Title: Interview with Jack Kant (October 27, 1981)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006673/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Jack Kant (October 27, 1981)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: October 27, 1981
Spatial Coverage: 12099
Palm Beach (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006673
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Palm Beach' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: PBC 49

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
Full Text

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.

Tape 1 D

Interviewee: Jakk Kant
Interviewer: Haviva LAngenhaur

October 27, 1981 (in his home)

E: Jack, will you tell us again where you were born?

K: I was born in VSA_V/ Russia. That was a city in SS _Arabia.

I was born September 20, 1886. My father was a shoemaker. He lived among

the Jews mostly because the Jews used to stick together because they were

more comfortable and more secure in their home from people that might

hurt them or something, anyway, they lived inthe center of the town where

there were most of the Jews lived. Made a very good living and when he

married my mother, my mother had a sweatheatt before him, but that man had

to go from the Army, in Russia for 4pyears you had to go into the army,

So, they went into the army, my grandmother said she shouldn't wait for hir

for 4 years she should marry my father. She loved her boyfriend very much

so she had to listen zo #er mother because children hadto listen to their

mothers at that time and she married my father, but I don't think she

liked him very much. Even when I was growing up, I suppose somewhere around<

months after that, she didn't like me either.

L: Were you the oldest?
K: I was the firstborn.

L: How many brothers or sisters?
K: I have two brothers and sister. My sister was born right after me, she i

still alive, she is now in W, she is going to be 94 years. I have another

brother that lives in Washington state and he is going to be 92. The

youngest borther died and he was never married. So we have a joke in our

family that he died younger than any one of us because he wasn't married.

Because I was married afl most 58 1/2 years, my sister was married about


was 60 years before her husband died, my older brother is married has

been married to a woman about 40 or 60 years. So, being that he wasn't

married we said that was why he died early.

I: When you were growing up you said your father made a good living.

K: Oh, yes.

L: Do you remember what the house looked like in ___\_ ? Anything

about it?

K: No. Because he died when I was 7 years old from cholonia, after that we

moved out to another place. I never paid attention to it. No I wouldn't

be ab&e to describe to you the house.

L: Do you remember anything about growing up with your brothers and sisters,

what kind of --

K: The only thing I remember is that I had to take care of my sister. My

mother didn't like very much me or my sister so I had to take care of her

she was only 15 months younger than I am, but I could never play with

boys because the boys in Russia at that time didn't want to play with girl
and I could never leave her alone, so, I couldn't play with the hasyxax sy

and the boys didn't want to play with me, so, after maybe 8, 9 maybe 10

years, I couldn't p&&y with any boys.

L: When did you start school. 1 -) .SS 7

K: I started _eZQ_ at the age of 5 because at the age of 5 they didn't
have any kindergarten, the T e- O L- was divided into parts, it was

one bunch S-OmA \U--/ePfS TO some of the boys were 10, 12 all

gehterin the same place. The younger children they only taught how to

translate from Hebrew into Jewish that was the first couple of years,

that's what they learned. I don't remember writing anything, but I

learned how to translate Hebrew into Jewish and when I got to be 7 years,


I started \{S-r- j- books from the bible. Then I started to translate

the bible into Jewish. They divided the bible into _M chapters to last

the whole year, because they used a piece from the bible for T- v^ ofr,

and that was the part that we Jewish boys had to learn how to translate.

L: Did you enjoy going to school?

K: No, I did not enjoy. I'll tell you why. In the first place we never had

any recreation. The school was a big room with a big, long table and all

the children were sitting around the table and the rabbi used to go around

teaching each one separately because there was so many different ages he

had to teach them separately. While he was teaching one boy the rest of

hhe boys didn't have anything to do and it was very boresome, very un-

interesting add by the time the evening came around and we went home we
were more bored than tired because we didn't do anything, we diednxe&x

play, we had no recreation,no nothing. We just listened to the rabbi

teaching the children that's all.

L: Were you a good student?

K: I was a very good student, of course, but the only slapping I got, I got
/X seven
a slap in the face when I was or -7 because it was very late and the
rabbi had an assistant that used to teach the smaller children Eh he

used to teacher the bigger children, so the assistance either he was tired

out or what, but t4en\something happened which I didn't know and he slapped

me in the face. That slap in theface I'll never forget, but that was the

only one I got from any rabbi or any teachers.

L: But other students were they punished?

K: Other students used to get the greatest punishment in the world. The poor

boys didn't have anything to do, so they used to play cards or pebbles, or
you now what the children lay table, most of the time
you know what the children play 'wa-4Athe table, most of the time


they tried to do it when he was busy with the boys, but sometimes he

caught them. When he caught them, and they didn't pay attention, and he

saw they didn't know their lessons, he used to put them down on the floor,

take off their pants and take his belt over their naked body. When I saw

this, I said "nothing doing, I'm not going to get any beatings like that."

Why I got that beating from that assistant rabbi I don't hnow, but anyway

that was the only slap I got in my face.

I started 4ia at the age of and S&wehdh at the age of 10 172.

So, of those 4 years, I made up my mind, I have to know, so by the time,
srcoA^ ovn. Tf)rrd \t
by the 2nd r 3rd day, I used to knowalready, I used to know how to

translate from Hebrew into Jewish. Then, I never played with the boys

because, first place I was ____ and 2nd place I wasn't interested

in it. So, I never got a beating. But what the rabbis used to do with me

after I took up the bible, when I was 2 or 3 days after I was through

knowing my lesson, they used to give me big boys that wer interested
vi- 'rer 'K'
or that we-re-wanting to, or anyway, they had a hard job in learning, so,

they used to get me and I used to teach them how to translate. They grew

to like me better than the rabbi because I met people afterwards that

reminded me that they remember me teaching them and all that.

