This interview with Naomi Schottenstein was recorded on February 18, 1998 as
part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project.
Harriet Korn is the youngest of 6 children born to George and Sadie
Shustick, who arrived in the U. S. A. in about 1900. All of her known
relatives are documented in the Bonowitz family tree outline on file at
the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
Harold Korn is the eldest of 6 children born to William and Dora Korn.
At the time of this interview, he was the oldest practicing optometrist
in Franklin County, with an office at 142 E. State Street in Columbus.
They spoke about their careers, military service and families during
this interview with Naomi Schottenstein.
Interviewer: This is February 18, 1998. We’re at the home of Dr.
Harold and Harold. Korn, and they’re located at 485 S. Parkview Avenue
in Bexley. I’m going to start with interviewing Harriet, then Harold,
and together. Harriet, let’s have some background on your family. Let’s
start with your mother and dad.
Harriet: My Dad, who was George – actually, I believe it was Joseph
Shustick, however, he acquired the name of George when he went to work
at a tinsmith shop, which I believe is still in existence. I think it’s
called Schoedinger’s. When one of the other workers didn’t want to
do a certain thing, why, they would say, “Let George do it.”
So that’s how he acquired the name, “George.”
He was born in Russia in 1875 in Kiev, and my mother was also born
there. Her name was Sadie Sandler. Her brothers acquired that name when
they arrived here, but in Russia, I believe it was “Chandrish.”
She was born in Kiev as well, in 1875. In those days birthdays didn’t
have days or months – they just took by the year, and Purim, or
Chanukah, or whatever. My father’s birthday was always Purim, my mother’s was always
Chanukah, whenever that fell. I had two brothers…
Interviewer: Well, your parents, what year did they come to this
Harriet: As far as I can ascertain, my father arrived here about 1900,
and my mother, I would say, after 1905. She arrived with two children –
Fannie was the oldest – who married Abe Bonowitz, and my brother Abe,
and my sister Mollie. Abe was born in 1900, my sister Fannie was born in
My sister, Bobby, was born here in 1906, my brother Cec in 1912, I
was born in 1916.
Interviewer: Do you have any memories of your grandparents, at all?
Harriet: No, I never knew them. They remained in Russia. I’m named
Harriet Katherine – in Jewish, Yocheved for my father’s mother, and
Kayla, for my mother’s sister.
Interviewer: What brought your mom and dad to Columbus, or did they
come right to Columbus?
Harriet: To my knowledge, they came right here to Columbus. My father
had a sister living here – Clara Goldberg. She passed away more than 57
years ago. I believe that was the reason they came to Columbus. Her
husband was a tailor here.
I imagine that was why they came here. (Refer to CJHS Oral History
interview with Clara’s daughter, Frances Goldberg.)
Interviewer: Tell us now about your sisters and brothers, who they
married, and a little bit about their families.
Harriet: My sister, Fannie, married Abe Bonowitz. There is a
difference of 18 years in our ages. I remember my brother – in – law
Abram (Abe Bonowitz) always telling me that when he wanted to court my
sister, my mother also said he couldn’t take her unless he would also
take “the baby (me),” and so he would court my sister while I
went along in the baby carriage. And he always threw that up to me.
Interviewer: So you were a part of the deal.
Harriet: I was part of the deal.
Interviewer: But he married her anyway.
Harriet: He married her anyway, and she is Roselyn Margulies’s
mother and Marvin Bonowitz’s mother. They live in Columbus. And my
brother, Abe, married Esther Smith from Columbus. Her father was a
motorman on a streetcar. I knew him in his later years. My sister,
Mollie’s name was Schwartz and she lived most of her life in
Cincinnati. She has two daughters and they both lived in Cleveland.
My sister, Bobby (Roberta Patricoff,) is 92 and a resident of
Coventry House in Dayton. She lived most of her married life in Dayton.
One of her sons lives in Dayton, the other lives in Florida. My brother,
Cec, practiced dentistry here for many years, then he moved to Florida.
He had two daughters. Carolyn is deceased, and Pippi. Her name is really
Alice. She lives in Cleveland. Her married name is Stratton.
I’m next in line. Harold and I have been married for 57 years. We
met on the campus of the Columbus ________________.
Interviewer: Do you remember any aunts, cousins, other relatives?
Harriet: All of my cousins were much older than I, so really don’t
have too many memories of them. I just had this one aunt in Columbus
Interviewer: Did you go to visit relatives in other cities?
Harriet: We visited my mother’s brother who lived in Buffalo, and I
remember being taken out of school and going to school with my cousin in
Buffalo for short periods there.
Interviewer: How did you travel to visit your relatives?
Harriet: On the train – it was a long, long ride. We would go to
Ashtabula, Ohio, where my mother had a sister, and we would stay there until completing the
Interviewer: Were you in school from beginning to end?
Harriet: Well, I was born at 887 Parsons, where my father had his
first business at the rear of our house, and I went to Beck Street
School until I was in the third grade, and then we moved to 895 South
Ohio, and I lived there until I completed South High School. I remember
when I went to Roosevelt Junior High and South High.
The streetcar ran in front of our house. I remember very vividly in
the Spring, when a band of Gypsies would come and stay across the street
in an empty storeroom, and that was always exciting. My mother would
say, “Stay away from them, they’ll kidnap you.”
Interviewer: The gypsies were pretty prevalent at that…
Harriet: They were pretty prevalent in those days. They would come
and set up camp in a storeroom and everybody would lock their doors, thinking they would
come in, and the women told fortunes. That was always very exciting.
Interviewer: Did you know anybody that had stuff stolen?
