Anne Stern Solomon sits down for a third interview in 2015 (see also Mss. 1035-484 and -485) and adds details about her life, especially in the years before, during, and after World War II. She worked at Fort Jackson in her hometown of Columbia, SC, following her graduation from Winthrop College in 1940. About three years later, she left the fort to help her father, Gabriel Stern, in his dry goods store on Assembly Street. She describes what information they were getting about events in Europe during the war years; they were aware that people were trying to leave, but they did not know specifics about the treatment of Jews. Shortly after her fiance, Ted Solomon, returned from overseas duty in 1945, they were married by Rabbi David Karesh in House of Peace Synagogue on Marion Street. Ted and Anne's brother, Henry, also newly returned from service in World War II, took over Gabriel's store. Anne discusses race relations in Columbia in the 1960s and says of her family: "We were all taught not to be prejudiced because we knew that, especially in Europe, how bad it was when it came to antisemitism." She cites a few examples of antisemitism that she and her sister experienced, but notes that it generally was not an issue in Columbia. Anne recalls the arrival, in 1949, of Holocaust survivors Ben and Jadzia Stern, with their daughter, Lilly, the interviewer; they were sponsored by Anne's father, who was an uncle. Anne talks about her children, Bonnie, Teri, Charlene, and Joel, and about a program she started at the Jewish Community Center, called Stems, which engaged girls, ages ten through thirteen, in activities for enrichment, fund-raising, and recreation. Anne was active in local civic organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, and went to work for realtor Tillie Lewenthal after her children were grown. When Tillie retired, Anne took over the business. The interviewee describes her involvement in Hadassah, her feelings about the State of Israel, and her Jewish identity.
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.
Ida Lurey Bolonkin and her daughter Joan Bolonkin Meir discuss the Lurey family's emigration from Russia to South Carolina, where they stayed briefly in Spartanburg before settling in Greenville. Ida's father, Morris, met and married her mother, Austrian immigrant Mollie Dolk, in Rhode Island, and brought her back to Greenville where he ran a general merchandise store and she opened a grocery store. Ida, the youngest of six children, talks about her siblings and meeting her husband, Martin Bolonkin, at an AZA (Aleph Zadik Aleph) meeting. Ida was raised in Greenville's Orthodox synagogue, Beth Israel (now Conservative), but she joined Martin in the Reform Temple of Israel after they married. Joan, born in 1957, is their eldest child; she was joined four years later by her brother, Fred. Ida owned Lake Forest Outlet, a women's clothing store, and Martin manufactured ladies' blouses. The interviewees recount stories associated with Martin's livelihood: Jim Crow laws forced him to throw separate Christmas parties for his white and black employees; Ida and Joan remember the family feeling threatened by union organizers from the North, who sought to unionize the plant. They recall Martin's uncle Shep Saltzman, owner of the Piedmont Shirt Company, and his sponsorship of World War II refugee Max Heller, who later became mayor of Greenville. They describe antisemitism they experienced and observed in Greenville, and Joan recounts how her Camp Blue Star experiences bolstered her sense of Jewish identity: "When I was at Blue Star, the whole world was Jewish."
Everett Ness and his wife, Shirley Gergel Ness, discuss his family history. Everett recalls accompanying his mother, Esther Berger, a Polish immigrant, on a visit to see her parents, Fishel and Molly Nachman Berger, in Poland in 1931, when he was four years old. Esther helped several of her siblings to emigrate; most of them, unable to enter the United States because of quota restrictions, settled in Argentina. Everett's paternal grandfather, Yehuda Seiden, changed his surname to Ness (Nass), his mother's maiden name, to avoid conscription in Poland, and immigrated to New York, where Everett's father, Benjamin grew up. Benjamin joined his brother Morris in his dry goods store in Manning, South Carolina, before opening his own ladies ready-to-wear business in nearby Sumter. He met Esther in Charleston, South Carolina, while attending High Holy Day services. They raised Everett and his sister, also named Shirley, in Manning, and attended Temple Sinai in Sumter. Everett and Shirley Gergel married in 1949 and lived for seventeen years in Charleston before moving to Columbia, South Carolina. They were initially members of the Reform synagogue in Charleston, but switched to the Conservative congregation, Emanu-El. Everett, who began studying Hebrew as an adult, notes that "as we became more aware of our Jewishness, the Reform Movement did not meet our needs, did not meet my needs." The Nesses talk about their relationship with Sam and Sophie Solomon of Charleston and describe Sam's funeral in 1954. Everett discusses his mother's philanthropic work for the March of Dimes and his involvement with Chabad and the chevra kadisha in Columbia.