L: When you came home did your father ask you what you had learned since he

was such a scholar?

K: That, I don't remember, because you see at that time, he used to work very

late aid very hard, I remember my father used to do other things for us.
e ^Y \e C0o\b v^- ,\rV -,r- cA- GQV-/6 1,e SS V Vo0t-
X jso, on Saturday he used to take us out, me myself and my sister, that I

remember, used to take us out to the country for walks in the country,
there were certain brxids where, I suppose they were kosher, they ate
Turks -7\e TQrTv o 1\
ice cream, the tnuxist used to come, tl/new how to make ice cream.


They had a monopoly over us, they used to have places where they would

come and get it. Why we were allowed to eat that ice cream I don't know,

but I don't think there was a such thing as kosher ice cream.

Anyway, he used to take us and then take us to the parks where they

used to have concerts, not Jewish, but the army used to have bands and they

used to play axKxs concerts in the park. In the parks there used to be

the Turks used to sell their ice cream too, so being that he knew Turkish

because he was from Palestine, he used to talk a lot with those Turks and

myself and my sister, I was only about 6 at that time, anyway, we used to

run around and come back and the Turks used to give us the ice cream for

nothing. So, on Saturdays we used to have a lot of entertainment with my


L: Did you go to shul on cabomt (?), he wasn't religious then, your father?

K: (Gie o-,y -7 \c-\( PvY 0w v-\\v
L: You did go to shul then didn't you?

K: Oh, yes. In the afternoon we used to have lots of fun with my father
because/ -e S \\ -. C, lde .
because ____e S) __ e couldn't take because we were too young
5/X SEvef-
then. I was J, almost ., and my sister must have been 5 1/2 or so. But
enV what I remember mostly is \i 1 a\S, JV a lot of kits around there.

10-- \ S So he used to take us out of town and climb up those

hills. It was easy for him to climb up and my sister he carried up, but

he made me crawl up those hills and that is something I'll never forget
up to this day. I used to go khmE, of course, I got tired but he kept on

coaxing me,"keep on crawling, keep on crawling". So, up to this day I

remember it, whenever there is some hard job, I keep on crawling, keep on
o\c facts
working until I get to the top. That is one Effect of his life that I will

never forget.

S 6

L: Do you remember anything about in your home, either Friday night

or morning?

K: No regular, like every day. I suppose my mother Cet^ \e nd he

LQ /rnL 1 S over there, nothing unusual. No, those things are almost

universal and the something all over, it's a ritual that goes through the

same way all over, so there's nothing unusual about that. So, it never

impressed me (e much. After he died, at the age of 7, when I wasn't in

before I came over here, I used to take baths, yet I can't take a bath

because it's very inconvenient. So in the baths I used to sing all the

X because nobody was listening to me. I even wrote a pheee on Jews

when I came over here, about a man who likes to sing, because I was afraid

to sing them otherwise. In there I could sing and nobody could be the


L: I just wantpto translate in the bathtub?

K: A soloist who sings in the bathtub. I still got it, I can't find it


L: I want to go back to V'5; iLnd what your life was like. You siad your

father died when you were 7.

K: Yeah. After 7 years, he was a shoemaker for himself. He had a couple of

helpers and he was a very good shoemaker. Why I don't know, but he made a

pretty good living. But, when he died, the main people in Palestine. They

didn't want to hear about it. They were so angrythat when my mother wrote

to them, they didn't even answer her, because they were so angry and they

denounced &t because the other brothers i were pretty well to do

and the two brothers were rabbis, I don't remember their names because

when he came to Russia there was war between Russia and Turkey, so he had

to change his Turkish passport to a Russian passport. You know, they used


to buy passports over there then. For a couple of dollars you could go to

the Jewish old man and buy yourself a passport. Because whenever anybody

died, they never the passport because that's the way they made a

couple of dollars. So, that their name was, I don't remember. And My mother

didn't remember, so I couldn't learn it, so I don't know what my father's

family name is or whoever Itill lives in Palestine or isn't there or it was
GIO S.Tp t, -r\ N'- CS C (_e
also in niaai he was working there and I don't know about his former

after that I tried and a couple of times I wanted to go there, but Russia's

very hard to get out you have to have a visa and I wanted to go there when
k\ Q 0 % PA PASa
I had to go to the but I myself later a passport because I had

to go to the army and didn't go, so I got myself aoNpassport.

L: We are talking about when you were very young. When were gou supposed to

go into the army? How old?

K: Twenty-one. So, when I had some money and I wanted to go there, I had th

get a visa and they wouldn't give it to me I v % .e So, I could

never make it. I never knew -aythig about his two brothers, his father

and is mother, and a sister, two of them were rabbis, one was a

in yOO

L: Things ore hard for you after he died.,.

