Charles Einhorn – Part I
Interviewer: This is Bill Cohen for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and I’m talking with Charles Einhorn at his home at 952 Bryden Road in Columbus.
Einhorn: Right and most people call me Charlie.
Interviewer: Charlie. Okay. Charlie, maybe we could start with your ancestors. I don’t know how far back you can go but what can you tell us about your parents or if you can go back to your grandparents or further? Who were they?
Einhorn: Alright, so on my father’s side, his dad, my grandfather, his name was Yankov Shloyma Einhorn, Yankov Shloyma, translated to Jacob Solomon. That was his Jewish name and it’s my Hebrew name also because he was no longer alive when I was born. So, he, they, he lived in a little shtetl, you know a little, Fiddler on the Roof, you know he lived in that set, ok and I haven’t. I’m still trying to find if it still exists, where it was, you know. I’d like to go to Europe maybe in a half a year or so and try to see if I can find that place, find out information about it.
Interviewer: Now, again, what country was that in?
Einhorn: Well, okay, it was Czechoslovakia when my father was born. It changed various times. I think it was Poland and then it was Romania and I think now it’s Ukraine. You know, the little town stayed where it was, you know. The borders, the borders kept moving.
Interviewer: That was your father, on your father’s side…
Einhorn: Right, and his name was Antal, A-n-t-a-l, or Anschel in Yiddish.
Interviewer: That was the last name.
Einhorn: No, first name. Einhorn was his last name.
Interviewer: Now you’re talking about your father or your…
Einhorn: …my father’s father.
Einhorn: …and he was educated. He could read and write in several languages, ok, Yiddish and Czech, and maybe something else also. So that was one of his jobs. He was the letter-writer. You know somebody would say, “Write a letter to my father and here’s what I want you to say, ok? I don’t know how to write.” “Alright, I know how to write, I’ll write it, ok.” So, he did that and he would go to the closest town, I guess, you know, the city, whatever, and he would pick up drugs for people, you know at the drug stores and he’d buy a variety of reading glasses. He figured some of them would work and he would hustle like that and that’s all I know about him. I don’t know much else about him. I think I heard he died in an accident. There was a horse-drawn carriage. He needed to ford a river. The current was strong and it knocked him down, and knocked the wagon down and he drowned. That’s what the story is. I don’t know. I mean I heard that somewhere in my mind,
Interviewer: So, that was your father’s father.
Einhorn: That was my father’s father and one thing I remember my father saying about him was he was a very fair, you know, very honest and my father really admired those qualities in him. What else? I don’t know. It’ll come to me, a thought… My mom was born in Hungary.
Interviewer: Now this is your mother.
Einhorn: My mother and they lived in a city called Miscolz. I can spell that for you – M-i-s-c-o-l-z.
Interviewer: This is your mother not your grandmother, but your mother.
Einhorn: Right, well, my grandmother also lived there. That was, you know, my grandfather was a Hasid, you know. He didn’t work. He studied the “Toyrah” [Torah]. That’s what he did all day long. He went to the temple and studied the Torah.
Interviewer: Your grandfather, the one you just talked about two or three minutes ago or your grandfather on your mother’s side
Einhorn: My mother’s father.
Interviewer: Ah, your mother’s father, was a studier of the Torah.
Einhorn: Yes, and so he didn’t do anything. He didn’t have a job or he didn’t do anything for the household. He just made babies and went to read the Torah. That’s what he did. My mother did not have god things to say about him. She thought he was pretty… because he, you know, she’d see her mom, they had like seven kids and I’ll tell you…
Interviewer: Your mother was one of seven children.
Einhorn: Yes, and her mother, you know the one married to the scholar, she, in addition to you know, raising a family with seven kids, she did the market. She had a stall at the market, sold veggies or whatever at the market, and my mom would say, you know she works her ass off. She’s always working. She’s exhausted and he’s not doing a thing to help her. My mom really resented her father.
Interviewer: Now, you’ve given me the name of your grandfather on your mother’s side.
Einhorn: No, on my father’s side.
Interviewer: What was the name of your grandmother on your mother’s side?
Einhorn: Well, the last name, she married a guy named Riez, R-i-e-z. That was his name and…
Interviewer: That was the scholar’s name, the Torah scholar.
Einhorn: Yeah, right, the Torah scholar, well, in his mind he was. Well, I guess he was.
Interviewer: Do you remember your grandmother’s first name?
Einhorn: I’m trying to. I’m trying to. I want to say it’s either Sarah…I think it’s Sarah and I think her maiden name was Rappaport.
Interviewer: Okay. So, now we’ve heard about all, we’ve heard about three of the four grandparents.
Interviewer: Now, how about your father’s mother?
Einhorn: I don’t know much about her and I know that, I don’t know if she died or if she divorced but then there was another woman who also had children from Yankov Shloyma, my grandfather Einhorn and I don’t know can I tell you something about her.
Interviewer: Now let’s talk about your parents.
Einhorn: My parents.
Interviewer: So, your parents, now where were they born?
Einhorn: My father was born in the shtetl that I was telling you about, in Czechoslovakia. When he got to be in his early twenties, he did learn to tailor, to sew. He learned tailoring in Czechoslovakia. Then he came to Belgium and he knew how to make suits. I mean, he learned how to do the whole thing. There’s an old art and skill to making a suit, you know, like a man’s suit. So…
Interviewer: He came to Belgium.
Einhorn: He came to Belgium.
Interviewer: Why did he come to Belgium?
Einhorn: The same reason everybody left the small town and went to the big city. You could get jobs. You could get an education. You know, you had all the advantages of the big cities, the same reason people left, the migration from down south and went to Chicago and Detroit and the big cities. The jobs were there and Belgium was a very modern country, very western, very westernized, and he was in his twenties, I believe, yah, I know he was in his twenties. My mother, you know, grew up in that little town in Hungary and helping her mom at the market and getting part-time jobs and she got a great job doing, working for the costume department in the opera or operetta company, the local operetta company. Operetta was a big thing all over, you know, in Hungary and Austria and all that and as part of the gig, she got to hang, she got to see the performances also, she could for free, you know. She’d be back stage and she loved it, and so, that was one moment of joy that I hear, in her childhood so it was one of her, you know, best gigs ever.
Interviewer: Now, remind me your mother’s name?
Einhorn: …is Rose. Rose Riez. That was her last name. She came to Belgium because her sister, no, yeah, her sister, her youngest sister had come first and had followed a guy, a tailor, Hungarian tailor that she married and she said, and they said to my dad, “She’s got a really nice sister. You want to meet her, you know? We’ll bring her over. She’s in Hungary.” You know, and they brought her over, my mom, you know, and she got a job and they met and they clicked and they got married.
Interviewer: This was all in Belgium.
Einhorn: This was in Belgium, so the reason they came to Belgium, was the reason people leave their town. It’s, there’s no future there. There’s nothing for them. There are no jobs. People had to leave, to go, you know, to find jobs elsewhere. That was going on all over the world. It’s still going on, you know it’s the refugee things that are going on, very much like what was going on right after World War II, there were thousands of refugees roaming all over Europe and the world, you know.
Interviewer: Now, your mothers’ name was Rose and your fathers’ name…
Einhorn: Anschel, they called him Anschel.
Interviewer: And they were, before they were married, they were just individuals…
Interviewer: …and they moved to Belgium separately
Interviewer: …then met, fell in love…
Einhorn: It was kind of arranged, you know, like, blind date-ish. “Oh, you should go out, you should meet. You’ll like her. She’s just, she’s pretty, whatever, you know, the whole thing.
Interviewer: So, that would have been approximately what year or what decade?
Einhorn: Thirties, early Thirties.
Interviewer: Early Nineteen Thirties.
Einhorn: Yes, and they had a child, my sister, my sister who is older than me, who is nine years older than me, but she’s still alive. She lives in Florida. She’s 83 and her name is Paulette and she was born in Belgium and that made a big deal. I’ll explain what difference. It made a difference in coming, so, my parents weren’t doing real well in Belgium. They were not doing real well as far as financially and they said, “We’ve got to get out of here. There’s no future here. We’ve got to move to America.” So, there were quotas on how many immigrants of a certain regions or ethnicity or nationality were allowed to come in each year and so it took us, they told us it was going to take at least five years and it took more like seven before they said, “OK, here’s your visa. Pack up everything and get on that boat by such and such a date,” Okay? So, my sister because she was a Belgian national, because she was born in Belgium, there was no quota on her. She married my brother-in-law and he was a Holocaust survivor.
Interviewer: That was later that she met him.
Einhorn: Yes, she met him in Belgium. She met him in Belgium, after, he survived the camps, he went to Israel, he fought in the War of ’48. Right off the boat they gave him a gun, you know, “Go to [latrine?]. Anyways, so she was able to come here earlier ‘cause there was no quota, there was no time limit. She could come any time she wanted to. So, she came here before we did and she came to Columbus. My mom and my sister had a typical, very contentious mother-daughter relationship, you know, so, it got heated at times, you know.
Interviewer: So, your sister was in the United States. You, your mother and father were still over in Belgium waiting for the papers to come through.
Interviewer: …and about what year did you move, did you finally…?
Einhorn: We came to the States in 1957.
Interviewer: In ’57.
Einhorn: Yeah, June of 1957, June 29th. It’s a day you remember.
Interviewer: Now, let’s go back to when you were born. When was that?
Einhorn: Alright. I was born in 1943, middle of World War II, right, World War II from 1940 to 1945. My parents are living in Belgium, in Antwerp, Belgium, when the War breaks out. Everybody knew you had to get out of their way of the Germans. They are not people you want to have to deal with especially if you’re Jewish, so, it’s a panic. Everybody rushes to the train station and nobody’s got tickets or anything. They don’t care. They’re just packing them up as much as possible and they’re sending the train to southern France. The train is filled with refugees, people escaping, fleeing for all, the War whatever’s going on. Normally, to take a train from Belgium to the south of France could take maybe twenty hours. That’d be a long time, okay, but that’s as long as a normal train ride would take. They were on the train for two weeks. Paulette says, my sister tells me about being on the train. It was pretty horrible. At times there would be a train coming this way towards us as we were going that way, and full of German troops and they just had their guns and as they were driving, they were shooting into the other train, you know, they were just killing people, random, yeah, and there were air, airplane raids and they’d bomb the train or they tried to bomb the trains so then they have to fix the rail again to be able to move on. At one point, during the ride, they took my father. They took all the men and boys over fourteen or something like that. They took them. They sent them to a camp and the camp was a labor camp so, it was not an extermination camp but it was a labor camp. They worked you hard, but it wasn’t Germans. It was French collaborationist government that ran those camps because they needed the German soldiers on the Eastern front or whatever, ok?
Interviewer: But it was the Germans who took your father off that train and sent them to…
Einhorn: I’m not sure if it was Germans or if it was French working with Germans, you know, I’m not sure, who, but…
Interviewer: The camp was located where?
Einhorn: I think he went to place called Con (Camp) du Gurs. Gurs is G-u-r-s – the Camp of Gurs. I found out as a sideline to this story, Linnie and I and my friend Stan, we went to Spain about ten years ago and one of the places we saw was Guernica, Guernica the famous town that got blown up from the air and it was like a prelude to World War II, you know, it was sort of a dress rehearsal for the Luftwaffe.
Interviewer: That was in the Spanish Civil War and it was immortalized in a famous painting – Guernica, just before World War II.
Einhorn: Yes, and it was…right. I found out what happened to Guernica after the bombing fell, you know. There were survivors. Not everybody got bombed to death and they rounded up all the men and they sent them to this camp – Con (Camp) Du Gurs.
Interviewer: The same one your father was sent to.
Einhorn: This was before my father was there. They filled the camp for those Basque prisoners that they were getting in that civil war and it was built and then, maybe like ‘41 or ’42, you know, the Civil War just kind of took a sideline to the actual World War II that was going on and they started using it as a trans…transfer camp. People got sent there and then from there they would send them to Auschwitz, sometimes. I remember talking to him many times and I’d say to him, “Why did you survive? What did you do that kept you alive and the guy next to you on this side he died? He died. He died. He died. You didn’t. Why? Okay?” Then he would think about it really hard, you know, and finally he’d say, “Luck. Luck. It was just luck. You were the lucky guy that didn’t get sent away that day, you survived another day, whatever, you know it was just, so one, he tells the story you know “One time…,” you know the inmates always run the institution, right? I mean they do all the paperwork, they keep all the funds and all that, so my father was a Czech national. That was his nationality, but the part of the village had been Hungary for many years, so everybody in that village spoke Hungarian, so he spoke Hungarian also and so he hung out with the Hungarian speakers at the camp. One day they brought a big truck, you know, benches, you know, where you could sit and they loaded the truck with Hungarians. “All you Hungarians, get on that truck.” My dad said, “Oh, they’re taking Hungarians somewhere. I’m going to go with them.” Right? He gets on and this one guard who was a clerk who works, happens to come out and watching him go on the truck and he sees Einhorn going up on the truck and he says, “What are you doing on that truck?” He says, “Well they’re picking up all the Hungarians.” “You are not Hungarian. You are Czech. That’s what it says on your…get off that truck right now.” So, he got off the truck. So, none of these people ever came back. They’re all, just went to some oven somewhere in Poland or Germany. So, again, you know, it was luck, but the stress that people were under, even if you weren’t in a prison, you know, the stress of getting caught, because they would have raids. The Germans would have these…they would have trains, empty boxcars, right? And “We can put two, twenty-two hundred people in this boxcar,” whatever, ok? And they would say “How many people can you…?” they would go to Camp Du Gurs and “Okay. We’ve got three hundred people.” “Need more, where else can we find them?” “Well, we’ll just send people, our people in the streets and we’ll knock on doors and we’ll find hiding people, ok? And that’s another way to get them.” And then, you know, some people would turn in people who were hiding. You could get rewards, ok? So, just the stress of living under them.
Interviewer: Now, let’s go back to, your father was taken off the train…
Interviewer: …that your mother and your sister were on. They were trying to escape to freedom. Your father was taken off the train, sent to a labor camp…
Interviewer: …and did your mother ever talk about what that was like to have her husband taken off the train and she and her daughter were heading hopefully toward freedom but she had no idea what was happening to him.
Einhorn: Just total panic. It was chaos. It was not at all orderly, you know. It was people desperately trying to save their life , you know, kind of a situation and then there were underground, I would say, organizations that were designed to help people, you know, so, there was an organization that was trying to find all the Jewish refugees and help them and they’re the ones who found, finally found a place for my mom and her sister and my sister to hide in a tiny little village in France, in the south of France.
Interviewer: Now, had the Nazis basically taken over France or at least the French collaborators had taken over…
Einhorn: Yes. Yes.
Interviewer: …so your mother and your sister did need to hide in basically a safe house.?
