This is August 17, 1998, and this is Carol Shkolnik, a volunteer interviewer for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, and I’m about to interview Harry Goldstein in his home at 77 S. Stanwood Road. Okay, can you hear me okay Harry?
Goldstein: Fine, just fine.
Interviewer: Okay. Now Harry you wrote out a little biography of yourself so I’m going to use this kind of to give me some ideas for some questions to ask you. I see that you were born where, why don’t you just tell me just a little bit about your family and your early years.
Goldstein: Well I was born in 1913, they tell me on Cherry Alley in Columbus, Ohio. Now it’s really Cherry Street, but to old folks anything between two streets even if paved was an alley and this was Cherry Alley, but I don’t remember that. What I do remember is that when I was very young the first place I remember is living on Main Street at 404 E. Main Street and that was across the street from a building which is still there. The building across the street was built by Mr. Mellman. It’s between Grant Avenue and Washington Avenue and it has the name in white blocks, “Mellman”at the top, and we lived across the street from that. Anyway, the building, this house at 404 E. Main Street, is now gone. There’s a car wash there. I started to school when I was six years old. I went to Fulton Street School, which was on Fulton Street also between Washington Avenue and Grant Avenue. I went there until we moved from Main Street to Monroe Avenue between Mound and Fulton at 414 S. Monroe Avenue. I still had about a year to go in elementary school and they wanted me to go to Ohio Avenue School, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to finish at Fulton Street School. I was just a kid, but after a lot of doings, whatever, I don’t recall exactly, I got to stay at Fulton Street School. I finished at Fulton Street School and continued to live on Monroe Avenue until I got married on February 5, 1939, when I was almost 26 years old. By the way. Carol, what was your maiden name?
Goldstein: Which Gurevitz was your father?
Goldstein: Oh Is, I knew Is…There are a lot of Gurevitzes.
Interviewer: He was the one who was about your age. He was a pharmacist.
Goldstein: He was a pharmacist?
Interviewer: Yeah. Well that’s all right. That’s not…
Goldstein: I mean was he on Livingston Avenue?
Interviewer: No, Wager Street. Elmwood and then Wager Street.
Goldstein: I mean, where did he do pharmacy work?
Interviewer: He worked a lot of different places.
Goldstein: Oh well.
Goldstein: No, I didn’t graduate with him. But I was pretty young. Maybe I’m not modest about this, but I got out when I was 15. I got, I hope you don’t mind the immodesty, but I had all Es through school. In those days, they didn’t grade A, B, C, D. They graded E, G, F, P.
Interviewer: And E was excellent?
Goldstein: That’s right, Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. And I had all Es through high school and I skipped three half-grades in elementary school and then had only three years in high school. I had enough credits to get out, to graduate in January of ’29, when I was still 15 years old. So the people around my age usually were in a class behind me. I knew your father. Very nice fellow, I might say.
Interviewer: Yeah, thank you. So tell me a little more about your family life. Did you have any brothers or sisters? You mentioned a brother.
Goldstein: Well, I had grandparents but I never met them. They never came to this country.
Interviewer: None of them came to this country?
Goldstein: No. My father, my mother, my sister, my father’s brother and my father’s half- brother came. I am not sure how many brothers or sisters my mother had. The rest of them, we lost them during the Holocaust. She used to correspond with some relatives, but during the Holocaust they all must have been killed. And so the only ones that I ever found in Columbus that were relatives was my father and his brother and his half-brother and his half-brother’s children.
Interviewer: Okay. Did your parents get married here or did they get married in the Old Country?
Goldstein: They were married in Russia. Then when they came over, it was in 1906. My sister, I have a sister, I had. My siblings are all deceased, my parents are deceased, I’m the only one right now from that group. The oldest was my sister, who was born in January, 1905. When they came in 1906, as they tell me, she was just walking, about a year and a half old. Then my brother was born in 1907 and I was born in 1913.
Interviewer: Where were they from in Russia?
Goldstein: Well my father was from a town called Berdiansk and my mother was from a place called Mariupol which is in Ekaterinoslav Gubernia.
Interviewer: Do you know how to spell those?
Goldstein: I can, well I don’t know how they, I can just transliterate it, that’s all.
Interviewer: Well maybe we can do that after or I can look it up. I have some older…
Goldstein: As I understand it, Gubernia is like a state.
Interviewer: It’s like a region.
Goldstein: Yeah. But the cities were in Berdiansk which I understand is a sizable city and Mariupol, which I also once found on a map.
Interviewer: And which Gubernia did you say?
Interviewer: Oh, I’m not familiar with that one. Okay. And how did your parents happen to come to Columbus of all places?
Goldstein: Well my father had a half-brother. This is very interesting. It will only take a few moments. And his name was Goldstein. My grandmother, my father’s mother, must have had two husbands because my father’s name was…Chast, Chast in Russian.
Interviewer: Say that again.
Goldstein: Chast (CH, as if clearing one’s throat, AST, “a”as in father).
Interviewer: And what did you say before that?
Goldstein: His half-brother was named Peter Goldstein. He already lived in Columbus. So my grandmother must have had a husband named Goldstein and Chast, with a cha sound.
Interviewer: Okay like K-H-A-S?
Goldstein: The Cha is like you’re clearing your throat. You go chhhhhh.
Goldstein: Now he had a brother Sam, full brother. They came over because times were very bad over there and the pogroms were on and the Cossacks were running wild through the country. If they had a chance, they would get out. It was very anti-Semitic at that time. They got out. So the two of them plus my mother and my sister aged 1 1/2, came over. Okay. But you had to have someone vouch for you. My uncle Pete Goldstein vouched for them. So when they came over they were sent to Columbus to join Pete and they had Pete Goldstein and my father, Max Chast, and his brother Sam Chast. That should have been their names. But they took the name Goldstein because they couldn’t speak English…They were brought over as Goldstein by Pete Goldstein, so they became Goldstein.
Interviewer: So your father’s last name really was Chast?
Goldstein: Right. Now my father had a daughter, and in 1907 a son, and a few years later they started talking, he and his brother Sam as I understand it, about why their name was Goldstein when it should be Chast. So Sam took the name Chast, C-H-A-S-T, and the rest of his life everybody called him Chast (CH as in chair, AST as in ask). But my father already had two children and he didn’t want to start changing their names in school, so he just stayed with the name of Goldstein. So all the way my father had a full brother named Chast and a half-brother named Goldstein. And my father’s name was Goldstein.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s strange. So what did your father do for a living?
Goldstein: He was a tailor and so were his two brothers, right down Long Street. One at Third and Long, one at Fifth and Long, one at Grant Avenue and Long.
Interviewer: What was your mother’s maiden name?
Interviewer: How would you spell that?
Goldstein: R-O-S-H-A-L-S-K-Y to the best of my knowledge. Her name was Minnie.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell me about your family life. Were you brought up fairly observant and that kind of thing?
Goldstein: Well from a religious standpoint my father and mother were both Orthodox and ran a kosher home. And I went to Junior Services before I was Bar Mitzvahed. I never went to Hebrew School; I had a tutor, what they called a melamed and he would come over and spend a half hour with me every Monday through Thursday and Friday I’d go to his house and I think it was Ted Sloan’s grandfather. I’m not sure, but he was in the family.
