Jewish oral history project, 1972-1977

Overview of the Collection

American West Center
Jewish oral history project
1972-1977 (inclusive)
3 linear feet
Collection Number
ACCN 1629
The Jewish oral history project (1972-1977) was conducted by the American West Center and consists of a series of interviews between 1972 and 1977 with local Jewish Americans concerning life in Utah.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The American West Center is a research agency of the University of Utah serving social and ethnic communities in the Intermountain West with academic programs, research, and services. One of its activities is to conduct oral history projects documenting the history and traditions of ethnic and other identifiable groups.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Jewish oral history project was conducted by the American West Center and consists of a series of interviews between 1972 and 1977 with local Jewish Americans concerning life in Utah.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Gift of the American West Center in 1996.

Processing Note

Processed by Karen Carver in 2004.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 Harry Altschule
43 pages
Mr. Altschule, who came to Salt Lake in 1967, discusses self-study of the Jewish community, Jewish Community Center programs, the Community Services Council, intercultural cooperation in Salt Lake City, anti-Semitism, developing community leadership, fund raising, "four persuasions" of the synagogue, basic principles of Judaism, family values, and his childhood memories of Jewish cultural traditions.
1 2 Benjamin Arnovitz
35 pages
Mr. Arnovitz (b. 1888), whose family emigrated from Czechoslovakia, reminisces about his early life in Pennsylvania, running a tavern in Salt Lake City (during Prohibition, a "near-beer pool hall"), the Montefiore and Shaare Tzedek congregations in Salt Lake, the Jewish cemetery and Jewish community center, the purpose of B'Nai B'rith, Hebrew school, and Jewish ceremonies.
1 3 Nathan Ayeroff
28 pages
Mr. Ayeroff, who gave up a successful business as a plumber in New York City to join the Clarion community, discusses the origin of the community, farming, diversity, Mormon neighbors, assistance from Jewish people in Salt Lake City, government and dissension, severe living conditions, and community cooperation. He also relates his post-Clarion experiences in Nebraska.
1 4 Abe Bernstein
24 pages
Mr. Bernstein (b. 1907) recalls his childhood in Salt Lake City, his father's participation in the formation of congregation Shaare Tzedek, his bar mitzvah, the Jewish cemetery, Prohibition and sacramental wine, the Maimonides (a Montefiore-sponsored club), his business experiences, and the Jewish community in Mexico City.
1 5 Abe and Sam Bernstein
27 pages
Sam joins his brother, Abe, for this discussion of congregation Shaare Tzedek. Topics covered include ceremonies and observances, the new building in 1920, congregation Montefiore, orthodox weddings, synagogue social activities, the Maimonides, and Jewish cemeteries in Salt Lake City.
1 6 Claire Steres Bernstein
37 pages
Mrs. Bernstein (b. 1907), who was born in Vernal, recalls family stories of journeys from Russia and Manchuria, family life in Vernal, orthodox traditions at home, the move to Salt Lake City, and her experiences in the public school system. She also speaks of the family grocery store, living as a minority, politics, the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, congregation Montefiore and the bar mitzvah of various family members.
1 7 Abe Cohne
29 pages
Mr. Cohne (b. 1885) talks about the experiences of his parents and grandparents in Czarist Russia, coming to America, working in the mines and in the fur and wool business.
1 8 Max Cowan
42 pages
Mr. Cowan (b. 1907) discusses his birth in the Ukraine, the move to Denver and Salt Lake City, the Jewish community in Salt Lake City, the livestock industry in Europe and the U.S., anti-Semnitism, Victor Kratke, and life for the Jewish settlers in Utah.
1 9 J. Allan Crockett
13 pages
Interview with Judge J. Allan Crockett about Judge Herbert M. Schiller in which Crockett recalls his first impression of Schiller, gives a personal profile, and recalls the judge's "kaleidoscopic" interests. He also recalls a talk Schiller gave on the qualities a judge should have and discusses the state capitol law library.
1 10 Minnie Crutcher
59 pages
Mrs. Crutcher (b. 1907) tells stories passed on to her of family life in Lithuania and of emigration to the United States. She recalls growing up in the Mormon community of Tooele and talks about her first encounter with discrimination in New York City. Also covered are her education and career, descriptions of family members, and the political career of her father, Solomon Joseph Selvin. (See also the Sol J. Selvin papers, Ms 489.)
1 11 Ed Eisen
30 pages
Mr. Eisen (b. 1916) discusses life in the Jewish community of Salt Lake, including the congregations Montefiore and Shaare Tzedek, Jewish areas of residence, education and politics, the Jewish community center, B'nai B'rith, religious education, rabbis, the state of Israel, Zionism, and the USO during World War II.
1 12 Herman Finkelstein
80 pages
Mr. Finkelstein (b. 1878) relates how his family emigrated from Poland, describes his work in the furniture business, and discusses family religious traditions, the Auerbach family, congregation Montefiore, anti-Semitism, Jewish-Mormon relations, Jewish social life, and political figures in Utah.
1 13 Abe Guss
36 pages
Mr. Guss (b. 1904) discusses his parents, their life in Czarist Russia, and his father's journey to New York in 1912. He describes life under German occcupation in World War I, the journey with his mother and siblings to Philadelphia, and from there to Denver, and his first impressions of America. Also included are comments on the differences in religious rites such the bar mitzvah in America and in Europe.
