Interview with Elizabeth Goldberg on September 18, 1997. This interview is taking place at 5470 Nelsonia Plaza in Columbus, Ohio. This record is being made for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society. Elizabeth, tell us where you were born.
Goldberg: I was born in Johnstown, Ohio.
Interviewer: Can you give us an idea of where that is in relation to
Goldberg: It’s about 20 miles from Columbus, east or northeast.
Interviewer: Can you tell us the date that you were born?
Goldberg: I was born April 11, 1902.
Interviewer: What do you remember about your family history? Do you have any
memories? Have you ever had any discussions with other family members about the
history of your family? Why did they end up in Johnstown, Ohio?
Goldberg: Well, let me go back a ways and tell you that my very earliest
stories from my father about how he came to this country from Hungary. He and
his brother, when they were probably teenagers, boarded a ship. They didn’t
have the money to pay for their passage, not even steerage, so they climbed on
the gangplank and they grabbed the cables as the gangplank was going up. This
was their plan – how they could get away and get on the boat and with those
slippery cables and the danger of falling in that water at night and nobody
knowing that they were even there – they somehow managed to get onto the boat by
sliding down the gangplank as the gangplank was going up. That’s the way they
Interviewer: Do you have any idea how old your father was at that time?
Goldberg: A teenager is all I can say. He and his brother were single and
very brave, young kids. They came to this country . . . How he got to Cleveland,
Ohio, I don’t know, but . . .
Interviewer: Do you know where they took off from?
Goldberg: Hungary. I don’t know what port. Just from Hungary. Why or how he
went to Cleveland, I’m not sure. When they got to Cleveland, they had no money
or anything but I think in those days, they could get needles, thread and yard
goods on consignment. He was a handsome young man and had lot of
personality and somewhere or other, he found a lot of friends who helped him. In
those days, we had dirt roads for horse and buggies so my father hired a horse
and buggy to go out into the country and sell yard goods, thread, needles and
buttons and this was the way he got started. He did this every summer
and every winter for a number of years. People along the way got to know him.
The farmers got to know him. There were long distances between the farms and
they would keep him overnight when the weather was real bad – he would stay with
them. He learned the language from the farmers. The children who were going to
school showed him their school books and taught him what was in the books and
this was the way my father learned the language. He had some knowledge, of
course, from Hungary but the American ways and the American way of handling
money and all, he learned from the farmers. And they were all his friends. And
that is why my father eventually settled in that area, coming down from
Cleveland, down through the central part of Ohio.
While in Cleveland, he met. my mother. After a short romance, they married.
She came from Hungary, also. She had come over here with a sister and a young
nephew. My mother worked in Cleveland as a maid. The two of them were married
and I think the year was 1888. By that time, my father had accumulated a little
money to set up a little store of his own in the city of Polk, Ohio. There, my
eldest sister was born in the year 1889. They lived there for a number of years.
Then they moved to Fredricksburg where my eldest brother was born. This was in
1892 that he was born.
Interviewer: That’s also in northern Ohio?
Goldberg: Yes, that’s also in northern Ohio. From Fredricksburg, they
eventually moved on to Johnstown and that’s where I was born. There was
another child who was born and passed away from pneumonia at that time. My
sister, Mildred and I were both born in Johnstown.
Interviewer: We’ll talk more about your siblings as we go on. I just wanted
to get some background and this is perfect. So you think the reason your father
moved to these small communities from Cleveland was so that he could establish
his own business areas because he was independent?
Goldberg: Yes. He was independent and like I said, he had such a likable
personality, it was easy for him to make friends. He had a lot of friends that
he made along the way. When we moved to Johnstown, my father opened up a store
called the Racket Store. It was a general merchandise store. We lived there, of
course, for a number of years. My mothers’ younger brother came to live with
us at that time in Johnstown and about that time, my father’s older sister
came over to this country to marry a man in the state of Washington. On her way,
she stopped in Johnstown and fell in love with the younger brother of my mother
and the two of them lived with us in Johnstown, also. So we had a little family
of our own there.
Interviewer: Do you remember any Jewish families there?