Harriet: No, I really can’t remember that, but one of my most vivid
memories, was that on Saturdays, my father would take Roselyn (Margulies)
and me downtown on a streetcar, and we would go to the Broad Theater on
West Broad at Front, and the James Theater, which was on Front Street,
where the LeVeque Tower is now…
Interviewer: So that was live theater.
Harriet: Live theater, and a lot of _______. And in the Spring, when
the circus came, we would ride on the streetcar and go to the circus.
And that was always a memorable thing.
Interviewer: Do you remember anything at all about prices? About how
much the streetcar cost, or the tickets to these shows?
Harriet: I think the tickets were like 25 cents. The streetcar
tickets were like six for a quarter, and children didn’t have to pay.
And then we’d go to Foerster’s and have wonderful cheese bread, and
oh, that was so tasty; I can still taste it.
Interviewer: Where was Foerster’s located?
Harriet: Foerster’s was High Street, close to Rich.
Interviewer: Let’s go back to your education. Did we get all the
way through, with your education?
Harriet: I went to South High School and then I went to IBM school,
and became a keypunch operator before World War II. Keypunch machines
came before computers. I worked for the WPA, Curtiss – Wright Aircraft.
WPA stood for Works Progress Administration that President Franklin
Roosevelt brought in to create jobs; at the time of the economic
Interviewer: They didn’t have Welfare at that time, so they did
that so everybody had a job.
Harriet: I was a keypunch operator, and from there they transferred
me to Curtiss – Wright.
Interviewer: What’s Curtiss – Wright?
Harriet: Aircraft. I was in the payroll department there as a
keypunch operator. Then I worked for Morehouse – Martens, later to be
Morehouse – Fashion. A friend of mine told me that Virgie Hirsh was
leaving to get married, and she asked me to take her job. Morehouse –
Fashion was a locally owned department store. The Fashion was
Gundersheimer’s, and Morehouse was – Morehouse! I worked there until
we were married, and then I went back to Curtiss – Wright for a short
time, and then I joined Harold in Franklin.
Interviewer: Do you remember any classmates that you stayed friendly
with for several years?
Harriet: Ruth Schiffman (later Glassman) was a friend for many years.
(later Feldman) was a high school friend. I belonged to Junior
Hadassah, and had a lot of friends in that group.
Interviewer: Were you involved in any other synagogue or Jewish
center activities? Any memories?
Harriet: We used to go to Schonthal Center, and dance or take
ballroom dancing lessons. When I was much younger, I took ballet and tap
from Jorg Fasting, and we had a recital at Lazarus’ Tea Room.
Interviewer: Which closed just recently.
Harriet: And I was the Queen of Hearts in my recital. I gave one of
my children one of my pictures. That was really important in those days,
because I was the only one of my friends who took dancing lessons. Being
the youngest one in my family, I had piano lessons and dancing lessons –
advantages that my siblings did not have.
Interviewer: What about your synagogue affiliation as a youngster?
Harriet: My family belonged to Beth Jacob and Tifereth Israel. My
father was one of the founders of Beth Jacob and he was the president
there for many years. We belonged to Tifereth Israel because Beth Jacob
didn’t have a Sunday School, and my family wanted me to go to Sunday
School, and I was confirmed at Tifereth Israel – as a matter of fact, in
Rabbi Zelizer’s first class.
Interviewer: Tell us what you remember about Rabbi Zelizer.
Harriet: He was sort of a dashing young man – this might have been
his first pulpit out of the seminary. Manila Abramson was our teacher.
She was a delight, she was Dr. Abramson’s wife – Dr. Benjamin
Abramson – and she was the teacher of the confirmation class.
Interviewer: What do you remember any cantors from Tifereth Israel?
Harriet: I remember when Cantor Grodner arrived here. He lived with
my aunt, Clara Goldberg, until he brought his family over from Europe.
Interviewer: Do have any memories of holidays?
Harriet: When I was younger, we walked to shul. My family walked to
shul – it was just a given. In later years, my mother and father and my
sister moved close to Tifereth Israel, my mother and father spent the
holidays there, and we walked to Tifereth Israel. When it became
difficult for them to walk in later years, they built Beth Jacob on
Bulen Avenue. That was after we were married, and my parents moved to a
house on Bulen Avenue.
Interviewer: Walking to shul became a very social thing.
Harriet: A very social thing, and we used to congregate on the steps
of Agudas Achim. That was the big social thing. The girls met the boys,
the boys met the girls. You’d buy new clothes and walk in high heels
which killed your feet, but that…
Interviewer: But you looked good!
Interviewer: As the youngest one in your family, did you have
responsibilities or jobs to do at home?
Harriet: Not really. I was probably very spoiled. I didn’t have to
do too much at home. You must remember my older siblings were gone when
I was growing up. Actually, my sister Bobby, who worked in my father’s
business, was actually a mother figure. She signed my report card, when
I didn’t sign it myself.
Interviewer: Do you remember family vacations, reunions?
Harriet: Not as a child. On Saturday evenings when I was a child, we
used to go to my aunt and uncle’s house – the Goldbergs – on Miller
Avenue, and I could never understand why they were always so busy
sewing. I later learned, when I was a teenager or almost an adult, that
they were sewing tachrichim – shrouds! My uncle was a tailor, and
they would make hand-made shrouds…burial garb!
Interviewer: Jewish people were buried in shrouds.
Harriet: I didn’t know why they were sewing these things – I had no
idea what these were all about – I was busy reading, or doing something
else while the adults were doing…
Interviewer: So they were sitting around as a group. It was probably
a mitzvah to do that.
