Oral history interview with Ruth Fast, January 8, 2020  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Fast, Ruth Zadek
Oral history interview with Ruth Fast
January 8, 2020 (inclusive)
4 digital files (1.3 GB)
Collection Number
6335 (Accession No. 6335-001)
Oral history interview with Ruth Fast conducted by Ruth Sassoon and Janice Rabkin on January 8, 2020.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

The audio recording and the transcript of the interview can be accessed on the Libraries Digital Collections website. Arrangements can be made to preview the interview onsite in the Special Collections Reading Room by contacting Special Collections well in advance of your visit. Users may be able to obtain a reproduction of the material for a fee by contacting Special Collections.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ruth Zadek Fast was born in Stettin, Germany (1920) into a secular Jewish Zionist family with musical talents. She was the middle child with an older sister, Hilde, and a younger sister, Edith. Ruth joined Hadassah’s Youth Aliya when she was 14 (1934) and immigrated to Palestine after restrictions against the Jews were introduced in Germany. She lived on a kibbutz for two years and eventually in Tel Aviv on her own. When her family immigrated from Germany to Palestine after Kristallnacht (1938,) she moved with them to Jerusalem where they opened a shoe business. Ruth sang with the Palestine Broadcasting Service choir. She served with the British Army in Palestine and Cairo and rose to the rank of lieutenant. Ruth emigrated to New York in 1947 as tensions rose in Palestine. Interested in meeting family in the West, she traveled by bus to Portland Oregon. There she met and married Alfred Fast, an immigrant and Austrian-trained architect. Ruth has a daughter (Josey), granddaughter (Alexandra) and son (Daniel). She and Alfred divorced in 1968. Ruth credited Henrietta Szold and Youth Aliya with helping her immigrate to Palestine and served Hadassah wherever she lived in many capacities. She was President of the Seattle Mt Scopus chapter and a member of the Herzl and Beth Am choirs. Philosophically, Ruth dismissed any difficulties she encountered with “ein brera,” there was no choice. Now, at age 99, she views her life and the world with optimism.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Oral history interview with Ruth Fast conducted by Ruth Sassoon and Janice Rabkin on January 8, 2020.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Forms part of the Washington State Jewish Historical Society.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Listen to the audio recording and view the transcript of this interview on the Libraries Digital Collections site

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Immigrants--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Jewish women--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Singers
  • Personal Names :
  • Fast, Ruth--Interviews
  • Corporate Names :
  • Auxiliary Territorial Service
  • Great Britain. Army
  • Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Seattle Chapter
  • Temple Beth Am (Seattle, Wash
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Rabkin, Janice,   interviewer (interviewer. )
    • Sassoon, Ruth,   interviewer (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Washington State Jewish Historical Society (University of Washington) (host institution)