K: After he died, yes, that's when the trouble started. My mother had the 4
oId Seu~ei e
kids, the oldes 7 years, the youngest 1 and 1/2. My grandmother and my

aunt lived in the house, even when my father was alive. So they must have

helped her out because my grandmother also was a -,husband

because she wasn't religious enough although she was a fanatic. My sister
V je -re.t --r-e^
Aos< started to V0or when she was lc years old and I was &* years younger

than she was, she must have been then about Z7, so whe must have been

L_ ___ ____________________ __

working too because the children started to work, 10, 11, 12 years. So,

they helped her out but still they couldn't help with the 3 kids, myself

as well, so she had to buy cars, move out of town, they weren't allowed to

have -ars in town, move out into the outskirts, then en the heed of the
Co \V
Ga- she used to sell, she must have made some kind of a living, anyway

I supposed they helped her out a lot. Life was very hard. When I was 9 year

old, my grandmother wantedod me to become a rabbi too, so I was learning

the besides the rfa I also learned the commentaries in order
lzpVSSa\rts I CC- r
to prepare for the examg to the rabbitencTl-h seminary. So when I was 9

years old, I'll never forget that. I was standing before a rabbi and the

rabbiS at that time were not allowed to shave their beards or to shave their
K PffPams
eyebrows, or to shave their hair and they wore long __ and he was a

sight. When I went inmt for the examl it got scared of him more than anythi

so, being scared and he started asking me some questions, I suppose I

wasn't prepared well enough because usually when children are 12 or 13,

they used to go for exam s and I was only 9, and I WA,Afraid at that time

I suppose I didn't have much to eat, so, being frail and looking at him,

so he flunked me. My mother didn't want me to become a rabbi. She wanted

me to become a clerk in a store because clerks in stores were much higher,

after I flunked over there, she wanted me to go to the Jewish Pb-blic
Sehel where they taught also Russian and everything RusSian, but they

were owned by the Jews and they were taught by Jews. Just like the schools

now which other nationalities have. They taught you Russian, so she wanted

me to become a clerk and a clerk has a better standing than a working man.

So, 1xwntafter I was flunked by the rabbi she took me to the public school

and I went to the public school for one year and it was wonderful. I used
t b t a TOOthe
to go to _____ after the public school, but between the ____ and the


public school was like heaven and hell. I didn't get any beatings but

still when I saw the way the rabbi used to treat -aoy at and the

way the teacherNin public school used to teach us, no it was like -- that

teacher I'll never forget. I had many rabbis and I forgot their names and

I forgot their looks aand I didn't even want to remember them, but I was
1 "ty t V G
very angry then, but that fellow I'll never forget at*Ati-. When I finished

1 year public school I was F-years old then. Even though I made almost

100 in every subject,I took handwriting and in handwriting I made 20

because my handwriting was very bad so he recommended I skip, when I

skipped it the new teacher was almost like the present rabbis. He was a

diciplinarian and besides the new class I had to have books of my own

and the books of my own my mother couldn't afford to buy. She asked my

grandmother to boy the books because my grandmother was the boss of the

house, so my grandmother said if he doesn't go t the rabbinical seminary

she don't care if he goes to school or he don't go to school, so she

didn't want to buy me the books. I suffered about a month or two in the

class with that dicipliaarian teacher and I couldn't take it anymore, so

I quit. So that was 1 year I went to public school and that was the only

year _____ At 10 years I became a tailer. The reason why I became a

tai-ler, first place, my mother wanted to get rid of me at S years and it
l 'ye-
was time to, she couldn't afford to feed for (people. My aunt got married

to a tattlr, so what better changes for a young boy to go to his uncle. So,

that's the reason I became a ta--er because my aunt married a tailer and

I was a ta-ilr until I became a letter carrier.

L: Oid you live at home when you were a ta-i-lr?
-r K: No, in Russia when you are an apprentice to a taller, a shoemaker, a,

carpenter, all the trades, you are called an apprentice and the boss has tc


feed you, clothe you, he has to board you, I was off my mother's back.

That was very good for her because one less south to feed, but for me it wa

very bad because first place I stopped cCf- I couldn't go to ce-- and

I had to work 16 hours a day. Can you imagine what 16 tours a day, from the

time you got up from the bed to you went back to bed, and the bed was
MA k3L$S
nothing. The t-aiers have one long tables whEEe they cut, they press, and

everything and thex the youngsters who are the apprentices sleep on the

table without anything on it except I think I had something under my head.

So, you can imagine 16 hours of that, from the moment you got up until you

went back to bed. No relaxation, no entertainment, nothing at all. The

only good thing about the Jews is that they cannot work on Saturday, so

from Friday evening til Saturday evening and on Saturday evening you

started to work again until you go to bed. So, the conditions were

terrible, absolutely terrible until 1902.

L: In the tsaior shop, did you have enough to eat, they were supposed to

feed you.

K: Oh, yeah. They fed you all right, yes. The food was all right, but other-

wise, theft clothing they gMwe you was whatever was left, whatever they

couldn't use they gave you, the youngster to wear. I'll never gorget that

I wore a jacket with patches on it.

L: Whoe else worked in the shop with you? Were there other yohng boys?
K: Yeah, there was one more and she, the shop used to be organized like this
"5 x-r-cee
the boss used to also work ^4-hours, but besides the boss there was a

journeyman who used to get paid besides the boss and he was on top, then

there used to be someone below him, you woe a little bit but not

all together, so he was still learning how to become a journeyman, then

there was a youngster like me at the age of 10, 11,12 or 13 even, that

used to learn how to become a journeyman and then how to become an


L: You mentioned your mother had to move out of the city when she had the

cows. What waithe relationship between the Jewish community, or the Jews

and the gentile neighbors?