Harriet: They would sit around the kitchen table and at a certain
hour my aunt would bring out the muffins and the tea, all home made –
and we would eat…
Interviewer: Do you remember any serious illnesses during your
growing up years?
Harriet: I had scarlet fever. I was going to Beck Street School at
the time, and there was another Jewish child there at the time, and her
name was Zelda Swartz – who is deceased – Boots’s Nutis’s sister –
she became Zelda Carmen. In those days you put a red sign on the door
that would indicated that there was an illness.
They did that (quarantine) for measles and other childhood diseases –
and I remember when Zelda came down with scarlet fever and her mother
became very upset that I had exposed her to scarlet fever. To my
recollection, we were the only two Jewish children at Beck Street
School. They lived on Forest Street. When we moved I lost track of them.
Interviewer: The area that you lived in wasn’t too far from Parsons
Avenue. Was that the hub of the Jewish community at that time? Wasn’t
the hub – what stores…
Harriet: The hub of the Jewish neighborhoods was Fulton Street,
Washington Avenue, Donaldson, Mound Street, that sort of thing. Jewish
families lived across the street from us but their children were older,
except across the street, my childhood boyfriend, Julian Barnett – we
all grew up together. They moved about the same time we moved. They
moved to the north end. His father had a grocery store and they lived
behind the grocery store on Parsons Avenue.
Interviewer: Do you remember any other Jewish stores on Parsons
Harriet: There was a store that sold fruits and vegetables that was
across the street, that was run by Mrs. Lewis and her sons. I don’t
believe there was a Mr. Lewis at that time. The best ____ played down
the street close to Livingston Avenue.
Interviewer: What was Godofsky’s?
Harriet: Hyman Godofsky was a butcher. I remember going there –
Schwartz Bakery was on Mound Street and my father had a car – or a truck
– and he used to go to Mrs. Levin’s Fish Market and Harry Center’s –
he had a butcher shop on Fulton Street, and that was a Thursday night
procedure – to get the fish and chicken and the bread – no, the bread we
didn’t get then. We had a delivery man to bring the bread. Mr. Luper
came with his basket of wonderful, fresh bread for the holidays.
Interviewer: Would that Mr. Luper be related to Fred?
Harriet: I believe he was a brother of Fred’s father. Let’s see…
I remember when I was young I used to go to Magnetic Springs with my
mother. That was a big trip – it used to take a week to get everything
together, with the dishes and the groceries and everything we would
possibly need, and I remember my father, being a tinsmith, made a
refrigerator – insulated – filling it with ice, and my mother would put
in meats with the ice. Of course, kosher. You couldn’t buy anything
there, not even canned goods – you packed enough to last two weeks.
Interviewer: So it was just you and your mother?
Harriet: She would take the mineral baths and the steam…there were
other children there.
Interviewer: How would you go there?
Harriet: My father’s truck. I remember my father had a little
truck. As a matter of fact the picture was in the Historical Society’s
recent display at Heritage House – I guess you’d call it a pick up
truck today. I sat in front with my mother and dad, and the back was
loaded down with all the things we needed for the week or two weeks.
Interviewer: What kind of facility would you stay in when you got
Harriet: In a room that the family rented in a private home, and you
had the use of the kitchen for part of your stay or whatever, you had a
bedroom. A lot of Jewish people went there – it was a vacation spot –
the kids walked – there was a swinging bridge over a creek. The kids
watched each other walking across this bridge and daring each other to
Interviewer: How long was the drive from Columbus to Magnetic
Harriet: I’d say about three hours, because you didn’t go more
than forty miles an hour. It was about 40 miles away, near Delaware, Ohio, but it was a big
trip! But they did have outdoor amusements – outdoor vaudeville. And I
went to Camp Schonthal, which was in the area near Magnetic Springs.
I guess I went there when I was a little older. That was a wonderful
experience. Not too many kids that I knew went there. That was one of
the privileges that I had that a lot of kids didn’t have. Being the
youngest, I think they felt they could spend a little more. And then
things became more available!
Interviewer: There were fewer kids at home to support. Do you have
any memories of kids you went to Camp Schonthal with? Counselors or
Harriet: Roselyn and I would go, and yes, I do remember a very lovely
woman who married a Mr. Cummins. She was a college student at the time,
and very beautiful. She was Diane Cummin’s mother-in-law. I
remember being very attracted to her, she was very beautiful.
Interviewer: Where was she from?
Harriet: I have no idea, but I know she was in college at the time.
Interviewer: Do you have any memories of the depression?
Harriet: Oh, yes. That was about the time I graduated from South High
School, and I thought I wasn’t going to college. I wasn’t really
college material, but any way, my brother was in college – he was in
dental school at the time, and the family and I, myself, felt it was
more important for him to continue his education. That’s one of the
reasons I went to IBM school.
The depression really didn’t affect me, personally, I wasn’t
deprived of anything, but I’m certain my family felt it.
Interviewer: Did it change your father’s business or your family
Harriet: No, I don’t think our way of living changed – there was
always a need for my father’s business. He was always handy with his
hands. If he didn’t have certain things per se, he was able to
make different things. Some of the things I have.
One of the interesting things when I was growing up – his shop was
behind a house and there was a wonderful old man there whom we called
Grandpa Rosenthal. He was the Hoffman boys? (Meyer and Marty’s)
grandfather and I remember him picking me up and putting me on the work
bench, and he would make wonderful toys for us, especially groggers(noisemakers
And the Hoffman boys have one, and I’m always after one – they have
a grogger that their grandfather made, but he would make dolls
and all sorts of toys for me.
Interviewer: What was his business, Mr. Hoffman?