Interviewer: Was his name Sloan too?
Goldstein: His name was Schlonsky, for which he got paid the munificent sum of a dollar a week. I don’t know if you ever went through the experience of learning Hebrew but he would simply open a Siddur and he’d point with his pencil and he’d translate from Hebrew into Jewish. Well I could understand Jewish because my folks talked Jewish in the house. They had also learned English but they talked to each other in Jewish. Jewish was easier. He never taught me a lot of translation but we’d go through some of the davening in the Siddur and translate the words into Jewish so I learned some of the words, but I did learn to read. And I can still daven, I can still read Hebrew. I can read the Haftorahs at the shul and I can read my Hebrew very well. But translating it, I have a very limited translation.
Interviewer: Tell me what high school was like and what was it like being Jewish at South High and that kind of stuff.
Goldstein: Well we were a minority group and in those days anti-Semitism was not unusual. However, I didn’t feel it. I felt that perhaps I didn’t know, I wasn’t one of a group because maybe I was too young. I knew I was Jewish and when you’re at that age one year difference makes a big difference. When you’re older it doesn’t mean that much. All my life, wherever I’ve been, and I’ve been in government work and in association with non-Jews all my life. I always felt that the thing to do was just maintain your demeanor, to be ethical, to act kindly and show proper respect. I always had friends, but not much social life. For one thing, I was younger than they. Another thing, I was Jewish. Another thing, we didn’t have any money for social life.
Interviewer: What was the social life like though? I mean, I’m sure…
Goldstein: Well they had dances and proms and I never went to these. My father was just a struggling tailor with three children and if he gave me a dime to go to the movie it was fine, you had a dime. If he gave me an extra nickel to buy some candy, I had an extra nickel. If he didn’t give me the extra nickel, I just had the dime. I didn’t ask. I felt that if he had it, my father was a very nice man and he would give me something if he had it, if he could afford it. And I didn’t understand how much he made or anything like that but I did know that he always supplied me with the things I needed and anything else he could afford. As far as my personal life was concerned, I went out and tried to find a job. I’d go out every Saturday in the morning and go around town to see if I could pick up a job. I’d pick up jobs in the market, I’d work from morning till late at night yelling potatoes or apples on a market stand. I’d go to Central Market. I’d work for a man at North Market, East Market, wherever I could find anything. Or else I sold shoes.
I think most everybody in my time in those days worked at Gilbert’s at one time or another because Harry Gilbert was a nice man and he let you work on a commission. If you made $3 on a Saturday, you had enough to take care of yourself during the week ’cause you could get on a street car for a nickel and you could eat lunch for a quarter. You might even buy an ice cream cone or something. I tried to work after school. I got to where I got a job more or less regularly at the Union. I hated to sell cheap merchandise. In some stores people came in and started counting out pennies. Remember I’m talking about a time when you could buy a pair of shoes for $1.99 for a child. And if you paid $5, you were getting one of the top. When I sold good stuff to people that could afford, I could sell. Cheap stuff, I hated to take the money from these people. I knew the kid would wear out the shoes in a week or two. So I finally found my niche at the Union. The Union had a high class type of merchandise and I worked there for many years. After school they would call me because in Law School, you went to class in the morning and you were supposed to study in the afternoon. Well they would call me in advance and tell me, “We can use you Tuesday afternoon, we’re having a sale, children’s shoes.” So okay, fine…work 3:00. I worked ’till 5:30 or so and I made a little money. And then on Saturdays, the store knew that I was dependable, so they would call me for shoes or men’s haberdashery. I sold hats, whatever I could. But I had to do that or else I didn’t have enough money to go to school.
Interviewer: Now you mentioned going out to look for jobs on Saturday and you also men- tioned that you were brought up Orthodox. Did your parents have any problem, I should say how did your parents feel about your working on Saturday?
Goldstein: Well they weren’t that deep Orthodox that this produced a problem. My father had his tailor shop open on Saturday and they weren’t in a class of you just can’t do anything, they weren’t shomer Shabbas or anything like that. We were raised up Orthodox, we had a kosher home, went to shul on holidays and if we could go on Saturday, fine. If you didn’t, but I think as I recall, my downtown work and my market work and all that was after I got Bar Mitzvah. See, I was a little older. But before that I would go to some Shabbos Junior Services at Agudas Achim on Saturdays. That’s where I learned a lot about how to daven and the sequence and all that which I still, well I don’t do it any more because they don’t have the laymen doing it up at the shul any more. It has to be one of the Klay Kadesh. But it used to be that they would call on laymen to read the service on Friday night and even on Saturday. I remember I was…at Tifereth Israel for a while and I was…on Saturday morning service. I remember Rabbi Zelizer saying one thing: “Say it loud.”
Interviewer: Well I can just see that. Was there ever any question that you would go to college?
Goldstein: No, my sister didn’t go to college. In those days you signed up in high school for either an academic course or a commercial course. It was customary for the boys all to sign up for academic and the girls to sign for commercial. The girls studied commercial in high school. They would take shorthand and they would take typing and they became office help, secretaries and office clerks. Didn’t have recording machines in those days. The men, the boys, either went to college or if they couldn’t muster that, they would go to a trade school. We had a Columbus Trade School where they would teach you trades. And some went to this Trade School. Some felt they were looked down if they went to a trade school. And Jewish boys should go to college and become doctors and lawyers and professors. But some of them did go to trade school and some tried to go to college and didn’t make it. And after a year or two they dropped out and they got into business. A lot of them went into business without having college educations. They did very well. You don’t have to have science and chemistry and mathematics to become a good businessman.
Interviewer: So you went to Ohio State and then you lived at home, correct?
Goldstein: That’s right.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell me about your decision to go to law school.
Goldstein: When I started in college, it was in 1929 and my brother graduated in 1929. He was a doctor. And after I had been in Arts College a year or so, I had to decide in what direction I was going. I thought I’d become a doctor. Well they didn’t have vocational guidance instructors and all that as they do now But I went over to Hamilton Hall, which was the whole Med School in those days. Today you have a whole complex of buildings for the Medical College. But that was all in Hamilton Hall at Tenth and Neil. So I thought I’d go over there and look around, maybe become a doctor. So I went there during the lunch hour and as I went in there, there was everybody…out to lunch so the doors were shut. I found one door that was open and I thought I’d go in. And I went in and it turned out to be the Anatomy Lab. And they got corpses on the table wrapped up like King Tut; only parts were open and arms were out and cut in pieces and splash was all over and another guy had only a part of his body. I said, “This isn’t for me,”and I went to the Law School. So that’s how I became a lawyer.
Interviewer: So are you saying you wanted a profession?…Why law?
Goldstein: Well I wanted to be an engineer. I liked mathematics. A lot of people shy from math. I loved math. I took all the math that they had in high school, all the way through algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and when I went to college, you had to have certain electives. I took math courses as electives to fill out my requirements. But when I said to my folks and to other people around, “I want to be an engineer,”they said, “You can’t be an engineer. You have to go out and get a job to be an engineer. You can’t just open an office and be an engineer,”because anti-Semitism was rife and if you had to go out to get a job, a Jew was subject to certain restrictions and if you were going to get a job, you’re just not near the top of the list. That’s the way it was in those days. So I didn’t become an engineer. So what’s left? You had to be something that you could open your own practice, be a doctor, a lawyer, an optometrist, maybe. I didn’t think much about being one. I just didn’t give it a lot of thought. Maybe I should have. So the big fields were doctors and lawyers. That’s why you see so many of them. And I told you what happened at the Medical School, so I became a lawyer. I can’t give you any better reason than that.
