This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on Sunday May 17, 2015, as a part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project.
INTERVIEWER: The interview is being recorded at 485 South Parkview, Apartment 311, in Bexley, Ohio. My name is Phyllis Komerofsky and I am interviewing Florence Luper Holzer. Her niece who is visiting here may also interject now and then or clarify something. Her name is Sharon Wolfson Blum.
Okay. Thanks, Florence, for doing this. Can you tell us what is your full name?
HOLZER: Florence Luper Holzer.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Do you have a Jewish name, a Hebrew name?
INTERVIEWER: Fruma, okay.
INTERVIEWER: Who were you named for?
HOLZER: A relative on the Luper side, so I don’t know.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. How far back can you trace your family?
HOLZER: My grandfather.
INTERVIEWER: Your grandparents or farther?
HOLZER: My grandfather.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Do you know any legends or stories of the past that have been told and retold by your family?
HOLZER: I don’t remember that.
INTERVIEWER: What was your mother’s full name?
HOLZER: Rivka Kotosky. Rebecca Kotosky.
INTERVIEWER: How do you spell Kotosky?
INTERVIEWER: Kotosky, okay. And what was your father’s full name?
HOLZER: Abraham Luper.
INTERVIEWER: And what country were they born?
HOLZER: Russia, where in Russia I don’t recall.
INTERVIEWER: Both in Russia. Do you know when they came to this country?
HOLZER: Oh boy. 1904, 1906, put 1904. That’s not vital.
INTERVIEWER: 1904. It’s close. Do you know why they came here?
HOLZER: A place to live. Why did everybody else, why do all the others come here for? A place to live is all.
INTERVIEWER: How did they come to the United States?
HOLZER: On a ship.
INTERVIEWER: Through where? Do you know where they came in?
BLUM: “Cookie” came from Bremen. We came from Bremen. Well, they came in to New York but they came from I think it was Bremen. They came from Germany. (ed: The grandchildren called their grandfather “Cookie”.)
HOLZER: Yes. I don’t remember.
INTERVIEWER: Did they already have family in the United States?
HOLZER: I guess. There were cousins or something.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know where they were?
HOLZER: Boston, New York.
BLUM: Cincinnati. Was anybody in Cincinnati?
HOLZER: Oh, Cincinnati.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Can you remember hearing stories about your mother and father when they were young?
HOLZER: No. There were lots of stories but I couldn’t place any of them.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Do you know the names of your grandparents? Your grandparents names were…?
INTERVIEWER: No, your grandparents.
BLUM: Papa’s parents were…
HOLZER: Papa’s parents were Luper.
INTERVIEWER: What were their first names?
HOLZER: Morris Luper
INTERVIEWER: Morris Luper and…
HOLZER: Anna Luper.
INTERVIEWER: And on the other side of the family, the Kotosky side?
HOLZER: Simson Kotosky was my grandfather.
INTERVIEWER: Simson Kotosky and your grandmother?
HOLZER: Chana Gittel.
INTERVIEWER: Chana Gittel. Okay. Did your parents tell you how they met?
HOLZER: I never heard of any special get together.
INTERVIEWER: Did you? (ed: Addressed to Sharon Wolfson Blum.)
BLUM: Yes, there was somebody who introduced them but I don’t remember who it was. It was somebody in the family. They were introduced by cousins. They were introduced by family members to each other but I don’t know who they were.
HOLZER: I never remember who.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Now on to questions about your early life. Do you have brothers or sisters?
INTERVIEWER: Her name?
INTERVIEWER: Sara Wolfson. Okay. Who was older?
INTERVIEWER: And when was she born?
INTERVIEWER: And you were born in…
INTERVIEWER: Which makes you how old right now?
BLUM: You were fourteen months younger though
INTERVIEWER: Okay, so how old are right you?
HOLZER: A hundred and what, three?
INTERVIEWER: Hundred and three. Where did you live when you and Sara were growing up?
HOLZER: On Mound Street in Columbus.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have any early memories about growing up with her?
INTERVIEWER: You want to talk about anything?