Einhorn: Yes. Right, which was, which everybody in the village knew then that, because it was small, you know, maybe fifty or a hundred people. It was tiny, you know, and so, my mom tells the story, you know, they said, “Well, there’s this old farmhouse. It’s abandoned. You can have it. I mean you can live in it. It’s a shack basically, but it’s a stone, you know. It’s probably four hundred years old or whatever, you know. It’s Europe. It’s France, you know, and so, and, the women from the village come to meet, you know, the Jewish refugees there and they say, “Well, ok, because it was war, all the men had been drafted. A lot of them got killed. A lot of them got taken prisoner to Germany and there was a labor shortage all over France because, there were not, you know, the men were gone, so, they needed, so, the women said to my mom and her sister, my aunt, “Our baker isn’t gone. We don’t have a baker.” They said, “We know how to bake bread. It’s not a problem. What we don’t know how to do is how make noodles.” My mom looks at her sister. Lokshen? Lokshen is Yiddish for noodles. “Lokshen?” We know how to make Lokshen,” you know. So, they said, “You bring us what we need. Give us the eggs, the flour, the salt, whatever we need. You bring it to us and we’ll turn it into noodles,” which they did. So, they had like a little thriving business, you know. People didn’t have money but they would pay them in goods – “Here’s a chicken. Here’s a couple of eggs. Here’s a ham. We don’t’ eat ham” but they would trade that for whatever. They had more than enough eggs. They could trade eggs for whatever they needed, you know. So, my mom said they actually had a thriving business. They were doing okay, as well or if not better than the people who were hiding them.
Interviewer: This is your mother and your sister.
Einhorn: And my aunt, one of my mom’s sisters. Like I told you, my mom had some sisters who moved to Belgium before she did. So, about the camp, you know, I’m not sure how she found out. you know, these organizations were helping people as much as they could and they would try to keep track of where somebody was and they would try to, and they kind of did that. They got letters or something out of the camp. My mother tells me, or she told me, so, you could, if your husband was a prisoner, you could go to the camp and you could petition, ask the camp commandant for a pass for your husband and normally, he would give him a three day pass and you could go home and you had to come back after three days. You know, it was like a furlough. So, my mom goes to talk to the commandant and she says to him, “Three days is not enough. I want two weeks.” He says, “What?” “I can’t do anything in three days. I can barely cook a meal, you know? I need two weeks.” And the commandant, like his jaw drops. Nobody talks to him like that, you know, and he’s totally hoodwinked by her. He goes, [to himself] “Gosh she’s got pluck, you know, she’s got a lot of guts, you know.” He says, “You know what? You’re the first one I’ve ever done this for. Here’s a two week pass for your husband.” She had chutzpah, you know, so it worked for her. There are all kinds of stories like that. One time, I saw, my father was in the labor camp so people, usually businesses or municipalities could ask for labor to help their shortage, right? He says, “One time, he got sent to a gang that was chopping trees, cutting trees. He says he didn’t know shit from cutting trees, but he worked along with these other guys and they treated him just like one of them. You know, these are workers. He’s working with us, so, this is France, right? Lunchtime, everybody gets a liter of wine and they said, “Well give him one too, He worked just as hard as we did,” you know. So, you know, so they gave him the wine, you know, not that he drank it but he probably took it back to camp and traded it for whatever. So, I’m not sure all the chronology of this, but at a certain point, my mother tells the village elders, whoever they are, you know, the people in charge, “go to the camp and tell them you need a tailor. You need a tailor because you’ve got baptisms and marriages and funerals and people need suits. People need good clothes. She says she knew he was the only tailor there, and he says, “Okay, you can have Einhorn,” you know. “OK, Einhorn you don’t live here anymore. You are now assigned to that village. You live in that village.” Right, so I mean they knew how to play the game. You know they counted to work for them.
Interviewer: So, that’s how your father was freed from the labor camp.
Einhorn: That was, yes. I just heard. I didn’t quite get all the details. My sister tells me my father comes home on one of these furloughs, decides he doesn’t want to go back. So, he hides in the village. So, Paulette is, I’m born already so, it’s like ’44 or something like that. My sister’s ten years old and my mom tells my sister, “Take Charlie. Go play on the street. Go play right in front of that house.” Paulette says, “You know, why should I play there?” “Just do it. Just take Charlie. You guys play but stay there.
Interviewer: You’re a baby.
Einhorn: I’m a baby. I’m a year old. So, she did, you know, and she wondered why. Well, it turns out my father was hiding in the basement and so, if she played on the street in front of the basement window, he could see his children, my sister and I, okay? But somebody turned them in and my sister’s in school and the Gestapo or whoever has him and he’s walking down the street with his hands up with a guy and gun behind him, but for some reason, they said, he said “My daughter’s in school right here. Do you mind if I say goodbye to her?” They said, “Okay.” So, Paulette said here comes her father with his hands up with a guy and gun behind him and he walks in the school and he sees her and gives her a hug and says goodbye. Strange stories like that.
Interviewer: Your sister remembers that incident.
Einhorn: Absolutely. She was in school. She was like shocked, you know? Where is my dad going and why is his hands up and why is there a man with a gun behind him? She had no idea he was hiding in the, in that basement.
Interviewer: So, he actually was sent back to the labor camp but then eventually he got out.
Einhorn: And the way he got out was because they needed the tailor and they said “OK, here’s our tailor, you can have him, you know, whatever. There’s the paperwork.”
Interviewer: So, that’s how your father survived the camp and got out of the camp.
Einhorn: And not only that but again, he really had a good business going because they really did need tailors. I mean that was true. They actually needed a tailor and they said to my mom, “We need a tailor. Go to that camp. Ask for that tailor.”
Interviewer: So, the War finally ends in 1945 and what happens to your mother and father and sister and you? Oh, wait, before I ask that, you were born in 1944.
Interviewer: 1943. So, you were living in this little French village and France was controlled by Nazis, or Nazi sympathizers.
Einhorn: Well, so, there was kind of divided in half, right? The northern part of France was occupied by the Germans. The southern part became…the guy who ran that part or collaboration, his name was Vichy.
Interviewer: So that was sympathetic.
Einhorn: No, he was Petain. I’m sorry, Petain and Vichy was the city where his headquarters was located and it was called the Vichy government, which was the collaboration government. Anyways.
Interviewer: But so you were there for at least a year or two yourself even though you were an infant. Can I assume you have no memory of that time yourself?
Einhorn: Well, it’s interesting. I think I might but it’s hard to know if it’s a memory or if it’s a story that I heard that I’ve heard again that I incorporate as my memory. I mean, I see myself on this carriage, a horse-drawn carriage and the guy picked me up from the pavement and I’d be sitting next to him. My mom says, “You were so proud,” and I remember something like that but I don’t know if I remember if or if my mother said you did this, you did that. Okay, I remember doing this. I remember doing that, you know. I don’t know how much you remember from before you were two years old. You know, it’s just really heard.
Interviewer: So, tell us the story, what happened then? How did your parents finally, how did your parents and you and your sister finally leave there and come to the United States?
Einhorn: Okay, so, things got bad in the latter part, you know, like ’44 whatever, and the organization, the Jewish relief organization, whatever, they were volunteers who were helping. They came around and they said, “Things are really bad. They are rounding up people like crazy and they are sending as many people as they can and sending them directly to Auschwitz. We’re not even sure we’re going to be able to save you, but we’re going to try to save the children, but here’s how we’re going to do it. We’re going to take them somewhere. You don’t know where we’re taking them.” We said, “So, why not?” “That way you can’t betray them and they can’t betray you.” [Whew.] That’s a harsh thing to have to live with, you know. So, they took my sister to a convent and she says the way they did it, there was a teenage girl, you know, a little older than my sister and she had a bicycle. She came up to my sister and she said, “Okay, you and I we’re going to go on a bicycle ride through the countryside and we’re just two French girls just enjoying a nice sunny afternoon and we’re going to go for a ride and we’re going to sing French songs as we’re riding our bicycle, you know, and she drives her and they get at that convent and that’s how she got to this particular convent. My mother didn’t know where. Nobody knew where she was. She didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know if she’d ever see her parents. It was real traumatizing. I mean, it traumatized her. To this day, she’s still, that all happened because of those days, the insecurities and plus, she said, conditions were horrible. The nuns were not nice people, she said and the girls were treated like dirt, like slaves, you know, and she said they gave her a dress and she wore it every day for the two years she was there. They never washed it. They never cleaned it. They never said, take or, you know, that’s it, “Wear this for…” You know, she said things like that and they would give them food on tin pans, you know, like mess-kits, you know, things like that, but she had to and the Sister Superior, whatever, the Mother Superior, the first day, she says to her, “From this moment you are a French girl. You’re Paulette, but you’re a French girl. You’re a Catholic girl. You’re learning all the prayers that all the little girls around you have to say. You go to mass when they go to mass. You go to Confession when they go to Confession. You’re just another little Catholic girl. As far as all the girls know, you just never went to church and so you don’t know that stuff, but you’re just a little Catholic French girl, orphaned like all of them.” She said, after a couple of weeks, this little girl comes up to her, or not a little girl, just a girl that’s there and she says to my sister, “Come with me. Come with me,” and they go to the basement. She thinks, what’s going on here? and somewhere in the basement in a nook somewhere, she pulls out a candle and she says, “Friday night. It’s the Sabbath. We light a candle. Remember you’re a Jewish girl. Don’t ever forget that,” and so, they lit a candle and they did the prayer and they blew it out and then they went back upstairs, and she said they did that a few times. It was like dangerous. The whole convent could have gone, you know, if they found out about things like that. So, did the Mother Superior say to your sister, “The reason you need to pretend that from that point on you are a Catholic French girl, the reason is to save your life.”
Einhorn: Yes, oh yes. That was made very clear to her. Right, “You want to stay alive and you want to keep all the other little girls here alive and us alive, you’re not Jewish. You’re a little Catholic girl. Period.” Yeah, that was a no-nonsense reality, I guess. So, then my mother, really didn’t know where she was, but, you know, she kind of asked around. She’d say, “Well where’s the convent? Are there any convents near here?” You know, she figured it had to be close by. So, there’s this one there and there’s one pretty far away. So, “Oh, I’m gonna’ try this one. Why not?” you know. She walked there to the convent and she saw, and my sister’s out in the fields. They’re working in the fields, the girls are, and my mother was walking and my sister sees my mom that she thought she never would see again. So, and so, they have different stories. My father tells the story a little differently, through my sister, okay. She says he found out where she was and he went to the convent and my father was a tall handsome, good-looking guy. Paulette says all the nuns just fell in love with him. I mean, he was such a good-looking guy. “Oh, Monsieur Einhorn, s’il vous plait” and all that good stuff, you know, and so then they said, “Why don’t you eat with us? Won’t you eat a meal with us, you know, dinner?” He said, “Yeah, can my daughter join us?” “Oh, of course, you know. Well, the nuns are eating wonderful meals on real plates and real china and wine and you know, gourmet meals, you know, and not only that, they’re showing off how wonderful the food is to my dad and, you know, Paulette’s going, “We’re like next door to us. We are starving. We’re eating scraps, dreck really, you know, and here they are trying to impress the good-looking guy. So…
Interviewer: But your father got to see Paulette.
Einhorn: Yeah and eventually they arranged to get her out of there and that was, that was…and then as soon as she was out, and the War was over, “Well, then we can go back home, right, to Antwerp, to Belgium?” So, they did. They went back. It took a little while, not as long as when they first left, when they first escaped. but they got to Belgium. They got to their apartment. You know, they lived in an apartment, second floor, third floor, whatever and “So let’s knock on the door and see what’s going on.” They knock on the door. They said, “Oh, we are the Einhorns. This is where we lived until the War,” and they’re looking around and they can see all their things, her curtains and her furniture and her this, and her kitchen and it’s all there.
Interviewer: It was everything was different did you say?
Einhorn: It was somebody else living in my parents’ apartment. “Who are these people living here?” “Well, we didn’t know if you were going to come back or not. Give us some time to get out. Give us some time, two days and we’ll be out of here.” That’s reasonable. They said, “Sure.” So, they come back in two days and the apartment’s stripped bare. They’ve taken everything – curtain rods, I mean everything. There’s nothing there, literally, there’s no furniture. They had to sleep on the floors. ‘Cause those people went, “Oh, my God they’re back. Gotta’ get out of here. Let’s take everything, ” and so, that’s how they came back to Belgium.
Interviewer: So, that was 1945 or ‘46.
Einhorn: Yeah, ’45 actually.
Interviewer: So, what happened then?
Einhorn: So, now we’re getting in to my childhood as I remember it. So, we’re living in Belgium, in a city called Antwerp. There is, there are two Jewish schools, you know, local day school. One of them is religious. One of them is more secular and Belgium is a bi-lingual country. They speak two languages in Belgium. They speak French and they speak something called Flemish which is like Dutch. It’s really close to Dutch. It’s almost the same language. Antwerp is in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, but the Jewish community for some reason that I haven’t quite figured out, is a French speaking minority, so we all speak French. We had to learn Flemish, hated it but learned it anyways and, yeah, so that’s how…so the language is French. My parents speak Hungarian amongst themselves. They speak Yiddish when they talk to us. I’m learning English in school a little bit and Hebrew. I mean, it’s a Jewish school, you know, it’s a secular school, right? I’m learning Hebrew. I’m learning Ivrit, not the Ashkenazi way of reading but how we’re speaking it in the country, in Israel, I’m learning…it’s, you know, ’48 is right , is like when I’m three years old, you know, and I remember news, listening, in kindergarten, “Quiet, let’s listen to the news, what’s going on in Palestine” they called it in ’48., and I also remember that there were volunteers that left from our community, young men who went to volunteer, so, I do remember some of that but that’s ’45. I’m two and a half years old. I have just a few vague memories about kindergarten. So, we’re French speakers and we’re Zionists and there are four different Zionist youth groups in Belgium. Two of them are secular. One of them is right-wing and one of them is religious, so we were in the secular group of them. It was called HaShomer Hatza-ir which means “The Young Guard.” It was just the name of the organization, of the youth organization but it was based on the whole kibbutz movement. The political philosophy of that organization was really based on the kibbutz experience. So, I mean, even ours, we learned to be totally communal so, we’d come for a meeting or a fun thing. One of the first things we would do, everyone would take out, “What did you bring?” “Well, I got a sandwich and I got some carrots.” “Well, I brought a piece of cake,” and another, “Well I got forty-five cents.” Okay. “Well, I got a candy bar that’s half eaten.” They would take it all. “How many of us are there? Five? Okay, we divide it into five.” Everybody got exactly the same, you know, and they just instilled that in us, you know, that sort of communal attitude. I liked it. I thought it was a really good way to be, but didn’t’ exist, it was, and it really was an important part of my childhood, that whole Zionist youth movement thing.
Interviewer: So, this was the part of the Zionist movement that was basically left wing…
Einhorn: Yes, socialism.
Interviewer: …with a left-wing philosophy…
Interviewer: …socialist as Israel began.