Harriet: He was a tinsmith. He was quite elderly when I knew him, but
he worked with my father, in his shop.
Interviewer: Harold, tell us about your parents.
Harold: My mother was born in Kovno, Lithuania on September 15, 1886
.She was the next to the youngest of nine children. Her maiden name was
Levison. She had sisters named Ida (Michaelson) Rose (Gold,) Dorothy
(Cohen,) Jeanette (Rosen,) and brothers named Morris, Dave, Ike and Eli,
and they were already in Columbus. They sent for her, and at age 16 she
left Kovno and on her way to America, but she stopped and stayed in
Hamburg, Germany for several months, and got on a ship, crossed the
ocean all by herself, and was met in New York by one of her brothers,
and came to Columbus.
My dad, William Korn, his date of birth was April 22, 1883 and he was
born in New York and he was the youngest of three children. His parents,
Ben and Sophie Korn – it was changed from Taffel, or something like
that, and how it became Korn, I don’t know. He had a cousin or an
uncle in New York that he told me about and their name was Taffel, T-A-F-F-E-L.
Dad’s older sister was Anna and a brother, Harry, was born in New
York also. In those days you didn’t go to school too long, but he did
finish six grades of elementary school. I don’t know to this day how
Dad wound up in Columbus, but he came to Columbus from New York and went
to work for my uncle Ike Levison, who had a pawn shop on Long Street.
Shortly thereafter, my mother had just come from Europe. He met my
mother, Dora, and after a short courtship they married in 1915 and sure
enough, in April 11, 1916, I was born.
I’m the oldest of five children. My sister Sylvia married Nathan
Rosen, who is now deceased. She is four years younger than I am. My
sister, Harriet married Howard Brody, who is two years younger than
Sylvia, then I have two brothers, Morton and Irvin, who now reside in
Buffalo, New York, and they were the youngest in our family.
My sister, Harriet Brody and my two brothers – in – law and my
brothers went into business with my dad and formed a jewelry
manufacturing concern. They manufactured jewelry boxes and trim, window
display fixtures, and they all have worked together for, I imagine 35
years, and when it was time for them to retire, they subsequently sold
the business. I never joined them. I just remained here.
Interviewer: There were ties in Buffalo from both your and Harriet’s
Harold: Yes. Harriet’s cousin, Chuck Sandler – we would visit with
them, and we still do because not only did he live in Buffalo, but he
went to Ohio State. But I was born in Columbus and went through the
public school system – Fair Avenue School, Franklin Junior High and East
High School, and graduated in 1933. I should have graduated in 1934, but
in summer vacations I went to school and advanced a year.
I went on to Ohio State for two years, and a year later went to
Chicago and enrolled in the Illinois College of Optometry and
subsequently graduated there.
By the time I graduated it was time for World War II, so I never
opened my office until I returned after four and a half years of service
in the army.
Interviewer: You were the only one in your family who had a formal
Harold: When I graduated and went through Ohio State, it was during
the depression. At the time, my dad was a travelling salesman selling
jewelry boxes and trims, and my mother opened a restaurant on campus and
that enabled my two sisters and my two brothers to all graduate from
college. My youngest brother graduated from the University of Buffalo
after World War II. Morton graduated from Ohio State. My two sisters
graduated from Ohio State.
Interviewer: What kind of restaurant did she have?
Harold: She had sort of a kosher – style restaurant. You could get a
whole meal for anywhere from 25 cents to 35 cents, and everybody in the
family worked there, and many students worked there, and after it was
all said and done, my family and all the students that worked there, got
about the same out of the restaurant. All they got was their meals and a
chance to get an education. And that’s about all my sisters and
brothers got out of it, either.
The restaurant was called Lindy’s, at 1591 North High, right across
the street from Moe Glassman’s Mens Shop. When I wasn’t working at
the restaurant, I would work for Moe Glassman, driving around the
fraternity houses picking up rented tuxes after homecoming, or whatever
occasions that they had to rent a tux.
Harold: Howard Metzenbaum was at Ohio State when I was there. He
later became a United States Senator. While he was at Ohio State, he had
an uncle who was a judge.
Interviewer: Howard Metzenbaum lived in Cleveland.
Harold: But he went to school – also Maury Portman was at Ohio State
and he got a job with the Citizen – Journal, which is no longer
in existence, but then he went into the army. He was from Cleveland, but
they all were customers at the restaurant, too. Sid Gillman and Joe
Benis were football players when I was at Ohio State, they would come
into the restaurant – they were two Jewish boys who were on the Ohio
State football team who would come into the restaurant on Sundays when I
was there. Everybody in those days; there was nothing like drugs that
you have today, and they were well respected. And Joe Benis
subsequently became a dentist and we were friends. He would come into my
office up until he passed away a couple of years ago. He was also
instrumental in enlarging Winding Hollow.
Interviewer: Did you have to earn your way through school?
Harold: All the time. Even when I went to school in Chicago, I had to
earn my own keep. Fortunately I had some retailing experience. There was
a big shopping area close by the school and I worked in a jewelry store
on Thursdays in the evening from about 5 until 9 and on Saturdays from 9
until 9, and I made enough money on those two days to pay my room rent
which was $3 a week, and my food. Believe it or not, we could get a
luncheon at the Walgreen Drug Training Center for ten cents. That’s
where they broke in the servers on Cottage Hills Avenue in the south
end. It was a very interesting thing at my age, having never been away
from home, to go away to college, to live in a dormitory and eat meals
out. I think my sisters and brothers benefited a lot, because they had
to take their turns being without their oldest brother, and they did
very, very well.
