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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:          MARTIN AND MATIEL (ROOS) LEFFLER

INTERVIEWER:     HARRIET MEYERHOFF

DATE:                     JULY 25, 2006

LOCATION:            SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Martin Stuart Leffler was born in Savannah, Georgia on March 9, 1917 to Edwin (1880-1942) and Miriam Herman (1885-1972) Leffler, both Georgia natives. He was educated in Savannah Public Schools and Georgia Tech, and served in the US Army during World War II, where he received the Purple Heart. He was the owner of Stuart Industries, a mattress distributor. He was a devoted member of Congregation Mickve Israel and served as President of the congregation for a time. Along with his religious activity, Mr. Leffler was a Master Gardener and a Mason, serving as Master of Clinton Masonic Lodge No. 54 in Savannah in 1964. He passed away on April 6, 2003 in his hometown.

Matiel Ann Roos was born in Savannah, Georgia on January 1, 1926 to David I. Roos, Sr. (1886-1976), and Beatrice Shoenig Roos (1900-1993), both Georgia natives. She was educated in the Savannah public school system and attended the University of Georgia, where she was a member of the Sigma Delta Tau Sorority and the Panhellenic Council. She was a Past President of the Sisterhood of Congregation Mickve Israel and a past Chairwoman of the United Jewish Appeal in Savannah. She passed away on July 14, 2017 at age 91 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Martin Leffler and Matiel Roos married on October 12, 1946, and they had three children, Nancy Leffler Sonenshine (b. Jan. 2, 1952), Ann Leffler Davis (b. April 23, 1948), and Martin Leffler, Jr. (b. Oct. 17, 1964).

Scope of Interview:

Martin and Matiel Leffler reflect on their family histories, early lives, and raising a family within the Jewish community in Savannah. They discuss their children, and how their family has expressed their Jewish identity through the years. Martin describes his grandfather and father’s lives, the Leffler family business, and their involvement in Congregation Mickve Israel. He recalls his jobs in highs school and college, registering for the draft after the United States joined World War II, and meeting Matiel after returning from the army.

Matiel discusses her own family history, her marriage to Martin, and raising their family. Matiel also describes her involvement at Temple, serving as a past president of the Sisterhood as well as past president of the National Council of Jewish Women. She talks about her perception of generational differences within the Jewish community throughout her lifetime.

Following up on his earlier comments, Martin recalls his integration into Matiel’s family’s mattress business, which he would later own.

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