Goldberg: There were no Jewish families in Johnstown. We were the only Jewish
family there. We had a lot of nice friends we made there including the Ashbrook
family. Mr. Ashbrook became a representative from Ohio in the government and he
was the banker in the city and helped my father a great deal as far as the
financing of the business was concerned. We lived in Johnstown until my father
became ill and he – we didn’t know what diabetes was in those days – went to
Cleveland and to the Cleveland Clinic (it was then the Crile Clinic). He stayed
there and was treated there for what was diabetes but they didn’t know how to
treat it. I was six years old when my father became ill and, my mother, not
wishing to leave him in Cleveland and us in Johnstown, moved us all to Cleveland
for a period of about one year. Someone else was running the store at time. My
younger brother was born in Cleveland and eventually my father regained his
health and we moved to Sunbury, Ohio where we opened up another store.
Interviewer: What happened to the store in Johnstown?
Goldberg: We held our interest in the Johnstown store for a good many years
and then when we found we weren’t going back to Johnstown, my father sold the
store in Johnstown to . . . well, I don’t remember the name of the man who
bought the store. Anyhow, we lived in Sunbury for a number of years.
Interviewer: Sunbury is outside of . . .
Goldberg: Columbus. I went to school there in Sunbury and then in 1916, we
moved to Columbus. We continued to run the store in Sunbury.
Interviewer: Do you happen to remember the name of your father’s store in
Goldberg: It was the Racket Store, also.
Interviewer: It sounds like it was a little department store, a dry goods
Goldberg: It was a large store. We sold everything from groceries to men’s
clothing. Of course, men’s clothing in those days was overalls. Most men had
only overalls and maybe a suit that they got married in. We sold shoes,
household furnishings, yard goods and we had a grocery department. The farmers
would bring their eggs in and trade their eggs for merchandise. We had a lot of
yard goods because women made their clothes in those days. They made their
husband’s shirts. That was our store in Sunbury and in Johnstown.
Interviewer: So your dad turned out to be successful.
Goldberg: My dad was a very successful merchant and eventually the store was
turned over to my older brother and my sister, who married Will Welbur. They
lived in Mt. Gilead and opened up a store there.
Interviewer: The same kind of store?
Goldberg: The same thing and they lived there for three or four years. My
sister and Will had the store called The Union. Then my sister became pregnant
with their second child and died in childbirth. At that time, my brother-in-law
did not want to remain there any longer so he moved to Columbus, also. We had a
young nephew by the name of Phillip that lived with us – my sister’s first
son. He opened up a store in Columbus on High Street.
Interviewer: North High? or South High?
Goldberg: It was on North High Street. He was in business there for a good
number of years.
Interviewer: What kind of store was it?
Goldberg: General merchandise. Then Will moved to South Bend and opened up a
large store there called Roberts and lived in South Bend for the remainder of
Interviewer: Your brother’s-in-law last name was?
Goldberg: Welbur. Will Welbur. I went to school at East High School. I
graduated from East High School which was on Franklin Avenue at that time, not
on East Broad Street. I met my husband when I was in my senior year at high
school and we married.
Interviewer: What was he doing at that time?
Goldberg: He was in service. He was just out of service when I met him and he
had been an athlete all his life. He played baseball and football. In fact, he
was a member of one of the earliest football teams and is in the Hall of Fame in
Canton, Ohio. I met him at a baseball game. I didn’t know him and was
introduced to him at this baseball game.
Interviewer: Just to go back a little. You gave us some valuable information
about your parents but I don’t think I got their names.
Goldberg: My father’s name was Moritz and my mother’s name was Rickey
Frankel. She came from a long line of Frankels. There are a lot of Frankels in
Interviewer: And your parents’ last name was?
Interviewer: So you met your husband. What was his name?
Goldberg: Harry Goldberg.
Interviewer: And he was already out of high school?
Goldberg: Yes. He had been in service. He had been stationed at Camp Sherman
in Chillicothe and was head of the salvage department. My father-in-law was in
the scrap iron business and Harry understood salvage so he was put in charge of
the salvage department in Chillicothe. He remained there throughout the war.
Interviewer: Can you explain a little more about salvage. Is there some
background about salvage?