Einhorn: Israel was very socialist, right, and the kibbutz people were considered heroes because they were, you know, on the front line fighting for that piece of land whatever it was and also, they had reputation of being the most daring volunteers, the kibbutz kids. The kids who grew up on the kibbutz and went to the army ended up being the paratroopers and the commandos and, you know, the real shock troops, the real forward combat troops, you know, so that was their reputations.
Interviewer: Now your parents were very Zionist.
Einhorn: My parents not that much.
Einhorn: My sister was and I was and you couldn’t help it because it was, all my peers were.
Einhorn: Not only that, I went to school with the same kids.
Einhorn: So, we were bonded, you know…
Interviewer: I see.
Einhorn: …really closely and it was tough leaving all my friends and coming here. I had no one, you know. It was like, it was very different.
Interviewer: Well, I was going to say, I was going to ask well if your family was so Zionist, did your family consider moving to Israel as Israel was being born but you’re telling me, well, really you and your sister were the Zionists, your parents were not that Zionist.
Einhorn: No, that’s…you know, my aunt, my uncle they went to, to Israel. You know others from my, nieces, I mean my cousins, they moved to Israel, so some of us did and some of us didn’t instead of… Some of us moved to Israel, got disillusioned and came to America, so, there was all of that going on, too. So, we’re, I’m fourteen, right, in 1957.
Einhorn: I’m fourteen years old and…
Interviewer: You’re still in Belgium.
Einhorn: Well, we left Belgium. We were leaving. We got the ticket. We got a month to get ready, and we do all that, franting. We packed things, getting ready to be shipped, get our passports and all of our paperwork together. We went to Ze Brugge. You know Brugge, in Belgium, the city Brugge? Have you heard of it, B-r-u-g-g-e or something like that? Anyways, the boat was called the SS Italia. I still remember it. It was owned by a German conglomerate that owned ships. The upper echelon, the officers, right, the managers or whatever were all Germans. The cheap laborers, you know, the ones who cleaned the floor and changed your bedding and all that stuff, they were all German, no, they were all Italian. That’s what it was, so the Germans were over the Italians, right.
Interviewer: The Germans were the top officials.
Interviewer: The Italians were all the workers.
Einhorn: The captain was a German. The first mate was German. The doctor was German. The guy who ran the concessions and the movies was Italian, you know, okay. The guy who was in charge, no the guy who was in charge of all the steerage was German, but crew were all Italians, you know anyways.
Interviewer: Did that cause any terrible feelings for your family because they knew what the Nazis had just done ten years before?
Einhorn: No, no, and just kind of to the contrary, you know, there was some guilt already starting to spill over into the Germans, and so they would say, they would react the other way. They would be just the opposite. They would be very deferential and polite and go yeah, I know we did terrible to your family but we’re so happy you’re here. Yeah, right.
Interviewer: So, you remember this. You remember being on the boat.
Einhorn: Oh yeah. I was fourteen. I remember that. I, first day, it was interesting. We’re going from Belgium, back to Germany, Braeman, from Braeman to South Hampton, England, from South Hampton to Le Havre in France and from Le Havre to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then New York. It was like ten days or eleven days. It’s normally a five-day trip on an ocean liner boat, okay. The first day the weather was [okay]. I go down to the dining room. It was a beautiful, it’s like a hotel dining room, you know, nicely laid out, the waiters and all kinds of people and the waiter comes to our table, “I’ll bring you anything you want,” – not a waiter they call them stewards, I guess. ‘” Anything you want.” He says that to me like four times, like “anything you want.” He really wants me to. Finally, I said, “Anything?” “Anything you want.” “Can I have more ice cream?” “Yes. How much do you want? What kind do you want?” And I finish. I’m a kid. Someone’s giving me all the ice cream I can get. Of course, I’m going to take it. So, I’m eating ice cream. I’m eating like four bowls. Oh, this is great. Well, then that night the weather picks up. The next day it’s choppy, quite choppy and I’m laying down in bed. I’m feeling fine. I get up. I start feeling dizzy, woozy. As long as I’m laying down, I’m fine. For some reason it doesn’t disturb my equilibrium, okay, but other than that all I could do was run up to the deck which was up, the outside deck, you know, and lean over the side of the boat and throw up, right? and the last thing I’ve eaten is four bowls of ice cream, so for the next ten years I couldn’t look at ice cream let alone taste it. I mean it was just like I would look at it and I’d go, ugh, I remember that feeling. No, forget it.
Interviewer: Were you looking forward to coming to the United States?
Einhorn: I was both yes and no. I was looking forward and I was terribly apprehensive. Right? I mean, I don’t speak the language. I don’t know anyone. I don’t know what they do, other kids my age do, how am I going to learn, who’s going to teach me, stuff like that. Am I going to learn English fast enough that I’ll understand what they’re saying or will they be making fun of me and I won’t know and all these, plus when you’re fourteen, peer acceptance is the most important thing in your life, right? Well, I lost all my peers in one day, you know? So, then I came to Columbus because we had relatives here. I’m staying home. For the first month I don’t go anywhere. I hardly ever leave the house. All I do is watch TV and I watched the Mickey Mouse Club ‘cause they had Annette Funicello. She’s fourteen years old. She’s my age. I’m going, I never saw a fourteen-year old like that in Belgium. If this is how they make ‘em in America, my what a great place, you know? And the other show I used to like was Ozzie and Harriet show and the reason I liked them is because they were high school boys and they were going to high school, and so, I learned how you’re supposed to be in high school, you know. We had a Wally, you know a kid who was goofy that everybody laughed at. We had a captain of the football team, you know. We had the pretty, the girl who was the queen. I mean we had the whole cliché in every, and I went, that’s not cliché. That’s how it really is, you know, and I went to high school and it was. I had found all these characters. Did you know my friend Stan, Stan Bobroff? Did you know him?
Interviewer: A little.
Einhorn: You know who he was. So, after like a whole month of not doing anything except watching TV shows, I’m learning English. I’m learning American English. I’m learning English American kids are talking, okay, which is not the same language that grown-ups talk. So, my cousin finally says to me, she says, “You can’t stay here all day long and just sit by yourself and thinking. You’re not doing anything for yourself.” She says,” I’m going to take you places.” She takes me to the Jewish Center. She goes to the pool. She walks along the pool. She sees a group of kids, high school kids, look like high school kids. You’ve got high school kids? “Yeah what grade are you starting?” “Tenth grade.” Oh, well, this is my cousin Charlie. He just came over from Europe. He’s starting the tenth grade. Meet your friends,” you know? and so, she made me friends, right then and there and I’m friends with some of these people still to this day, okay? And Stan and I, we kind of gravitated to each other. He was from Akron or Canton or somewhere, but he lived like on the outskirts. He really kind of grew up in a rural sort of environment not that his family was rural but the environment was and you know, Eastmoor, this was where we went, and Eastmoor was sophisticated. We had Jewish intellectuals and things like that and you know kids can be clique-ish and so, Stan’s a new kid. He has to be adopted, you know integrated into the group before he’s just accepted, you know? So, and I’m the new kid so we gravitated towards each other, you know, we got each other and we just developed an amazing friendship that lasted sixty years maybe? Stan died about four years ago. Really, I mean, Stan’s the brother I never had. Oh, and it was great having Stan as a friend because I had, without even myself knowing it, he was my role model. This is how you act and this is how you dress and this is what you say and t his is what pizza is like. I remember going to Rubino’s, the first pizza of my life and you know, some event at the Jewish Center, a teenage event and poor guy, “Who wants to go to Rubino’s? I want to go. Charlie, come with us. You want to go?” “Okay, let’s go,” so we go to Rubino’s and it hasn’t changed, by the way. I mean, the only thing that’s different is the coke machine, but it used to be a big trough and floating ice and you had to dig in and dig out your bottle, had the bottle opener and that was what you drank. They changed that. They got a pop machine now, okay? Other than that, and they update the pinball every so often, every ten years or so, but it hasn’t changed. It’s the same thing. So, they’re eating pizza, these slices and there’s, you know, the bird seed, the hot chili pepper, right? “Here, Charlie put some of this, here, put some of this on your piece,” and they’re putting a whole bunch of it on it, right, and I had no idea and they said “Taste it.” They’re all watching me. I take a bite and I’m going, “Oh this is good, a little hot but good, you know, but I’ll get used to the hot so then they made fun out of it. They were just pranking me. They were pulling pranks on me. And then they would make fun, every once in a while, about the way I pronounce certain words, you know. “Aw, Charlie, you’re so funny. “What’d I do that’s so funny?” “Oh, you said ‘blah blah blah instead of blah BLAH blah,’” whatever.
Interviewer: so, once you learned English, then you knew many languages.
Einhorn: Yeah and so, because of that it made it easy for me to learn languages, so learning, I learned English well in one year. At the end of that first year I had somewhat of an accent but not very pronounced and most people could not tell that it was a French accent. They would say, “Where’re you from?” “Where do you think I’m from?” “I don’t’ know, Texas?” Texas?!” “Oh, not Texas.” “Well, Atlanta?” “No, it’s not a southern drawl.” “Are you from the East?” I’d say, “Yes, go east. Keep going. Don’t stop at the ocean. Keep going to the other shore.”
Interviewer: So, you knew English. You knew Hebrew. You knew Yiddish…
Einhorn: I knew French.
Interviewer: …French, a little Flemish…
Einhorn: I knew Flemish and I knew a little bit of German and I knew some Hungarian. Interesting, Hungarian was the language that the grown-ups spoke when they didn’t’ want their kids to understand, so, of course, we made a point of understanding, but we learned to understand. We didn’t learn to, we didn’t’ admit that we could speak so we didn’t speak Hungarian, so, I never learned to speak Hungarian but to this day when I hear Hungarian, I recognize words and I know what they mean, but I can’t make a sentence ‘ cause I don’t know enough, but I know lot of words that I recognize because, you know, my parents would use them daily, you know.
Interviewer: Now so you come to the United States around 1957…
Interviewer: …and what did your parents do to earn a living.
Einhorn: My father was a tailor.
Interviewer: Still a tailor.
Einhorn: He got a job at Willoughby’s. Willoughby’s was a men’s like a high fashion men’s story downtown where all the businessmen went to get their suits. It was close to Broad and High. It was like on High Street, just two or three buildings down from the corner. Anyway, so he worked there, and my mom got offered, they had just opened Heritage House, but the old one on Woodland Avenue. It was just an old house like this, bigger than this obviously, and it had…and my mom, they said, “Well you’ll cook but you also are sort of the responsible adult. You’re like the supervisor of the place and these people work for you, you know, the cooks and the girls who took care of the old people in their rooms and all that and you guys can live in the attic,” but the attic was actually really cool. It was the kind of place I would love to have had for myself, you know, it had nooks and crannies and different rooms, and oh, a great place to write your novel. It was just that kind of place.
Interviewer: You’re saying that the first Heritage House was on Woodland Avenue…
Interviewer: …which would have been to the west of Bexley…
Interviewer: …in what we would call now kind of the inner city of Columbus near Nelson Road…
Einhorn: Old Towne, Old Towne East.
Interviewer: Old Towne East, not too far from where we are right now…
Einhorn: It was, yeah, exactly.
Interviewer: …and so did you wind up living in…?
Einhorn: I lived in that about a year.
Interviewer: so, you and your family lived in the first Heritage House…
Einhorn: Yeah, in the attic apartment.
Interviewer: …because your mother was the, was one of the main supervisors…
Einhorn: …and the cook.
Interviewer: …and the cook. Is that building still there?
Einhorn: No. It got torn down. There’s an ugly, very non-descript apartment there.
Interviewer: Ah. So, if you lived there, you still wound up going to Eastmoor High School that year?
Einhorn: Yeah, ‘cause I told them I lived somewhere else. I told them I lived where my sister was living…
Einhorn: …and then after she moved, and we moved, I just didn’t bother telling them where I moved.
Interviewer: Okay, because otherwise…
Einhorn: I would have gone to East.
Interviewer: You were supposed to have gone to East High which would have been just a couple blocks away but instead you went to Eastmoor.
Einhorn: Well, the only reason I wanted to go to Eastmoor was because I met all these kids form Eastmoor that summer. I said, I already know people there. Why would I want to start learning a whole new bunch of people? I already know what to expect.
Interviewer: And you had met them at the Jewish Center.
Einhorn: And I had met them at the Jewish Center and I knew they had my back if I needed help, you know, and sometimes I did. Most of the time I was fine.
Interviewer: What are your memories of the Jewish Center back then?
Einhorn: Well, it was kind of an interesting place. I mean, it was real, to me, of course, it was the pool, first thing. That same day my cousin took me inside the building and there was a new director that they had hired for their teenage theatre production, Harold Eisenstein, and they introduced me to him and they said, “He’s the director of theatre” and I always did skits and things, had done skits like in school or whatever. I liked performing even though I didn’t’ perform on the stage and he says, “I got a part for you. Oh yeah, good.” So, the play was The Mad Woman of Chaillot and it’s about this eccentric, rich old ladies in Paris and there’s a bunch of people who live in the sewers and she’s like their patron, you know, their protector. Anyways, an interesting kind of a play and it was fun and I had a part. I was one of her admirers. I was a captain in the French army, an older man and I was one of her admirers and at the end of the play, you know, people came backstage, you know, congratulations, blah blah blah, and they said, “How did you do that French accent so well?” you know, and I’m going “What do you mean? I speak like that all the time. You know, this is the English that I have learned.” “Oh, great French accent, can you…how long did it take you to learn to do that?” Well, it didn’t take me any time.
Interviewer: You were perfectly cast in that role.
Einhorn: I was in that role whether I was in the play or not.
Interviewer: And it sounds as if the story of the play had an eerie resemblance to what you had gone through over fourteen years earlier to your family.
Einhorn: Yeah, yeah, somewhat but it was more, these people were scoundrels, lovable scoundrels, but they were scoundrels, okay?
Interviewer: So, you immediately got involved with Gallery Players and the theatre events at the Jewish Center and…
Einhorn: And because of that I tried out for plays at Eastmoor. I got cast a few times, and yeah, I mean, it was a wonderful thing, the whole theatre love. I mean theatre was a great…and in high school, you know, we’d have to go to study hall. I didn’t want to go to study hall, boring, but we knew the girl who took attendance, right? So, we would tell her we’re here today. Mark us here and then we would tell the teacher who-evers, “We’re part of the theatre department and we have things to do backstage so we’re going to go backstage during our… “Oh sure, okay.” We just manipulated. That’s where we learned to do that, in school right? And when it worked you felt like such a, wow, it’s amazing! It actually worked, you know?
Interviewer: Were most of your friends in high school Jewish or…?
