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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                 JACOB HAAS

INTERVIEWER:             SHARON GREENBLATT

DATE:                             APRIL 5, 1994

                                     APRIL 26, 1994

LOCATION:                     ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Jacob was born to Edgar and Viola Loeb Haas on February 5, 1910 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is a third generation Atlantan.  His great-grandfather, also named Jacob Haas, came to the United States with his wife, Jeanetta Hirsch Haas, in 1842 from Hesse Darmstadt, Germany.  He intended to move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but started peddling in the South and decided to settle there.  They ended up finally settling in Marthasville, which later was named Atlanta, and opening a general store. 

In 1851, the Jacob Haases (Jacob’s great-grandfather) moved to Philadelphia, never to return.  They left the business in charge of their business partner, Herman Levi.  Herman later moved to California and the business was closed.  The original Jacob’s son, also Jacob Haas (and memoirist Jacob’s grandfather), settled in Tennessee, peddling merchandise until the American Civil War broke out.  He came to Atlanta after participating in the retreat of the Confederate Army.  He moved to Philadelphia after leaving the Army and married his first cousin, Caroline, daughter of the “family pioneer,” Jacob Haas.  The second Jacob Haas and his wife, Caroline, had seven children: Edgar, Leopold, Herbert, Blanche, Clementine, Elsa and Beulah.  Edgar was this memoirist’s father.

Jacob grew up on Washington Street, near where home plate in the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was located.  Jacob attended Highland Elementary School and Boys’ High School.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1929 and received his MBA from Harvard University in 1932.  His son and one of his granddaughters also graduated from Harvard.

In 1899, his grandfather (the second Jacob) started a company called Mechanic Brand Overalls, which later merged into Oxford Industries in 1961.  The company started by making overalls, but later made army uniforms once World War I started.  The memoirist Jacob eventually assumed control of the business until it was sold to Oxford Industries.

Jacob met his wife, Lillian, at a Jewish young people’s event and they married in 1936.  Jacob and Lillian had one son, Joe, after suffering three miscarriages.  Joe was born while Jacob was in the service.  He was born at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC in 1942.  Joe became an urologist, married Annette Patoff, and has two daughters, Deni, a Cornell alum and Danielle, the aforementioned Harvard graduate.

As a retiree, Jacob volunteered at Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta with the Dial A Ride program, picking up elderly people and take them to or from doctors.  Jacob passed away in 2001.

Scope of Interview

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.  He only faced antisemitism once in high school from one teacher, who was later released.  He discusses playing sports, dating, and socializing with Jewish friends.

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.

Jacob recalls attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and reminisces about Ballyhoo, a three-day party for Jewish youngsters that took place over New Year’s each year.  He remembers attending the same type of event in the summer in Montgomery, Alabama, called the ‘Falcon Picnic.’  He described working for the company his grandfather started, Mechanic Brand Overalls, until it merged with Oxford Industries..

Jacob recounts how his family was members of the Temple, where both of his grandfathers were president.  His aunt, Beulah, was a Sunday school teacher and his aunt, Clementine, played piano.  He spent much of his time at the Standard Club, then called the ‘Concordia Club,’ which his great-grandfather, Jacob, founded.  His social circle was made up of Jews and how he played sports with Jews, dated Jewish girls, and joined the Jewish fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau.  Jacob describes meeting his wife, Lillian, at a social event for Jewish young people.

KEYWORDS

Ahavath Achim—Atlanta, Georgia

Aircraft accidents—Paris, France, 1962

Aldermen

Alexander, Henry Aaron Sr.

Antisemitism

Arthur Murray Dance School—Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Jewish Community Center—Atlanta, Georgia

Ballyhoo

Bar mitzvah

Bat mitzvah

Battle of Atlanta (Civil War)

Benny, Jack

Birmingham, Alabama

Boehm, Julian

Boys’ High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Buckhead (neighborhood)—Atlanta, Georgia

Buckhead Theater-Atlanta, Georgia

Camp Gordon

Christian Scientists

Christmas

Christmas trees

Civil War, 1961-1965

Clothing industry and trade

Commercial High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Concordia Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Confederate Army

Covington, Georgia

Cyclorama—Atlanta, Georgia

David, O.K.

Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART)

Eiseman and Weil—Atlanta, Georgia

Eiseman, Joseph

Elsas family

Elsas, Herbert

Empire State Bulding—New York City, New York

Falcon

Frank, Leo

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill—Atlanta, Georgia

Fulton County Court House—Atlanta, Georgia

Garson, Dan

Gefilte fish

General stores

Georgia Institute of Technology—Atlanta, Georgia

Girls’ High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Goldstein, Julius

Grady High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Grant Park—Atlanta, Georgia

Great Depression

Haas, Aaron (1841-1912)

Haas, Ann Patoff

Haas, Beulah Gertrude (1886-1974)

Haas, Blanche (1872-1956)

Haas, Caroline (1848-  )

Haas, Clementine (1875-1956)

Haas, Edgar Arthur (1882-1952)

Haas, Elsa (1879-1965)

Haas, Herbert (1884-1953)

Haas, Ilma Fader

Haas, Jacob (1844-1909)

Haas, Jacob (1910-2001)

Haas, Joseph Arthur (son)

Haas, Joseph (1911-2000)

Haas, Leopold (1877-1958)

Haas, Lillian Goldstein (1913-1992)

Haas, Viola Elizabeth Loeb (1886-1983)

Harvard Road—Atlanta, Georgia

Hanukkah

Harvard University—Law School—Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hebrew Orphans’ Home—Atlanta, Georgia

Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany

Highland Avenue—Atlanta, Georgia

Highland Elementary School—Atlanta, Georgia

Hirsch, Joseph

Hirsch, Harold

Holidays, Jewish

Hughes, Charles Evans

Jackson, Georgia

Jewish-Jewish relations

Jewish Educational Alliance—Atlanta, Georgia

Jewish-Gentile relations

Jewish Progressive Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Jewish Welfare Board

Jews, Eastern European

Jews, German

Jubilee

Judaism—Fast and feasts

Judaism—Customs and practices

Ku Klux Klan

Lanier, Sartain

Levi, Herman

Loeb, Lena Meyer

Loeb, Marcus

Loew’s Grand Theatre—Atlanta, Georgia

Lovable Brassiere—Atlanta, Georgia

Lovett School—Atlanta, Georgia

Lynching—Leo Frank

Marcus Loeb Company—Atlanta, Georgia

Marthasville, Georgia

Marx, David (Rabbi)

Maxwell (automobile)

Mayfair Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Mechanic Brand Overalls

Memphis, Tennessee

Milledgeville, Georgia

Montgomery, Alabama

Music appreciation

North Avenue Presbyterian Church School—Atlanta, Georgia

Orthodox Judaism

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Oxford Industries—Atlanta, Georgia

Packard (automobile)

Passover

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Private schools

Public schools

Reform Judaism

Religious education, Jewish

Republican Party

Rich’s—Atlanta, Georgia

Roanoke, Virginia

Rosenberg, Herbert

Roosevelt High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Rothschild, Jacob (Rabbi)

Segregation

Selig, Simon (Steve) Jr.

Soldiers, Jewish

Standard Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Strauss, Beulah Haas (1886-1974)

Strauss, Leo (1884-1935)

Sunday schools

Sutton, Willis A.

Technological High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Temple—Atlanta, Georgia

Tennessee

Tennis

Trials—Leo Frank

University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Michigan

Vietnam War

Washington Seminary—Atlanta, Georgia

Washington Street—Atlanta, Georgia

Wein, Lawrence

Wein, Sidney

Westminster School—Atlanta, Georgia

William Breman Jewish Home—Atlanta, Georgia

Wilson, Woodrow (President)

World War, 1914-1918

Zaban Tower—Atlanta, Georgia

Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Zionism

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