Goldberg: I don’t know much about the salvage department in the army but I
know that’s what he was assigned to do.
Interviewer: Something to do with scrap. Some type of military scrap,
Goldberg: I imagine that had something to do with it.
Interviewer: Kind of interesting. I hadn’t heard that term used. That’s a
new term. During your time of growing up – we’re going to go back to your
married life but let’s go back just a little bit – were your parents
affiliated with a synagogue or the Jewish community?
Goldberg: Yes. It is interesting that you mention this because we were the
only Jewish family, as I said, in this small community but my father taught us a
great deal about the Bible. He would read to us out of the Bible and explain it
to us in a way that we could understand. Then, when we were old enough to go to
Sunday School, we would take a train every Sunday morning from Sunbury and ride
into Columbus – that was our transportation – to go to Sunday School. This
Sunday School was at Temple Israel and we did that every Sunday morning. Then
after we moved here, my sister and I were confirmed at Temple Israel.
Interviewer: Just a little curious about the train ride. Did someone
Goldberg: My father always brought us in. And after we moved to Columbus, we
joined the Tifereth Israel congregation and he became very active in Tifereth
Israel which at that time was on Washington Avenue, I believe. Then later, when
it became time for them to build a temple on Broad Street. He was very active in
building the temple. In fact, we had the gold spade for many years that turned
the first shovel of dirt for the new temple.
Interviewer: So he really was . . .
Goldberg: One of the founders of Tifereth Israel.
Interviewer: Do you remember any other people who might have been involved?
Goldberg: The Wasserstroms. The Polsters.
Goldberg: Were the Schlezingers from Tifereth Israel?
Goldberg: Somehow or other, I associated them with Agudas Achim.
Interviewer: Someday we’re going to do a background of each of the
synagogues and we’ll get all the information, hopefully, gathered together.
But it’s obvious you have a real vested interest in the beginning of Tifereth
Goldberg: And then, of course, my husband’s family were instrumental in
helping build the Agudas Achim synagogue. They were founders of it.
Interviewer: Were you related to Minnie Goldberg?
Goldberg: No. No relation. That’s a story in itself. The Goldbergs are not
Goldbergs. Their name was Auerbach. When my father-in-law came to this country,
being afraid that he would be taken back for military service, he took the name
of Goldberg. He was afraid to let anybody know that he was an Auerbach so that
we did not know that was his family name until a member of the family came to
visit and we asked how we were related and he said, “This is my father’s
son.” And we asked how is his name Auerbach and your name is Goldberg? Then
he told us the story.
Interviewer: That’s interesting. You mentioned your siblings. Can you fill
us in on their names and who their children might have been and where they ended
up as far as living the important parts of their lives?
Goldberg: Well, my oldest sister graduated high school in Cleveland, Ohio.
That was the time we moved there for a year. She met her husband, Will Welbur,
in Cleveland. He was from
Minessa, Pennsylvania but was visiting there at the time she met him. Her
name was Sadie.
Interviewer: She had the one child?
Goldberg: She had the one child. My brother, who was three years younger than
my sister, married and had a son by the name of Donald who passed away when he
was in his thirties from melanoma cancer. And my sister, Mildred, married Allen
Tarshish. She was very active in Sisterhood and in the Temple activities. Then I
had a younger brother by the name of Nelson. Nelson never married. He was a
bachelor and he said that his mother and his sisters were his sweethearts. He
was very devoted to us. He had a lot of girlfriends but we were his sweethearts.
Interviewer: Now your sister, Mildred Tarshish, she had children?
Goldberg: Yes, a daughter by the name of Marilyn and she married Michael
Weiner of Boston.
Interviewer: You mentioned something about your father’s illness and your
sister passed away in childbirth. Do you remember, as a youngster, having any
childhood illnesses? Chickenpox? Measles? Those kinds of diseases?
Goldberg: I suppose we did have but there was nothing important as far as our
illnesses were concerned.
Interviewer: Do you have any other relatives that you remember as a young
child? Your father came over with one brother. What happened to that uncle?
Goldberg: Well, they all lived in Cleveland. My mother was one of ten
Interviewer: Goodness. So you had a lot of relatives.