1 14 Morris Hayden
31 pages
Mr. Hayden talks about the founding of Shaare Tzedek, sometimes known as the "Bolshevik" Shule, and discusses Jewish social interactions and marriages, Saturday morning services, congregation Montefiore, emigration of the family from Russia to Chicago, family business enterprises and various siblings.
1 15 Esther Norma Rosenblatt Landa
31 pages
Mrs. Landa (b. 1912) recalls various places in Salt Lake City that she lived in as a child, Wasatch elementary school, Jewish friends and congregations, family business, attending Uintah elementary, high school and Mills College, family gatherings, and involvement in civic affairs. She details the Rosenblatt family tree.
2 1 Philip Perlman
41 pages
Mr. Perlman (b. 1920) traces his family history from his father's journey from New York City to Utah, where worked as a peddler, in a dairy, in a junkyard, and then in the fur and hide business. He recounts stories of life in Provo, LDS proselytizing, religious education, family deaths, the influence of Max Pepper, Jewish ceremonies, community involvement, and his father's funeral.
2 2 Sarah Pomerance
35 pages
Mrs. Pomerance (b. 1888) was born in Russia. She discusses the small Jewish community in Salt Lake City, speaking Yiddish, congregation Montefiore, the location of Jewish homes and businesses in Salt Lake, Shaare Tzedek, the ladies' auxillary known as Talmud-Torah, outings at Lagoon and Saltair, the emigration of her husband's family, synagogue services, and her education.
2 3 Charles Porizky
89 pages
Mr. Porizky (b. 1886) talks about his early life in Russia, pogroms, emigration in 1901, impressions of America, business ventures in Salt Lake, the Clarion Colony, his marriage, building a shule, the emigration of his mother in 1906, their first home in Salt Lake, Jewish customs and ceremonies, and prostitution.
2 4 Dal Siegel
39 pages
Mr. Siegel (b. 1909) discusses his father's emigration from Russia, business ventures, and reasons for moving west. He also talks about his grandfather being a cantor, rabbis in Salt Lake, congregation Montfiore, his mother's family, Jewish community organizations, the University of Utah in the 1920s, and serving in World War II as a lieutenant colonel.
2 5 Eva Siegel
39 pages
Mrs. Siegel (b. 1907) relates how her parents emigrated from Russia to New York City in 1904, and from there to Utah. She recalls living in several small towns in Central Utah, and talks about her father's stores in Gunnison and Richfield, the move to Salt Lake, Jewish friends in Salt Lake in the 1920s, Jewish community organizations, and attending college at Berkeley.
2 6 Dora Steres
66 pages
Mrs. Steres (b. 1898) recalls life in Czarist Russia and talks about her father's emigration in 1902, about emigrating through Ellis Island with her mother and siblings in 1905, life in Vernal, the move to Salt Lake City in 1914, holidays, Jewish congregations, and people in Salt Lake.
2 7 Maurice Warshaw
89 pages
Mr. Warshaw (b. 1898) recalls his early life in Russia, including a pogrom that took place when he was eight, and gives his impressions of immigrant life just after the turn of the century. He discusses life in Philadelphia, a brief period of residence in Clarion, Utah, and his experiences working in Philadelphia. Warshaw also talks about various family members, including two sisters who espoused communism in the 1930s and on into the McCarthy era. The interview concludes with Warshaw tracing his business ventures from a fruit stand to the Grand Central supermarket chain.
2 8 Maurice and Inez Warshaw, All for a Day in Dubossar
41 pages
This folder contains a booklet written by the Warshaws for friends who were curious about their trip to Maurice Warshaw's Moldavian birthplace in July 1963. Along with the story of their travels, Warshaw goes further into the particulars of the pogrom which precipitated the move to America, and discusses other childhood memories.
2 9 J. Holman Waters
27 pages
The subject of this interview is Samuel Newhouse. Mr. Waters' father, James W. Waters, organized the Bonneville Hotel Company and leased the Hotel Newhouse. Waters recalls growing up in the Hotel Newhouse and gives a personal profile of Samuel Newhouse.
2 10 Laura Young Wells
34 pages
Mrs. Wells recalls the life of Samuel Newhouse, including his mining interests, the McCune railroads, his business buildings, and his eventual bankruptcy. She also recalls Ida Newhouse, her life in English court society, her jewels, and her home on South Temple.
2 11 Louis Zucker
174 pages
Mr. Zucker (b. 1895) discusses the emigration of his parents from Poland, their life in Philadelphia, and political leanings. He recalls his education in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, his move to Salt Lake City to join the English faculty at the University of Utah, and life in the Jewish community. Also included are stories of various Jewish families, his experiences teaching Sunday school, the Maimonides, Jewish students and faculty at the University in the 1930s and 1940s, Jewish politics and culture, and the life of Judge Herbert Schiller.
3 Masters, Altschule to Cowan
Access to this box is RESTRICTED.
4 Masters, Crockett to Perlman
Access to this box is RESTRICTED.
5 Masters, Pomerance to Warshaw
Access to this box is RESTRICTED.
6 Masters, Waters to Zucker
Access to this box is RESTRICTED.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Children of immigrants--Utah--Interviews
  • Immigrants--Utah--Interviews
  • Jews, American--Utah--Interviews
  • Jews--Utah--Cultural assimilation

Geographical Names

  • Utah--Emigration and Immigration
  • Utah--Ethnic relations

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories