York. He returned to Lithuania to study under his uncle at Slobodka Yeshiva and later in Palestine at the Hebron Yeshiva. He was ordained in 1926. In 1927, he returned to the United States and took his first rabbinate position at an Orthodox congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1928, he took the rabbinate position at Ahavath Achim Congregation in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served for more than 50 years.

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  • Feldman, Clara Lazar

    Clara Lazar Feldman was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Her parents came from Poland and were married in New York City. When her father, Louis, came to Atlanta he owned a grocery store then a liquor store. After Louis died her mother, Anna, sold the liquor store and started an ice cream stand. Anna remarried a man named Charles Greenberg. Clara married Sidney Feldman after he returned from World War II (the Pacific theater) wounded and they had four children. Sidney was in the metal trade (London Iron and Metal Company) and then the real estate industry (London Feldman Company). Clara discusses her families, her childhood, social activities, her relationship with Black people, public school education, antisemitism, her volunteer activities in the Jewish community and Shearith Israel congregation.

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  • Feldman, Rabbi Emanuel

    Rabbi Feldman is descended from a family of generations of rabbis. His father is a Polish Jew and a rabbi, now (2000) living in Jerusalem. Rabbi Feldman came with his family to the United States in 1927. He met and married his wife, Estelle, in 1952 and they had five children. His sons all became rabbis and his daughters are all married to rabbis. Rabbi Feldman, recently retired, was rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob since 1952, Atlanta's Orthodox community. He is the former vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America and has served on the Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court). He received his rabbinical education from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, a masters from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Emory University. He serves as a visiting lecturer at Bar Ilan University in Israel and has written three books and numerous articles. Rabbi Feldman recounts the growth of Orthodox Judaism in Atlanta from the 1960s on and recounts the issues surrounding the creation of the first Jewish day school in Atlanta. His son, Rabbi Ilan Feldman, is now the rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob.

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  • Feldman, Sidney

    Sidney Feldman was born in Brest Litovsk, Poland (now Belarus) in 1921. He came with his family to Atlanta in 1929 as a child. He was one of four children. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and became a co-owner (with his uncle, Max London) of a scrap metal company. He was active in community service including the Atlanta Jewish Federation, Atlanta Jewish Community Center, Greenfield Hebrew Academy, and the William Breman Jewish Home. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Morehouse University School of Medicine. He recalls the early days of the Jewish Progressive Club and his service in World War II.

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  • Fishkin, Miriam Motyl

    Miriam Motyl was born on November 10, 1930 in Pruzhany, Poland (now Belarus). Miriam discusses her childhood in Pruzhany, Poland until the war started in 1939 and the Russians occupied her town. Miriam recalls how she, her mother and sisters returned to Poland, going to Lodz and how Esther married a young yeshiva student she had met in Siberia. She recounts their travels across Europe, her desire to go to Palestine, but how she and her mother and sisters instead joined Esther and her husband, who had come to New York in the United States. Miriam recalls her life in the New York: finding work, socializing, meeting and marrying her husband, raising a family, running a business and eventually re-settling in Atlanta nearer her children.

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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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  • Haas, Jacob

    Jacob discusses his family and their roots in the South and their immigration from Germany, settlement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then Atlanta, Georgia where his great-grandfather (also Jacob) opened a general store with Herman Levi. Jacob recollects growing up in Atlanta and going to public school. Jacob recounts one of his earliest memories: living so close to the Fulton County courthouse, he could hear and see all that was going on during the Leo Frank trial. His uncle, Herbert Haas, was one of Mr. Frank's attorneys. His family was under heavy police security at their home.

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  • Hart, Carol

    Carol's family has been in Alabama for several generations, going as far back as her great grandfather. Carol talks about her family tree, including her great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and other relatives. She does not have a lot of details about how or why her family members came to Alabama, but she talks about the dry goods store started in Montgomery by her paternal grandfather and one of his cousins, called Lobman-Steiner Dry Goods. She gives some information about the progression of the business, which grew to include a manufacturing plant that made overalls and work clothes. She reflects on the period of the Civil Rights Movement and subsequent integration.

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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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  • Kemp, Don

    Don explains why and how his parents came to the United States and settled in Anniston, Alabama.& They had been living in Emmerich, Germany, and left in 1937. Don's mother's uncle had come to Anniston and, over time, other family members joined him there. Don discusses the livelihoods of his family members in Anniston and describes his experiences growing up in a small Southern community, both as a Jew and during segregation. The interview includes descriptions of the temple and the Jewish community, the economy of Anniston and the family businesses, segregation and desegregation, and personal stories from his childhood and of his family. Don describes how the Jewish community and the broader community have changed over time. Many white families began sending their children to private schools or moving to surrounding communities. Many young people have moved away, in favor of larger cities, and many of the factories that supported the community are now gone.