Goldberg: Yes. And the younger brother met his wife when she came to visit my
father. They lived with us for a good many years. Eventually they moved to
Cincinnati and they opened up theaters there. They were among the first
Nickelodeon Theaters that he opened up in Cincinnati. We became interested in
theaters so we invested with him. At one time, we owned what was the Majestic
Theater here in Columbus and there was also another theater that was in the Neil
House block. The Neil House wasn’t built at that time. The other theater was
on Main Street where the Southern Hotel was. That was called the Victor Theater.
The Majestic Theater, I think, was probably the first theater in Columbus to
Interviewer: How interesting. I recently interviewed Joseph Summer and he
made mention of some of the movie theaters downtown. And they included what you
were just telling us about so that reconfirms another possibility for us in the
background of Columbus. You mentioned that you went to East High School. I don’t
remember if you told us about your elementary school.
Goldberg: I went to school in Johnstown. We didn’t have kindergarten in
those days so I probably was in the first grade there. Then I went to school in
Cleveland for the year that I was there when my father was ill. While I was
there, I met Violet Shinbach – she was Violet Spira at the time. I went to
school with her. Another little playmate I had was Eunice Halley and she married
Ralph Rosenthal who lived here in Columbus later in life. Violet moved to
Columbus and we were friends for many years, until Violet passed away a couple
Interviewer: How interesting. Do you remember how your family celebrated
Goldberg: Like most families.
Interviewer: Your father was in the retail business. Was there a halt during
important holidays? Did he close the store?
Goldberg: Yes. My father was very religious. He always put on his tiffilin in
the morning. Even though we lived in the country, we’d see this every morning.
We were taught our prayers.
Interviewer: So you were away when holidays came along.
Goldberg: Yes. We celebrated all the holidays.
Interviewer: I’m curious. Was your family religious to the point of keeping
Goldberg: We couldn’t keep kosher per se because we couldn’t get meats,
but we didn’t buy meats in the country.
Interviewer: So you didn’t use traif meat?
Goldberg: No. Actually, we had nothing but eggs and vegetables unless on a
Sunday, while we were in Sunday School, my father would go to Katz’s Butcher
Shop and buy some meat that we would take back to our home. That was a treat but
for the most part, we lived on vegetables. In fact, I was a vegetarian until
after I was married.
Interviewer: That was before it was even fashionable.
Goldberg: I didn’t know why I was a vegetarian.
Interviewer: That’s interesting that was how you managed that. Do you
remember as a youngster, how you all participated in responsibilities at home?
Goldberg: Since we had the store and my mother and father were together
always (they were always very much in love with one another and were
sweethearts), my father never went anyplace without my mother.
Interviewer: Did she work in the store with him?
Goldberg: She was in the store with him. When we went home at night, he
helped in the kitchen getting meals together for all of us. But we were raised
in the store and as children, we played in the store. We didn’t know anything
Interviewer: I understand that. That’s how my husband grew up so I really
appreciate and understand it. What were your recollections of some political and
social periods of that time? The Great Depression?
Goldberg: 1929? I was married at the time. I remember it very well. At that
time, we lived in Bexley on Cassingham Road. Paul’s Grocery was in business
and we used to buy a lot of our groceries from Paul’s.
Interviewer: This is the same Paul’s that’s on Main Street in Bexley?
Goldberg: Yes. But they aren’t owned by the same people. The people who
owned it then are no longer living. But I do remember getting a telephone call
from them, telling me, “Don’t worry, as long as we have food on the
shelves here, we’ll supply our customers with food.” That was one of the
nice memories of the Depression.
Interviewer: Did it affect you and your husband as a family?
Goldberg: We were quite well established. Naturally, we had to pull in and I
do remember we ate a lot of salmon which was inexpensive at that time. And other
foods that were inexpensive. We cut back on what we were doing. Yes, we were
aware of it.
Interviewer: Can you give us a little background about what you remember
about transportation? You mentioned taking the train from Sunbury. Not everybody
had cars at that time.