Interviewer: But it was important to you to work for yourself, one way or the other?
Goldstein: That’s what I was told when I grew up. “When you get out, you better be on your own.”
Interviewer: I imagine your parents were pretty proud of you and your brother and your sister?
Goldstein: I certainly hope so. My sister was a secretary; she took the commercial course. She had very nice jobs. She worked for a man, Edward C. Turner, who was on the Supreme Court of Ohio for a while. He had a very big law practice and was difficult to work for, she said. I met him once or twice, so I can understand. She was his private secretary for many years and got along real well with him. She did very nicely for herself from that standpoint. My brother became a doctor and practiced medicine in Columbus until he moved to Florida in 1950 because his wife had bad asthma and the children had inherited it. They left every Summer to go to northern Michigan or somewhere. He moved to Florida because, peculiarly enough, Miami Beach has one of the lowest pollen counts in the country. If you can take the humidity there, it’s fine. If not, you go to Arizona, where in the sandy region around Phoenix and everyplace around there, there’s a low pollen count because of the limitation of the type of vegetation they have there. He moved to Miami in 1950, to Miami Beach actually. Then as the kids grew up and his wife improved a little bit they moved to Miami proper and lived there the rest of their lives. She had asthma all her life. She had inherited it from her father, but their children outgrew it. They had two daughters.
Interviewer: What about, I want to talk just a little bit, you said in high school you were younger than the kids in your class because you skipped a grade. Were you involved in B’nai B’rith or synagogue youth groups or anything like that or any extra-curricular activities?
Goldstein: Well, up until I graduated high school at 15, not really, except for Junior Congregation.
Interviewer: Well, that’s important.
Goldstein: So that’s where I went on Saturdays. No, I was not active.
Interviewer: Did people you knew go to the Friday night football games or were they Friday night back then?
Goldstein: I didn’t have enough money to go to football games. I don’t know when they had them. I don’t think they had Friday night, maybe not, I’m not sure.
Interviewer: Okay. So how did your life change when you graduated from law school? What happened then?
Goldstein: Law school?
Interviewer: Yeah, yeah. Let me ask you this. Did you go straight through from college into law school or did you take a break?
Goldstein: No I went into a course where I could take three years of arts and concentrate the four year requirements into three years and then take three years of law and the first year in the law school counted as the fourth year of the arts course. So in 1933 I got a Bachelor’s, B.A. in Political Science and Economics, and in 1935 I got an L.L.B., a law degree. At a later date, I’m not sure of the date, I was given a J.D. degree, Juris Doctor degree, because at that time the school was giving Juris Doctor degrees for those who had taken law as a post-graduate. Now you can’t enter law school unless it’s post-graduate. You receive a J.D. degree from law school Well, since mine was post-graduate, I was entitled to a Juris Doctor degree. So I got another degree. I went through in six years. And then when I got out of law school, as a lawyer you weren’t allowed to advertise. You had to be careful even talking about an item of law to someone. Nowadays they advertise in newspapers and even on TV and the yellow pages. But in those days you had to be careful in handing someone your card. And that was how it was. It was unethical to ask somone to hire you, we’ll say, for a case. So you had to get known in the community by being active. You had to go to meetings and you had to go to organizations and you had to make people see, get to know that you were around, who you were. Otherwise nobody would know who you were.
Interviewer: And did you do a lot of that?
Goldstein: Well that’s how I started getting active in organizations.
Interviewer: Like? What kind of organizations?
Goldstein: Well, let’s back up a little bit. When I was about 18, almost 19, 1932, I was approached by the people who ran Schonthal Home. In those days that was the community center, on Rich Street. And I had been going there to play, to have something to do, and they knew me around there. And so they asked me and a few others, Rose Sugarman was the head of Schonthal Home at that time. You prob- ably heard that name along the way a lot. Well, Dave Goldsmith worked there as a social worker and I knew Dave very well. He was in law class with me but he didn’t graduate. Dave got after me. He was working at Schonthal in social work. He wanted me to help organize an AZA chapter in Columbus. So we did that in 1932, I think around March. Incidentally I have a picture the Historical Society can have. I have a a lot of things I want to take up. Anyway, we organized an AZA chapter. Well in those days the ages were different than they are now. In those days, the ages were from 16 to 21. Now I think it’s younger. In any event, I didn’t have much longer to go. I was 18, almost 19, and I was in college at that time. I went to college from the ages of 16 to 22. I became the Aleph Maskir, which is Secretary, the Aleph Godol, which is the President, went through the chairs for a couple of years. Then I became their advisor and we had 5 advisors. If you want the names I can give them to you.
Goldstein: Well let’s start with Max Dworkin. We called him Pops Dworkin and later we named the chapter for him, “Pops Dworkin Chapter.” There was Dave Goldsmith. I was there. Sam Topolosky and Harry Krakoff. As the years went on there were some changes. I could probably give you another half dozen who came and went but these were the main ones at the beginning when we were developing this. And I was Chairman of the Board, I might say modestly, (I have to give you the facts) for many years and became known in AZA circles. I joined B’nai B’rith after membereship in AZA. I became active in B’nai B’rth and and eventually went through the chairs in B’nai B’rith all the way through. B’nai B’rith was the main men’s organization in the city. And you had to fight, you had to go out and do politicking at least at banquets, and pass out cigars and have meetings where hundreds and hundreds would be there. And as a matter of fact, I think the Historical Society may have, there’s a tape of one of our meetings. There’s people all over the place and people were getting up and giving speeches on behalf of themselves before you vote. I don’t know if you have it but it’s around.
Interviewer: It might be at the Ohio Historical Society, maybe.
Goldstein: Well either that or maybe the B’nai B’rith still has it in their files. In any event, I was very active there and helping guide the children in AZA, the children or youth. And I was also active in the B’nai B’rith and I was the chairman of different committees and I went through the chairs. Then the District came after me and wanted me to run for District offices. It was a high honor, but frankly I couldn’t afford it. I was working at that time. I was in private practice before the war. But I wasn’t making any money and this District 2 that B’nai B’rith was in, they just made changes last year. But District 2 ran through 8 states here in Ohio out to New Mexico. And you were expected to visit each one of the 98 lodges in the district. That means you had to be away quite a while. So they were after me before that and later, but I never did. But they appointed me to committees. To District committees. I’d go to conventions and I became active in the B’nai B’rith nationally, well District-wise, not so much nationally. So that’s where my main activity was. Then I went away in the service.
Interviewer: Were you drafted?
Goldstein: Yes. And so that’s what I was doing mainly from the standpoint of activity although as I recall, I had fund-raising things. You know, we’d go out and collect for the United Jewish Fund or I’d always do what I could but from the standpoint of community. But from day-to-day and week-to-week my big field was B’nai B’rith and AZA.