Interviewer: It sounds like you and Harriet had opposite experiences
of being at the oldest and youngest in your families.
Harold: And don’t forget, Harriet’s mother and my grandmother
were like the same generation, so there was a lot of difference, too.
She came here when she was 16 and by the time she was 17 she could read
and write English.
Interviewer: It’s been interesting. We’ve gone through a lot of
immigrants coming to Columbus recently and the Jewish Center organized
English as a Second Language classes for them, so they have opportunity
of where to learn English. How did your mother learn English?
Harold: First of all, my grandfather didn’t do much work, to my
knowledge. He was always learning. And my grandmother, by the way, lived
to be 100 plus – managed beautifully with a family of nine children. All
the girls knew how to sew, cook – they were just – and my mother took
such – and bake – my mother was 96 when she passed away in 1993.
Interviewer: Harriet was telling us about vacations she had –
Harold: You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to count everybody who
is in this picture. When my mother was 90 they had a ninetieth birthday…
Interviewer: You’re looking at a picture that is hanging on the
Harold: You look at that picture – there must have been children,
grandchildren and great grandchildren. I’ll have to give you the
number and you just count the people on that picture, because it was
just enormous and my mother never went to a nursing home and my dad
became ill, too, so in Buffalo, I guess the time was different, they
always managed to have care givers around the clock and someone in the
family managed the bookkeeping, social security and bookkeeping that was
necessary, and they had, I would say, a staff of at least six people –
no family – some on the weekend they would work 12 hour shifts. During
the week they would work 8 hour shifts.
There was one woman that was in charge and she would do the grocery
shopping and fortunately she had five children and my dad’s estate
managed up to that last day. So that part was just beautiful because we
could always tell how mom was feeling because she would look out of the
big picture windows, even though it was Buffalo and it would be
wintertime, you knew that she felt well. And a lot of times the doctors
would panic if she didn’t eat or drink so they would immediately send
her to the hospital. You could tell after one day that she was feeling
Interviewer: Do you remember your families getting together with
Harold: We did. Not to a great extent, but if you remember in the
Jewish community in the summertime there would be picnics and get-
togethers in Olentangy Park and Heimendale Grove – a lot of Jewish
families would pack a lunch. And that was a gathering I could remember
because I remember a lot of the kids I used to know, but now I can’t
tell you – one of my closest friends was Hy Sowalsky, and he moved to
Toledo right after World War II and he’s been there and he’s been
ill. So many of my contemporaries have gone on, so, fortunately we made
friends with some younger people, or we wouldn’t know anybody.
Interviewer: What do you remember about the depression?
Harold It was very vivid. If you were a teen ager, especially being
able to go to college, during the depression, because when you would
take the streetcar and you lived out east, you would take the streetcar
at Long and High. There at Long and High on all four corners, there
would be unemployed people selling apples – big, beautiful apples, for a
nickel. That apple today would cost 50 cents, if you could find one as
nice as that. And it matured you to realize that you were fortunate –
not that we lived in any lap of luxury – and I didn’t mind taking the
streetcar to and from college, but you really felt privileged to be able
to do that when you saw the hardship that was endured by so many people.
And during high school, they would have collections of groceries where
you would be asked if you could spare a can of vegetables and you’d
bring it to each high school, and someone would pick it up at East High
School and distribute it to the different churches. Of course, when I went to East, it was just about one – third black
and two – thirds white, but there was no problem racially at all.
Interviewer: Were there many Jewish kids at East at that time?
Harold: Quite a few, quite a few. I mentioned a few, matter of fact.
Madelyn Schlezinger was at East High when I was there. Her cousin, Edwin
Goldstein was at East High, Betty Wallach, who now lives up north –
there were quite a few. Arthur Hersh, Joe Siegel, Art Loeb – oh, yes.
Interviewer: So it wasn’t just South High School.
Harold: No. I would say South High was closer to a lot of the Jewish
community than East High School, because the few – the couple of years
that I went to Hebrew School, I had to catch the bus, and unfortunately,
I missed the bus a lot, and I don’t know too much about the service,
although, living this long, through memory, I remember most of the
prayers but I can’t read it.
I went to Hebrew school for two years on East Rich Street, across
from Schonthal Center, and I had to take the bus. The bus would pick me
up at Bryden and Miller, if I made it. I remember that my mother was
always very much disturbed with me if I missed the bus, so we would go
and visit her mother and father who lived on Fulton Street at the time,
and she would say, “I hope Bubbe doesn’t ask you how you’re
doing at Hebrew School, because I wouldn’t want to lie to her,”
so finally my mother said that I missed the bus twice that week so
Gramdma said I would be a rav (rabbi) a couple years later.
Interviewer: Who was your Hebrew teacher. Remember?
Harold: A man by the name of Sam Yablok, and Leah Godofsky’s
father, Mr. Metchnik, was the principal.
Interviewer: Your memories of Hebrew school aren’t real exciting,
but – were you Bar Mitzvah?
Harold: I subsequently was Bar Mitzvah, but I picked a week end when
the service was brief. I got through it. My brother, Morton, did a much
better job, had a much better voice and he was also Bar Mitzvah and so
was my brother Irving, but my sisters never went to Sunday School, so
they were not confirmed.
Interviewer: What about memories of Schonthal? Were you involved in
Harold: It was hard getting around. If I had really wanted to go, I
could, but I was a charter member of the DeMolay chapter. DeMolay is a
junior Masonic order which was started out in at East High School. Mr.
Kobacker bought the charter, and the reason they did that was that there
was tremendous difficulty for Jewish men to get into the Masons, so Mr.