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  • Kempler, Bernhard

    Bernhard Kempler was born in Krakow, Poland on May 2, 1936. He was three years old when the war began, so his pre-war childhood memories are scant, however he does recall his middle-class life, their apartment, his father (Yehuda), mother (Zofia) and sister (Aneta), and remembers visiting the park and attending the synagogue with his father. He talks about how life changed for him and his family after the Germans invaded Poland, at which time before the Germans arrived in Krakow, Yehuda left the family and fled to Russia. Bernhard discusses their life in the Krakow ghetto and how they escaped and hid at various other sites. Bernhard recalls an emotional visit when he returned to Poland 40 years later where he visited the sites of his childhood,

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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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  • Kozma, Janina Prinz

    Janina Prinz was born in Delatyn, Poland in 1920. When the Germans attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, Janina and her mother fled Gdynia towards Krakow, settling in Wieliczka. When Wieliczka was liquidated in 1942, Janina and her mother obtained forged identification papers and returned to Krakow, where they stayed temporarily with the family's former maid and then moved to a convent. In December 1944, a Polish maid betrayed the Jews hiding at the convent to the Gestapo. Janina escaped arrest and fled to another Krakow convent, where she stayed until the Russians liberated Krakow on January 18, 1945. Janina's mother died in Gestapo custody. Her father, whom she had not seen since before the war, settled in a town near Krakow and survived the war.

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  • Lansky, Lola Borkowska

    Lola Borkowska Lansky was born in Lodz, Poland on November 19, 1926. Lola discusses her happy memories of visiting her grandparents in the small towns of Ozorkow and Parzeczew before World War II broke out in 1939.She discusses how relations were good between Jews and gentiles and Lola had non-Jewish friends. Lola recalls their transfer to Auschwitz-Birkenau when the Lodz ghetto was liquidated in 1944, and their further transfer to the Ravensbruck and then Muhlhausen camps in Germany. Lola describes her feelings when she was reunited with her father, brother, and several aunts and uncles at Feldafing Displaced Person camp. Lola describes being active in the Zionist movement at the camp and wanting to immigrate to Palestine but, following her father's wishes, the family moved to the United States, settling in New York in 1946. Lola recalls her marriage to Rubin Lansky in the United States, although they had met in Germany after the war, and their subsequent move to Atlanta, Georgia in 1953.

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  • Leet, Ronnie

    Ronnie discusses his grandparents and parents immigration from Eastern Europe to the United States before World War II and eventual settlement in Selma, Alabama. He recalls his maternal grandparents' shoe and clothing store and his paternal grandparent's auto parts and scrap metal business, which he eventually joined and assumed leadership of after college. He remembers Temple Mishkan Israel and growing up in the Reform movement, the celebration of both Hannukah and Christmas as well as the Jewish holidays of Passover and the High Holy Days. He recalls fondly his religious education by Rabbi Lothair Lubasch and becoming bar mitzvah. He also discusses segregation, the cultural acceptance of Jim Crow.

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  • Miller, Sol

    Sol discusses how his grandfather, Louis Miller, came to Huntsville, Alabama after leaving Minsk, Belarus to come to the United States. He describes his experiences growing up Jewish in Huntsville. He also describes the early days of the Jewish community there in the late 1800's and the changes over time. Sol discusses the German rocket scientists, including Werner von Braun, who were brought to Huntsville. Their past was white-washed, and the community embraced them. Some, like Sol's grandfather, had a hard time doing business with them. Sol describes his awareness as a child about segregation. He explains the impact that NASA had on the peaceful integration of blacks, since the government threatened to move the location out of Huntsville if black engineers who were applying for jobs there would be segregated in restaurants, housing, hotels, etc. He talks about his family memories growing up Jewish in Huntsville, family holidays, and raising their own children there. Their children are now young adults, and he describes where they are now and what they are doing. It is unlikely either of them will settle in Huntsville, thus ending the long family history there. <

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  • Podber, Abe

    Abe describes life in his small town in Poland before the war. He recounts how difficult life became after the Germans occupied his town in 1941. He recalls spending a year in a work camp and then being sent to Stutthof, where he witnessed great brutality. He recalls the chaos before American troops liberated the prisoners. Abe outlines his time in a DP camp after the war and working for the US Army. In Germany, he married and was reunited with two of his brothers before immigrating to the United States. Abe is distressed by the recollection of his family’s murder and haunted by the murder of young children that he witnessed. Abe admits his reluctance to accept war reparations from Germany. His feelings towards Germany become apparent when he describes his son’s visit to Europe and his own disinterest in returning. Abe shares his perspective of Israel and its struggle with its Arab neighbors. In closing, Abe tells how happy he is living in the United States with his wife and family. He comments on the effect that his experiences during the Holocaust have had on him and how it continued to affect his life.