BLUM: Well, you can share memories of dinners or seders or when you all got together and had…
HOLZER: Well, we were always, we lived this, I don’t know how to put it. It was a close family relationship. No one special… I can’t think of any one special…
BLUM: You spent a lot of time with your cousins as playmates.
HOLZER: Oh yes.
INTERVIEWER: I forgot to ask one important question back in the other section. Do you know the names of your mother’s and your father’s siblings? Let’s start with your mother.
BLUM: Can you name everybody on here? (ed: Referring to large family photo shown by the interviewer.)
HOLZER: Start with the oldest. Simon Kotosky, Abe Kotosky, Saul Kotosky, Jake Kotosky, Chaya Mendelson, Sadie Morgan, who else? Rachaele / Rose Lurensky. (Rachel Leah/Rose Lurensky)
BLUM: She married someone named Lurensky. Did we do this one? Oh, that’s your mother and your father. (ed: Pointing to photo.)
HOLZER: No, this is Abe Kotosky. This is only Kotoskys. Abe Kotosky, Sadie Morgan, Chaya Mendelson, Simon Kotosky, and Saul Kotosky.
INTERVIEWER: Florence is looking at a family picture. Now your father’s side of the family?
HOLZER: You should know that. (ed: Note that the interviewer, Phyllis Komerofsky, is related on the Luper side.)
INTERVIEWER: You have to tell us.
HOLZER: Abe Luper and Louis Luper, Fruma…
INTERVIEWER: And Florence Weisenberg,
HOLZER: That was your grandmother. Ethel Miller, Esther Naiditch.
INTERVIEWER: How do you spell that? Spell Naiditch.
HOLZER: N-a-i-d-i-t-c-h. Bertha Luper. Rae Mellman, Sophie Luper, Fannie Goldstein, Sarah Miller, and Mollie Luper.
INTERVIEWER: Read this. Can you just read these last two lines?
HOLZER: Oh, Last one alive were Sarah born in 1903 and Mollie born in 1905. Both died in 1990.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Thank you. Okay, back to your early life. What were you like as a teenager?
HOLZER: I don’t know how to explain it.
INTERVIEWER: Were you active in things?
HOLZER: I wasn’t active. I wasn’t active in any organizations.
BLUM: You helped around the house, had chores.
HOLZER: I helped my mother and I worked with my father when he had the bakery. I worked in the store part of the bakery.
INTERVIEWER: So, your father took over the bakery from his parents?
HOLZER: No, This bakery he started up by himself.
INTERVIEWER: What was the name of that?
HOLZER: Luper’s Bakery.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, Okay. What was your first job that you ever got paid for?
HOLZER: Hart Manufacturing.
BLUM: Oh, that was my mom, Sara.
HOLZER: That was your mom. WPA, ever hear of WPA? It was Work Progress. It was government. (ed: Works Progress Administration was a government program.)
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember what you got paid at the time?
HOLZER: It was a good salary for that time I remember. It was a good salary.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Where did you go to school? In elementary school?
HOLZER: Fulton Street Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and South High School.
INTERVIEWER: And you went to college?
HOLZER: At Ohio State.
INTERVIEWER: Did you graduate?
INTERVIEWER: In what degree?
HOLZER: Home Economics
BLUM: Bachelor of Science.
HOLZER: Bachelor of Science in Home Economics.
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember the days of the Great Depression?
HOLZER: Oh, my yes.
INTERVIEWER: How did your family cope with that time?
HOLZER: I don’t know how to explain that.
INTERVIEWER: How about you? How did you cope with it?
HOLZER: I was frugal. I didn’t run around or…all they did…
BLUM: You had the bakery and there was a grocery store in the family so…
HOLZER: I worked in the bakery, in the store part of the bakery, not the end of it.
HOLZER: I don’t remember now what…
INTERVIEWER: Where was the bakery?
HOLZER: On Mound Street, Mound and Washington.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, now on to your adult family life. What was the name of your husband?
HOLZER: Charles Holzer.
INTERVIEWER: How did you meet him?
HOLZER: Through friends.
