// William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives



                                 RUTH EINSTEIN

DATE:                       JANUARY 18, 2011



Transcript (PDF)


Carol’s family has been in Alabama for several generations, going as far back as her great grandfather.  Carol’s paternal grandparents moved to Montgomery when her father, born in 1890, was six months old.  Her grandfather, Nathan Lobman, and his cousin, Louis Steiner, started Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods, a wholesale business that sold mostly work clothes.  She does not know when or why her maternal grandparents, who had been living in Louisville, Kentucky, came to Alabama. 

Carol’s family had Jewish neighbors, but it was not a Jewish neighborhood.  She never felt that being Jewish was a problem, although in high school she could not join the sorority because she was Jewish.  She was able to join the Girls Scouts, and even though many of the same girls that were in the sorority were also in her Girl Scout troop it was not a problem for her.  

Carol had a brother, who died when she was 12 and he was 15.  As a teen, she participated in the Jewish social events like Ballyhoo and Falcon, which were weekend social gatherings for Jewish girls and boys throughout the South.

As a child and later as an adult, Carol’s family had black domestic help, and she fondly recalls that they were considered part of the family.  Later, after integration, she became a public school advocate and kept their children in public schools.

Carol attended summer camp in Maine and later attended college at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  After graduating with a degree in chemistry, she got a job in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she met her husband, Van Hart Lobman.  After living in New Orleans, they moved to Montgomery for Van to work with Carol’s father in his business.

Carol remained in Montgomery for most the rest of her life, and moved to Atlanta to be near some of her children about one year before the interview.  Her fondest memories of growing up in Montgomery were related to the freedom she experienced.  She was able to walk to school, had family members who lived nearby and walked to visit each other, could take public busses to get places, and didn’t have to be 15 or 16 to be independent.

Scope of Interview

Carol talks about her family tree, including her great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and other relatives.  She does not have a lot of details about how or why her family members came to Alabama, but she talks about the dry goods store started in Montgomery by her paternal grandfather and one of his cousins, called Lobman-Steiner Dry Goods.  She gives some information about the progression of the business, which grew to include a manufacturing plant that made overalls and work clothes. 

Carol talks about her brother, who died when she was 12 and he was 15, the neighborhood where she grew up, and her elementary school.  She describes her Jewish life, which included Sunday school, holiday celebrations, youth group, and participation as a teen in the Jewish social weekends like Falcon and Ballyhoo that were popular in parts of the South at the time.  She mentions her exclusion from the high school sororities because she was Jewish, and her participation in the Girl Scouts, which did accept Jews.

Carol describes her fond memories of her family’s domestic help, both as a child and later as an adult with her own children.  She reflects on the period of the Civil Rights Movement and subsequent integration.  She also reminisces about the freedom she felt growing up in Montgomery, where she and her friends walked to school, took the public buses places, and walked to visit family members who lived nearby.

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