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  • Popowski, Henry

    Henry describes his family and early childhood in Kaluszyn, Poland. He talks about his work before the war and how he was recruited into the Polish army when the Germans invaded Poland. He describes life in the Warsaw ghetto, witnessing the ghetto uprising, his capture while escaping from a bunker, and the murder of other Jews caught hiding. He talks about his deportation to a series of concentration camps in Poland and Austria, including Majdanek-Lublin, Krasnik, Plaszow, Mauthausen, Melk, and Ebensee. He recalls brutal treatment in Mauthausen and working with the Polish underground while in Krasnik. Henry describes escaping from a bombing raid and becoming very ill in Austria at the end of the war. He recounts the disbelief and confusion within Ebensee when American troops finally liberated the camp. He describes how he came to work with an American field hospital and ended up as a leader of a Jewish community in Germany before immigrating to the United States in 1949. Henry considers his faith and how he has come to terms with the Holocaust. He discusses the creation and importance of the state of Israel. Finally, Henry explains his reluctance to share his story but his desire for future generations to learn from it.

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  • Reagan, Janet

    Janet's grandfather came from Lithuania to New York in the 1880's and became a peddler.Janet describes how her paternal grandparents ended up in Birmingham, Alabama, followed by her grandfather's three brothers. She recalls the various businesses that they started, including a pawn shop that grew into a sporting goods stores, a jewelry store, a clothing store, and a pharmacy. Janet speaks about some of her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement.

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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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  • Sherr, Saul and Alice

    Alice Sherr (née Bacharach) was born in Egelsbach, Hesse, Germany. Saul Sherr was born in Chusziachin, now Szczuczyn, Poland. The interview opens with Alice recounting her early childhood in Germany, in the Greater Frankfurt area.; She remembers school and her family working. She also recalls attacks and vandalism increasing, which ultimately lead to the family relocating to an apartment in Frankfurt. While living there Alice tells of the events of Kristallnacht, seeing buildings set aflame, demolished, people being attacked, the family's apartment being broken into, and her father being taken to a concentration camp, presumably Dachau. Upon his release she recounts not recognizing her father, and her family decided to send her to a children's home in Switzerland. Alice discusses life in Switzerland, the rationing, the difficulties adjusting to living there, the infrequent contact with family, and lack of news on the outside world. The then goes on to explain her coming to America, and how she came to leave New York City for Atlanta. Saul explains how his family left Poland shortly before the war began and first settled in Pittsburgh. After spending some time there, they moved to Atlanta and opened a shop. He talks about helping run the shop and how he met Alice and convinced her to marry him.

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  • Sosne, Zelman

    Zelman shares his impression of Vilna, Poland growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home before the Soviets invaded in 1939. He remembers the Germans invading in 1941 and creating two ghettos. Over the next two years, Zelman was sent to multiple concentration camps. When the Americans liberated Ebensee in May of 1945, Zelman says he was near death. Zelman immigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in Atlanta, Georgia. He discusses being active in Atlanta's Orthodox Jewish community. He shares his familiarity with the rabbis from all the Orthodox congregations around Atlanta. In 1964, he married and started a family. Zelman reflects on the maintenance of his beliefs and passing on the Orthodox tradition to his two children. He describes his initial reactions to race relations in America and witnessing the civil rights movement. He shares his views about the current political, social, and economic climate in the US and some of his concerns about Israel. Zelman admits he does not like doing interviews or revisiting the past.

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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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  • Tourial, Regina

    Regina discusses her family and their move from Isle of Rhodes to Meridian, Mississippi and then Montgomery, Alabama. They moved to Atlanta after living in Montgomery for six months. In Meridian, her father was in the cotton business, but after moving to Atlanta, opened his own dry cleaning, hat cleaning and shoe shine business. Regina recounts growing up in Atlanta as a member of a Sephardic Jewish family. She discusses her family's activity at Congregation Or VeShalom. She reflects upon the synagogue's clergy, past and present, detailing their backgrounds and their journeys to Or VeShalom. She reminisces about the traditions and customs of an observant Sephardic family and her fears surrounding their continuation after her generation dies. Regina speaks about the extensive Sephardic community in her neighborhood and her mother's love of entertaining, no matter the occasion. Her father's his long hours at work made his involvement in the community prohibitive. She discusses her children, their education, and what they are doing at the time of the interview. After one of her son's went to college, she took a job with the Georgia State Legislature.

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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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  • Weil, Alan

    Alan Weil was raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and his family has lived in Montgomery for several generations. His paternal and maternal grandfathers each owned retail stores in Montgomery. Alan discusses some background on his family's history in Montgomery, Alabama, as far back as his grandparents. He focuses on the retail store livelihoods of both his paternal and maternal grandfathers. The interview does not describe how or why his family moved to Montgomery or when they first came to the United States. Alan describes his experiences during the years of the Civil Rights Movement, the hiring of blacks in his stores, and the high percentage of black customers who frequented the stores. He was taught to treat others as he would want to be treated himself, and that's how he treated his customers and his employees.

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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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