INTERVIEWER: In Columbus?
HOLZER: In Columbus.
INTERVIEWER: Can, do you remember how he proposed to you?
HOLZER: No, I don’t.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. How old were you when you got married?
HOLZER: Forty something.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know the date of your wedding? You don’t.
BLUM: June 12th, yes you do.
HOLZER: 4-26-12 is my birthday. 6-28-53…
INTERVIEWER: …is when you got married. All right, and where did you get married?
INTERVIEWER: What kind of a place did you get married in? Did you get married in a synagogue or a party room or…
HOLZER: No, the rabbi’s study.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What was your wedding day like?
HOLZER: Just like any other day.
BLUM: It was quiet. It was a quiet wedding. They went away and it was just my mom and was anybody else a witness who went besides your sister to the wedding? Who else was there?
INTERVIEWER: Okay, your father and your sister. Did you go on a honeymoon?
INTERVIEWER: Where did you go?
BLUM: Quebec? Is that when you went to Quebec?
HOLZER: Oh, that’s right. We went to Canada.
INTERVIEWER: To Canada, Okay. Where did you and Charles first live after you got married?
HOLZER: On North Roosevelt. Oh, South Ohio Avenue.
INTERVIEWER: South Ohio Avenue. Okay, and where else have you lived?
HOLZER: North Roosevelt, East Broad Street.
BLUM: Bexley House also. Had a house on East Broad Street but then Bexley House also.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Do you have children?
HOLZER: One son. That I can answer real fast.
INTERVIEWER: And what’s his name?
INTERVIEWER: And where does he live?
HOLZER: Fairfax, Virginia.
INTERVIEWER: And when was he born?
HOLZER: July, 1954, July not the 4th, July, 1954.
INTERVIEWER: July 1954. Is he married?
HOLZER: He’s married. No children.
INTERVIEWER: You have no grandchildren.
HOLZER: No grandchildren.
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember anything special about Tom when he was growing up?
HOLZER: He’s quiet. He’s a quiet person.
INTERVIEWER: And where’d he go to school?
HOLZER: Bexley, Bexley, and Cincinnati University, University of Cincinnati.
INTERVIEWER: Did you take any interesting vacations as a family when he was young?
HOLZER: He went wherever we went. We took him. He was pretty close to home.
INTERVIEWER: Where did you go? Any place interesting on vacations?
HOLZER: Oh, yes. He took…he’s had some very interesting vacations.
BLUM: Where did you and Uncle Charlie take him for vacations? You took some trip with him when he was young that sparked his interest in space, science. Was that down to Washington?
HOLZER: We took quite a few trips but I don’t remember them all. She said Washington.
INTERVIEWER: What does he do? What kind of work does he do?
BLUM: He’s an engineer and he’s worked with the government, maps, surveys and he teaches. He’s doing graduate school teaching now. He’s officially retired but he does graduate school teaching just to keep busy.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Is there anything special that you like to do with Tom when you’re together now?
HOLZER: Nothing special. We just visit.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Have you ever taken an interest in any community work?
INTERVIEWER: Where did you work as an adult?
BLUM: You used to do volunteer work at the hospital for many years. You did volunteer work at Mt. Carmel…
HOLZER: Mt. Carmel East, I did, volunteered at Mt. Carmel East. I guess that’s what I did.
INTERVIEWER: Did you have any, you know, paid jobs?
HOLZER: Oh, I had paid jobs.
BLUM: You worked at Lazarus for many years.
HOLZER: I think working at Lazarus was the biggest paid job.
INTERVIEWER: What did you do there?
INTERVIEWER: Office work.
BLUM: When you came back from Texas that’s where you worked and you worked there until you were married.
HOLZER: That’s right. That’s right. I spent how many years -four years, three years in Texas, Wichita Falls, Texas, and I worked at the army base there.
BLUM: Sheppard Air Force Base.
HOLZER: Air Force – the Air Force base.
INTERVIEWER: And tell us why you went to Texas?