Interviewer: Would you say that took up most of your time till you met Mildred, or were there some other close calls before Mildred?
Goldstein: You mean girls?
Goldstein: Well I didn’t have much money. See, I was kidding Mildred because she lived across the street from me. And so I always kid her yet and she takes it in good stride, but the reason I took her out was I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have money to get a street car or to take her out very often. Oh I saw other girls sure. But mainly I saw her.
Interviewer: How old were you when you started seeing Mildred?
Goldstein: Well she moved across the street when I was 10. Of course, in those days the girls and the boys were not running after each other at that age.
Interviewer: Not at 10. When did that start, at 11?
Goldstein: Well as you get older you’re starting to notice the girls from the boys and things develop. You grow up. I can’t tell you what age but as time went on she and I got along real well. So we started going to AZA dances; I’d take her to AZA dances and sometimes I’d take another girl on a date. But it got to where I was, the community assumed that we were going together…But she would take other dates too, which of course got me insanely jealous ’cause I’m across the street and if they were around I’d know it. And eventually we were going together, as you say going steady, and one day she said, “We’ve been going a long time,”she said. “Do you think we ought to get married.” That’s the old story. You chase her until she catches you. And eventually we got married.
Interviewer: Now when was that when she made that…
Goldstein: When we got married?
Interviewer: Well when she said, “Why don’t we get married?” Were you in law school? Were you in high school?
Goldstein: Oh no. This was before we got married and we got married in ’39. This was, I was 25 and I had graduated law school at the age of 22 and I practiced law until I went in the service. I graduated law school in ’35 and I went in the service in ’43. So it was along there; we got married in ’39.
Interviewer: What was Mildred doing while you were going to law school and…
Goldstein: Well Mildred got out of high school and went to work at Lazarus and she started as a clerk, became a stock clerk. I’m not sure of the exact sequence but she became a department manager. She became a buyer. And she became a very important person there. She was in charge of a department they called Junior Miss Sorority Shop. I remember that. It was the Lazarus Basement which was a big, thriving thing in those days. Not like it is today.
Interviewer: Did she continue to work after you got married?
Goldstein: She had a nice job. And as I tell you, in law you couldn’t advertise. You just hope somebody gets lost and falls into your office. So it was a slow process building up a practice in law. But she was doing very well. She was making some big money for those days. And she used to go to New York and buy for them there, to St. Louis and other places.
Interviewer: Did she continue working after you got married?
Goldstein: Oh yes. She continued working until I got in the service and then still continued working. At first I was stationed in the United States. But we had the prospect a couple of times of being shipped out overseas and never seeing me again. So she quit her job at that time and joined me in 1943.
Interviewer: And where was that?
Goldstein: That was in Miami.
Interviewer: In Miami?
Goldstein: Yeah, in Miami Beach.
Interviewer: And what did you do in the service?
Goldstein: Well that’s interesting. Would you like to know that?
Goldstein: It was different. See I was, I always had this one ear that was totally deaf, my left ear. But the right ear was all right. So I was a one-eared person of which there are thousands. When I was in college I wanted to take advanced R.O.T.C. We had to take 2 years of basic R.O.T.C., Reserve Officer Training Corps, when I went to Ohio State. And you had a uniform you wore, a blue uniform. Parade days on Wednesday evenings. For a parade you had to wear white pants with a blue coat with a blue hat. I mean this was mandatory. You could take advanced military if you wanted to and they paid us something. I didn’t want to be a reserve officer but I did need the money. So I tried to get into Reserve Officer. Well I had this deaf ear. They didn’t want me. They said, “We can’t take you.” So I went to a doctor on my own and he looked in and he said, “I can’t do anything for that ear. There’s nothing I can do for it.” I never got in advanced military. Okay. Now along comes the war and the draft boards and you get order numbers. You know nationally they took numbers. I had a low order number. The draft board takes them in sequence. They would send me for induction, but when I’d go there they would turn me down and I’d come back home because I had this deaf ear. Well the draft board could go on, they’d start all over, my draft board. They’d do it their own way and as long as they sent a person there, a body, even if they wouldn’t take them, they got credit. They said, “Send 30 people.” They’d send 30 people. Anyhow. I don’t know why, but my draft board seemed to like to send me. They sent me about 10 times. And 9 times I was sent back because I couldn’t hear right. So one time they did take me. One time they decided to take me. So I said, “I want some time to close my office.” I had a law office. By that time I’d gottten a few cases and I was making a little money at least. They said, “How much time do you need?” I said, “Well, 90 days.” They said, “That sounds reasonable.” So I got 90 days to close my office. Okay. Closed it up. Incidentally, am I belaboring too much of this?
Interviewer: No, it’s fine.
Goldstein: So I closed it up. And within 10 days I got a notice to report down there again so I started saying goodbye to everybody and I’m going down and report. So I went down and they looked at my physical and they said, “This is over 90 days old. It’s no good. We have to give you another physical.” So they put me through another physical and they bumped me again. Now I don’t have an office so I came home and I decided I wanted to do something in the war effort. The war is on now. This is like in ’42. Pearl Harbor was already attacked months before that. Anyway we were involved in the war. So I went down to the Depot which isn’t too far from here at James and Broad. There’s an entrance on James. So that’s the entrance you’re supposed to use. But James Road at that time was just dirt. It wasn’t paved. So I got in the line. In the line are all kinds of big guys so I’m in the line. There are two lines. As I worked my way up through the line, there’s a guy who looks at me and he says, “You want a laborer job?” To be a laborer, I’m not that big or that strong. I said, “Well not exactly.” I thought maybe he had another type of work. He said, “Oh, you go downtown and file down there,”which meant going to the Civil Service office. So I left there and the more I thought about it, I’d go downtown and file an application that they pass on to Civil Service for a few weeks or more. At least that was my impression of the way they did it. I said to myself, “I’m going to get in the other line.” So I get in the other line and I work my way up to the front and the person looks at me and says, “What kind of job are you looking for?”and so I decided this was a good time. I had to talk fast. So I convinced him that I was looking for a job where I could handle a lot of things and so I gave him my background. So I guess he got tired listening to me because he sent me to a door, a gate to another office. I got inside, that was the main thing I wanted, and I talked to a nice lady there and she said, “I might find something for you.” And remember I’m a graduate lawyer and I’m coming in with a group of laborers. And she sent me into the bowels of the Depot I’d never been in before to a Captain Maddox, I still remember his name, in Ordnance Supply. They packed things and sent it to the war zones for motor ordnance, for jeeps, for tanks or anything with parts that they sent in that had to be packed in boxes with grease on them, etc. Well I’ll make this short. They hired me. They made me a buyer; they wanted me to help the captain. This captain was a southern gentleman and the only thing that made him a captain is he used to run an automobile agency. He didn’t know too much about these things, but he was a nice man. A very southern gentleman, you know.
