Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Alex Garfinkel

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Alex Garfinkel
Grossman, Michael Samuel
Garfinkel, Alex, 1915-2006
Alex Garfinkel discusses his father, Harry Louis Garfinkel, who emigrated from Divin, Russia, around the turn of the twentieth century to avoid conscription. He was followed to the United States by two sisters, four brothers, and his father. Harry heard there were landsmen (countrymen) from Divin in Charleston, South Carolina, so he moved there and worked as a shoemaker until he bought a mattress factory. He married Celia Hannah Lapidus of Charleston. At some point, Harry turned over the mattress business to his brother Sam and opened a junk yard, which grew into a successful scrap metal business. Alex grew up on Line Street, one of eight children. He attended Hebrew school at Beth Israel and briefly mentions the split between Beth Israel and Brith Sholom, the Orthodox synagogues. Alex talks about King Street merchants, his father’s businesses, and taking over the scrap yard as a young man, which exempted him from military service during World War II. He invited his cousin Max Garfinkel of Baltimore to join him in the growing business, and they remained partners for over forty years. See also interviews with other members of the Garfinkel family: Helen Rosenshein, Olga Weinstein, Sandra Shapiro, Nathan and Frances Garfinkle (Nathan spells the family name differently), Max and Jennie Garfinkel, and Philip Garfinkel.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Brith Sholom (Charleston, S.C.), Beth Israel (Charleston, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Interviews, Jewish businesspeople--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Social life and customs
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-127
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg, application/pdf
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Alex Garfinkel, audio interview by Michael Samuel Grossman, 26 February 1997, Mss 1035-127, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital resource copyright 2013, College of Charleston. All rights reserved. For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.