Papier and Mr. Maybrook were members of the Masonic Order, and they got
the funds from A. J. Kobacker to start up this chapter of DeMolay and
they were the advisors and you studied the text and that was really a
It couldn’t compare to AZA, but we met at the old Excelsior Club at
Parsons and Rich Street. I think that old mansion is still standing. It
was the old Jewish social club, and they let us use that free of charge.
Interviewer: What was the purpose of the club?
Harold: It was sort of social and educational. The texts of the
Masonic order are secrets, so I can’t tell you much about that, but we
had a wonderful group of young men – the only two members to the best of
my knowledge that are still around that live in Columbus are myself and
Albert Rosen, who has lived at Heritage House for 18 years.
Interviewer: Al Rosen is an artist…
Harold: We had a basketball team, and once a year we would have a
dance, so we’re talking about seventy years ago, so I can’t remember
too much about it. By the time I had started to Ohio State I think since
we were all pretty much the same age, I think the whole thing disbanded
– they weren’t bringing in any younger men. But Mr. Kobacker did pay
for the charter, and I subsequently joined the Masonic Lodge.
Interviewer: Let’s talk a little about your military service.
Harold: Shortly after we were married, I did get the “greetings
from the President of the United States,” and went into the army…
Interviewer: Who was the president at that time?
Harold: His name was Roosevelt. Franklin sent me a personal letter
saying, “Greetings, you have been selected to serve your
country.” And without great enthusiasm, I reported. That was
another experience that I’m sure other people you interviewed have
endured. I was sworn in at Fort Hayes, and when they asked me what I was
and I told them that I was an optometrist, they didn’t have computers
so they didn’t what my work entailed, so I stayed at that reception
center for about three weeks, and fortunately I was able to get out
almost every night.
Finally they found out what I could do and they sent me to Camp
Benjamin Harrison outside of Indianapolis where they had a lot of
recruits and I had to examine them and send them on to their basic
training. But all the time I was at Fort Hayes I did nothing.
From Indianapolis, I went to Camp Lee, which was the medical training
center in Petersburg, Virginia, and I was there almost six months. They
had forgotten to give me basic training because I was kept busy
examining applicants who were either cooks or ambulance drivers or truck
drivers, so really, they just couldn’t keep me any longer. My first
assignment was at Tilton General Hospital, Fort Dix, New Jersey, where
the army caught up with all the different health care specialties, and I
got the right M O S and I was an optometrist there for about a year and
Interviewer: What does M O S mean?
Harold That has to do with your medical specialty – that’s how you’re
identified. That was a beautiful assignment. That’s when Harriet came
to Trenton and she was able to live with me for about a year, and I went
from Trenton to Fort Dix every day, and she worked as a keypunch
operator for the De Lavelle Steam Turbine Company, where she made more
in a week than I did in a month, but we enjoyed the time together. Once
a month we would go into New York. We would take in a show, have a fine
dinner, and we really lived like nice people should live.
Interviewer: What was Harriet’s salary at that time?
Harold: I got about $150 every two weeks because I was a staff
sergeant. I was promoted rapidly because a friend in the office – the
table of organization calls for a staff sergeant, so once I was
designated to that job, I was promoted almost every other month
until I finally got there and I remained that way for three years
because the table of organization for my subsequent assignments, that
was as high as I could go.
From Fort Dix I went to Halloran General Hospital at Staten Island,
New York, which was also a very cushy assignment, and my parents had
given up their home in Columbus and my dad went into business for
himself. He started a business at 30 West 47 Street in Manhattan, New
York, so every night…
Interviewer: What year was this?
Harold: The early forties. My mother and my two sisters would run the
office and the display room and I would come in almost every afternoon
when I got through working in the clinic. I got on the Staten Island
Ferry to Manhattan, I’d take the car, pick up all the work that my dad
had been selling, and we would pack it and I would take it over to the
American Express and we would ship that stuff all over this country.
Interviewer: You had quite a business going.
Harold: My dad really started this business by – I don’t know how
he did it to this day, but he always managed to get all the gasoline he
needed, all the tires, and he kept his car going. He would go from the
east coast to the west coast selling the merchandise he had made in
different lofts all over New York. When the war was over, my dad, two
brothers and two brothers – in – law, moved to Buffalo, because that’s
where the really skilled, trained help in this line of work were living
and it worked into a very large enterprise.
Interviewer: Harold, this is really fascinating, but I want to get
Harriet back into the picture and talk about how you two met.
Harriet: We’d known each other for centuries.
Harold: Harriet made reference to her aunt, Mrs. Goldberg. She lived
on Miller Avenue in the east end, and we lived near there on Kimball
Place. Mrs. Goldberg liked my mother and myself and my brothers and
sisters. And she said she had this niece, Harriet Shustick and I should
meet her. Well, we met at the Hebrew School, but I don’t think it came
to fruition until later on, because I was away, going to college, and
when I really realized that she was the girlfriend I intended to marry,
I had to take off for Chicago, and that’s when the romance really
Interviewer: Kind of “absence makes the heart grow fonder?”
Harold: Yes. And when I graduated, even though I was called to the
service six months later, we were married July 6, 1941 and I graduated
in June, 1941 and that was it.
The next time that she _______ together she would come to visit me at
Camp Lee, or she moved to Trenton while I was assigned at Fort Dix.
Interviewer: What kind of a wedding did you have, Harriet?
Harriet: We had a small, family wedding because at the time, during
the war, it was considered not good form to have a large wedding, and to
my regret, I did not wear a wedding dress, which I would like to have
given to my daughters but I wore a suit ______ and a hat – that was
proper attire at the time It took place at our house at 895 S. Ohio
Avenue – a small family wedding.
