Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Connie Karesh Franzblau and Arnold Franzblau

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Connie Karesh Franzblau and Arnold Franzblau
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948–
Franzblau, Connie Karesh, 1934–, Franzblau, Arnold, 1927–
Connie Karesh Franzblau was born in Brooklyn, New York, where her father, Leroy Karesh, ran a shooting gallery in Coney Island until he was drafted at the outbreak of World War II. His wife, Frances Frankel, and their four children moved to Eutwaville, South Carolina, where Leroy’s parents, Abram and Katie Cohen Karesh, and a number of Katie’s relatives lived. Leroy was excused from military duty when Frances became ill, and the family moved to Charleston where he took a job at the shipyard. Although they lived only briefly in Eutawville, Connie recalls fond memories of the town where she spent her summers and extended family gathered for holidays. Connie’s family was Orthodox and kept kosher, but the Orthodoxy was “southern style.” “You do what you can, and then after a while you do what’s easy, and then after a while you do what you can get away with . . . .” When they moved to Charleston, they attended the Conservative synagogue, Emanu-El, because it was in their neighborhood and, therefore, convenient. Connie discusses her family history, how she met Arnold, and Camp Baker when it was located in Isle of Palms. Arnold, the son of Nathan and Nettie Franzblau, was born and spent his early childhood in New York City. When he was seven years old, the family moved to Aiken, South Carolina, where they hoped Nathan, who had a lung condition, would enjoy better health. The Franzblaus joined a small, close-knit community of immigrant Jewish families who, generally, did not socialize with the town’s gentiles. Arnold recalls attending Sunday school and holiday parties at the synagogue, Adath Yeshurun, and identifies some of the Jewish families in town. He moved to Charleston to attend The Citadel and the Medical College of South Carolina. He met Connie while working as a urology resident at Roper Hospital and the two married in 1953. They lived in a number of locations across the United States, and raised their two children in New Mexico. Arnold describes his family background and the antisemitism he encountered in Aiken and among medical school fraternities. Both interviewees discuss intermarriage and assimilation, and recall the discrimination blacks faced in the South before the civil rights era.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Franzblau, Connie Karesh, 1934–, Franzblau, Arnold, 1927–, Franzblau family, Karesh family, Levine family, Cohen family, Adath Yeshurun (Aiken, S.C.), Brith Sholom (Charleston, S.C.), Beth Israel (Charleston, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Interviews, Jews--New York--New York City--History, Jews--South Carolina--Eutawville--History, Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jews--South Carolina--Aiken--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Eutawville--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Aiken--History, Jews--Immigrants--United States--History, Jews--Cultural assimilation--United States, Antisemitism--South Carolina--History, African Americans--South Carolina--Relations with Jews--History, Race discrimination--South Carolina--History
Geographic Subject:
Lowcountry, Midlands
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-233
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg; application/pdf
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital resource copyright 2012, The College of Charleston. All rights reserved. For more information contact The College of Charleston Library, Charleston, SC 29424.