Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Ida Lurey Bolonkin and Joan Bolonkin Meir

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Ida Lurey Bolonkin and Joan Bolonkin Meir
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-
Bolonkin, Ida Lurey, 1922-, Meir, Joan Bolonkin, 1947-
Ida Lurey Bolonkin and her daughter Joan Bolonkin Meir discuss the Lurey family's emigration from Russia to South Carolina, where they stayed briefly in Spartanburg before settling in Greenville. Ida's father, Morris, met and married her mother, Austrian immigrant Mollie Dolk, in Rhode Island, and brought her back to Greenville where he ran a general merchandise store and she opened a grocery store. Ida, the youngest of six children, talks about her siblings and meeting her husband, Martin Bolonkin, at an AZA (Aleph Zadik Aleph) meeting. Ida was raised in Greenville's Orthodox synagogue, Beth Israel (now Conservative), but she joined Martin in the Reform Temple of Israel after they married. Joan, born in 1957, is their eldest child; she was joined four years later by her brother, Fred. Ida owned Lake Forest Outlet, a women's clothing store, and Martin manufactured ladies' blouses. The interviewees recount stories associated with Martin's livelihood: Jim Crow laws forced him to throw separate Christmas parties for his white and black employees; Ida and Joan remember the family feeling threatened by union organizers from the North, who sought to unionize the plant. They recall Martin's uncle Shep Saltzman, owner of the Piedmont Shirt Company, and his sponsorship of World War II refugee Max Heller, who later became mayor of Greenville. They describe antisemitism they experienced and observed in Greenville, and Joan recounts how her Camp Blue Star experiences bolstered her sense of Jewish identity: "When I was at Blue Star, the whole world was Jewish."
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Greenville--Interviews, Jewish businesspeople--South Carolina--Greenville--History, Antisemitism--South Carolina--Greenville--History, Jews--South Carolina--Identity, Jewish refugees--South Carolina--Greenville--History, Race discrimination--South Carolina--History, Jewish Camps
Shelving Locator:
Mss 1035-389
S.C. County:
Greenville County (S.C.), Spartanburg County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Ida Lurey Bolonkin and Joan Bolonkin Meir, audio interview by Dale Rosengarten, 09 March 2014, Mss 1035-389, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
Copyright © College of Charleston Libraries.
Access Information:
For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.