K: It was very bad because the Russian church is more fanatical then the

mrggFb churches. The children from childhood on used to be told to call the

Jews "Christ killers" and / G\\ / and at the sometime they used to

play together but when they got angxey angry at each other they had a

h*R. of a time. I'll never forget I never played with them, but my little

\co e started to play with t4it, so when they got into a fight they used

to call them and "Christ killer" and this and that. You always

had fights and of course to protect the children although I was only 9

years old when I lived over there, so I had to protect my brothers so I

used to get into fights with them too because although I didn't play with

them, but being small and so young, so surely I used to get the worse of

the fights. One thing I'll never forget my mother had to go out to
distribute the rmi4 and my grandmother was working, my aunt was working,

and I used to remain with the kids in the house. My two brothers got into

trouble with the C hiaea- children and they ran into the house, when they

ran into the house the Christian children ran in after them, I closed the

door, baricaded it. I was sitting inside and they were standing outside
VA C) L ,,3
lheuiig "Jews" and "Christ killers" "we will come in to kill you for

killing Christ". That moment I will never forget because I was not afraid

for myself I didn't think of it, but for the kids i nase they do come

in although the doors used to have locks on the doors. Although it was
A L-W 5
locked with so many kids they couldAopen it, but I never thought about it,
I was afraid simply o of the kids. They smash a window and come in.

I'll never forget that moment in my life. I had other problems too but


apprentice and then a journeyman. So there were usually 3 or 4 people in

a shop.

L: What kind of work did they give you do do?

K: He made a little shop for himself, my uncle, and people used to come in

for repairs or cleaning, some of them even came in for new suits. A
-If\ L.(o
tatier has to know whoc how to cut and press and sew and everything else,

use the machine, so when you're a taiaer you have to know quite a bit.

That's why it takes such a long time before you learn it. There there was

no division of labor, it was a slow shop nd the boss had to know to make

the whole garmet fit and how to cut and everything else. But the man under

him, the journeyman, knew some;t, maybe he didn't know how to cut,

or fit, he didn't know the whole thing.

L: What did they give you to do for work?

K: Seams to sew, there are some seams to have to sew before, to baste before

Jse6 -1o
you sew. So the basting and other things, to iron, at that time you had

to oa t-or-S cOA\ little things which a
rev\ e\euev -re\u
boy of a,, 12 can do. So, it takes a few years before you can become

a real tailor.

L: Did everybody work O5 hours a day like you did?

K: Everybody, including the boss.

L: I know you became part of the Bo_ When did you first become inter-


K: So, for 4 1/2 years, I became a tai4-e- and r years -Iaer. I joined the

\O0 So for 4 1/2 years I don't remember thing of that life. Not

a thing at all. I just worked, worked and worked. Saturday we used to go

to shul, so there was hatix hardly anything at all. Atkxi


that moment I'll ever forget. There was another moment I recall, I once
Vlrz 0-e o0- -r\e r-\-- \SK,

came out of the housen`rd-Qyy started to call me those names, so I picked

up a stone and I threw it at teoR because I was \j \ \ r-t sro

r^ and he started to bh-er for his mother, his mother came out and she
\4\\ eQz -
started to ha4-r "you killed my son, you killed my son", so, it must have

been a Saturday, my grandmother was in the house and my aunt, and they

heard her hollering like that and they came out and they saw what I did,so

they all fell on me and that's the only beating I ever got from them. I

don't think I hurt him very much, maybe yes, but I'll never forget it

because I was considered, after my father's death, the boss of the house.

In Jewish, the man is usually the boss, the oldest man, and I was the

oldest man, so at the age of AF I became the boss of the house. I was liked

very much because I was always good-natured, but I never got a beating

even from my mother. But that moment when she started to 1he4lr, I
\v e -,;o s-^.^Se-CGT y-- /o rR
suppose C thanmay so that was the only beating they ever

gave me.

L: When you were in the tailor shop, where there gentile customers?

K: The customers were mostly Jews, even if it wasn't where the Jews lived,

the customers were Jews too, but if he had the shop out of town he might

have gotten Russian too.

L: In your personal life, did you have other contacts with non-Jews?

K: Oh, yes. Afterwards but --

L: In the early years at the shop?

K: Up to that time I only had contact with Jews, but when I became a tzinls

"I, when I became a revolutionists, then I came in contact with gentiles.

L: What Ca 'sed you to become a revolutionist?

K: The tailer shop. We worked 16 hours and we didn't want to work it, the


Marxists, or the revolutionists, or the socialists, came into _\SVWCV

about the end of tlat century. They had a field day because the workers

were really miserable. I imagine the other places also used to work too

many hours and the conditions An the places was very bad so they could

_a_i__u :I saw them coming in to my tailer hhop because the journeyman

that worked in my tailor shop he was one of them and he became the leader

of the tailor organization that was organized over there in the trade

union. So, he w-as the leader, but I was only about 14 years old. I asked

him to take me to Russia Go I was always
yor o 01-1 cs D
so I asked him and he said thing doing, you're too young". But t-heR 1901

came around and I became 15 years old, it must have been a Saturday or
a holiday, --maLbLr -the tailor the shoemaker every trade had to have a

K_ of it's own. I didn't know what a x is. X is a place

isx each trade came together to xring drink tea, for 5 for 5 couples
we could <>et a-i L" c z-.
we could get a big _T_ r_____ and a tea kettle with tea, so you

consider for 5 couples you could sit there all day in the place, a

tremendous place and they used to have tables small tables, 5 or 10 or

maybe more and you used to buy for 5 a and you sat over there.