Interviewer: Was it a catered event?
Harriet: I think that a woman by the name of Mrs. Schecter made cake
and ice cream. It was not a family dinner. It was during the war, but we
had two rabbis and a chazen. The rabbis were Rabbi Greenwald and
Rabbi Taxon who came out of retirement for the occasion. The chazen who
came was Goodman, and I’ll never forget him, because he’d shout
________. He was a shochet and a chazen at Beth Jacob.
And that was a ______ monopoly _______
Interviewer: Were you covered with religious leaders ________? Tell
us about your children.
Harriet: Chuck was born in 1944. I remember coming home from Trenton.
I was eight – maybe nine months pregnant, and I remember going to Aaron
Canowitz and he said, “Come back in two weeks.”
Interviewer: Dr. Aaron Canowitz?
Harriet: Dr. Aaron Canowitz, who will turn ninety in another month.
When I returned two weeks later, he said, “You’re going to have
to find another doctor, because I’m going into the service!” So
Dr. Hugenberger delivered Chuck. But to go back a little bit, Harold
came home on leave one time – I was living with my folks- I was in the
front door, he turned around and walked out! He said, “I didn’t
recognize you!” I had gained so much weight, I was enormous from
Chuck was born January 4, 1944. We lived with my parents until Harold
Harold: When I came out of the service, Chuck was three or four
years old. We bought a house at 1085 Kelton Avenue and I opened my
office at 142 East State Street, and I’m there to this day. We
remained in that house until Chuck was ready for junior high. After
Chuck we had Judy.
Interviewer: Is Chuck married?
Harold: Chuck has been married twice. He graduated from Bexley High
School, he went to Ohio State and while he was at Ohio State it was
during the Viet Nam war, and in order to graduate, since he was in the
College of Business, he thought it was wise , if he wanted to graduate,
to take Advanced Military. So when he graduated, instead of wearing a
cap and gown, he wore his uniform and became a second lieutenant. We
were very, very fortunate, because Chuck graduated with a degree in
Business Administration and a minor in Computers, and the army was
desperate for people that knew anything about computers. So his first
and only assignment, which lasted two years, was in Second Army
Headquarters Command just outside of Chicago.
I can remember during the riot at the Democratic convention, and we
saw the military police in the street clubbing the protesters, and
Harriet said, “That looks just like Chuck!” So I called Chuck
and sure enough, he was in bed watching it, as we were. Even though we
prayed and went to Temple almost every Friday night to services, he
never left the continental United States.
Chuck was married right after he graduated and subsequently adopted a
daughter who is now 26, Stephanie. Two years later they had a naturally
born son, Daniel. Stephanie graduated from college and she teaches in
school the sixth grade in Bellingham, Washington. Daniel, who just
graduated from college in Television and Theater lives in Olympia,
Washington and is currently looking for a job.
Chuck was subsequently divorced and remarried about ten or eleven
years ago and married a lovely girl, Debbie Raikin, who is a practicing
pediatrician. She had never been married before and they desperately
wanted a family, so they are the proud parents of twin girls, Elana and
Ariella, age 7. They do everything; they’re roller bladers, skiers,
they do everything. They live in Buffalo.
Chuck carried on with the family business, only he doesn’t do any
manufacturing – he just imports jewelry boxes and displays.
Interviewer: Harriet, tell about your second child.
Harriet: Our second child is Judy. She was married here in Columbus.
Judy went to Bexley also and started college at the University of
Cincinnati and subsequently graduated from Ohio State with a teaching
degree. While she was in college she married Dennis Oppenheimer and they
had a son. They were divorced 10 or 12 years ago. Geoffrey is now 24.
Judy remarried and lives in the San Francisco area. Her son graduated
from the Baltimore Institute of Art and he also lives in the San
Francisco area. None of our grandchildren are married. Judy has the one
Interviewer: What home were you living in when Judy was born?
Harold: Judy was born at 1085 Kelton – we bought that house about the
time of her arrival and lived there about ten years. Chuck was about
ready to be Bar Mitzvah and to go to junior high and we moved to 153
Dawson. Chuck’s Bar Mitzvah reception was in that house. Judy arrived
in 1948 and now lives in San Mateo, California.
Margie arrived May 14, 1950 and she, too, went to Bexley and
graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She married Marc Hollander
who is originally from California. His parents moved here when he was
quite young. He went to Eastmoor High School. Margie didn’t meet him
until after they were both out of college. Marc graduated from Ohio
State and is a practicing dentist here in Columbus and they have three
children – Rachel, who is now fifteen, and twins Scott and Emily, who
David is married to Merry Perlmutter from Pittsburgh. They have two
children, Susan and Janie, who are 10 and 12, respectively. David is an
attorney and lives in Bexley.
Interviewer: You were talking about Margie – you wanted to add
something about Judy.
Harold: Judy graduated Ohio State with a teaching degree. Judy was
married while she was in college and later moved to Reston, Virginia and
taught there for a while. She and Dennis were divorced and she then
married Bruce MacLaren and they live in San Mateo. She had a son
Geoffrey. She has a public relations business that she operates from her
Interviewer: How do you feel about your attitude about your children’s
upbringing – their social life?
Harold: We’ve done the best that we could. Chuck was very active at
Bexley and well – rounded and very involved with school, and all of them
were involved in school activities. Chuck marched in the junior high
band. Judy was involved with Councilettes – that’s the young branch of
the Council of Jewish Women, and she was very involved with that. Margie
was very involved with things at school. They also had a Jewish sorority
– they were active with that. David had more of a literary group that he
ran around with. They were all very good, academically superior and they
had a good time. And fortunately, their education was good enough so
that they had no problems graduating from college, and that’s the
reason we feel that the Bexley school system was adequate to prepare
them for the future.