Einhorn: Yeah, because you know I would go to the Jewish Center and they were part of whatever, AZA or B’nai B’rith Girls or whatever. We had Sweetheart dances that we had to got o and things like that which was a whole ‘nother story because they said, “Charlie you have to ask out a girl and have a date for this event.” I said, well, I’ve never done that. How do you do that?” you know. “Well, you find a girl, you ask her if she’d like to go with you. If she says yes, you take down her name and you ask her what color dress she’s going to wear.” I said, “Why do I have to do that?” “To buy her a corsage.” “Oh, what’s a corsage?” “It’s that little flower thing that gets pinned on her boobie or gets tied around her wrist.” Then I remember, I’ve never danced, you know, like a dance with a girl. I mean we did folk dances and all that kind of stuff and I never did like, dance with one woman on the dance floor. I don’t know how to do that and then my friend said to me, “I’m going to teach you, but you cannot tell this to anybody. I will kill you if you tell this to anyone,” you know, because he had to show me how to hold her, you know, and he’s going, “I’m going to kill you if you tell anyone I’m the one who taught you that,” but he taught me well. I did, I learned how to do the box step, you know. That was it.
Interviewer: He even taught you how to do a slow dance…
Einhorn: …a slow dance and the jitterbug. He said, “This is how you do that” and I mean that’s all I needed to know, right? I mean everything else was a slow dance or a fast dance, right, but you know, it was…you know I look at it now, but in those days, there were times when it felt, you know it felt alone or I felt vulnerable or I didn’t really know dating. That was a whole ‘nother…boy, was that complicated. I mean, and if you don’t know anything about it, it doesn’t make sense. It’s really, very non-sensical, you know the whole thing, double standard, you know, it’s okay if you do it to this girl but she’s a slut if she does it with you and what am I if she’s a slut? Well, you’re just a dude taking advantage of a slut. I mean, it was very interesting.
Interviewer: So, you were at the Jewish Center a lot for dances and for theatre…
Einhorn: …the theatre, for swimming, for using the gym, yeah, bowling. Remember they had a bowling alley? Some of my friends were pin-boys. That’s a job I never knew existed. I never saw, there was no bowling in Europe. I never saw it. Pin-boys? That’s crazy. Man, these people are throwing these heavy things really fast and then these pins are flying all over the damn place and, you know, you’re sitting there waiting for the dust to settle. It was bizarre, you know.
Interviewer: How did the…you must have had at least a few non- Jewish friends or acquaintances…
Interviewer: How did the Jews in the late Fifties when you were in high school, what do you remember about the Jewish kids getting along with the non-Jewish kids? Did they get along well or not? Was there friction?
Einhorn: I didn’t see hardly any friction. Now, I’m sure there was, you know, there was, well, Eastmoor had a large, probably the largest population of Jewish kids maybe next to Bexley but close, I think, you know? So, um, we socialized, but still, you know, I think, every girl I went out to when I was in high school was Jewish. It wasn’t ‘til college, and even in college, I went with some Jewish girls that I knew from high school that ended up in college or, you know…
Interviewer: Did you mostly date Jewish girls because you felt most comfortable with them or because your parents set down a rule or what was the reason?
Einhorn: Okay, my parents never actually set any rules on me like that, but it was understood that I would find a Jewish girl and end up with a Jewish girl. That was very likely. It ain’t what happened, but I had friends. Here’s the thing. You know how clique-ish high school can be. If you’re in part of one clicque, and you don’t step out of it and you don’t invite anybody else in, you know it’s just really kind of closed, but being in the theatre, that’s when it transcended. You know, you could be from anywhere but you could hang out with any kids because everybody wanted to hang out with the theatre kids ‘cause they were doing cool stuff on stage or whatever. So, again, how you manipulated the environment, you know. In some ways we were better off than the popular kids ‘cause they had an image to maintain. We didn’t and we were just actors, eccentrics which we liked. We like being eccentrics.
Interviewer: Do you have any memories of other Jewish institutions or groups back in the late Nineteen Fifties or Sixties?
Einhorn: Well, the ones I had contact with was primarily AZA and the Jewish Center. The Jewish Center was pretty much the center of the social life. You know, we belonged to organizations, you know B’nai B’rith…there was even a couple fraternities. I’m trying to remember what were they called? Pegasus. Do you know a group called Pegasus? They were mostly Bexley kids, I think, and there was another one that I don’t remember. Mostly, we all belonged to AZA.
Interviewer: Now, did you mix with the Bexley kids? Eastmoor and Bexley, they were kind of similar but…
Einhorn: Not a lot. There was a rivalry, not just…a rivalry, it was more like a…we thought that Bexley kids were uppity, you know, and Bexley kids thought we were uncool, bumkins trying to be cool. So, there was a little truth in both.
Interviewer: Do you have any memories of synagogues at all? Were you, was your family involved in any of the synagogues?
Einhorn: Yeah. We went to Agudas Achim, because I don’t know, for some reason, we were more comfortable. It was more like how it was in Europe.
Interviewer: It was the, it was an Orthodox synagogue.
Einhorn: But in Belgium, I remember only Orthodox synagogues. I didn’t know any Reform. It didn’t exist in Belgium so there were the secular and the not-so, you know, and the very religious in those days. There were fractions like that, you know. Once a year, they would have what they called a Maccabiad [Maccabiah]. Maccabiad is an athletic event like Olympiad, the Olympic events. Maccabiad was like a sports competition. It was running and jumping, you know, track kind of competitions.
Interviewer: Now where did this take place?
Einhorn: This was between all the organizations, you know, the ones I belonged to, the religious group, the less religious group, the far right wing – we called them Nazis – anyways, and then there would be these events and you would come compete and you would win prizes, you would win points for your organization so there was a very strong rivalry there.
Interviewer: Now where did this take place?
Einhorn: Where did we do it? One place we did it was on the Jewish soccer field. There was a Maccabee, Maccabee Club and they allowed us to use their grounds and facilities for that. It was a one-day event that I’m telling you about.
Interviewer: Whose soccer field?
Einhorn: The Jewish semi-professional soccer team in Belgium, in Antwerp, had a field. It wasn’t very elaborate but it had like bleachers and then they also had a gym on the grounds, a building with showers so you could do all that in there, and the organizations, they all got use of the facility for that one day. We did all our competitions in one day. It was fun because we’d be competing with others but we’d also be mingling with them and there was a lot of that going on.
Interviewer: Now back to Columbus in the late Fifties, any other memories of…I’m trying to think of other places that had a Jewish link whether it be Lazarus…
Einhorn: Well, let’s see.
Interviewer: …or Martin’s or
Einhorn: Ah, good. My sister, when I came in 1957, she was working at Lazarus in the bras and girdles department, ‘cause she’d done that in Europe and my sister to this day still has a strong French accent, you know. And she would say [French accent] Welcome to Lazarus [Lazaroos with accent on roos] and so they all loved hearing her say Lazarus [Lazaroos] instead of Lazarus, you know. Ah, this is such a wonderful…you know.
Interviewer: It added a lot of class.
Interviewer: …her accent.
Einhorn: They thought it did and I can’t tell you the number of times people would say, “Oh, you speak French. Say something in French.” “What do you want me to say? You know, I mean, I’m going to say something you don’t understand. Why? Oh, and then I have to tell you what it means? You know?” You feel a little bit like a trained monkey, but, “Oh, say Lazarus.” “Oh, isn’t he funny the way he said that?” Well, I’m not trying to be funny.
Interviewer: So, you have a special memory of Lazarus. Any other stores or…?
Einhorn: Yeah, yeah okay. I found out when I was in high school that kids my age can get jobs in America. Kids my age did not have jobs in Europe. Really, the whole idea of the teenage with your own money you could spend on anything you wanted, that didn’t exist. That was strictly an American thing. It was quite an eye-opening discovery for me, let me tell you. So, I got a job at Martin’s as a carry-out boy, a bag boy. So, it paid pennies, so, but it was enough pennies. At the end of the week you could buy something, I don’t know, candy bars…
Interviewer: This was when you were in high school.
Einhorn: This was when I was in high school but the idea that we could have money and we could spend it on, oh, not that, the other thing that was incredibly liberating was kids my age, well a little older, a year or two older, could drive cars, could own a car. That was to me, first of all, nobody owned a car. Owning a car, you had to be wealthy in Europe in those days. But I can remember riding, on a Sunday, on a summer, Sunday afternoon, riding around the country lanes north of here like around Buckeye Lake or something, I mean not Buckeye Lake, Hoover Dam, five of us sitting in a car. The radio is on as loud as it can go and we’re belting the song out like crazy, just yelling and having, just whooping and having an incredibly good time and I’m thinking to myself, nobody knows where we are. Nobody can say, “Stop that. Knock it off, kids, don’t do that.” I mean we are in charge of our own world and you could do it in a car. That was so liberating. I mean, to me, to me, that was like amazing that you could do this here. I mean, that, that really impressed me. I… and you know, friends would go to the Jewish Center and instead of going straight home, we’d go to a Rubino’s or we’d go to the Eastmoor Drive-in or the TAT. “You want to go with us?” “Yeah, well, but I need a ride home.” “Oh, okay, we’ll take you home afterwards.” “Okay, cool,” you know? Oh, no, it was fun being a teenager and I learned a lot of stuff. C’mon I learned all about high school. That was I learned all about theatre. That was very liberating, very informative and then…
Interviewer: So, what happened after high school? What happened to you then?
Einhorn: Well, okay, I was pretty shy in high school. So, I remember this one girl, I had a crush on her. She was from Bexley, pretty. She was tall, she was good-looking and she was smart and on day she went, “Charlie, I gotta fix you up.” I said, “What do you mean?” She says, ‘cause I was wearing just a regular short sleeve shirt, you know, buttoned to here, she says, so the first thing she says is “Gotta’ pull up your collar like this.” I said, “Why?” She says, “Because Elvis does that. Everybody does that. You do that, too.” “Okay,” and then says, “pack of cigarettes? You have to put it in your sleeve and roll it up in your sleeve, and the collar up.” Oh, and there was one more thing, you know. Then she says, “Now you’re cool. Now you can walk around.” Then I found out about ten years later. I run in to her somewhere and she goes, “Ah, I had such a crush on you” she says, and I’m going, “Well why didn’t you tell me then? What good does it do me now, you know?”
Interviewer: This was the same girl you had a crush on.
Einhorn: Exactly, you know, but we’re kids, you know, we’re stupid. We’re shy or whatever, you know? I’m afraid to talk and say the wrong…somebody’s going to laugh at something I said, you know?
Interviewer: Now you don’t need to answer this question but would you feel comfortable giving us her name?
Einhorn: No, no.
Interviewer: You don’t need to. I thought she might be kind of reappearing or her relatives but that’s okay. That’s okay.
Einhorn: That’s just a little side story.
Interviewer: So, tell us, about what happened after high school? Where did you go?
Einhorn: Uh, I went to Ohio State. That summer I did the orientation thing. Here’s what was so cool. You could get a job that literally paid little like I got a job being a camp counselor. Oh, I forgot to tell you that. I was a camp counselor in the Jewish Center – Tween Camp for three years in a row. I was a good camp counselor. I loved it.
Interviewer: Is that while you were still in high school or…
Einhorn: Well, in college.
Einhorn: Here’s the thing. You could work, my sophomore year let’s say. So, you could work at the Center as a Camp Counselor for eight or nine weeks and you got three hundred dollars for that. Well, three hundred, tuition was seventy dollars for a quarter and that was full-time. So, I could buy three quarters of tuition and books out of this silly summer job, you know, but you could do that. I remember kids going to school and working part-time, you know, I don’t know, the cafeterias or something like that and paying their tuition that way. Can you do that now? Could you get a job on campus that would even pay a tenth of your tuition? You know what I mean? It’s a whole ‘nother world. We’re young guys, early twenties, late teens, I’m not sure and we’re in somebody’s car. It’s a Friday. Someone says, “Let’s go to Cleveland, okay?” “Uh, like when, tomorrow or something?” “No, right now.” “Right now?” “We’re not ready.” “Well, how much money do we have between all of us?” “Eleven dollars and seventy-two cents.” “That’s enough money.” “We can buy gas. We can buy a dollar for a meal for four of us at McDonald’s,” you know. So, we did. We just jumped into the car, put gas into the car, drove to Cleveland, hung out with a friend that we knew, slept on their floor and came back the next day and you could do that, you know? I couldn’t do that. I mean if I wanted to do something like that in Belgium, I had to hitch-hike somewhere. Now hitch-hiking was less dangerous. It wasn’t quite that frowned on in Europe. So, here a lot of people were still hitch-hiking. I remember that. You don’t do that. It’s crazy. I did it a few times and then I just didn’t. I stopped doing it.
Interviewer: It sounds like there’s a re-occuring them here in terms of you seeing America as freedom in many ways, or your youth…freedom
Einhorn: I was redefining freedom in terms of what it meant to me. Yes, you’re right. Well, that and also the fact that I didn’t grow up surrounded by all the knowledge and old stories and prejudices that went along with a lot of the behavior, you know, so I could in a way, step back and look at it more analytically – Oh, so this is how they do it here…interesting, you know. In that sense I was studying, almost like sociology, you know I was studying the culture and what I needed to know to get accepted into the culture. That was a big deal being a kid, being a teenager. Alt he other worries you have – Oh God, I have pimples. Oh, God, I have skinny arms, whatever, you know, I’m not as tall or whatever. We compare ourselves all the time, you know. It’s real important.
Interviewer: So, when you were at OSU, did you also have mostly Jewish friends there or did that open up a different world to you?
Einhorn: Both, so, you know. Our friends, we would, hung out, well, we had a group of friends that we’d known each other through high school and we were hanging out still in college ‘cause we were the locals, you know, homies, right? But, you couldn’t help meeting all kinds of people from all over the world and I remember one interesting thing was is that we met a lot of Middle Easterners at the Tavern. The Tavern was the place at the Student Union where we went for coffee every day. You know, it was just the hang-out. So there, we met people of different, and we met Black kids and hung out with them and hung out with kids from, you know, Arabs from the Middle East, Iranians, and we opened ourselves to that. We did. In that sense, I mean going to college, even if you didn’t go to classes, you got a hell-of- an education, you know, just the people that you met. You know, it opened up your eyes to so many different people. So, that part was good, but I did not belong to a, like I didn’t join a Jewish fraternity, but I knew Jewish kids who were in some of these fraternities because I knew some of the other, my friends might have also gone to that fraternity or whatever. I did a few things with Hillel though on campus. I did a couple plays that I remember. I don’t’ know what happened. Oh, and the guy who ran it, he was sort of meek, alright, but he could play piano and he had a piano up on the second floor, a big hall. One day I’m walking up there and I’m hearing Beethoven’s sonata. Oh, my God, who’s playing a Beethoven sonata? It was that guy, the director, so he was cool, so I hung out there ‘cause I liked him. He was artsy and musical.
Interviewer: Did you eventually get a degree from OSU?
Einhorn: Yeah, took me five years instead of four. I got a BA.
Einhorn: Sociology, I think, was my major. It was like a catch-all, you know, you take a bunch of classes. You learn a few things. You get your degree, okay?
Interviewer: So, what happened then?
Einhorn: Well, okay, so, college was different, okay. You didn’t have that built-in group of, they were always around. I was always around friends, whatever. I had that kind of security and it dissipated by the time I went to college, I’d have friends I’d see during class hours. We all went to classes but we didn’t see each other that much socially. We still hung out with Jewish kids. Jewish kids just always hung out together. It’s just how it was, you know. You knew all the Jewish kids. You saw them at the Center, you saw them at shul, you saw them shopping at Martin’s, you know, you saw them in the evening having coffee at Emil’s. Do you remember Emil’s? Best pies, the best pie in the world was Emil’s. That was their…they had a counter that had pies. Do you remember that? That’s all I remember about it is damn great place for pie. Also, it was the after-date hang-out, you know. After you took her home, kiss goodnight. Then you went out and hang out with the guys and had coffee at Emil’s and talked about it. “Oy, was she hot,” or whatever. We bragged a lot, of course. Lied is what we did, but you had to. It was part of the ritual, you know. You have to go through that. So,..
Interviewer: So, now you’re in your twenties and you’ve got a college degree and what did you do then?
Einhorn: Well, Viet Nam is going on alright. Viet Nam is started in, like what, ’64, ’62 or something like that?
Interviewer: Now what year did you graduate?
Einhorn: From Eastmoor, 1960. Then I went to Ohio State for five years so ’65.
Interviewer: So, 1965, right as you graduate, that’s when the draft calls began soaring because Viet Nam really heated up.
Einhorn: Right, so I’ve got my student deferment. Everybody who is a student has a student deferment – 1 A…
Interviewer: It went away.
Einhorn: But I graduated I’m not in school. What am I gonna’ do? Well, my friend Phil, he went to Eastmoor. He was a year ahead of us, but you know, when you’re in college, doesn’t make a difference. High school it’s still a big deal, you know, one class difference. So, he was into sociology and he got a job at the prison in Mansfield, okay. So, he says, “Come up for a day, come up for a visit. I’ll show you around.” I said, “Sure.” I’ll get to see the inside of a prison. I did. I went there. It was interesting. At the end of the tour, we go to the superintendent’s office. The superintendent is the warden. He’s the main dude, right? He says, “Oh, I hope you enjoyed what you saw, blah blah blah…” “Thank you for showing me everything. Mr. Schwartz here was a real good guide. He showed me a lot of interesting things.” He says, “Well, you know, don’t forget to come see us in June.” “See us in June?” “Yeah, we’ll have that letter for you.” “That letter?” “Yeah, we’re gonna’ write that letter to your draft board, get your deferment because of the important invaluable work you do in saving young men who could become anon fodder.”
Interviewer: So, the superintendent was saying, if you come and work at our prison…
Einhorn: I’ll write you a letter.
Interviewer: … you won’t have to go to Viet Nam.
Einhorn: Exactly. That’s the job I took. I mean you know I had other offers, but they were jobs. This was not a particularly well-paying job, but they really did. They showed me a copy of the letter they sent to my draft board and I got a deferment card.
Interviewer: This prison superintendent, he was the one who actually took the initiative to make that point with you.
Einhorn: Yes. He said to me, “Don’t forget, come in June as soon as you graduate and I’ll have that letter.” So come and talk to us, okay, we have a job for you.” He says, “You’ve got a job and we’ll write that letter.” Write that letter? Hell, yes.
Interviewer: Fascinating that he was the one who took the initiative.
Einhorn: Well, I think that was a part of his selling points. You know, why would you want to work here? You know, it’s a very depressing place, a prison. Why would you want to work in a prison? Well, ‘cause if you work here, chances are, you’re not going to be sent to Viet Nam. I’ll take it.
Interviewer: So, what was your job at the prison?
Einhorn: Social worker, but you know, that’s a broad word definition. So, basically, we did things like evaluations, you know. We wrote reports and evaluations, whatever that we could find out through interviewing them and then we were supposed to be able to offer, you know, some counseling if they ever needed it. At some times I just felt really stupid about some decisions I made, like, they said, “Go talk to this guy in his cell.” “In his cell? I never had to do that.” “Yeah, he’s just very depressed.” So, “Alright. I’ll go talk to him.” “What’s going on?” “Oh, you know, my wife, I think she’s gonna’ leave me, blah blah blah” and he’s real depressed. I’m thinking this guy needs counseling, you know. “Well, I can send you to Lima. Lima is for the criminally insane. They have counseling.” I’ve never seen it. I send him there. I’ve got the paperwork to get him there. Go back a few, four or five months later, I got an opportunity to go visit Lima. They would do that. They would occasionally give us the opportunity to go visit another institution just to be in touch with other people in our field and also get an idea of what’s going on, and God, that was, well, you saw room after room, big room, men sitting with their backs against a wall, right? They’re not moving. They’re hardly talking. They’re just nodding. They’ve given them drugs that totally knock ‘em out. And I talked to some people who said they did that for four months and they say “I don’t’ remember what happened in those four months. I don’t know what happened.” “Why?” “Well, they gave me drugs that made me forget everything.” So, I’m walking, you know, down one of the hallways and there’s an inmate carrying a library push-cart. “Hey Mr. Einhorn.”, “You know who I am?” “Yeah, I’m so and so. Remember, you talked to me.” “Ah yes, I remember I said I wanted you to get some help. Did you get any help?” He says, “Well, some, not really.” I said, “What do you mean? Well have you talked to anybody?” “No.” “Nobody? Not even like an intake interview?” “Nobody.” “Well, what are they telling you? How long do you have to stay and when are you coming back?” “Don’t know.” And I thought to myself, I put that on him, you know, and I felt really guilty. I felt bad. I had put him through like a bad experience because of my own ignorance, you know? I mean, I wouldn’t have done that once I knew about places like that, I did what I could to keep people from being sent there, but at that particular time it sounded logical, you know. He was very depressed, talking maybe suicide. I’m going, this guy needs to be watched and he needs counselling. He never got any counselling whatsoever and the thing about being sent to Mansfield is if you’re on a sentence, right, you are serving a sentence, in Mansfield and they for some reason sent you to Lima, that time didn’t’ count on your sentence, so, you might be there four or five or six months and it doesn’t go towards your parole or it doesn’t do anything. So, that’s another reason I stopped sending people there. Well, “What are we sending people there for?” “Well, it helps them.” “Well, no, it doesn’t. They don’t do anything.” So, that was my…prison is strange. You know, we had inmates assigned to us to be our clerks, you know to do paperwork for us, whatever. So, the thing that was interesting is, you know, I mentioned the inmates run the institution, right? So, if you are a clerk, you are my clerk, right? you got a lot of prestige if you were able to give me favors. So, they would try to get me favors, like, “Hey, Mr. Einhorn, you want a radio on your desk?” “No.” “Mr. Einhorn, you want a radio on your desk?” “Oh, yes.” Okay. Next day a radio appears. Then one day they said, have a desk. How about a nice piece of glass right over your desk you can write on?” “I don’t need it.” “How about a nice piece of glass?” They wanted to do it because it gave them prestige. “Look what I’ve done for my boss. You know I got him a glass desk. I got him a radio,” and whatever, you know? And I found out that you could [requisition] you know request things. You never got it. You just tell your trusted inmate. See what you can do to make such-and-such appear on my desk and those things worked.
Interviewer: So, how many years did you work at the Mansfield prison?
Einhorn: Two years and then another year in Columbus at the JDC -Juvenile diagnostic Center which was on the Hilltop. I don’t know if they’ve still got the Juvenile Institution there or not. I’m not sure. So, a total of three years and I had a girlfriend. We had talked about traveling. We each got our, we got our passports together and we broke up, broke up, so, I’m going, the hell with you. I’m going alone. I’m going to Europe. I was going to go with her. That was the plan, but you’re not going with me, I’m going alone, but I’m going. So, I went on my own. That’s such an interesting experience because again, you learn a lot about yourself when you’re traveling alone and one of the things you learn is to become reliant on yourself, to be self-reliant, of which you do when you’re alone. When you travel, you know you have to take care of yourself, get information. You can’t just get depressed and sit in a corner somewhere and do that and some things are a pain in the ass when you go through them and then years later, you laugh at those incidents. You say, it wasn’t that funny at that time…you know we got to spend all night in this train station because we were stuck and had no money and while it wasn’t funny at the time but, now we’re talking about it, it’s funny, you know. So…
Interviewer: So, you were heading back to Europe, back to your roots.
Einhorn: Well, I went to Israel.
Interviewer: Oh. Different roots.
Einhorn: I ended up staying about a year, well, almost a year, in Israel, about eight or nine months and then another three months through Europe and then I came back to Columbus and at that time, Charlie’s Guitar was going on. Did you ever meet Charlie’s Guitar? So, this would have been 1968, 1969. Pearl Alley had just started. Pearl Alley.
Interviewer: Pearl Alley, the hippie area near OSU.
Einhorn: Pearl Alley, yes, so, there was a poster shop, House of Wood. They sold candles, psychedelic posters. There was a restaurant, Einstein’s or something like that. There was the leather shop, E G Leather. There was Charlie’s Guitar. Charlie’s Guitar was the first place in Columbus you could buy bell-bottom jeans for guys, okay, and those hippie shirts with the ruffles. That was Charlie’s Guitar. It was named after my guitar. Well, not, yeah, I know, it sounds weird. So, I’m trying to think if I want to tell you that story. So, it involves smoking pot. So, three of us are in one of our apartments on the mattress which was the bed covered by an Indian madras sheet and we’re playing music and all of us smoking hash. It was one of the first times we’re smoking hash, so we’re reacting pretty strong and we’re playing Grateful Dead album and we get to the end of the album. It stops, resets itself. So, well, somebody’s got to go put a new record on, right? Nobody feels like getting up off the couch and doing it. “Not right now. I’m kind of mellow right here.” My guitar happens to be here, so I pick it up and I start plucking. I’m not good but, you know, I’ve got my old soft bar blues that I play over and over and it’s real boring but that’s all I play, so, I’m starting to play something like that, you know, just out of having heard something and it sounds really good to me. We’re really stoned out of our heads. It sounds wonderful and everybody else goes, “Wow, that sounded really good,” and Stan goes, “Charlie’s Guitar.” Yeah, ah, no, yeah, we’re walking from High Street from Larry’s and we live on Frambes.
Interviewer: So, Larry’s Bar.
Einhorn: Larry’s Bar and we’re walking to our apartment there and a couple of girls who live across the street from us are also leaving. They’re walking home so we’re walking together and somebody says something and Barbara goes, “In my purse.” “What?” Oh, that’s another story. “In my purse.” So, we said, “What’s in your purse?” “Zat. What’s Zat?” That’s, you know, so, Stan took, you know, the expression in those days was the hippie expression that people used all the time, ‘That’s where it’s at, man.” I don’t know if you remember that. So, “That’s where it’s at,” and she said, “My purse.” So, we said, “What’s in your purse?” “Zat, that’s where it’s at” and so, Stan says that’s a good name for the store. So, they were going to call the store, Barbara’s Purse, ‘cause that’s where it’s at. But then…
Interviewer: But let me ask, you were going to start a store.
Einhorn: Oh, Charlie’s Guitar. Did you know that store? So, it was on Pearl Alley and it was a hippie clothing store.
Interviewer: It was already there.
Einhorn: Well, no.
Interviewer: You helped to start it?
Einhorn: Well, it was mostly my friends, but they named it after my guitar because I started plunking and it sounded really good. So, they said, “Charlie’s Guitar, That’s where it’s at.” So, this became the name of the store. Charlie’s Guitar. It would have been Barbara’s Purse but Charlie’s Guitar sounded better.
Interviewer: And your friends started that and Stan, one of your best friends was involved?
Einhorn: Yeah, and so were the other people who were involved among my best friends.
Interviewer: We’ve been talking not quite two hours…
Einhorn: Oh, my God.
Interviewer: And I think what it’s best to do now is to end our interview with the idea that perhaps since we’re only up to 1968 and we have another fifty years of your life left to talk about, we come back another time and talk about the rest of your life which is also fascinating.
Einhorn: To other people. You know your own life is not that interesting. It’s banal. It’s just everyday life, you know. It’s getting up in the morning, taking shit, I mean and it’s just life, you know, but to everybody else it’s exotic. I mean, I got that a lot when I was in high school. You know, “Where are you from?” “Antwerp, Belgium.” “Belgium, wow, that is so interesting. That’s really exotic isn’t it?” “Exotic? Columbus, Ohio. That’s exotic, you know? Who’s ever heard of Columbus, Ohio?”
Interviewer: With that we will end this interview with Charlie Einhorn here at his house at 952 Bryden Road on this the thirteenth day of June, Two Thousand Eighteen. We’re doing this interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society. I’m Bill Cohen and hopefully, we’ll return and do yet another interview with Charles Einhorn.
Charles Einhorn – Part II
Interviewer: Okay, this is Bill Cohen and we are at the home of Charles Einhorn in Columbus, Ohio, and we’re continuing. We’re picking up where we left off talking with Charlie about his life. Charlie, we were at 1968 where we left off and you described how you were working in the Corrections System. So, let’s move on from there. What happened. Course I know one reason you took that job was to avoid winding up being drafted and serving in the Viet Nam War because you were opposed to that. So, what happened after that phase of your life?
Einhorn: Okay, so, I had a girlfriend at the time. We were going to travel together, got our passports and all that. We broke up. We’re not traveling together. I said, oh, [?] I’m traveling. So, I left and it was one of the most impetuous things I’ve ever done in my life. I got a ticket to Paris, alright, from Columbus to Paris and I got to Paris ‘cause I had to visit some relatives for a day or two. It was cold, it was grey, unfriendly, and I left my baggage at a locker, you know, at the airport and I had to visit these people and I went back the next day and told them I’m going to the airport to pick up my luggage. Well, I got to the airport and I walk past the EL Al Israeli airline, you know, display. It was beautiful. There was a shot of Eilat with palm trees, girls in bikinis, the sun is shining. I’m going, “I’m going.”
Interviewer: Going to Israel.
Einhorn: I’m going to Israel and so, I did, but it was one of these things where Iran up to the counter and I said, I meant to say, “Can you book me for your next flight,” but, what I said was “When’s the next plane leave?” and they said, you’ve got fifteen minutes. I said, “Okay. Make sure I get on there. What do I have to do?” Got on, didn’t tell anybody I was coming, just came on my own to Israel, but that was kind of fun to do, to say “Okay, give me the next plane.”
Interviewer: So, you headed to Israel…
Einhorn: I went to Israel.