So each trade, had one of those places where they met on Saturday or when

they didn't have much work, they used to come together over there. So, one

evening I was there and I saw the journeyman from my place who was a

leaderAs4&aft g out bthee 4 T,-0--. T--o - T- x C so

it couldn't be noticeable because the meetings were ilal and secret, so

they had to be carefulfBut I saw some things going on.I knew .it was a

meeting, so I begged them to take me, I was already 15 years, I suppose

he softened down and he sent me to one of the meetings. That meeting I'll

never forget.


I would like to read to you something that I wrote down about that

meeting because I think it will be interesting for you.

L: Before you tell me about the meeting, do you remember what kind of pay

they gave you?

K: No, because you see, I wasn't interested in the pay.

L: Did that go to your mother? Did any money go to your mother?

K: No, no, no, no. The only time I used to go to my mother is when it was a


L: No, the money. Did they pay your money to your mother?

K: Not in the beginning, they didn't pay me any money, but maybe later on

they did. But, the money business I don't remember.

L: No, I was asking if they pay your mother for your services?

K: Oh, no. They gave me ocohes and sleeping quartersA So, it would be to much.

L: We were talking about ynM your first meeting.
-; o T\-AC= El
K: That first meeting I will never forget fe -Lh i -ez 6f my days. This

leader talked about freedom and social justice which appealed to me as a

worker and Jew. The speech made a complete break in my mental and

spiritual orientation and gix gave it such a direction that I am still

under it's influence. The mental outlook on the world, I'm still under it's


L: Instead of reading the page, Jack, we're going to add your impressions of

that meeting to this memoir. But it made a very big difference in your


E: It made all the difference in my life because Ixxemx even became religio4e

then, I became a vegetarian. I couldn't keep it up for long because I

'5SW working now=for my uncle I w-as working for another distant relative.

The bosses wife had to prepare the meals. So, when I became a vegetarian,


she had to make different meals for me, for three months I kept it up,

but it made a complete break in my life, in my former life.

L: Do you remember the first strike? When the tailors went on strike?

K: The first strike I'll never forget because I was arrested. I was 15 1/2
PO^-THm: -rTC-OTC,-
years in 1902 ad we had the first strikeAWe were striking for our 12

hour day, between 12 and 16 was quite a bit because we could go out for

a couple of hours. So, the strike leader was the man that worked in my

shop and I was so devoted -to-the \\ year and I was so devoted to the

cause I used(proganda'signs and I used to talk to boys whenever I cold,
and I read a lot. They gave us literature that told us about thea aaj S oc

in Europe and the conditions in America and wonderful it was over there
and only in Russia on account of the tr, the conditions we have to live

like that. But anyway it was very easy to make the slide. So the leader of

the strike was the man that worked with me, so when the strike came I

was so devoted, I was so obhasrad that he made me first strike leader.
One of the bosses was a very nasty man, so he said he was 4oing to ptay the
strike/ Aook a couple of policemen to the X for all the witness

to see and came around there and he knew the leader and he wanted to hurt

the leader, but not being able to find the assistant leader he got me. So
br two policeman took me to the station, I had some illegal literature

that I carried in my pocket. The policewe were so ignorant of that that

instead of looking for something in the X they took me to the station

and ____ station. They had me searched. So while I was walking witl
/on each side I kept my hands in my pocket and threw them out when I came

to there, they didn't find anything on me and the boss was with them and

heA7anted me to go back to work because he thoughthc wae going back to

work, So I didn't help them any I promised them and I did go back to work.

But that didn't help other people.


L: Did he offer you better conditions to come back? Did he say he was

changing --

K: He was not my boss, he was another boss. My boss was a liberal boss, my

boss was ha9xa very liberal because my journeyman maybe he was

liberal by nature I don't know, but at any rate, that was one of the

bosses that was really xikgh rotten, so the next day he wanted to make

sure that I am working, so he came to see that I am working. So I was

working you know, but the leader wasn't there and he didn't work, so it
didn't last very long and he gbt the 12 hour/day and people were

"Qiwu n because to work 4 hours less was enough. Before the end of the

year, the leader that was working with me had to run away from ,S' 1 ZV

because he was a revolutionist. At that time the revolutionary organi-

zation was organized not by elections like here but by appointments. It

was a city committee that was appointed from the central committee from

A- __ all the way up north, then theee was a state committee, a city
pCy -r\\ C-
committee appointed, ar city committee and leaders for the trade

were appointed by those committees. I wasn't even a6 yet and I was

appointed the leader of the tailers.

L: That was in 1902. What were your responsibility es as a leader? What did

hou have to do?

K: In case of a strike I had to lead it and I had to see that once a week
p r? o> rs n-c- TO THf .
we used to.make meetings with them and pr ndaI had to talk to them.

Though I didn't read very much literature except the literature from the

revolutionists, yet I had to talk to them for an hour or so. Aiw \ s

L: How many tailors were in the organization?

-ro -CC -Ve r
K: There must have been about or / groups of BS, you couldn't keep a group

more than i@ because for the meetings you had to coax people to actually

make the meeting. When you send them out you send them out by g, by -a

late at night so that the neighbors couldn't see, it had to be meetings at

night because you never can tell, even a Jew, would go and tell the

police that there's a meeting going on and the police used to come and get

Pou. So, we had quite a bit to do. It was a marvelous time for me because
"\ ,eb -T"Q e ve
I kee to do something and after I had a J, hour day, I had time to read

and I had time to attend to my business.

