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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:           KAYE KOLE

INTERVIEWER:      MEYERHOFF, HARRIET

DATE:                      SEPTEMBER 3, 2005

LOCATION:             SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Kaye Kole was born on December 10, 1935 to Kate Wadsworth Hollitser and Sam Robinson. Her father was born in Russia and traveled to the United States when he was two years old. Kaye’s mother was born in Eastport, Maine, and traveled to Savannah, Georgia when she was less than a year old. Kaye was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, and has made a lasting impact on the Jewish community there.

Kaye attended local schools growing up, including Charles Ellis grammar School, Pape School, and Washington Avenue Junior High. She was fairly active in the Savannah community both growing up and in her later years, including being a member of Hadassha, B’nai B’rith, the Hodge Day Care Center Board, the Harmonie Club, and the Human Relations Council.

Kaye completed her college career while her two children, Debbie and Jeffery, were still young. She graduated with a minor in library science and went on to work many jobs at various libraries. She worked at the Savannah City Hall and St. Vincent’s Catholic school. Kaye became involved with genealogy and in turn working with archives, which led to her starting the Savannah Jewish Archives.

Kaye played a big role in preserving Savannah’s Jewish history and legacy through creating and maintaining the Jewish archives at the Georgia Historical Society. With materials from these archives, Kaye had published three books on Jewish history in Savannah.

Scope of the Interview

In this interview, Kaye discusses what it was like growing up in Savannah, Georgia. She highlights the social trends she experienced, like dressing up in formal clothes with hats and gloves to go to Broughton Street, and how having tea parties and formal gatherings within the home. Kaye also discusses her family, her mother’s family history, and what it was like to go to places like downtown Savannah and Tybee Island as a kid and a teenager.

Kaye mentions her experiences going to temple as she grew up and the presence it played in her life. She discusses her close relationships with the rabbis and her involvement in the Temple Youth Groups. Kaye also discusses her involvement with several different organizations in Savannah, including the Harmonie Club, the USO, the Armory, and the Human Relations Council.

Kaye spends a good deal of time discussing her passion for genealogy, how she first got into the profession, and how she became the founder of the Savannah Jewish Archives.  Kaye talks about her introduction to professional genealogy and how that helped her discover the need to create a Jewish archive in Savannah. She also talks about what direction she hopes the Savannah Jewish Archives goes in the future.

Kaye concludes the interview by discussing her grandchildren and her recent involvement in activities put on by the JEA.

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