I started doing things for him and he appreciated it. He said, “I got my lawyer here,”…the way he talked. So I was getting valuable and I remember one time he gave me a quarter of a million dollars, a lot of money, to spend during one annual quarter to buy stuff. That’s when they called me again ’cause the war was going very bad at that time. They’d take anybody that breathed, that was warm. And I went to the service. They drafted me. This time they took me. Okay. So they had an idea, as I found out. The military was going to guard all the factories making military supplies because they were afraid maybe they’d be bombed. The enemy might come over. The idea was to take lawyers and make them investigators in case of crimes and they took policemen and firemen ’cause they’re used to being on their feet, and make them guards. This was their idea. Well they sent me down with this group to, of all places, Miami Beach This particular branch of the army, the Military Police, didn’t have basic training grounds. So they used the Air Force in Miami Beach for a training facility, AFTTC which was a Air Force Technical Training Command. They sent me down there and I was in basic training, supposed to be six weeks. And I’m staying there seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks, twelve weeks. I’m doing KPs, I’m doing guard duty and you’d ask them a question, you didn’t get any answer. In the army, you’re expendable. You don’t ask questions unless you’re an officer and then you ask questions. GIs is what we were called, non-commissioned officers. Didn’t ask questions. They’re just numbers. There were numbers. If you were a mechanic, you were number 327 for example, just a number like a can of beans on the shelf. So finally I got to my sergeant and I said, “Look, I want to find out what I’m doing here.” He finally gave me permission to go to headquarters on Lincoln Road. So I went over there and I got in line. This is an interesting story. I got in a line to go up to a cage where I talked to someone. They tell you they will answer your questions. So I got up there, it was a corporal. Corporal was a big title to me. I was a buck private. I asked him what I was doing here and so he dug up my card somewhere and talked to me. He said. He said when you came in, they asked you what you’d like to do in the Air Force. Well I had a couple of things there…Let me back up a minute. They had done away with this idea of guarding the factories. So now I was in an Air Force base but I didn’t belong to the Air Force. I belonged to the Military Police. I said, “I know when they asked you what you wanted to do in the army in case you’re in the Air Force.” Well I told him I’m looking for something that I could handle that wasn’t too dangerous. I didn’t want to go out and I knew I couldn’t pass to be a pilot nor did I want to be one. With that bad ear you can’t even fly and you wore glasses. So I said, “Well I’ll become a typist or a decoder or something I can use my brain in.” He said, “That’s what you’re going to do.” I said, “Well I’m not doing it. I’m just, nobody’s telling me anything. I’ve been here for weeks and weeks.” And he said, “Well that’s what we have on here. That’s what you’re going to do, that’s what’s going to happen.”
Well we got a little loud between us and an officer came by and he said, “What’s going on?” So the corporal said, “He doesn’t want to get away from here. He’s arguing about . . . .” The officer looks to me and I said to myself, “You gotta be calm and talk quickly.” And I talked to the officer and I told him my background, my story, and I said, “I just want to get some idea what I’m doing, where I’m going.” Because in the army you live from day to day. You never know if you’re going to get shipped out to the hellhole of the world or if you’re going to be a Major General. You just don’t know. There are rumors and tension. It’s the worst thing in the army. Worse than being in battle, just wondering if you’re going to be in it. So he says, “Come with me,”and he took me over some place and there’s a bunch of desks and a bunch of officers and he said, “Sit down.” I sat down and he went away and in a few minutes he came back. He had my whole chart. He said – when they did away with this, the idea of guarding the factories, the Air Force gave me the Air Force exams. Whole bunch of exams. All kinds of exams, TCPs and intelligence stuff…all the kind of thing you were…take IQ tests. He said, “You got very good grades, such good grades that the organization that has you said, ‘We don’t want to give you up. We want to keep you.'” He said, “Well, we’re going to try and see if we can keep you. But they won’t give you up.” And I said, “Well I want to settle this thing as soon as possible.” He said, “And I’ll get you a good job.” Well I’d been listening to lectures for so long that they give in basic training. I heard them over and over. I used to give the lectures when the lecturer was goofing off. I’m just a recruit. I said, “I know a good job.” He said, “What?” I said, “I can be a lecturer. He said, “I’m talking about a good job.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “I’ll let you know.” Well, in a few days I got a note to come back up to Headquarters and report to the Shelborne Hotel on, I forget the name of the street. Anyway it’s a well-known hotel, was then, north of Lincoln Road, and I went up there and I didn’t know who the man was, what the office was. I just remember it was a hotel the Air Force took over. They took over a lot of hotels. And I was ushered in to see a captain. The captain asked me a few questions and made me fill out a form…my whole background…a whole business there and he made it out and said, “I’ll let you know. You’ll hear from us.” By golly in a week or two, I “heard from us.” They transferred me up the beach to the Albion Hotel and…that was the Intelligence Department. Well I stayed in there, I came up there in January of ’43.
I got into Intelligence around April and Mildred came down to Florida in November because I was stationed there now. And we stayed there. In the end of June of 1944 they had so many people that were hurt, injured, shot up in Europe and otherwise, that they brought them in. They made a rehab base out of the area of Miami Beach. They did away with our Technical Training Command. And that time, I was in Intelligence. But it was getting so there weren’t too many investigations any more. So it was getting smaller and smaller and smaller. The Intelligence Department of the Army writes the history of the branch. They had me writing history. I don’t want to give too many details but they had some contests in writing and I won a prize and the Captain knew I could write, so they had me writing the history. I wrote the whole medical history of the training of the Air Force in Miami Beach, medical history. A General came around from St. Louis looking for writers to recruit WACS. Why did they want WACS? First of all, the men were needed in the fighting. The war was going bad at that time. Also, they felt that if you put a man in a hospital, guy’s wounded, the fellow will recover better if some lady, some woman, some girl is there holding his hand and giving him his medicine. It’s true, the psychology of it. So they wanted to take these new WACS and put them into medical installations where they didn’t need men, not fighting, for instance, hospitals, laboratories, things like that.
He wanted the WACS. And he wanted some people to write publicity. Well the newspaper that they had on the Beach was already gone…’cause they’d gotten so small they didn’t need the newspaper. They were shipped out, they were gone. So one of the fellows that I knew, another friend of mine in the Intelligence crew upstairs; they had already reduced the command from a General to a Colonel up there. My friend overheard this and he said, “They’ve got writers in Intelligence.” He said, “Want me to get them?” He came down to see another close friend, and I overheard him and I said, “Can I go talk with the General too?” He said, “Yeah.” So we both went up and this General he eventually hired me. He didn’t hire our friend unfortunately. But he hired me. I became a publicity man for the WAC and for the next year, I wrote publicity for the WAC and not only wrote publicity but I, they didn’t have any TV then in the United States, handled radio, interviews, etc. They gave me training in Baltimore. They were so nice to me. They said, “Where would you like to go?” I said, “I’d like to go to Columbus, Ohio.” Well, their area only went to the western end of Pennsylvania. They put me in Erie.
Interviewer: So you and Mildred went to Erie?
Goldstein: She went to Erie with me, yeah. I wrote articles for different newspapers in our area. And I put on a parade, anything I could dream up. I’d got store windows dressed up. I found a camp nearby and I got some material, uniforms and all kinds of stuff, and brought it in and had the window trimmer trim up a whole display of WAC stuff with signs so we could maybe get people to come in for recruitment. I used to travel with the girls into these little cities around there, Oil City and I forget the names already, and tried to drum up publicity and something in the newspaper and get WACS. That lasted about a year and it was the best assignment I had. Then after that they let me out of the WAC when the world war ended in Europe which was in May of ’45; one thing led to another. I was in Boca Raton with a radar group, with Intelligence, ended up they sent me to the Philippine Islands, where I ended my career in the Army. I was in General George C. Kenney’s Headquarters but I’m only a sergeant. By that time I was a sergeant. I wasn’t an officer. I was in the Air Provost Marshal’s office and some of the time I was doing the work of an officer, but I didn’t care. So I ended up a sergeant there and I could tell you some more interesting things, but you’re not interested in war as much as in me so you ask the questions.
