Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Leonard Cohen and Mildred Friedman Cohen

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Leonard Cohen and Mildred Friedman Cohen
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948–
Cohen, Leonard B., 1924–2012, Cohen, Mildred Friedman,1922–1999
Leonard Cohen grew up in Latta, South Carolina, the son of dry goods merchants, Isadore and Hannah Horowitz Cohen. Isadore emigrated circa 1910 from Lithuania and, after working briefly in Baltimore, followed his brother Harry’s advice and came south. His train ticket got him as far as Dillon, South Carolina. He peddled first, and then worked for Mr. Blum in his Latta store. Baltimore Bargain House extended credit to Isadore to start his own business, which prospered, enabling him to expand his store and, eventually, buy his own building. Two other Jewish families lived in Latta at that time, the Blums and the Kornbluts, and Leonard recalls being the only Jewish child in his classes at school. The Cohens attended services in Dillon, with Rabbi Jacob Raisin of Charleston officiating. Leonard remembers the Fass family, prominent members of the Dillon congregation. At Camp Osceola in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Leonard studied Hebrew with Rabbi Solomon and prepared for his bar mitzvah. He attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1941 until 1943, when he was drafted into the army. He describes his experiences in the military, particularly the action he saw in Europe as a soldier serving in the 102nd Division. After the war, on a visit to Baltimore, he met Mildred Friedman, daughter of emigrants from Poland. Leonard and Mildred married in 1948 and settled in Latta, where he had already joined his father in business. They raised three children in Latta and were members of Temple Beth Israel in Florence, South Carolina. Faced with competition from discount chains, the Cohens closed their store in 1987. Other topics mentioned in the interview include: Baltimore Bargain House and changes in the wholesale industry, Charleston Jews Leonard met while attending The Citadel, Mildred’s mikvah experience before her wedding, and the first bat mitzvahs at Temple Beth Israel.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Cohen, Leonard, 1924–2012, Cohen, Mildred Friedman, 1926–1999, Cohen family, Friedman family, Fass family, Kornblut family, Blum family, Ohav Shalom (Dillon, S.C.), Temple Beth Israel (Florence, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Interviews, Jews--South Carolina--Latta--History, Jews--South Carolina--Dillon--History, Jews--South Carolina--Florence--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Latta--History, World War, 1939–1945--Participation, Jewish, Jewish soldiers--South Carolina—History
Geographic Subject:
Pee Dee, Lowcountry
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-191
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.