L: I know that you ended up in prison.
K: I got a job of being the leader of the tailers and I was 16. In 1903, when
S k-T^er -r(fey
I was )S and probably about months, as leader of the tailers t came in

contact with other trades too. So New Years of 1903, the clerks decided to

celebrate New Years, the organization of the clerks. So they met in
c- C?&~T g^\i. oT 0 T-
e e q-ee- and I didn't make Ry because tailers didn't think about

qncsrCe., T\ -Ae c\eVAC coe e middle class and they were educated more.

A clerk in a store is more educated than a tailor, Anyway I was with them

so they knew we celebtated New Years, so they told me "I want to celebrate

New Years with you" I should come to a certain place and celebrate with

them. When I came over to that place the police was there already, maybe
-T\\ey suqveeAke>
-te must have badly arranged the meeting so maybe somebody squelled on

hhem, so the police was there already. I opened the door and I see

policeman in there. So, I said "Does tJe shoemaker live here?" They said,

"A shoemaker? Does a shoemaker live in this courtyard? No, no shoemaker

lives here." So, I said, "I sent out my boy already I was already

between the boy and the tailor I was in the middle. So they brought the

boy below me, I said "I sent my boyjmy helper to get a pair of shoes

fixed and he told me the shoemaker lives here." There was no shoemaker.


Nextdqor there was a shoemaker. So, the policeman takes me nextdoor to

the shoemaker and the shoemaker any shoes. So my boss did

not live far, a block, 4 blocks, so the policeman takes me to the boss.

The be was in the place there. The boy was thrruagh, he knew that some-

thing was going wrong. So when the policeman asked him something, he iad

he didn't know. So, when the policeman asked him where he took a pair of

shoes, he s4-ad, that he don't know. So they knew it was a hoax and they
404CU\C, ^\P -N4 r-
took me IoiC- and I kept tba ng but they were wise to me, they knew

that I was one of them, so they arrested us. That n-ight that we were
Cqy~tb" (ri pi .Sn L
arrietedAI will never forget either. I'll tell you why.

After they took our names and everything in the place, they took

2 policemen and a sergeant and they sent them out to every Bn we were

8 people, to every man's house to look over the house maybe to find some

incriminating literatureatheretoo. They found a couple of pieces there

in the place, so the men that lived over there, it was a bachelor that

lived in the place where the meeting took place and said he called the
so "- p,< O i A_ _r P44 Ar 1.7-
meeting. Then they found something on another man, so the rest of the 6

of us they fet gt i because we were just people that Too_ or-
on the -rrzCTCT- and they took the kin thing onto themselves. The

police then went to each man's house and they searched it and they didn't

find anything. When I was in the place, the police went back, when I came

back with the policeman there wasn't anything there anymore. They took me
G- coOcISC.
to my mother's house too. In my mother's housetthey had a lot of that

stuff, so t boss sent the boy over to tell her that I am arrested so

she could get it out. Anyway --

L: You were talking about \S_ in prison.

Page 20

K: Yea, prisons. The prison was hold over from the old Turkish prison. Turkey used to

own the they made the prison, the prison was made three, about a yard, W- Li-S
OOT- P, Q f)r*W\\rnC (vE6,
\,eO you couldn't get out. But.anyway, I'm reeaingi-w* d. So, the policeman and the

5_ -- going to my mother's and look over the place, they took me to the

prison. os 'prison something that's interesting about the

Russian police. I walk into the prison on the first of the year and its very cold.

It was a cold place. So the policeman asked me whether I wanted, I can walk into the

prison, prison was about a mile away. Or we should take a drushka, you know, c
-^ so I said I can walk with the brosa_ it was a hard cold place but it was very

nice. The sun was shining in. So I walked it. Why did you ask me that, because

you got expense for the troubled bvoaA____ So you divided it with the

three policemen. And I was, we were all walking and they came over there and they

put all eight of us in one room, big room. And two big beds. But none of us could

sleep that night. I didn't feel so bad because I knew so I wouldn't 44 -Q
work anyway. But the clerks felt very bad. Because they werenmomma's boys, they

were not just plain shoemakers, or tailor boys, they weremvmddle class, you know.

They must have gone to school because they were much older than I was.And one of

them was even a boy of the rabbi that flunked me, a boy. of the rabbi. And then

,the policemen took them to the houses, they were ashamed and their parents felt
FOP- f\,0-
very bad because to have a boy arrested _R -vZt was at that time, a

revolution was a terrible thing. So they felt very bad. They couldn't sleep the

whole night. They almost cried, \Of the shane and the humiliation that they brought

on the but they didn't keep the six of us, they didn't claim any deal. They only

kept a one week. And they let us out on parole. You know, parole you had to come to

the'police station l\e Ar\e Q sty you shouldn't run away. And not long

after that, Passover came to oGt_-hS And that they never expected
.. P 9 Pr Orn 5; P,0 .o rn FS V 7 rT-,
Sbecause there weren't pads in Russia .for a long time. So the

czar was very angry at -\ because a erovutn There was revolution
_/- ? ... ol,-t- Tv-2here was revolution

Page 21

K: organizations in almost every Jewish town. The Jewish especially didn't like the

czar ,There was a ghetto in Russia. Not a ghetto in every town, that the Jewish

made for themselves because they liked together but there was a certain part

of Russia where the Jewish could live and other parts, cities, they couldn't live

because they were afraid ~-M the Jews are such good merchants and such good

entrepreneurs that they'd allow no change than-the Jewish \ s 6, L maybe yt

wanted to get even with the Jewish but anyway, there was a ghetto in Russia. A

Jewish, the Jewish could not unless there was a a__ !(some doctors \

if you become a '_\_ \_\ unless they been around for a certain number of years.