Interviewer: …and again the year was…
Einhorn: 1968, the end, around the end of ’68. It was like November, I think. So that was the first place I stopped was at my aunt and uncle’s house. “Charlie,” you know, “what are you doing here?!” So, and they were great. They had a cot that they stashed in the closet in the kitchen and I could sleep on it any time I wanted. I had a key. I could get in and out and I had a place to sleep. Man, that was fabulous. I could go anywhere I wanted and the worst thing would happen – ‘cause Israel’s not that big, you know – the worst thing that happens is I had a one-or-two-hour bus drive and then I’d be there anyways, right? so, that was pretty good. So, you know, I visited relatives and that gets old, you know. I want to do something else. So, Israel, at the time, I think they still do, they had this program called Ulpan. I think they spell it U-l-p-a-n.
Interviewer: Ulpan, yes.
Einhorn: Ulpan, just, Ulpan means language studio or language school or something like that, has something to do with teaching language. Anyways, at the time the deal that the kibbutz was doing with people was, they would take you in, give you half a day to do a job and the second half was learning Hebrew and sometimes it would be in the morning. Then we’d work in the afternoon. Sometimes, we’d, you know, reverse that. I did that for about five or six months. It was really kind of cool. It was, you know, you know about the kibbutz, right? You know about the kibbutz in Israel?
Einhorn: So, you know, it’s communal living but, not just living, but, you know, communal sharing of everything. Interesting experiment. I think it’s, that spirit sort of has died off from the kibbutz because it wasn’t sustainable, I guess, and mostly the kibbutzim were agricultural and then they weren’t really making it that well on agriculture so, a lot of them franchised into other things. Some of them became really high-tech factories, all kinds of other jobs, and let’s see…
Interviewer: So, did you enjoy being on the kibbutz?
Einhorn: Yeah, well, yeah. Well, it’d be like, they’d wake you up at four in the morning to go to the fields, to go to the orchards, and it’s cold and damp and I’m wearing along sleeve shirt all buttoned up and I’m…it’s cold.
Interviewer: What was your job? What kind of jobs did you do?
Einhorn: Well, you know, they gave us whatever was available, whatever they needed us so, it could be anything. You never knew so, a lot of times they’d send us to the orchards to pick fruit. I picked apples, I picked pears, I picked apricots and peaches. Out of all those, the good ones are the apples. The apples, you can eat an apple in the morning. You can eat an apple in the afternoon. You can eat one the next day. You know, you don’t get tired. You can eat one every day and it’s fine, you know. A pear, you can eat one a day. The second one you don’t really want. Apricots were the worst because they’re sick and they would tell us that normally they would end up picking one quarter of the whole harvest, you know, and ship it out for sale and the rest would just fall on the ground and rot and this particular year, they’d had floods all over Israel except where my kibbutz was. We didn’t get flooded so, our orchards thrived whereas all the orchards around Israel failed that year so, that was like a real boon for my kibbutz. They went, yeah, everybody who had a spare minute got sent to the orchards ‘cause there was a market for it. They could sell it. They had a big party to celebrate ‘cause it’s agriculture, you know? Yeah, we sold more apricots than ever before. So, interesting thing, first pork chop I ever ate in my life was on the kibbutz in Israel.
Interviewer: That’s pretty ironic.
Einhorn: Yes, so, you know, I told you they’d give us all kinds of jobs. So, this particular day was setting up the tables for the Friday night Shabbat party, right? The kibbutz was not religious at all, very un-religious, but every Friday, so, every day there were hours when the dining room was open and any time during that time you could just walk in, sit down, get something to eat and leave, but, on Friday night everybody came together at once and everybody ate and we did it outside on the lawn in front of the dining room and we had tablecloths, bowls of fruit and wine and brandy and it was, you know, a party out there and so, I finished setting up the table. It didn’t take me long, about an hour. You know, the shift was four hours. I was done in one hour, so, I went to the kitchen and the woman who was in charge of all that, you know she’s the one who gave you the job and said, do this, do that, and she said, “Oh, you did it so fast.” Yeah, that’s good. It means I have more free time,” and she said, “I have a special treat for you.” I said, “Really?” “Yeah.” She says, “Everybody in the kibbutz is going to get one and you’ll get that one also, but I’m going to give you one now.” I said, “One what?” She went, “Steak Lavan.” Steak, you know, steak. Lavan means white in Hebrew, okay? “Ma zeh? What’s Steak Lavan?” and she says, “You know, steak from a chazer” -pork chop. That was the treat and it was delicious and I did have two that night on that day.
Interviewer: So, this was very obviously, as you say, not a religious…
Einhorn: Right. So, on Yom Kippur, the deal with the kibbutz was, “You want to eat? You work your shift. You want to fast? You don’t eat. You don’t have to work but you don’t eat, okay?” Well, I decided to eat. Most people, most kibbutz people did. Very few actually said, “No, I’m going to fast all day.” So, anyways that was kind of an interesting, you know… I never expected that.
Interviewer: Now you were describing a time probably around 1969. This is just a year and a half after the Six-Day War.
Interviewer: Was there much feel, did you feel the euphoria that followed that or was that had faded or…?
Einhorn: Oh, no. Both. When I was, at the beginning was that kind of euphoria that the whole country had. ‘We really stuck it to them. We defeated all these armies.’ You know, they were very proud of that, and then near the end of my year there – it happened to be a year – there were more and more…they would bring out the old reservists, you know, old-timers that were still in the reserves and they would place them in front of a store, in front of a library, public places and they would check bags, which I never saw that before, and they had, because terrorism was starting up again and they were doing things like throwing a grenade in the middle of a crowd or blowing up a bus in front of, you know full of people, or discotheques with a lot of people or things like that, so, the mood sort of changed, you know. It went from everybody was happy, everybody was open, nobody was afraid of anything all the way to paranoia. “Be careful. Don’t leave that bag there. Did you put that bag there? Take it with you. Don’t leave it here,” you know, that kind of a…so, that was one thing I noticed, that atmospheric change, you know? Still it was a very interesting time in my life. I was young, so, adventurous. It was great adventures and living on a kibbutz was very interesting to me because it was very international. We had new olim chadashim, new immigrants. New immigrants would be given a certain stipend and certain other privileges. You could, as a new immigrant you could import a refrigerator and a car without having to pay the exorbitant duties that everybody else in Israel had to, you know, so, some people would say, “Hey Charlie, you not live here. Why don’t you order, buy me a frig?” or whatever, “and I’ll give you the money…” I’d say, “No, I’d rather not do that,” you know. “I don’t want to mess with the Israeli police.” Smart move.
Interviewer: So, you spent about a year in Israel.
Interviewer: Then what happened? Where’d you go then?
Einhorn: Well, I slowly made my way back and you know it was quite adventurous. We went to, the first place we went to was Istanbul, Istanbul, and the interesting thing I liked about Istanbul was the culture shock things, you know, like, uh, we went to the Bazaar, right? Huge city all by itself under one roof. okay? and it’s been like that for centuries, you know? It’s historical, the Bazaar. It’s the same Bazaar. It’s been there forever.
Interviewer: Kind of like an old mall?
Einhorn: Exactly. Exactly.
Interviewer: With different stores underneath.
Einhorn: Lots of little shops and some of them had factories and workshops on top, some of them, not many, and in the middle of the Bazaar at a tea shop or coffee whatever it was, you know, and uh, tables right in front of that place and people are playing Backgammon – Shesh Besh– they call it which is Six [Slot]. I learned to play just in Israel when I was there, you know, but I wasn’t any good. I was a real amateur you know. These guys they play every day, these old guys have been, they’re like pros, you know, and I’m watching. You know, I’m kind of half-interested ‘cause I’ve learned how to play and see what they’re doing. One game is over. The loser gets up and he walks away and the winner looks at me and he goes, “C’mere.” I’m going, “Me?” He says, “Yeah.” Points at the seat, you know, sit there. “Me?” “Yeah.” “Okay.” I mean, he wants to play Backgammon against me. I said, “Oh, God, I’m going to get creamed.” I did but I had so much fun getting creamed in the Bazar by a Turkish man playing Backgammon. That was like a thrill, you know? I went, I had this grin on my face I couldn’t erase, you know? This was too cool.
Interviewer: You didn’t lose money though.
Einhorn: No, no, no, no. it was just a friendly game. It was just like the old men playing on the park benches, you know, in New York City and they’re playing Bocce. You know, it was the same thing. You know, these old men have nothing to do so they play Backgammon in the Bazar in the afternoon, but, I mean, it was just fun, that he drew me into it, into that whole little cultural thing, you know? And I never expected to play against an old Turkish man who knew how to play the game, so, that was kind of interesting, you know? There was also really strange cultural things. We have to take a cab from where we’re staying to the travel agency. We had to fix something about our tickets, you know, confirm our seats or whatever. I don’t know what it was, but we had to go to this travel agency in order to leave the country, and so, good, we’ll take a cab, okay? so, the cab, he’s driving and he’s driving and he’s like going real slow and then all of a sudden he pulls up off the side of the road. Now we’re going, man we gotta’ be on the airplane in five minutes, you know? What are you stopping for? He goes, “Oh, it’s stopped. It won’t run,” so the whole damn, know, so he finally got it started and just as we got to the airport, we saw the plane leave, so we missed the flight, so we had to arrange for a future flight. To, so, to get a cab, there’s like a cab stand., not far from where we’re staying. I go up to the cab stand. I go up to the first cab. Had the guy at the hotel write down the address of where I needed to go on a piece of paper, right? In Turkish, okay? I show him the paper. I want to go there. I show him the paper and he goes…
Interviewer: He goes what? He nods yes?
Einhorn: Yes, like this, so I’m interpreting it as yes, right? I’m ready to go in. He goes, “Stop.”
Interviewer: He says “Stop.”
Einhorn: He didn’t say anything. He just…
Interviewer: He puts his hand up as if to say stop.
Einhorn: Stop? What’s wrong? This is the address I want to go to. I’m showing him the address. He goes…means, that’s yes, right? I’m trying to get in the cab. He stops me again. What the hell is happening here, you know? So, then, I just gave up on him, you know? Found another cab. He says, “Yeah, okay.” But found out this..
Interviewer: Nodding yes, what we would interpret as yes, what did it mean?
Interviewer: That meant, “no,”
Einhorn: Now the whole world, this is “no.”
Interviewer: Shaking your head from side to side you would think is “no.”
Interviewer: But this, in Turkey, up and down means “no.”
Einhorn: No. I mean, who knew?
Interviewer: You got an education.
Einhorn: Oh, traveling is the best education. It really is. Traveling is as good if not better than college. To get you, and the other thing about traveling also, if you’re traveling alone you do meet people along the road, and so, you’re never really lonely so to speak, but the other thing is you really learn about yourself, you know, about how resourceful you are or about how competent you can be, how much you can really get together even if you don’t speak the language, if you have to and you can. You can communicate even if you don’t know the language, you know? You can grunt, you can point, whatever, you know, pantomime but, people communicate even if they don’t speak the same language, so, it’s possible.
Interviewer: And as a just as a human being but also as a Jew you didn’t feel any particular fear about traveling alone?
Einhorn: No, Israel had a pretty friendly relationship with Turkey, in those days, in those days, before… They were secular. The army had done a coup and had gotten rid of the premiers and it was the army, so they were scared as shit of the army, yes, but it was friendly. No, I didn’t’ have any, I mean I flew from Israel. I went from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, so, there was obviously some friendship there. They allowed planes of tourists to come in.
Interviewer: So, what happened after Turkey?
Einhorn: Okay, so then, I saw a cover of LIFE Magazine. LIFE Magazine had a cover of this California hippie with long blonde hair and he’s, no top, just sitting on a rock playing a flute, a bamboo flute. I’m going, “I want to go there, whatever that is.” It was Crete, the island of Crete. It was a place called Mata, Matalan. It was just a little village but it had levels, you know, of rocks and on each level, their people, they had carved, in ancient times they had carved like a [niche], like a, uh, I can’t think of the word, just a flat slab and a dome over it and those were tombs but there were no bones or treasures or anything left. They had been picked by, you know…and actually during World War II the Germans used them because they could put machine guns in them and fire on to ships on the Mediterranean. It was funny. It was interesting, so, we went from Istanbul and then from Istanbul we went to Athens, and we were there for a day. We did all the tourist things, you know. We went to the Parthenon and walked around. We saw the shops where the guy was making sandals and all that kind of stuff and next day, I said I wanted to go to that island, to Crete, to that place specifically, to Matalan, so, you had to take a ferry and it was an overnight ferry. That was great fun because hardly anybody slept. Everybody’s hung out in what was the room, the day room and they were playing cards and playing music and singing and laughing and sharing things with everybody. You know, it was really fun. It was very congenial, you know, and in the morning, we arrived at Crete, Matalan. So, from Crete, went to Matalan, found the caves and there was kind of hierarchy depending on how long you’d been there. So, if you first got there, they would put you in the worst cave which was down, the lowest one, because it would flood all the time, you know? You wouldn’t have to stay there very long. Well, I’m there for a day. I met someone who says, “I’m leaving tomorrow. You want my cave?” I said, “Yes! We’ll take it.,” you know, and so the caves were, would get sort of furnished, you know make-do furnished, okay, so, you could find plastic and bamboo and fashion a door that way, okay? and people would use one of the slabs as a table to eat on, whatever, and they’d put blankets and also the tradition it was you would leave a book that you just read. Leave it. Let somebody else read it, and so they had a little library of books that tourists had dropped off and I picked up a great one. I picked up the Agony and the Ecstasy, you know? It’s the biography of Michelangelo, right? And then we ended up going to Italy and I wanted to see where he was, so, we went to Florence and we hitch-hiked on the way out through the Marble Quarries of Carreras and all those wonderful statues that he made from that marble. It was pretty cool. So, it was fun. That was a great time to have these kinds of adventures, you know?
Interviewer: So, from Crete to Italy…
Einhorn: Yes, to Florence.
Interviewer: …to Florence.
Einhorn: …and then to, well, first no, to Nice, Nice? yes, to Nice first.
Interviewer: Nice, France?
Einhorn: …or Marseilles, Marseilles is where we landed. Oh. So, in French culture of the Twentieth Century, at least, you know how we have comedians who put on accents, different accents ‘cause it makes them funnier, right? Well, the Marseilles accent is pretty different from the rest of France and it’s much more, because it’s closer to Italian and Spanish, it’s much more sing-song-y and the comedians love talking like that ‘cause it makes their jokes even more funnier, right? So, I’m walking with [Don?], you know, we cleared the ship, you know, “Bye.” We’re in Greece now, and “C’mon let’s take a train to Nice,” ‘cause I have relatives there. We have people we can stay with in Nice, alright? so, how to get to the train station, alright? I speak French. I see a French person walking by. I say in good French, “Where’s the,” you know, “where’s train station?” and he says, “Well, walk up this hill, turn left, go two blocks, turn right. There it is.” That’s what he’s saying but he’s saying it with this really thick Marseilles accent and I’m biting my tongue trying not to laugh, you know, I mean this is like the funniest thing I’ve heard all day, you know? You know, it’s just, but what he said, the message which wasn’t particularly funny or anything, it was just informative. That was the train station. It was the way he was saying it. You know, I was listening to [Fantinell Dell?] who is a real famous French actor who spoke like that, had that accent, made him really, really funny.