HOLZER: Why? No, we just went there, went there for a visit and stayed. Sharon was born. I went there when Sharon was born and helped Sara with the two boys and my sister and Sharon. I was Sharon’s “mama”!
BLUM: You were my “mama, my first mama”. (ed: joking.)
HOLZER: How old were you when Sarah had the measles?
BLUM: Two weeks. I was two weeks old.
HOLZER: Two, three weeks old. Sara come through the bedroom and said, “Look at something. You’re gonna have to take care of Sharon.” Sara had the measles and I had to take care of Sharon.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, and you stayed.
HOLZER: Uhn huhn. I stayed, decided to stay and got a job until I came home.
INTERVIEWER: A few years later. Do you have any hobbies or special interests? What do you do? Do you read a lot?
HOLZER: I read.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Did you travel to any other places in the world on vacations?
INTERVIEWER: Oh, you went to Israel. Okay. Are there any deaths of loved ones that you want to talk about?
HOLZER: A lot of them I could talk about but I don’t want to take anything away…
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Is there anything unusual that has occurred in your adult life that you wish to talk about?
HOLZER: I wouldn’t know what.
HOLZER: Those things come up spontaneously.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Do you belong to a synagogue here?
HOLZER: Yes. Tifereth Israel.
INTERVIEWER: Tifereth Israel. Okay. Have you ever been on any committees or on the board there?
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Can you describe family life during a favorite holiday, any particular things that went on during seders or…
HOLZER: There were so many nice holidays. I couldn’t begin to select one.
INTERVIEWER: Does religion play an important part in your family?
HOLZER: Yes, yes.
INTERVIEWER: Did you go to Sunday School or…?
INTERVIEWER: Were you confirmed or anything?
INTERVIEWER: Do you have strong family ties?
HOLZER: Yes, definitely.
BLUM: The fact that you always kept kosher, you kept a kosher home and you bench licht every Friday night.
HOLZER: Yes. I follow the tradition.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. All right. Do you know how many of your first cousins are still alive?
HOLZER: I don’t know how many. Quite a few, four from the Luper side and… (Conversation aside.)
INTERVIEWER: So, four on the Luper side and one on the Kotosky side. Okay. Who are the four on the Luper side?
BLUM: You two, Ralph Mellman, Sanford Naiditch and Dorothy Lipshultz and Reva Haberman.
HOLZER: Yeah. Reva’s a first cousin. Dorothy and Sanford, they’re not first cousins. I think they’re second aren’t they?
BLUM: No, They’re first cousins.
HOLZER: Who’s their mother?
HOLZER: Esther, no Esther was the aunt.
BLUM: So there we go, so they’re your first.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any values that your family instilled in you which you still do today?
BLUM: There’s the kosher part…
HOLZER: Stay close to the family. Family.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Who had the greatest influence on you when you were young?
HOLZER: I can’t enumerate that, a lot of family.
BLUM: A lot of them.
HOLZER: Family members but there’s too many to enumerate.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What has helped you get through tough times?
INTERVIEWER: Okay, can you compare the lives of children today with the way they were when you were young? Which was better, when you were younger or the way kids are now?
HOLZER: It’s a matter of opinion.
HOLZER: Can’t pinpoint that one.
INTERVIEWER: How do you think television has influenced our society?
HOLZER: Broadened the overall aspect of things.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Are there any stories that you want to talk about that I haven’t asked about?
BLUM: Well, when you were growing up there were trips that you made, family trips that you made with your sister or maybe you went to visit cousins that was your travel when you were younger and family picnics. Were there family picnics when you were young? You used to go to Storage Dam or to Mirror Lake…
HOLZER: Mostly keeping in touch with family, doing things as family, just whatever came up.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. If you could give any kind of a message about life and love to your son and to the generations to come, what would you say?
HOLZER: Oh, I couldn’t say any one thing.
HOLZER: Just be honest and stay in close contact with family.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Thank you very much. On behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I want to thank you for contributing to the Oral History Project. This concludes the interview.
Transcribed by Linda Kalette Schottenstein, May 8, 2016.
Edited by Sharon Wolfson, 2016.