Old soldiers used to before*O o' I_(military service, there was 25 years and those

could live in for them for those because they were mostly they became Russians in

those 25 years now and then they were no more Jewish. Those he let live in the

ghettos but most of the Jewish couldn't live in the ghetto. The Jewish became,
SSrS So \e 7-r refvoliurfohs-Si
a lot of the Jewish became revolutionaries, oswe =eL wanted to get rid of, to teach

the Jews a lesson not to become a revolution srS "f% we don't know but in

1903, they in Ke a newspaper was a antisemite _>. And he

was telling the people through his newspaper that the Jews killed the Russian

boys i- 'j-nTL and he _c"_ve them -o r rOT-l .But the people didn't

make the oRzrp^. They took bunches of C eoe S and 'bUPS other no Gc s
.-t dRfftt er iMIpare.-rsr of theSeton-
they made i nif i different parts of the town ad tmafe military around them

so nobody could interfere with them. At 1903 they didn't have any self defense yet.

But we were organized enough to give them a good beating if we ever could get to them

but we couldn't get to them because they were surrounded by the military and t6ey w=-

had no self-defense in 1903-1905 yes, but 1903 we were beeP"reA we couldn't find F\'MA
V \\\ /v\b -t '6te i-r-,
-VC soldier so we couldn't \ and they had the freedom to de- It was the first

time for a long time there was not-- a CQO so that especially made a bad effect

not only on the Jews but on all the 23tQegs.oQ L

L: Do you remember what they did in gsp ? \\ \ S^

Page 22

K: They used to break into houses and rape the women, kill the men, and sometimes they

used to rape the women and make the husbands watch while they lined up and raped the

women. Sometime a dozen or as much as they wanted to. IOIT think it lasted-three.-- .
A\ ksR^ 't V\C=> TVy trN6O iNe,. Wro tMe v\1 r-, v\^ >X-e bs cr"-\e k-:-Ir in t% r-MVS-
days like that. I don't remember exactly how many days it lasted but anyway, we all

felt bad because the Jews blamed 4se us because they knew that they did it on

account of the revolutionists. So the Jews blamed the revolutionists for making the

czar make the p .ra..m But anyway, the youths started the ON ___

organization because the youth's wanted to protect themselves. This way they couldn't
protect themselves. And this way they at least protect themselves while they are in
-the house. Ad ,-n r "0e 3 A -PO ry-)
the house. And not only that ______- the czar for making the pyrom

But anyway the czar made a mistake because instead of killing the revolution, he

made it grow more.
~P60 ro f~^\
L: During this ppga, do you remember personal damage in your home or in tailor shops?

K: No, you see, to my home, my mother was in the middle of the town so in the middle of

the town they didn't go so much because the middle of the town were mostly Jews. But

a little bit out were the storekeepers, out of town were storekeepers like my mother

when all the rest of us moved out of the she bought a store and she had a store in

the ghetto where the Jews lived so she didn't live there and my family, I don't think

anybody had any trouble because they were mostly going to the outskirts, there was

a Jew here, a Jew there, a Jew another place so.

L: They struck where the Jews were living together? Where there were many Jews?

K: They didn't, they looted stores, the market place they looted,the Jews there but

for the killing and the robbing they went mostly to places where they could find

no resistance. And a Jew lived in one place or a Jew lived in dormitories, they

couldn't give them any resistance. So they were almost non-resistant. And the

_atjs couldn't do much because how could one family against a bunch of bums, how

could one family resist?

L: Were there any citizens of KJihna who tried to help the Jews, did any of the 6- '\

Page 23

K: Oh, no, no, no. The v didn't bother about ecT sr. b

bo most of the were bums and hooligans that the police organized a bunch of them

and told them go ahead and do it and we'll protect you from all sides so they went

to do it and the military came all around them and they protected them.

So whenever they knew there was a Jew, they and they had certain districts, you know,
an -r E ST- R
and they them and whenever they found a Jew, they went in and did their


L: Did you think that the church or the Greek Orthodox bishop had anything to do with

this PhQ g?

K: Well, the only thing they had to do with it was because they were always talking

against the Jews. The Jew was an item in Russia because the Christian church the

first thing they tell a child is that the Jews killed your God. Killed Christ. And

since you \t-e, a Christ killer, the most I have a story about my boys and what

they had to do, even in Americd But that was '. about 40 years after-

wards. But I will make it short. We lived in a place among Jews. I had two boys

one was that big & one was this big

L: Describe it for the tape. They can't see how high It's on the tape now. About

6 and 8 years old would you say?

K: No. 12 and 2 years old. But there was nobody else to play with but Russians and

Christian kids ___ in New York. So they had to play with the boys and there
C^ ce
were no other Jewish boys so they went along more or less but one of the

Jewish boys got them to go into P F-e^ with a little boy who was about 12

years old. Told them butm my boys didn't know what '_ means what Christ

killer cause we never heard the word. It wasn't among, we never told them anything.