Interviewer: What about their religious upbringing?
Harold: Well, we all went to Tifereth Israel – Chuck was Bar Mitzvah
and also confirmed. David was Bar Mitzvah and the girls were confirmed.
Shortly after that the Melton School became established. That was not
the Hebrew school that my grandchildren go to today.
Interviewer: They have a lot more opportunity – the grandchildren do…
Harold: If they want to pursue the religious background.
Harriet: Margie’s children go to the Hebrew High. Janie and Susan
are too young to think about that at this time. Chuck’s children in
Buffalo went to Hebrew High and the younger children are now involved.
Of course, we don’t see them that often.
Interviewer: What about family vacations that you took with your
children while they were growing up?
Harriet: While they were growing up we didn’t take too many family
vacations per se.
Harold: When the children were young, we sent them all to camp, which
in some ways we regret because we didn’t spend the time with them, but
I was establishing my practice and I didn’t feel that I could close
down for a week, or two, or three. So our vacation was, the kids would
be going to camp and we would eat out each night and I would work! Later
on, after the children were married, our big – we did take some
vacations. We took some cruises, went to Europe for our 25th with Monroe
and Muriel Palestrant. We took one of these three – week tours, had a
marvelous time and got a taste for vacations. After that we took
vacations for maybe a week or two but for our fiftieth wedding
anniversary there were 20 of us – our children and our grandchildren –
all went to Disney World for four days, a cruise and they came from all
parts of the country and we did it again a couple of years after that
when we went on a cruise to Mexico with the entire family.
As a rule, I’m not big on driving, I’m not big on sight – seeing.
Interviewer: I know that you and Harriet like eating out a lot…
Harold: Well you don’t smell anything burning tonight, do you?
Interviewer: No, nothing’s burning, (laughter) and you enjoy
Harriet: Yes, we go to the symphony, Harriet works at the Art
Harold: We enjoy the plays, the concerts, whatever is available in
town, we try to attend our share of them. I do like once in a while to
Interviewer: Staying home’s a treat, too. During the years you were
raising your family, were there any serious illnesses?
Harold: There were some false alarms, but we were very fortunate.
Maybe we inherited good genes and passed them along to our kids,
because, thank God, they’re doing very well from a physical
Interviewer: What impressions can you give us about changes in the
political life. Let’s start from your youth.
Harold: I don’t like to get too involved with politics because you
never know how it’ll be interpreted, but I think that presently,
politically, we’re always making strides in making living in this
country easier and better for most. I hope – I know it’s a lot better
for most – I know that when I was in East High School, some of the
conditions that our black children had to put up with were just
terrible, but now it’s so vastly improved – after World War II.
Interviewer: You mentioned black children. What were some things that
Harold: If there were any children that didn’t graduate when I was
in school, it was the black children that didn’t graduate.
Interviewer: Why do you think that happened?
Harold: Because they just couldn’t afford to go to school. They had
to go out and find some kind of employment, and there weren’t very
many opportunities for that. And the number – I know when I graduated
from East, the only black person that I knew that graduated from East
that went on to college was Eldon Ward, who owned the Ward Transfer
Company. So that’ll give me an idea of the small percentage of blacks
that went on to college at the same time that I was able to, and I think
that we, politically, are making strides to make it better for everyone.
Not only in social assistance, but educational opportunities.
Interviewer: What about, as a Jewish family – did you feel left out
any way? Were there any problems that you had as a Jewish family?
Harold: In college, in professional schools, you noticed that there
was definite discrimination. Especially in acceptance to professional
schools it was very marked, because I could not get into the College of
Optometry at Ohio State and that’s the reason I had to go to Chicago.
I make no bones about it. Even though I wasn’t at the top of my class,
I was accepted in Illinois, without any questions asked, and I graduated
and passed the state boards. But I think that those things are
improving. Every year I think our present political administration is
making headway to make sure that as the years go by progress is made.
Interviewer: Harriet, in the work field, did you ever feel
discriminated against? Did your parents ever talk about discrimination?
Harriet: Not really. I personally did not in any of my working
experiences ever feel discriminated against. As my father’s business
was concerned, I had no way of knowing – I was too young to know what
was going on in his business world. As I was growing up, everyone was
strong, so to speak. I always spoke Jewish to my mother to help her –
try to sit with her to teach her to read. It was interesting, I spoke
English to my father – he always said, “Speak English to me,”
because being in the work force, being out, he had to have a command of
English and I always spoke English to him.
Interviewer: Thinking seriously about the future, what kind of
messages do you want to leave with your children or grandchildren?
Harold: I feel very good that Harriet and I raised really a nice
family and we know what our values are and the children do pursue them,
which makes us feel very good that they did inherit some of the
qualities that we thought were practical and essential to have a full
life. Other than that, I just hope that the future is as bright for them
and they get the opportunities we had, because we certainly did our best
to take advantage of what was offered. We’re very grateful for
everything that we have and we’re grateful to you for spending your
time to interview us.
Interviewer: Harriet, is there anything you’d like to add at this
Harriet: Not really, I think Harold has said it all. Our children are
all achievers and I just hope that they pass that on to their children.
Interviewer: On behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I
want to thank Harriet and Harold Korn for this interview. I’m Naomi
Schottenstein, and I’ve enjoyed this recording.
This concludes this interview with Harold and Harriet Korn, recorded
for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project.