Interviewer: Okay. So you got out of the Army or the service. Where did you come? What did you do then?
Goldstein: Came home.
Interviewer: Came home?
Interviewer: You’re safe. Then your life apparently went into a new arena. Tell me about that.
Goldstein: Well I came back and I had visions of opening an office again and going through the same year after year which I went through during the Depression. But I just didn’t, I hesitated. I had put my furniture and stuff in storage. But I hesitated and then besides we had not had any children and so…
Interviewer: You didn’t have any children yet?
Goldstein: So I was going around downtown looking for something and they’d give me an office, maybe not. The good spaces had already been taken up by those who had stayed here during the war and the only offices I could find were in areas I didn’t care to go, the edge of, the fringe of the downtown, old buildings. So along the way I was sent by an attorney I knew to the Unemployment Compensation Bureau. He said, “They’re hiring down there,”and he told me the name of the man in charge of the Review Board and he was a B’nai B’rith man, an outstanding B’nai B’rith man from Cleveland, Ohio. President of the District before that.
Interviewer: What was his name?
Goldstein: Albert Waldman. And Is Garek sent me over there. Is Garek was a big B’nai B’rith man in Columbus. I knew the B’nai B’rith people. So I went over to see Al Waldman and to be a referee, hear appeals. There were a lot of claimants at Unemployment Comp because when the war ended everybody became unem- ployed. Everybody before that, men, women, children were working in the war effort. All of a sudden you don’t need anything anymore and not only that but the soldiers and sailors and all of the military were in what they called “the 52-20 club.” It was the SRA, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. They were given $20 a week, which was good money in those days. $20 a week if they were unem- ployed. So between the servicemen and the people that became unemployed, it was big, big, big business at the Unemployment Office. This meant a lot of appeals and when I talked to Al Waldman, I didn’t talk to him for 5 mintues, he said, “You’re hired.” He said, “Come to work next Monday. We’ll make the paper- work out later.” So I thought I’d go there for a while and get settled in, make a few dollars and then I would get back into practice. Well the few weeks ended up to be 20 years. We had a child; I came home in early ’46 and we had a child in late ’46 and at that time there were weekly or monthly paychecks which was very nice instead of sitting there waiting for someone to get lost and come into my office. So maybe things were different but that’s what I envisioned and I stayed on hearing cases for the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review for 20 years.
Interviewer: Before we go on to the next job, I want to ask you. Where was your family at this time, I mean your parents? Were your parents still around?
Goldstein: My parents had moved during the war, roughly during the war, from Monroe Avenue to Berkeley Road near Mound Street. And strangely enough, even my wife’s family lived across the street from them. Their names were Feinberg. Her mother and father were Harry and Alice Feinberg. They moved to Lilley Avenue, a block away near Mound. So when we got back we lived for a while with them until we got our own place…
Interviewer: Which was where?
Goldstein: Well first we lived with, my father had a duplex and we rented from him on the second floor. And then we got this home. We’ve been here since 1950. And Marcia was born before that. She was about 3 1/2 when we came here. But after, in ’46, I went to work for the State of Ohio and just exactly 20 years later, I’d been looking around. It was all right but the State of Ohio wasn’t overpaying anybody in my position and I got some information on this federal work which was called a Hearing Examiner at that time but then later became known as Administrative Law Judge and I found out there were openings in the Social Security section for Administrative Law Judges within certain agencies, they were specialists in certain agencies. Well, Harry Kallman had come to Columbus and I didn’t know him but I saw a man in the shul; he was a very religious man. I go to shul on Saturdays and I’d see him there and next Saturday I’d see him there again. And he’d be by himself and I didn’t know who he was. So I thought well I’d go over and talk with him. So I talked to Harry Kallman and I found out he was here to open up the Social Security Appeals office and he had a wife and a couple of children in Washington, where he came from the headquarters. And so I invited him to the house, invited him to dinner and tried to be friendly and we became very close friends and eventually we got him an apartment, brought his wife, brought his two daughters in. Later helped him find a home to buy and we were very close and he in turn told me, “Why don’t you come over and start working for the Government?” He said, “It pays a lot better.” Well it did and…
Interviewer: You picked the right guy to start talking to in shul.
Goldstein: Yes. When you’re trying to be nice to people, it comes back to you in good measure.
Interviewer: That’s right.
Goldstein: So anyway, he persuaded me to change over, to apply for this job with the Federal Government. But you don’t get hired by saying, “Hello, come to work next Monday.” I took a five-hour written exam. I had to fly to Chicago on my own money to be interviewed by three people for an hour, throwing questions at you. And I had to learn that you just have to qualify. You know, when you apply for a federal job – is your work Federal Government?
Goldstein: Well there’s a form that…three references, put their names on. You know how many I had to have?
Interviewer: Huh uh.
Goldstein: Would you like to take a wild guess?
Interviewer: Uh, 25.
Goldstein: Exactly. Twenty-five names and they didn’t just get a letter saying, “Harry’s a nice guy.” They got a six-page questionnaire wanting to know all about me. Wanted to know where I was, who I was, if I ever did anything to overthrow the govern- ment, if I had a judicial temperament. Half of them called me up and said, “We can’t even answer these things.” And anyway, after all that, I did get it and I told Harry I wouldn’t take it if I couldn’t stay in Columbus ’cause I wasn’t the kind of guy wanted to go live in Detroit or in Omaha. I had friends here, I was active in organizations here and my family. I just didn’t want to do that. He said, “Well they’ll send you back eventually.” I said, “No I won’t do that.” So eventually, through his help, I got assigned to Columbus and since I was a war vet and I got wounded a little in the war in the Philippines, I got a priority and if they want to move people, I was at the top of the list because of my veteran’s service. So I never got moved out of Columbus. I don’t know if I would have gone if I had but I never had to. Eventually I established myself here where they didn’t want to move me out.
Interviewer: That’s pretty impressive.
Goldstein: So I stayed here for 24 years. But I worked until I was almost 77 and in ’90 I retired. It was 8 years ago.
Interviewer: That’s amazing, Harry. Let’s back up a little. I asked you before or I wanted to ask you, how long did your parents live?
Goldstein: My mother died in 1953. My father died in 1955.
Interviewer: I see. Are they both buried here?
Goldstein: Oh yes, Agudas Achim Cemetery, new cemetery.
Interviewer: I see. And how many grandchildren did they have? I know Marcia. Were there other…
Goldstein: Yes. I have a sister and a brother and we all had girls. My sister had two girls, my brother had two girls and I had one girl. We had five girls.
Interviewer: Was Marcia the first or not?
Goldstein: Of the group?
Interviewer: Yeah, was she the first grandchild?
