Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Meri Friedman Gergel and Rae Friedman Berry

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Meri Friedman Gergel and Rae Friedman Berry
Grossman, Michael Samuel
Gergel, Meri Friedman, 1922-, Berry, Rae Friedman, 1929-
Meri Friedman Gergel and her sister Rae Friedman Berry discuss growing up with their two sisters, Ann and Rose, in Kingstree, South Carolina, where the Friedmans were one of just a few Jewish families. Their parents, Sam Friedman and Rebecca Dreiszek, immigrated to the United States from Poland as teens and met in Charleston, South Carolina, home to Rebecca’s sister, Jenny Cohen. In the mid-1920s Sam and Rebecca moved from Charleston to Eutawville, South Carolina, and then Kingstree, opening Friedman’s Department Store. Meri describes the layout of the store and its clientele. Both sisters recall a generally happy childhood, overshadowed, however, by Rose’s chronic health problems, later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. The family moved to Columbia in 1947, to access better medical care for Rose, but she died the same year. Meri talks about the antisemitism she experienced growing up in Kingstree. Both sisters discuss their sense of Jewish identity; the foods their mother served; the family’s religious practices; and their college years and their children.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Interviews, Jews--South Carolina--Kingstree--Interviews, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Kingstree--History, Jewish families--South Carolina--Kingstree--Religious life, Jews--South Carolina--Identity, Antisemitism--South Carolina--History
Shelving Locator:
Mss 1035-154
S.C. County:
Williamsburg County (S.C.), Charleston County (S.C.), Richland County (S.C.), Orangeburg County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Meri Friedman Gergel and Rae Friedman Berry, audio interview by Michael Samuel Grossman, 17 July 1997, Mss 1035-154, 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.