Oral history interview with Frances Solomon Garfinkle and Nathan Garfinkle, 1996.


Oral history interview with Frances Solomon Garfinkle and Nathan Garfinkle, 1996.

Husband and wife Frances Solomon Garfinkle and Nathan Garfinkle describe their early years in the South and Charleston, South Carolina. Frances Solomon's parents, Morris Solomon and Rina Chachevski, married in their town of Sublidow, Poland, and came to New York. Nearly all of Morris Solomon's siblings, Rachel, Sam, Becky, Pearl, Esther, and Benny, eventually lived in Charleston, although he for a while lived in Columbia, S.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C. His brother, Sam Solomon, the grandfather of Marilyn Solomon Brilliant, helped many newly arrived Jews in Charleston who became peddlers; he gave them credit and sold them merchandise wholesale. There are many stories in the interview of his wholesale store and the gatherings and friends and family at his home on Sullivan's Island on Sunday mornings. Nathan Garfinkle's parents, cousins Sam Garfinkle and Annie Garfinkle, were married in Divin, Russia, and came to America in 1901. Nathan was born in Brooklyn in 1921 and was brought to Charleston soon after. Much of the interview deals with his memories of growing up in the city in integrated neighborhoods on the East Side, where whites and blacks and Jews and Catholics were very tolerant of each other. He recalls the roles Mazo's Delicatessen and Zalkin's meat market played in the life of the Jewish community, and tells anecdotes of their employees and customers. The family was religious and belonged to Beth Israel synagogue; he repeats the story (that caused scandal at the time) of the orthodox scribe, Morris Patla, leaving the orthodox community for the reform synagogue Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. The smell of camphor meant the High Holy Day season for him; although very hot, all the families took out their wool garments to wear to synagogue. He speaks of many of the boys he grew up with, noting that only those children with European parents had nicknames; those with American parents, did not. In this era, all the Jews lived above their stores on King Street; on the Saturday Sabbath, King Street was dark, but on Saturday night, it was busy and lit up "like Broadway." Most people spoke Yiddish, including at least two different black employees of Jewish businesses. His father ran a mattress factory, and he himself had many jobs growing up; as a peddler he sold to blacks on Johns Island and other nearby islands, to people who had never seen the city of Charleston. Frances Garfinkle contributes memories of her very independent mother and her anecdotes as well about the employees and trading practices of Zalkin's.

Sound recording : 1 sound cassette : digital.Transcript : 30 p. ; 28 cm.

Related Entities

There are 11 Entities related to this resource.

Garfinkle, Nathan, 1921-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6qv84z6 (person)

Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-...

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6m04dd8 (person)

Garfinkel family.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6t24d9g (family)

Mazo's Delicatessen (Charleston, S.C.)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6vb561v (corporateBody)

Sam Solomon Company, Inc. (Charleston, S.C.)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6pd004z (corporateBody)

Patla, Morris.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6hx5x70 (person)

Garfinkle, Frances Solomon, 1925-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w61z8p20 (person)

Solomon, Samuel

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6q52qpg (person)

Professor of political science at Eastern Michigan University. From the description of Samuel R. Solomon clipping files, 1948-1984. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34422234 ...

Solomon family.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6pw5vzs (family)

Zalkin's Kosher Meat and Poultry Market (Charleston, S.C.)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6hn26dn (corporateBody)

Beth Israel (Charleston, S.C.)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6sj61gf (corporateBody)