Goldstein: Oh no. She’s probably, she’s possibly the last. I’m not sure. Wait a minute, let’s go over this again. That’s not right. Oh yes, grandchildren, yes. I was thinking of great grandchildren. No I think my brother had two girls and the second one was about Marcia’s age and my sister had two girls and the second one was about Marcia’s age. But I’m not sure of their ages.
Interviewer: That’s okay.
Goldstein: But there are five girls.
Interviewer: So were there a lot of things with your parents and your in-laws especially after the kids came?
Goldstein: Well they were friendly. They…my in-laws?
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Goldstein: As I say, they lived across the street from each other and then they moved within a block of each other. They were nice people, very nice people, and when my mother died, my mother- and my father-in-law, he didn’t live too long. He had Parkinson’s Disease and was disabled. But Mrs. Feinberg was a lovely lady. I’ll say that. I had one of the nicest mothers-in-law you could have. And when my mother died, she would even come over and try to do things for my father who was inept. He thought he could do it, he was a smart man. But he could probably take care of himself, didn’t like to bother people, but he didn’t know which side of a fry pan the handle was on. And he wouldn’t eat right. He had leukemia. Well he had it since ’46 when I came back from the service. He had symptoms that they couldn’t cure here. I took him to Cleveland Clinic and they found out he had leukemia. Sent him back here and my brother who was a doctor and also had faculty status, he taught a class or something. So he got in to Dr. Doan, who was the Dean of the Medical School and also a world-renowned hematologist, and he took care of my father and kept him alive for quite a while. He took him to at least one seminar I know and showed him off . They used to give you X-ray until you couldn’t take any more and then send you home to die with leukemia. But this is one good thing that came out of World War II. They learned how to radioactivate phosphorous. Now phosphorous goes to the bones just like iodine goes to the thyroid. Well I don’t know how they radioactivate it but they either put it in a cyclotron or expose it to fissionable elements, I’m not sure. But they would bring it from Oak Ridge, Tenneseee, where they developed the atomic bomb. This is after the war now, in lead casks, and that’s what they’d use instead of using X-radiation. Dr. Doan was a pioneer in this and he gave it to my father. He’d done certain tests and all that and then he’d give him a certain amount of this and it kept him going. He had bad symptoms. He had an itch. He had chronic myelogenous leukemia. He had too many white cells. But we didn’t come here for medical purposes. But anyway my dad lived for quite a while until about two years after my mother died.
Interviewer: Did he stay at home?
Goldstein: He stayed in their apartment, yeah. And my brother, who lived in Miami, came in of course to see him from time to time, he said, “I think he died as much from malnutrition instead of leukemia.” But Mrs. Feinberg tried to help and Mrs. Feinberg was a fine lady. She lived until much later. She lived until 1984 and she was active at the Heritage House and her life ended over there. I mean she had died but she’s one of the few people who actually wanted to go to Heritage House because she knew it so well and she had been awarded a candelabra pendant – they liked her so well. They gave her a diamond to put in the pendant every year. She was a real nice lady.
Interviewer: How did your wife change after Marcia was born?
Goldstein: My wife?
Interviewer: Uh huh. Your wife Mildred.
Goldstein: I don’t think it changed her life as much as made me determined to stay with the State of Ohio…oh it wasn’t very much different. We just, see Mildred and I had known each other; we weren’t just “Johnny come latelys.” We’d known each other since we were 10. So we’d just take everything in stride. And Marcia grew up and she came over here when she was 3 1/2, went to Bexley schools and we started taking trips. Took her with us of course and every chance I had to take her somewhere. One time we took a trip clear across the country to California and took in all the sights and saw Salt Lake City and the Grand Canyon, everything. And we took her to Florida and we’d go down there for visits to Florida and nothing was unusual or outstanding or different in our lives.
Interviewer: And it sounds like B’nai B’rith has remained a part of your life?
Goldstein: Yes it has. Of course, B’nai B’rith is not as big as it used to be. When I was President I had 1600 members. Today you’re likely to get 2- or 300. And yes, a couple of years ago as you may know, I forget when, the Zion Lodge just wasn’t having any activity and we combined with the Maccabee Lodge, the younger people, to make the Greater B’nai B’rith of Columbus. But we still had money and I’m one of the trustees and we decide what to do with the money, how to spend it, and we gain interest on it. We have money from Children’s Home Day at the Ohio State Fair. That’s was a big thing at the Fair, you know. But Alan Bornstein got to where he was running it himself and he did get some help but we closed our office that Maxine Dworkin used to work in and Alan said he just can’t do it any more. And nobody else wants to undertake it. I’m 85 years old. I’ll take assignments but I don’t want anything that’s too complicated or you have to be very active. I just can’t do that. I mean I’d like to do it if I could. Twenty years ago I would have done something like that. But nowadays I know my limitations and how much I can extend myself and I have my own physical problems and they just don’t permit me to get too active like that.
Interviewer: What is the most important thing to you now?
Goldstein: Staying vertical.
Interviewer: Staying vertical, that’s a good one. That’s got a…
Goldstein: As long as you can stay; I pray. I believe in prayer. I can…I gave a sermon at the shul one time on why I believe in God and it’s not necessarily from a religious point of view ’cause the Talmud says so. But I think of all these things that go on and I don’t want to belabor it ’cause I could talk for 20 minutes on that. I think there has to be some control. Just simply speaking, well, mariners can set their clocks by shooting the stars. Those stars can be anticipated being in a certain space exactly well in advance. Why don’t they just run around bumping into each other? I’m oversimplifying it. Halley’s Comet is coming in like 76 years, 8 months, whatever it is. Three days and 2 minutes. It’s gonna’ be here. It’s one of the …when you can tell in advance, years in advance. Why is it when you take the petunia seed that you had in an envelope for two years and it came from a petunia that was blue with white stripes and you put it in the ground and up comes not a cherry blossom and not a morning glory, but a petunia. And when it grows up it’s blue with white stripes. Why? The whole problem of procreation, talk to a surgeon he’ll say, “To believe in God, become a surgeon.” Cut a person open and there is his heart, his spleen, his pancreas, and his stomach. Open the next one and there they are. If they are not there, there’s no such thing as medicine. Does the next guy have it all? It’s the same, all the same. They know each artery and each nerve. They know exactly how bones grow up with a little path up here where the blood goes through and a ligament goes through and attaches exactly right. Why? Why? And you could go on like that with a lot of things that happen in this Universe. I don’t believe that it’s by chance that everything works with such precision that you can, someone can tell you…you’re going to see Pleiades. Or you’re going to see Orion. Why is it there at that moment? So I believe in God and I believe in prayer and I believe if you do the things the merit reward, you’re going to get it. Now you may say, “What about those people who died needlessly or an explosion, tornado?” That’s what He thinks is best and I can’t explain why good people are not necessarily all rewarded and why there are catastrophies. But from the standpoint of the operation of the Universe, it’s got to have something or someone or some force in charge and I prefer to believe that it’s God.
Interviewer: That’s really beautiful Harry.
Goldstein: And I pray every night.
Interviewer: Do you go to shul regularly?
Goldstein: I go to shul on Shabbos and then I usher on the holidays and, yeah I go. I’m a regular. If I’m not there, people call and ask me, “Where you been?”