Goldberg: Very few people had cars at that time. I remember one of the first
cars I had ever seen was the one car in Johnstown at the time. I’m sure it was
Interviewer: It was kind of a fascination, wasn’t it?
Goldberg: Yes, it was.
Interviewer: Do you remember any prices of things from years back?
Goldberg: I had a picture which I did give to the Columbus Jewish Historical
Society, of our store in Johnstown and I think in the window it says, “Five
cents for a pound of sugar,” or something like that. Of course, prices
today compared to what the prices were then, it seems impossible that we bought
a loaf of bread for five cents.
Interviewer: Well, salaries were quite a bit lower than they are now, too. It
seems it was a lot easier at that time to buy things.
Goldberg: At that time, I wasn’t really concerned about costs and prices.
We had the store and I would invite all my friends in to have candy at the
store, not knowing that my father was paying for it. I thought it was all free.
Interviewer: That was penny candy, right?
Goldberg: I suppose.
Interviewer: What was your life like in high school? Do you have good
memories of your high school years?
Goldberg: Well, I walked to school. We lived on Bryden Road on the last
block. East High School was near Miller Avenue and beyond. I walked to and from
high school most of the time.
Interviewer: With your sisters and brothers?
Goldberg: Most of the time, alone. My sister wasn’t in high school, she
went to another school called Douglas at the time. I was the only one going to
Interviewer: Kind of nice that you had that freedom of walking without having
the fears that we have in today’s world. Did you have friendships in high
school that you maintained years later?
Goldberg: Yes. Rosita Cohen was a year or two ahead of me but at lunchtime,
we’d all get together. Yes, I do remember quite a few of the girls who grew up
in the community that I was friendly with.
Interviewer: Did you work during the school years?
Goldberg: No. My father, as I said, was ill and my mother and father had to
go to Florida. My father had pneumonia and the doctor told him he couldn’t
spend his winters in Columbus. So, starting about 1916, every winter, they went
to Florida. My younger brother went to Staunton Military School and so he was
away all winter. My sister, Mildred, went to Florida with my parents. I remained
home with my older brother, kept house and went to school because I didn’t
want to interrupt my education. Mildred was in a lower grade so she went to
school in Florida. The Florida schools were not quite as good as our schools up
here, so it was very difficult keeping up with them. However, Mildred managed
and eventually she graduated school and went to Ohio State University, became a
journalist and even worked on one of the papers down in Florida years later when
she graduated from college and received her journalism degree.
Interviewer: She had a pretty good background and did well. What about
summer? Did your siblings and you go to summer camp?
Goldberg: No. I don’t think we knew if there were any camps. If there were
camps, we didn’t know about them.
Interviewer: Your entertainment was in the store and at home?
Goldberg: My father had a garden and we helped him.
Interviewer: Was there any organized social life at all? Or was it just
getting together with your friends?
Goldberg: We, as a family, didn’t have a lot of time for a social life.
Interviewer: You were tied up with the business?
Goldberg: Yes. When we lived in Sunbury and were the only Jewish family
there, there was another Jewish family in Centerburg by the name of Spira and
there was another Jewish family in Mt. Vernon by the name of Lurie. We all used
to get together on Sundays and we would have a family dinner together. It was
quite a little crowd. As children, we grew up with their children, knowing their
children. And at about the same time, we moved to Columbus, the Spiras moved to
Columbus and were our neighbors and the Lurie’s moved to Columbus and were our
neighbors so we continued this friendship that we had for so many years.
Interviewer: What businesses were those families in?
Goldberg: Mr Spira, I think, had a bank and was in the loan business. I’m
not sure about Mr. Lurie. He probably had a store of some kind.
Interviewer: Is this the same Lurie family who still live family here in
Goldberg: Yes. Benjamin Lurie was the father. Tom Lurie still lives in
Interviewer: That’s interesting. Did you have an opportunity to go to
college at all?
Goldberg: After I was married, I went to Capital University for two years. I
didn’t get a degree but I did spend two years getting an education.
Interviewer: You told us somewhat about your husband. Let’s go back a
little more and tell us when you met him and when you actually got married.
Goldberg: We met in the summer of 1919. We were married in the fall of 1920.
Interviewer: Where were you married?