Interviewer: So, did you, you eventually got back to the US.
Einhorn: Yes, so, in Nice, we stayed, I stayed a few days. The guy that I was traveling with. I met him on the kibbutz, his name was Mike, Mike from Brooklyn and we got to Nice. We hung out there for day or two. He met a girl. She said, “Hook up with me” only that’s not the words we used then but that’s basically what we… so we parted ways. I said, “I’m going on. I moving up.” He says, “Okay, I ‘m going to Switzerland with her.” “Well, good luck to you.”
Interviewer: So, your friend went to Switzerland and you went on to where?
Einhorn: I went to Belgium because I still had relatives there and so, I went to Antwerp, Belgium and my aunt was really welcoming, you know, and that was good and then from there I flew to New York with Icelandic Airlines. Icelandic Airlines, was, still was not a jet. It had four props, okay? It took eight hours from, oh, you had to go to Luxemburg to find the plane ‘cause it just didn’t land all over. It just landed in Luxemburg, Iceland, New York and back. That was, that’s the circuit that it did. It took a long time. It took like sixteen years [hours?].
Interviewer: This was now in the 1970’s.
Einhorn: 1970 precisely.
Interviewer: Oh, we’re still in 1970.
Einhorn: Well, no, 1968, 1969, 1970 was just amazing to me. Well, you know. I mean just to be alive then was just incredible. We just took it for granted but it was very unusual times.
Interviewer: You finally came back to the United States.
Einhorn: And I finally came back to the United States, met my mom and my sister at the airport in New York. I left clean-shaven and wearing like not a suit, but a jacket, a raincoat, a man’s raincoat, you know. I came back with bell-bottom jeans, a beard, beads, you know, I’d given all my clothes away, ‘cause they wanted them in Israel. They couldn’t get jeans. They couldn’t get bell-bottom jeans. Man, did I get offers. I could have had anything for that.
Interviewer: So, when you left the Untied States, you looked like what people would call a long-haired hippie.
Einhorn: I didn’t have long hair when I left, okay, and I wore, like I said, traditional business… you remember in those days people would go on an airplane you didn’t’ go in your jeans and your pajamas. You dressed up to go on an airplane. You wore like a suit or Sunday get-dressed-up kind of clothes. When I came back, I was not that person.
Interviewer: Oh, when you came back you looked more like what you would call a hippie.
Einhorn: Like a hippie. Yeah. We never called ourselves hippies. You know that, okay? We called ourselves, what, freaks or heads and the media invented the word hippie and put that on everybody who was under thirty in that generation. Yeah, so those were good adventures.
Interviewer: Now let me understand one thing. At one point you had taken a job and one reason you took that job in corrections was to avoid being drafted and having to fight in the Viet Nam War.
Interviewer: Now, you come back to the United States in the early Nineteen Seventies. The War is still raging.
Einhorn: It’s raging.
Interviewer: Were you not facing a draft call at that point?
Einhorn: Okay, so, while I was in school, I had my student deferment. Then I got the job with the prisons so I was okay, but when I decided to leave, I said, what am I…so, about a year, almost a, I was gone for about eighteen months or something like that. After a year, I better get in touch with my draft board and I said I’m still a student but I’m doing self-studies. I’m studying cultures all around Europe, by going to museums. They said, “Very good for you but we need matriculation. We want to see that you’re enrolled in some school.” I didn’t have that, but at that time I’m twenty-four. I’m almost twenty -five and they didn’t want me. They wanted me when I was eighteen, when I was stupid, when they would say, “Jump,” and I would say, “How high,” on the way up, you know. When you’re twenty-four and your sergeant says “Go there under fire and shoot these people,” you go, “You want me to do what?” you know, “Are you crazy?” you know. You’re not good at taking when you are twenty-four and some eighteen-year old tells you to do that or nineteen-year old or young captain or whatever.
Interviewer: So, you came back in the Nineteen Seventies, the draft board was no longer interested in you.
Einhorn: Right. Tried to get a job as a social worker. I got a job, lasted two weeks, and meanwhile, my friends are getting a school bus all ready for the road. So, they’re taking a lot of the seats out and putting in cots. The overheads are, you know to the luggage. We found this gas stove, you know, converted it to propane and had a propane tank and a gas stove and a big twenty-five-gallon jug, so, we were a house, an RV, okay? So, to be an RV or to be considered a house vehicle, whatever, you had to have a stove, water, and, you know, cots and things like that, so, we had those preliminaries.
Interviewer: This was like an old school bus?
Einhorn: Yeah, and so, we took that school bus to Atlanta. Well, actually it was further south than Atlanta, but it was the second Atlanta Pop Festival. It was the largest and the last one of those festivals ever. They never did anything like that again. You know, it was like Woodstock all over. That’s a whole ‘nother adventure. I mean, that was very strang and wonderful. Loved being there, it was just, you know, I mean, we had, you know, we got there with our bus three weeks before the festival. There were hardly anyone there. They’re building this huge fence to keep people who don’t have tickets out of the concert area. They said, “Okay, guys you want to help us build this fence?” and we go, “Uhn-uhn, we don’t build fences, we tear down fences.” So, they said, okay, you’re those kind-of-people. Okay so, well, what are we going to do with you?” Well, the land was, the concert itself was on a race-track and adjacent was a Christian campground run by a preacher, and he said, we said, “Can we camp on your land?” “You can camp on my land. You can swim in the pool. All you have to do is show up on Sunday morning for my sermon.” So, ah, we can do that. “Okay.” Those days were drug fueled, you understand.
Einhorn: Yes, everything was pretty much drug-fueled so… oh, so anyway we set up like our own village on the outside of the race-track and we had maybe fifty people there the first night. Within three days it had grown to maybe three hundred. Three more days it’d grown to three thousand. I mean, it just kept getting bigger and bigger and they said there was a half a million people, maybe more. We’re not sure.
Interviewer: At the festival.
Einhorn: At the festival. It was an amazing experience ‘cause it was like Woodstock including a lot of the repetition. Jimi Hendrix played in his white leather outfit that had fringe that went all the way down, remember, very famous, he wore at Woodstock, and he did, you know, The Star-Spangled Banner, his version of it, you know, all distorted. It was really good, you know, but the best things that were going on on the grounds, not necessarily…I mean, the music was great. I mean, it was the best music that we could… and it was 1969 music, the end of…. I mean it was the height of all the bands which was incredibly good. We took it for granted. I mean, everybody was talented. No, this was a real special time. In the Sixties and Seventies, it was just amazing, not just music, for all the arts, you know. So, let’s see…
Interviewer: We’re still in the early seventies here.
Einhorn: Okay, I come back from the Pop Festival and met one of the people that I did know when I was in Israel that came back and we met him and he kind of gave me a part-time job, helping him doing leather things. It was kind of interesting and I didn’t have anything else to do. Oh, I’ll make this wrist -band and I’ll give it to this girl and I’ll make this choker and I’ll give it to that girl. You know that was my motivation for doing things out of leather so I could give it to girls and score. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
Interviewer: Now where was this taking place? What city?
Interviewer: Columbus. You’re back in Columbus.
Einhorn: Pearl Alley alright?. You know Pearl Alley.
Interviewer: Pearl Alley was an area near the OSU campus that had head shops, counter-culture.
Einhorn: It was actually a street. One of the stores was Charlies Guitar, okay. There was also a leather shop,
E G Leather. There was a candle store. The candle store was the first business to open there. It sold candles and psychedelic posters, San Francisco bands, you know. We put them all over, so yeah. Okay, so where are we, 1970. So, then I just became partners with one of those guys [Lenny?] who had t the business and the two of us formed happy Trails Leather Company.
Interviewer: Happy Trails Leather Company.
Einhorn: Yeah and you know, Roy Rogers, Happy Trails, okay, and I did that for about eight or nine years. We did Benchworks also. You remember Benchworks, the store? Benchworks was a collective gallery. It would fluctuate, five, six or seven of us that owned the place together and we each volunteered one day a week to watch the store, so, that gave us time to work on making things and going to craft shows which was another way we made money. So, that was Benchworks and that was quite an interesting adventure. It was in German Village. Actually, it was in the Turnaround. So, the trolleys would go to the end of the line and then they would go to this trolley barn, in the trolley barn and there was huge disc in the middle and the train would sit in the middle and they would rotate it with the train on it and then it was facing the other direction and keep on going. That was the Old-World Bazaar. It had shops and all that, and we had a basement little store, six, seven of us and then we kept it going for…in the late Seventies we decided to move out of German Village. We wanted to be closer to campus and we found a place on Hudson and High. Now, there’s like a restaurant there, I believe, but that’s, we were there for a few years also.
Interviewer: You mean that’s where your store was or…?
Einhorn: Where the store was and also that’s what we did. That’s how we made our living. We made leather crafts. We took shifts at the store but other people would also be selling it there on their day and then we did craft shows and commissions and however else we could hustle money. And like, we were hippies. We weren’t all that interested in making money. It was more into relating and having fun, making interesting things and learning stories, you know. That’s what we were interested in.
Interviewer: Now, at some point, maybe it was the Eighties, I don’t know, you moved here to Bryden Road. About what year was that?
Einhorn: Bryden Road was Ninety…One, ‘91.
Interviewer: Tell us, what made you move here to 952 Bryden Road what a lot of people would call today, even today, the inner city?
Einhorn: Yeah. Alright. So, and that’s true all over the world. Artists would go to run-down areas and see the potential and other people would go to these and see nothing but slummy run-down places. Why would anybody want to live here, you know? So it was just a different attitude, you know? And we went “Wow, you know, you can actually rent, I mean, not rent, own a house. You can pay it off even.” It will take you thirty days, thirty years, we didn’t care we were young. So, that was one of the incentives, and so, a few of us from campus…you know, Gail and Eric, you know them?
Interviewer: Well, you have to explain who they are. They’re two artists or artisans.
Einhorn: Right. Eric’s a jeweler. He’s a jeweler. He’s a master. He could do everything, you know, he’s one of these jacks of all trades. Gail is a fiber artist and yeah, so, they live here. They came first and then they said to us…you know Candy Watkins? She’s a community activist, very involved in the arts, especially festivals. She practically ran that Comfest we just finished last night. I’m a Little low to the energy ‘cause, you know, I survived the weekend. Okay so…
Interviewer: So, you were part of the first wave of people moving in to the neighborhood.
Einhorn: Right. It was on Oak street at first and we had a house on Oak and 22nd and I was married and then the marriage ended and she moved out. She moved away. She went to Arizona. We have kids, tow kids. I said, “I’ll stay here in the house with the kids. She said, “Don’t you want to move?” I said, “I’m happy here. You’re the one who keeps telling me how unhappy you are. You want to go find yourself. Go find yourself, you know? Leave me here with the kids and the house and good luck finding whatever you need to look for,” you know. So, then I met Lynn, just about the same time I was breaking up with my first wife and so, that was fine. We hung out together and…
Interviewer: Lynn is your current wife.
Einhorn: My current wife. When we were living in the house on Oak Street, Lynn said, “Lets buy a house.” I said, “Okay.” She said, “but not this one. Let’s buy one that the two of us… you know.” I said, “Great, I’ll move anywhere you want to as long as it’s on Bryden Road.”
Interviewer: you said, “as long as it’s on Bryden Road.” Why Bryden Road?
Einhorn: ‘Cause Bryden Road was the prettiest street at the time in Old Towne, most stately, except for Broad Street, which was out of reach for anybody anyways.
Interviewer: “the most stately homes.”
Einhorn: The better ones, yeah, I mean, we got some amazing deal. This house, I could never afford to buy a house working at the prison or whatever it was, but they made that deals, you know, low interest loans that people used, rehab loans, and people used that to rehab their house. They bought it for, I don’t know, sixty, seventy, eighty thousand and then instantly turned it in to hundred forty, hundred fifty – doubled the value just by making it a little prettier. So, we’ve all moved here and it’s a little bit, it’s somewhat of a more tolerant area, so, I’m here. Artists and hippies, you know, or past hippies are comfortable, but we have other people on the fringe. We have a huge gay population, gay presence here in Olde Towne. I like it because you know they… I like gay. They don’t have kids, so they spend their money on their house, furnishing it and making it look good. It’s all good for the neighborhood, you know. All the prices rise up.
Interviewer: You used the term Olde Town to refer to this neighborhood and yes, today we do call this neighborhood Olde Towne East…
Interviewer: …but fifty years ago, it wasn’t called that at all. It’s a fairly new term to describe the resurgence of this area.
Einhorn: Yes, and it was, you know, a deliberate decision. There were a group of planners. They were real estate planners and they were mostly black men and they said, “We’ve got this whole area. We’ve got to bring it back up so, how’re we going to do that?” One said, “Well, we’ve got to attract white people,” you know? And they said, “Well, why?” and we said, “Well, because they have money and they’ll fix the houses and the neighborhoods will rise up,” and it’s pretty much what happened, so, they said, “How’re we gonna’ get the white people to come?” “Well, you’ve got to give them something like an Olde English… they love that kind of stuff, you know? So, then they called it Olde with an “e”, Old-e, Town-e with an “e” at the end. It’s Old-e Town-e East.
Interviewer: Now, this is, you’re telling me that this neighborhood, some of this effort was spurred by black real estate people. It wasn’t just the white people who moved in.
Einhorn: No, the white people moved in because the opportunity presented itself, but the whole idea was started by, you know, local, black business people and the house on Broad Street used to be called Model Neighborhoods? You remember that? And…
Interviewer: That was kind of a, an effort by the federal government to try to bring inner cities back.
Einhorn: Right, and so they had a meeting there, a group of people, at the, “Well, we gotta’ upgrade, how’re we gonna’ bring white people here?” “Well, make it sound old and quaint. White people love that,” you know?
Interviewer: And yet that has caused some conflict between the older black residents of the neighborhood and some of the new whites who have moved in.
Einhorn: Some. There was a documentary that somebody made fifteen years ago, I think, maybe twenty years ago, and,
[another voice – The Flag Wars?]
Interviewer: Flag Wars it was called.
Einhorn: The Flag Wars because there were rainbow flags that were starting to appear all around and to certain Black people, it looked like it was an invasion of…
Interivewer: Gay people.
Einhorn: White people, well, but Gay people they were especially unhappy with because, you know, they’re still unhappy about that. Yeah, but I knew the woman who put this thing out. I mean, it’s a documentary but, she had an agenda, you know? She had, in her mind it was a huge conflict, okay? and she made it look like it was and it was kind of a hatchet job in a way, but I think we’ve done a lot of inroads. I mean, then you have hot times, for example, the Festival which is completely integrated on all levels and we embrace each other’s culture by sharing the arts. We love other cultures’ music. We love other cultures’ art. They love our music, you know? So, the arts, in my opinion, is the reason that this is a pretty tolerant neighborhood.
