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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:             VICTOR D. MASLIA

INTERVIEWER:        LEONARD COHEN

LOCATION:              ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                       OCTOBER 29, 1990

                                  NOVEMBER 5, 1990

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Victor Maslia was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1928.  Both of his parents were born in Turkey.  His father’s family arrived in the United States in 1939 from the Island of Rhodes.  His mother’s family traveled from Turkey to Havana, Cuba, before arriving in the United States in 1920.  His parents met in the small Sephardic community in Atlanta and married in 1926.  They had three sons, Victor, Albert, and Danny.  His parents spoke Ladino and English.

Victor was born at Piedmont Hospital.  He grew up in the Jewish area around Central Avenue and Pryor Street during the Great Depression.  The family attended Or Ve Shalom synagogue, a Sephardic congregation, that was within walking distance of their home.  The congregation was located on Central and Woodward Avenue.  His father had a shoe repair shop on Auburn Avenue.

Victor belonged to the Jewish Educational Alliance.  Victor graduated from Commercial High School in 1946.  In September, he enlisted in the United States Army.  In November, he was shipped to Korea, where he served for 18 months.  He returned in 1948, prior to the start of the Korean War.  On his return, he attended Emory University through the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1951 with a journalism major.    

Victor entered the real estate business in the 1950s, where he worked until he sold the business in 1980.  Victor was appointed a city councilor for the City of Atlanta in 1988.  Victor married Lenore Sater in 1950.  They have four children and several grandchildren.

SCOPE OF INTERVIEW

Victor Maslia talks about his Sephardic family roots.  He speaks of his grandparents’ journey to the United States from Turkey.  He reflects that he is lucky to remember all of them.  He reminisces about growing up in the Jewish area of Atlanta.  He describes the neighborhood and the house he grew up in.  He describes the synagogue being within walking distance and remembers Rabbi Joseph Cohen.  He speaks of growing up poor during the Great Depression but describes his childhood as a happy one.  He describes the centrality of family life.

Victor reflects on riding the streetcar and riding his bicycle as a child.  He talks about playing basketball at the Jewish Educational Alliance and the role and importance of that organization.  He talks about enlisting in the United States Army and being stationed briefly in Korea in 1946 prior to the Korean War.  He spoke of attending Emory University, an opportunity provided by the G.I. Bill. 

Victor describes the separate Jewish communities in Atlanta and how those communities became united after World War II.  He reflects on racial segregation as he remembers it in the 1930s and 1940s.  He discusses discrimination and the changes in political leaders in the City of Atlanta.  He discusses briefly the Ku Klux Klan and recounts witnessing their parade.  He talks about entering the real estate business in 1958.  He speaks of his wife, Lenore, and their four children.

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