Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Mordecai Persky

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Mordecai Persky
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-
Persky, Mordecai, 1931-
Mordecai “Mort” Persky, born in 1931, was raised in Aiken, South Carolina, where his maternal grandfather, Hiram Charles “H. C.” Surasky, and his brothers, natives of Knyszyn, Poland, had settled in the late 1800s. The interviewee recalls Surasky family members and their stores, and discusses the murder of Abraham Surasky, H. C.’s brother. When H. C. died, Mort’s father, Nathan Persky, took over his business. Nathan emigrated from Volozhin, Belorus, in 1909. A graduate of the Volozhiner Yeshiva, he served as lay leader of Adath Yeshurun Synagogue in Aiken. He was also active in local civic organizations and “held in high esteem” by his fellow citizens. Mort reports that his “childhood was shadowed by the Holocaust,” which “took place with the counterpoint of Aiken antisemitism.” He credits Yiddish newspapers such as the Forward, read by his father and grandmother, for the family’s awareness of Hitler’s activities in Europe. Other topics covered by Mort include: keeping kosher, his bar mitzvah, his aunt Mina Surasky Tropp, his visit to Knyszyn, and his career in journalism. The transcript includes comments inserted by the interviewee during proofreading.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Adath Yeshurun (Aiken, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Aiken--Interviews, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Aiken—History, Antisemitism--South Carolina--Aiken--History
Shelving Locator:
Mss 1035-228
S.C. County:
Aiken County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Mordecai Persky, audio interview by Dale Rosengarten, 3 November 1999, Mss 1035-228, 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.