Interviewer: Oh that’s really nice. What else? You travel a lot these days, right?
Goldstein: Not these days.
Goldstein: See Mildred is not too well any more. She’s got a bad case of osteoporosis which I don’t think we have to discuss here. So we don’t go around and travel. It’s difficult and I have some problems too but I’m resisting surgery in my back and so we don’t travel as much but over the years we’ve taken quite a few cruises, we’ve had a few tours. We’ve been to different places and different countries. We went to Europe, went to Israel, we’ve been to Canada, through Mexico. We’ve been on cruises to the Caribbean and the Pacific and we’ve enjoyed them. And as long as we can we did. Last thing we did was like three years ago I think, we went to Alaska on a cruise. But more recently it’s been a little more physically difficult. Oh we might take a cruise. A tour we wouldn’t do. A tour you have to get up on the bus, get off the bus…We could go ourselves. I think tours are great if you get a good one. We always got group tours. But…but I doubt it, I doubt it very much.
Interviewer: So staying vertical and going to shul is important and you haven’t done any oral history interviews yet but I assume you’ve been busy. What else do you enjoy doing? Anything in particular?
Goldstein: Yes, I’m sure I enjoy, I enjoy sports. I do not participate but I enjoy football, baseball, basketball, usually on TV or might go to a game occasionally. I still go to camp.
Interviewer: What camp is that Harry?
Goldstein: I’m a little old for camp but I go to camp. When I came back from the service in ’46, I didn’t have any money and Mildred became pregnant and I was working. I had some time off for vacation. So a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you come to camp?” Well the very word “camp”was pure anathema to me. I didn’t want to hear anything about camp. I just came out of the service. He said, “Well it’s YMCA Camp Willson near Bellefontaine.” It’s a youth camp all year ’round but they give one week to the men, the week before Labor Day. So I went. He said, “If you don’t like it, come back.” Well, I fell in love with it. I couldn’t tell you why but these are details I think that would be just too superfluous. But anyway I went to the camp, stayed a week and I just thought that, it’s a men’s camp during that week. Well I’ve been going every year since then and staying. You don’t have to stay all week. You can stay a day, you can stay two days, three days. But I love nature and this camp is, I know everybody very well and they got me up for every award they give. I’ve run their tournaments for the last 25-30 years.
Interviewer: What kind of tournament?
Goldstein: Oh any kinds that you dream up, they’ll make one. But really there’s tournaments in darts, pinochle, card…all the games, bridge, table tennis, outdoor tennis, we have good tennis courts, foul-shooting. I have about 20 tournaments going.
Interviewer: So you’re about ready to take off and go to camp soon, aren’t you?
Goldstein: Yeah very soon, very soon. I’ve been going for 52 years, since ’46 and I’ve been there consecutively more times than anybody there.
Interviewer: Well that’s impressive.
Goldstein: And I do another thing that I’d like to mention.
Goldstein: We have this sky pilot. “Sky Pilot” we call him. He’s a minister, a Methodist. Very fine man and every year he has a short non-denominational service and a sermon every evening. You don’t have to go to the service if you don’t want to. This camp is well known. It’s very loosely structured but you can always find something to do if you want to do it. You don’t have to go out and do everything. But after dinner we always had what we called Vesper Services in a very pretty amphitheater that goes down toward the lake outdoors. And this Methodist minister on Saturday night, which is the big night ’cause camp would run from Saturday to Saturday and most people come for the weekends and a lot of them go home after the weekends. Saturday night is the big night. He would run a kind of service where he would have a, he was a Methodist, he would have a Catholic do something, have a Jewish fellow do something. So he asked me if I’d give a closing prayer one time. This was years ago. I said, “Okay.” So the Catholic fellow was assigned to read something out of the Bible and then the Sky Pilot gave us a Vestry Service and he was very good at it. He was more or less non-sectarian when he gave it and he knew how to speak well.
Voice: Would you like a little bit of water?
Interviewer: No thank you.
Goldstein: So he asked me to give a closing prayer one time. So I gave it to him in Hebrew. It begins “Y’varechecha, May the Lord bless you and keep you.” And I translated it for them. Remember that possibly 90% of the campers are not Jewish.
Interviewer: And you said it in Hebrew?
Goldstein: Yes, in Hebrew and translated it. Next year he approached me on the Sabbath. Camp opens on a Saturday and he asked me to do…”Would you give the closing prayer again?” I said, “Want the same one?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Okay.” So I gave him the same one …So I got something ready ’cause I don’t like to just start talkin’ from the top of my head, start talking Hebrew lore and law. I’m not that steeped in being a rabbi. So I prepared a little bit and I asked him…He asked me to give the closing prayer but I said, “Could I have just a few minutes…?” He said, “Sure.” So I told them some things about the Jewish religion. The next year I gave them some more stuff out of our religion. I took about 15 minutes. He said I could take the whole evening if I wanted to. But anyway since that time, I’ve given them a mini-sermon every year. I’ve brought them items. I’ve brought a kiddish cup, I’ve brought them a tallis, I’ve brought them yarmelkas, I’ve brought them mezuzahs. I’ve brought them everything…and I study up on it in advance so I can tell them all about it: how it’s done, how it’s made, all its background. So they get the straight dope. And I even brought Cantor Shifman’s shofer one time. I took it out there and explained how the ram’s horn was made and so forth, I mean…a shofer and I can’t blow it. I tried to blow it. There was one man there who was a professor at Akron University. Not Jewish. And he plays a tuba. He says, “Let me try it.” So he blew it so loud you could hear it all over the camp, sounded like Rosh Hashonah in the camp.
Interviewer: Oh wow.
Goldstein: And it was beautiful and he thanked me over and again for giving him the privilege of being able to blow on this very important religious item at this camp. Well then I got into talk about prophets. I got so many things, I’m running out of material.
Interviewer: I don’t think that will ever happen Harry.
Goldstein: But every year I try to prepare something, get it ready, and give a sermon. And I try to maintain a respect of the non-Jews for the Jews. That’s very important. And I think I’ve gotten that respect because any time we want anything that has anything religious, they can ask me. Now they can ask someone else, but they ask me.
Interviewer: Well that’s an honor.
Goldstein: We don’t have that many Jewish people in camp anymore. They’re not knowledgeable or whatever, so I feel very privileged in camp when I get that respect. And I think it’s important for the Jewish people. I always feel that everybody in a minority group is a standard-bearer for his group. And every Jew is a standard-bearer for his race. The worst anti-Semites are the Jewish people themselves who don’t live up to the Jewish precepts and live up to what we’re trying to preach to be proud of. That’s our biggest problem. I used to work with ADL, not as a professional, as a volunteer. See?
Interviewer: We’re about ready to come to the end of the tape but I can put on another tape.
Goldstein: Not unless you wish it.
Interviewer: Well I guess, let me stop for a second. Okay Harry, I think we’re going to wrap it up and I understand you have some things you’re going to give us for the file. I want to thank you very, very much for your time and I think a lot of the people will enjoy listening to this recording or reading the transcript. This concludes the interview of Harry Goldstein by Carol Shkolnik on August 17, 1998.
Goldstein: Thank you Carol.
Interviewer: You’re welcome. Thank you.
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Transcribed by Honey Abramson