Goldberg: In Columbus. In our home. My father and mother had fifty of us for
dinner which they had prepared with some help. My husband’s family was a large
family. There were six children as well as aunts and uncles in the Goldberg
Interviewer: Were your parents happy about your marriage?
Goldberg: Oh, yes. I think they were. We lived at home the first year we were
Interviewer: In your parent’s home?
Goldberg: Yes. So I think they must have cared about us.
Interviewer: It wasn’t terribly unusual at that time.
Goldberg: No. And they were away in Florida during the winter so we were
alone during the winter. It was like my own home. It was my home but it was as
if we had always lived there.
Interviewer: Then after that year, what happened?
Goldberg: We went into housekeeping and lived in an apartment for awhile –
about three or four years and then we were able to buy a home in Bexley where we
lived for thirty-five years.
Interviewer: Where was this home?
Goldberg: On Cassingham, near the school. Lovely little stucco home there.
196 South Cassingham.
Interviewer: And you lived there a long time. Was that the only home you and
Harry lived in?
Goldberg: Outside of the apartment.
Interviewer: Tell us about your children.
Goldberg: My oldest son, Eugene, is married and lives in Washington, D.C. He
is in charge of the Washington offices of Dean Witter & Company.
Interviewer: Who is he married to?
Goldberg: He is married to Judy Centner.
Interviewer: Is she originally from Columbus?
Goldberg: No, she’s not from Columbus at all. Eugene was married first to
Janice Max and they were married in 1946. Eugene was just out of service and
they had gone to college together and wanted to get married before he went into
service. However, we were able to persuade him to wait until he returned from
service. They were married and moved to Washington where he was in business with
his father-in-law, in the glass business. They installed glass in all the large
buildings in Washington at the time. It was quite a business. Then his
father-in-law passed away and the business was disbanded and Eugene became a
broker with Dean Witter & Company.
Interviewer: Did he have children with the first marriage?
Goldberg: Yes. He has a daughter by the name of Joan and a son by the name of
Interviewer: Where are they?
Goldberg: Joan is married and lives in Virginia. She is a flight attendant
with US Air. She has been with them for seventeen years.
Interviewer: Goodness. That’s a long time. Does she have children?
Goldberg: She’s married to a man who has two children. David is married and
lives in Kansas City. He was married to Linda Block from H. & R. Block
Company and they have two lovely boys, Andy, who is sixteen and Scott who is
fourteen. David at the present time is not married. Robert and Sylvia live here
in Columbus. Robert was married to Sylvia in . . . well, they’ve been married
forty-four years. They have three children. There is Tom, who is married and
lives in Connecticut. JoAnn, who is married and lives in New Jersey and Donald
who is married and lives in Washington, D.C.
Interviewer: Do they have children?
Goldberg: They all have children. Tom has a daughter, Terri, who is fourteen
years old and twin sons, Mark and Dan, who are twelve years old. Tom is married
to Lynn Graham. JoAnn is married to Buddy Jedd and they have three sons –
Benjamin who is eight years old, Alex who is six and Robert who is four years
old. Donald, who lives in Washington. is married to Annie Carlson. Annie and
Donald have two daughters. The eldest daughter is Melanie and she is four years
old and Katie Elizabeth is two years old.
Interviewer: You have quite a range of children, grandchildren and great
grandchildren. It’s beautiful. I think at this point, we’re going to end
this tape and turn it over.
Interviewer: We’re on Side B with Elizabeth Goldberg and we’re going to
continue. Elizabeth has some information which she has jotted down so I’m
going to let you tell us what you’ve got there.
Goldberg: My mother had surgery for a malignant goiter at the time we lived
in Cleveland. In those days, there was no chemotherapy and they knew very little
about treating cancer. However, she did have radiology following surgery and it
burned her neck badly but she was never troubled by it again. In fact, when she
passed away, it was from a heart attack.
Interviewer: How old was she when she passed away?
Goldberg: She was seventy-eight years old.
Interviewer: And your father? How old was he when he passed away?
Goldberg: My father was about seventy-two. My mother may have been eighty-two
when she passed away. I’m not really sure.
