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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                      BERNARD SMITH


LOCATION:                        ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATES:                               JANUARY 20. 1993 & FEBRUARY 10, 1993

Transcript (PDF)


Bernard Smith was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest of 11 children.  His parents came to the United States from England and Russia.  His mother was English.  His father was Russian.  His father changed the family name from Shevinsky to Smith while living in England.  His parents lived in Birmingham, Alabama, for several years before the family settled in Atlanta, Georgia.  His father started a cooperage business that thrived and diversified.  His father was a civic-minded person, who was a member of multiple synagogues and a number of charitable organizations, a trait that Bernard picked up.

Bernard bought part of his father’s business in 1939.  After getting out of the army in 1946, he focused on that business and grew it substantially.  Bernard was active with the Jewish Federation, the Progressive and Mayfair clubs, and the Jewish Home.  He married Edith Yudelson in 1943.  They had two children.  At the time of the interview he had over 100 living family members in the Atlanta area.

Scope of Interview:

Bernard Smith recounts how his family ended up in Atlanta, starting from his father’s discharge from the Russian Army and his mother growing up in an English orphanage.  He discusses his father’s deep involvement in the community, as a business man and as a member of various civic institutions and charitable organizations.  He talks about his mother’s English sensibilities and how that affected the family.  Bernard describes his home life as warm and caring.

Bernard details his successful business here in Atlanta and his involvement with various charities and clubs.  He tells how he was involved with booking entertainers for the Progressive and Mayfair clubs, which brought him into contact with agents in New York City and local elites at the Piedmont Driving Club.  He discusses his siblings and his wife and children and some of their accomplishments.

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