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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                        STUART EIZENSTAT

INTERVIEWER:                   SANDRA BERMAN

DATE:                                  NOVEMBER 23, 2009

LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Stuart Eizenstat was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1943.   He moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his mother when he was eight months old after his father had returned from the Army.  Stuart’s father, Leo, was born and raised in Atlanta.  Stuart’s grandfather, Ezor, immigrated to Atlanta in 1904 from Belarus.  Stuart’s family belonged to Ahavath Achim and Shearith Israel in Atlanta. 

Stuart grew up in the Morningside area of Atlanta.  He attended Morningside Grammar School and Grady High School.  He played basketball at Grady and was honorable Mention All American.  He attended Sunday school and was bar mitzvahed at Ahavath Achim.   He attended University of North Carolina and Harvard Law School.   ‚Äč

Stuart has held several prominent positions in the Carter and Clinton administrations, as presidential advisor, Under Secretary of State, Under Secretary of Commerce, and Deputy of the Treasury Secretary.  Stuart has been extraordinarily involved in Holocaust work.  He worked extensively with restitutional recovery for victims of the Holocaust and helped create the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.   

Stuart and his wife, Frances, have two children. 

Scope:

Stuart Eizenstat discusses growing up in Atlanta.  He discusses going to public school and playing basketball.  He talks about his father receiving a rich Jewish education.  He reflects on his earliest recollections of his father and studying the Torah with him after Shabbat dinner.  He recalls his father speaking and reading Russian fluently.  He remembers Rabbi Harry Epstein from Achavath Achim.   He talks about his family’s relationship with him and greeting him on his arrival to Atlanta in 1928.  He mentions that Rabbi Epstein had a major impact on his life.  Stuart talks about his memories of his father, grandfather, and cousins. 

Stuart remembers segregation in Atlanta during the 1950s and 1960s.  He talks about attending the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill during the civil rights era and participating in boycotts.   He reflects on these experiences and his Atlanta upbringing as being seminal moments that have contributed to his public career and with Holocaust remembrance and education.  Stuart discusses his work in the Carter and Clinton Administrations and his work with Holocaust restitution.  Stuart talks about his involvement in the founding of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Stuart talks about visiting the graves of his father and grandfather in Israel.  He talks about his family who remained in Lithuania and finding details of them in archives in Lithuania.     He talks about his wife, Fran, and their two sons.

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