Interviewer: That was a long life at that time.
Goldberg: That’s right. There’s something else that I think is very
interesting that happened in our family and that was, my father’s father, who
lived in Hungary in a little village, was the town veterinarian. He took care of
all the animals. He would shoe the horses. He was a very strong man, according
to what my father would tell us. He was so strong that when he was underneath a
horse, shoeing him, he could practically lift the horse up on his shoulders. In
those days there was no treatment for rabies and animals often became rabid. One
day there was a group of children playing in the town square when a rabid dog
ran into the group of children. He saw this and ran out there, grabbed the dog
by the jaw to keep the children from being bit but was bit himself and died of
rabies when he was in his late thirties. I mentioned this because he was a
strong individual and I feel that some of the strength in our family was
inherited through the genes of this man.
Interviewer: He certainly was courageous and probably saved a lot of lives by
Goldberg: He was a hero, as far as the town was concerned.
Interviewer: Before we both get too tired, I think we need to get a little
background about your husband’s family. Tell us when you were married, what
your husband was doing and how the business continued and what were his
activities in the community. Tell us what you can about Harry’s life.
Goldberg: That in itself is a long story. His father was in the scrap iron
business so he learned the scrap iron business from his father.
Interviewer: And he came from a large family?
Goldberg: Harry came from a family of six children. He was the second
youngest, born in Columbus and he went to South High School. I didn’t know him
until after he’d returned from service and he had been in service for the
duration. I think he’d been in service for about four years. When he got out
of service, he and his brother, Arthur, opened the Goldberg Iron and Steel
Company on West Goodale Street and were in business there until he retired
because of ill health. I’m not sure of the year but we’d been in business
for a good many years.
Interviewer: Did somebody else take over?
Goldberg: No. The business was dismantled. It was a very, very large concern
and there was nobody who was big enough here in the community to take it over.
So it was dismantled piece by piece. We had large cranes and large compressors
that compressed automobiles into bales and sold them to the steel mills in West
Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Interviewer: What was your husband’s involvement in community activities?
Goldberg: He was very active in military groups. He was head of the Forty and
Eight in the community and the state.
Interviewer: What was the Forty and Eight?
Goldberg: It was called the “fun” group of the military service.
Interviewer: Kind of a social thing?
Goldberg: Yes. But they did other things. They did more than have fun. They
helped some comrades that were in trouble. I don’t know too much about the
organization. It was strictly a men’s organization although I think some wives
got together but I didn’t mix with them very much.
Interviewer: What about synagogue? Where did you belong during your marriage?
Goldberg: We belonged to Agudas Achim and also Temple Israel.
Interviewer: Was Harry actively involved?
Goldberg: Very actively involved. His father was head of the Chevra Kadisha
at Agudas Achim and was probably the only one at that time and had been for
years. When his father passed away, Harry became head of the Chevra Kadisha. He
was very active in the synagogue.
Interviewer: What about organizations like the Federation?
Goldberg: Yes. He did a lot of community work with Boy Scouts and was active
in what was called the Rotary Club at that time.
Interviewer: Did you belong to a country club?
Goldberg: Yes. We belonged to Winding Hollow Country Club. We joined there
about 1931 or 1932.
Interviewer: Was Harry an officer at Winding Hollow Country Club?
Goldberg: No. He never became one. His devotion outside his home and business
was to military activities. He was very active in all the military groups. Not
so much the Jewish War Veterans. He was always in the middle of all the
activities that were going on in the community when it came to state wide, etc.
I know that he went to all the conventions.
Interviewer: Well, let’s just step back a little bit. What was his service
record? Where was he stationed?
Goldberg: At Camp Sherman in Chillicothe.
Interviewer: The whole time?
Interviewer: Was there more information that you had jotted down that you
wanted to share with us, Elizabeth? I know that you spent some time doing this
in your very nice handwriting. And it does help to write things down.
Goldberg: I didn’t mention that Robert was one of the first
Endocrinologists in Columbus.
Interviewer: Also, I noted that you played golf for a number of years.