Interviewer: And you and your wife Lynn have been leaders in helping have this festival every year.
Einhorn: Well, Lynn, especially Lynn. We’re involved for years in the planning. It takes a year to plan an event like that. It’s a huge event, you know? and lots of money is made through that event. It takes a lot of money just to run the festival. It takes about a hundred grand to do that festival, Comfest. I’m talking about Comfest. No, no, yeah, right and hot times, so, yes, we’ve been involved in planning and going to the meetings and at times we were more active. Now we let the young people scream at each other. We’re just sitting on the sidelines.
Interviewer: Let me ask you. We’re here at 952 Bryden Road.
Interviewer: Before World War II in the Twenties and Thirties and early Forties, this neighborhood had many, many Jews.
Einhorn: Yes. Yes.
Interviewer: There were synagogues…
Einhorn: Right across the street from me, that old building that’s still standing? is the old Hebrew school of Temple Israel when it was here and the park, the open space? that was the temple. So, yes, and so, that was the Jewish neighborhood of Columbus, the East side. For some reason the Jews always live on the east side of town wherever they are, you know? It’s true in New York. It’s true in Chicago. It’s true in Detroit. It’s true in Columbus. It’s true in Cleveland, you know? I don’t know what it is. We’re all looking east towards Jerusalem, I guess, you know?
Interviewer: Do you see any meaning or irony in the fact that here you are returning in a way, not you personally, but here you are a Jew in the inner city and it’s in the old, what used to be the old Jewish neighborhood?
Einhorn: I’m also one of the few Jews here now. There’s maybe three or four other Jewish households in the whole neighborhood that I know of. So, it was interesting. About, I don’t know how many years ago, it was maybe ten, no, more than ten, maybe twenty, maybe thirty years ago? You know, Temple Israel on Broad Street, they moved to Broad Street and this thing became available and they were doing like a hundred year celebration of some kind and they had the program and all that and Lynn and I worked on editing the program, you know, laying it out, correcting things, whatever, changing, [type-phones?] whatever, so what was interesting was we found out a lot about the Jewish population here. So, we also do a yearly house tour here in Old Towne and it’s usually in the, right around…latkes, Hanuka, right? It’s right around then, so, somebody said, “Well, we” somebody told us, “Well, we need to pay homage to the ancestry what was here before us.” So, they said to Lynn and I, “You guys are Jews. Give us the Jewish perspective.” Well, we went to Temple Israel and they had a huge map, right? of Columbus, of the east side of Columbus and then they gave us their membership roster, all the families that were members that lived all around and we put a pin on every address, you know, and we made a display that way and it showed all these pins were Jewish households.
Interviewer: This is their current membership.
Einhorn: No, this was during, you know, the height of their, no, this was like at the beginning, early Nineteen-Hundreds…
Einhorn: …when Jews were just first moving here.
Interviewer: This was where Jews were back then, in the early Nineteen-Hundreds. Okay.
Einhorn: Well, from there through World War II there were very few Jews living in the suburbs. That happened with the suburban flight, White flight and all that, but, right, so, yeah, I mean there were not just households but businesses, all kinds, you know, grocery stores and the bakeries, whatever, whatever people needed, right?
Interviewer: And you saw all these pins were in this neighborhood and on Parsons Avenue and Franklin.
Einhorn: We must have put about a hundred pins up on just…and it all kind of concentrates on what today’s Olde Towne East which would have been Parsons Avenue – Parsons Avenue was very Jewish all the way to Schottenstein, right? Yeah, so this was a Jewish neighborhood. I don’t know if the family who lived here or not was Jewish or not. Their last name was Rose, R-o-s-e. Could be a Jewish name, could be anything else, and I don’t know…I found out, you know, when you move into a house, if you’re lucky they give you an abstract. Do you have one of those? It’s interesting to read, you know, it’s just like a history lesson, you know. I mean, it starts with what Indian tribes lived here, you know, and then, you know and about Columbus. Columbus was, a lot of it was the refugee tract which were these soldiers who fought on the American side but lived in Canada and so, when the 49 Parallel became the border, they were on the wrong side of the parallel so, they said, “We can’t leave those guys there. They’re veterans.“ So, they donated each of them a piece of land in the Ohio wilderness. None of them ever saw their land and had no idea what it was, but some of them did, like Sullivan and he developed it. He knew what to do with it.
Interviewer: And so, you’ve been able to look back at your abstract and see the names of other families who lived in this house?
Einhorn: It was mostly that Rose family. They had the first sixty years, I think. The old man had thirty years. He died. His son took it over and he had it for thirty years. They had no kids so they willed it to a distant relative who had no idea what Olde Towne was. She came here. She found a bunch of old drunks living in this place and she said, Yuch. We just got to paint over everything white, get rid of all those drunks and see if we can get some…” and she had no idea, so she didn’t even ask for much. I mean, her asking price was really low to begin with. We saw what it was and she didn’t. That’s luck or also, it’s the chance you take when you do real estate, you know? You might get stuck with a lemon, or you might get stuck with a good price or, I mean, a good house. Yeah, so we like living here, absolutely, and it’s interesting to see all the Jewish remnants. So, up in my bedroom upstairs, for some reason my friend is there and he looks out the window and he goes, “That’s my Hebrew School.” I said, “What?” He said, “Those apartments, that’s my Hebrew School. That’s where I went to Hebrew School.” I said, “Really,” you know. “Yeah, and the shul was right next to that.” Now it’s a park. It’s Blackberry Park but it was the shul and the church that’s on Eighteenth, Seventeenth and Bryden, it was built by the same architect and the architect was actually, what’s his name? Oh, his son became a real famous painter. Whistler. Mother. Whistler. Yeah, James Whistler? The old man was an architect and he built a lot of the places around here and he…so, interesting. The shul was built in the round. The bima was right in the center.
Interviewer: The shul that used to be right across the street here…
Interviewer: …which was Temple Israel.
Interviewer: It was built as a round…
Einhorn: The congregation sat in round circles that were concentric and in the very middle was the altar, the bima, and it was kind of interesting seating, you know? They kind of did that with the new Agudas Achim. You know how they changed the seating into kind of half circles, more theatrical? It works better, you know? It’s easier to hear and it’s easier to concentrate. “Who’s saying that? Where’s that coming from?” you know. So, if you go, so, then for some reason, I don’t know, we live here, you visit houses. We visited that church and it’s in the round also. In the middle is the altar and people sit, you know, it’s the same construction except the top instead a cross and a Gothic roof it had an onion dome roof, you know with a spike or something and maybe a star at the top. I thought that was interesting, you know.
Interviewer: Do you have any other memories of Jewish institutions. We’ve already talked about early in your life you were at the Jewish Center. I think you said you worked at Martin’s.
Einhorn: I did.
Interviewer: Any other?
Einhorn: I belonged to Hillel for a while when I was in college. I did a few things there. I participated in some of the dramas that they had and a few other things, so…
Interviewer: You did talk about that.
Einhorn: Yeah, so, I had, no, well, at the Jewish Center I did theatre but then I also kept it up and did it at Hillel. It was, at Hillel, it was just a small, it was a one-night production, I can’t…some radio play that somebody converted and it was all about the Warsaw Ghetto, I think, you know, so, we were Ghetto fighters. There were no fake toy machine guns. You couldn’t buy one. It was really hard to, like to find a good fake one so we had to make one out of, you know, duct tape and a broom stick or whatever, black paint.
Interviewer: You have been, you and Lynn, your wife have both been very community-minded.
Interviewer: You’ve associated with a lot of non-Jews…
Interviewer: …with a lot of different cultures…
Interviewer: …peoples of very, from different countries and different cultures and different races…
Einhorn: Yes. Yes.
Interviewer: …and yet you also have a Jewish Identity…
Einhorn: …that I’ll never lose.
Interviewer: I just wonder how you meld those two. How does that work?
Einhorn: I, from a very early age on, my family, my father I think I told you grew up in a shtetl, very Orthodox, so when he came to Belgium, the modern country, he went modern. He shaved his beard, he trimmed his hair, and he was a tailor. He would make these beautiful English style tweed suits, you know, so he looked, he did not look like the shtetl boy anymore. So, then we were secular. What that meant was we went to shul on the High Holidays, you know. We got married in the shuls. We had bar mitzvahs. I went to Jewish school. I think I told you that. We had two schools when I went. One of them was religious orientation and one of them was more secular. It was more about Israel and the State of Israel and we learned Ivrit, not the Ashkenzi way of reading Hebrew, and so, I always had a Jewish Identity tinged somewhat to the left, which kind of reflects the rest of my life also, you know, but I learned it then. I learned all about community thinking and we learned, you know, don’t forget, again, 1948, I’m five years old. 1948 the War in Israel. I’m really young enough to not remember hardly anything but I do remember, I don’t know why that memory stays with me, sitting in a kindergarten class. I’m four or five years old and we’re talking about somebody’s brother or someone’s uncle, or some guy and he’s eighteen-nineteen-twenty who decided to go fight. There were a lot of volunteer fighters in that War of ’48, and so, this touched us directly. This is our family, you know, our people that we knew. There was always that kind of friction, the ultra-Orthodox as opposed to the more, I want to call them more secular Jews, but I loved, I used to love going to the shuls on the High Holidays. I didn’t’ spend any time inside the shul. It was all on the sidewalk in front. It was just groups of us, you know. We just loved to hang out and we would argue politics. We’re like twelve, eleven, you know? and but then I came to Columbus and you know, my age, nobody was talking about politics. Nobody cared. Nobody was involved in it. You know, it was just like not. I mean, they talked about baseball and stuff like that. I didn’t know anything about baseball. How can I talk about baseball?
Interviewer: But you’ve kind of combined an outward looking approach to the world with also a Jewish Identity.
Einhorn: Well, I have that. I mean, my family, I mean I come from that stock, I’m part of that. This is me. This is part of my, who I am and it’s not that unusual, I think, especially here in the States. A lot of Jews are secular so they still go to the High Holidays. They still buy matzah for Passover, you know what I’m saying? They’re still going to friends’ bar mitzvahs or weddings or, so, I consider myself cultural Jewish. My identity as a Jew is a cultural identity. I Identify with the culture, the food, of course, but, you know, all the other traditions that I learned, and with a secular tinge, you know? It’s not Orthodox at all, you know, and I don’t think that’s that unusual in the, I would think most Jews in this country are secular although the religious have become much bigger and stronger than they used to be. When I first came here, they were almost insignificant but they grew and grew. Now, they’re not insignificant.
Interviewer: Your activism in political things, opposing the War in Viet Nam…
Interviewer: … being for civil rights…
Interviewer: …being in support of the Rights movement…
Interviewer: …do you think they are at all affected by your Judaism or are they totally separate?
Einhorn: My point of view?
Einhorn: It has to be. I mean, that’s my, that’s who I’ve been since a baby. I’ve never considered myself not a Jew. Hitler didn’t care how religious or secular you were. You were a Jew, period, you know? I mean, Hitler had a real good definition. You’re a Jew if you say you are. You’re a Jew if we say you are. So, that’s pretty much it, you know? So, so, I’m not very active with the shul. I just, I really don’t like shul things, although, it’s interesting. Every once in a while, I get invited to go to a Sa…a Sabbath service, a Shabbat service, you know, for a bar mitzvah or something like that and, you know, I hear all the old tunes and they’re familiar and I can join in and I like that. I like that whole communal aspect of singing together with the congregation, not for the spiritual. It’s just, it’s a neat thing to do, you know? It’s kind of a group identity, you know, it’s like a shared group experience, you know and that in itself is valuable.
So, and then, you know, when my kids were of age, my oldest son went to Hebrew School. He, and then joined the Boy Scouts, and he was, he makes friends easily and he was popular and he enjoyed that whole Hebrew School thing and he enjoyed the camping and all that until he got to be about twelve years old and he said, “I’m done with this stuff,” you know? “I want to listen to Van Morison or something,” you know. “Okay, you’ve changed.” So, then I was much more involved, also. Now I’m hardly, I’m not even a member. I just don’t ever go except for other people’s events. My kids, my youngest kid didn’t’, hated Hebrew School. They were all Bexley kids and he was not a Bexley kid. His mother wasn’t Jewish. So, my oldest son actually converted. Rabbi Ciner, you remember him? He converted Aaron, my son, because their mother was not Jewish. Ginger was what she called a failed Catholic, just as I’m a failed Jew, I guess, you know?
Interviewer: But, you have a feeling for the Jewish people.
Einhorn: I do and I also have, you know, feelings for Israel although I have to admit, it’s really kind of hard to feel very positive about what’s going on right now. It’s, it’s a horrible neighborhood, the whole area of the Middle East. Have you been to Israel?
Einhorn: Once, yeah, okay.
Interviewer: Well, we’ve talked for probably two and a half hours total about your life, your, your adventures all over the world and your return here to what used to be a Jewish neighborhood.
Einhorn: Yes. I’ve not lost the irony on that at all. I’m totally aware. I like that part. Right now, they’re building this atrocity on Ohio and Bryden.
Interviewer: They’re building what?
Einhorn: Some atrocity, some huge development, okay? Townhouses. The land used to be, used to house the Lazarus mansion. I’ve seen pictures of a seder in the Lazarus mansion. It’s one table and they’ve got like twenty-five people sitting around it. It’s a huge table, you know.
Interviewer: So, another example of how this used to be a Jewish neighborhood.
Einhorn: Right. Right. And if you know about it you can find even more evidence, you know. I mean, like, Lynn, my wife? Her parents lived not far, live in the area and after she and her husband got married, they first lived here in the area also, you know. My sister came as an immigrant and then she found an apartment here somewhere in today’s Olde Towne, so, I have a lot of attachments and going to Ohio State, we used to drive down – they hadn’t finished the freeways yet, only parts of them so, you had to still use the city streets – so, you had, we would go down Bryden all the way to like, Fourth Street and then drive up to campus that way, so, I remember we were just always driving down Bryden Road and I just said, “This is nice here, you know? I mean, look the houses look good, they got greenery, yards. This is a real pretty area,” you know?” I always liked this area. And I always had friends say, “You know Bryden Road’s really a nice place. We should live there sometime,” you know. So,
Interviewer: And here you are.
Einhorn: Yeah, well I said to Lynn, ‘cause she said “Let’s go find a house,” and for a whole year we looked. She did mostly everywhere and it was “This is great. It’d be even greater if we had that on Bryden Road so finally we found this.
Interviewer: With that, let’s end this interview here with Charles Einhorn at his house, 952 Bryden Road. I’m Bill Cohen and we’ve been talking with Charles…
Interviewer: …as part of the Oral History Project
Interviewer: …for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society. Thank you so much.
Einhorn: Thank you, Bill, and most people call me Charlie.