Goldberg: Yes. I had a wonderful record in golf. When I say I had a wonderful
record in golf, I think I was probably the first Jewish woman to take an active
part in golf outside of our Winding Hollow Country Club. I played in all the
Franklin County Golf Tournaments, up to a certain point. And I played in other
clubs here in Columbus. I think I was the first Jewish woman to play in the
district and to be a member of the district and I think I was the first Jewish
woman to play in the Franklin County Tournaments. While I wasn’t a
championship golfer, I always played in the Champions. I was never able to beat
the champions or be the top champion but I was good enough to play in their
foursomes. The first year that I played golf, I qualified in what was known as
the First Flight but after that, I always qualified in the Championship Flight.
There were only sixteen people in the community who qualified for the
Championship Flight. So I was one of the sixteen people – at least I feel that
was a pretty good record.
Interviewer: Did Harry play golf?
Goldberg: Harry was a great athlete. He played a lot of baseball in his early
days before I knew him and after we were married, he used to referee football
games and play baseball with some of the fellows. And I told you he was in the
Hall of Fame because he was among the first pro football players in the country.
Interviewer: How long did you play golf?
Goldberg: I started playing when we joined Winding Hollow Country Club in
1932. I played golf up until a couple years ago.
Interviewer: Yes, I heard about your golfing.
Goldberg: In fact, I was inducted into the Jewish Hall of Fame. Some of the
community activities that I took part in, first of all, I have to say that I
started by being on the committee of the Service to Foreign Born for the Council
of Jewish Women. Because of my involvement, I later became President of the
Council of Jewish Women. I was Vice President for a number of years and later
Interviewer: So when you say Service to Foreign Born . . . .
Goldberg: Service to Foreign Born was a department that was part of what we
did. At that time, there was a lot of resettlement going on. I think this was
true throughout history but there was a tremendous amount of resettlement going
on at that time. We did a lot of resettling in the city. I used to work with
Reva Gordon and we used to go out finding homes and helping them get settled in
the community. During the time that I was President of the Council of Jewish
Women, there were a lot of children from Europe who needed homes and the
Rothschilds had a home in France where they would gather the children together
and bring them into these homes but they couldn’t keep them all there because
they were bringing so many in and they had to bring them into this country to
help resettle them. At the time that I was President, we had one of the
Rothschilds here and we had a meeting at the Deshler Hotel. We found homes for
five children here which we thought was a wonderful thing. And these children,
most have grown up in this community, settled in the community and are living
Interviewer: Do you remember some of them?
Goldberg: Yes. One of the girls is married to . . . her first name is Lotta
and she is married to Grubin Berliner. She is one of the girls we settled at
Interviewer: That’s interesting. So she didn’t have family.
Goldberg: She was brought here. Lou and Ann Roth took her in and they were
subsidized. And they raised her.
Interviewer: So these were youngsters who . . . .
Goldberg: They were teenagers. The saddest thing was to go down to the train
and see this train coming through Columbus, loaded with children, from New York,
hanging out the windows, waving to these five children who got off in Columbus
and the only connection they had with the past was this train that was leaving
Interviewer: What happened to their families?
Goldberg: These children were children that were tossed out of the trucks .
Interviewer: During World War II?
Goldberg: Yes. And taken to France to the Rothschild home there.
Interviewer: Fascinating. You were involved in a dramatic part of their
Goldberg: Well, that was during a period that I was President of the Council
of Jewish Women. In 1949, I became chairman of the Case Committee of the Jewish
Family Service and in 1956, I became the first woman President of the Jewish
Family Service and later I was chairman of the Admissions Committee for the
Jewish Home for the Aged. That was the forerunner of Heritage House. From 1963
until 1968, I was a board member of the Central Ohio Arthritis Association and a
charter member of the women’s board of the Columbus Museum of Art.
Interviewer: You’ve had a colorful background.
Goldberg: And of course, my activities remained. I’m still a member of
practically every organization that most of the Jewish women are members of.
Interviewer: I think more and more Jewish women are becoming less and less
Goldberg: Well, the whole pattern has changed. In those days, women didn’t
work like they dotoday. I think the fact that we have so many social workers
today who have taken over the work of the volunteers has meant that there are
Interviewer: Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your personal life experiences
with the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.