So, when they called my boy < and my boy called him The

Christian boy runs over to his mother and tells her that Milton called him

He didn't tell her that he called Milton so she comes into she was a friend

with Minnie, my wife and she tells her, Why did Milton call him ? He was highly

Page 24

K: insulted. So my mother doesn't know, she said she doesn't even know whether my

brother knows what ( means so she calls out the boy, he was 12 years old she

said, "Milton, why did you call him < ?" He says, he called me a

so I called him a .

L: We were talking about the oy S VSVrVV .

K: Now I'll come back to the story.S- V3SS after the a Being that

I was under parole, they got a underground, that us information that all the & ec t-

of us are going to s a, are going to be sent to Siberia. AT that time, they

didn't have any political judgement, all politicians were in C1> e__L t
-rro ^^-TSie^G? ^ ^ v sf M^,(p^ -o eo
papers e at St. Petersburg made -V SeC\AsON Siberia whe
CCOfR^\Y > -ro Tv\e c r-te h t
*-er I-o n '. een f 2t-y. Being that two men claimed that they organized it and

they gave them three years and all the six of us they gave one year to Siberia.

When we heard of this, the organization said out. They didn't want us to go to

Siberia so they sent us across the border to Austria and&Europe at that time,

in every big town like LOrb0t RSrS Rome, Austria, in the V cI-Co, L

it was called at that time, Ak& 4auxilary, they collected money, they used to ship
He\pcb o- 'w& ^ ^a
across the illegal literature, they y So they sent us to the You Want how

they made it

L: I do want how they helped you across the border and smuggled you out of the country.

K: Oh that was very easy. The, at that time, the Jews started -o f0rn NuJyV TOr.
Y\rQ r\ 6
fiem the Russians zssw in 1903, they start deerg away from Russia so in all the

small towns and near the border of Austria especially, it was very easy to get across.

A few dollars, Jews and Christians that could take us across worked together and you

paid five dollars going across or ten dollars the Jew and the Christian that took us

across divided the money. So in every little village near the border and every little

town near the border there were a few people that used to make a business out of it.
o rL--r O C' J W) Ga
So if they saw a person not from the ity, village, they knew he came to get across so

they approached him and you made a deal with him _'_ and he kept you in his house for
and~~~~~~ Iekp o n i os o

Page 25

K: til that night. At night, the arK a ppecuo d -on the border used to take you or how

many you had, the first time I crossed it, I crossed it a couple of times, but the

first time there must have been about 20 people. Young old, all together.They brought

us, the Jews brought us to the peasant, the peasant took us AccoSS brought us

across to the peasants and we had to cross a river, I don't remember the name but

anyway, we had to cross a river that divided Russia from Austria and there was a

border patrol but I'm sure they had they paid some money, divided with the border

patrol too. When the peasant took us out to the river and at the river the men

took off their pats. It was a small river and the women put their skirts above

their head and you know, so we walked across and across from the r4ier, another

peasant was there, a few peasants were there with, what do you call it, vans

At that time they had the vans with horses not no automobile. And the vans

took us to etle- '*cause the police must have been must have gotten some of the

loot which s\y GoC/so there was no trouble to go across the border was no trouble
-h aVt Except walking in the water / y at night. So, when we came to

Le-\r^A -Cl I remained working as a tailor inlthe small town I'll call Gebraltar for

two .weeks Because one of our employers got :the idea that why you got to go to

_i__h when you can get a job here. A tailor was a tailor. He wanted to give me

a job. So for two weeks I worked over there and I couldn't take it anymore, the
"Ue pc_6 L CA^^
small town so I also came to-Raf and they that auxilary also had
Le f-AinV
connections with other auxiliaries because when you came over to i-t the

price closed, they couldn't even in Europe because in order to get a job A CAen

you have to talk and they couldn't live in Auqtria. They had to go either to Paris

or to Switzerland or England. I think in Germany you couldn't live because they

didn't want to get into trouble 4aw '//// with the czar. I don't think

they let any Jewish live in Germany without a passport. But we had no visaAso we

couldn't live in certain places, only to Paris, Rome, Switzerland.
the 'Te7 they couldn't keep inAEurope so the auxiliary sent them to America.

Page 26

K: i \ '_g in 1903. I, being a tailor, deie you can find a job in any

part of the e\.\e. Pesid .tia.l .Pala.. r --____ so they got me a place

in San GOpN\gr and I was left in Europe cause in Switzerland they didn't bother

you can come from anyplace. So ,,,

L: Where did the auxiliary get morey to pay for all the bribes and to pay for all the


K: They 4m collected money among themselves. The auxiliary was only to do something

for 4re- \ ,Qt but the money in Europe at that time, the Jews were better off than

the Russians. The Jews were storekeepers, they were bankers, they were all kinds

of things, the Jews could afford and they wanted and especially after the pediwe *p60M

they wanted to help the Russian Jews so they used to give a lot of money for the


L: Did they have a bigger name or were they just called the Auxillary?

K: The name I don't remember because I don'tpFnow whether I knew the name but you

could contact them.

L: And it was to help the __)_t_

K: Help the J-<), yes. So, R- e I know afterwards, when ______________

but I think back in 1911, there was already official organizations and you were

to have contacted _-_ 5 one and the other one. But then 1903 I don't know how

they worked it because I didn't come in contact with it. I went .from tto

San ,\ Switzerland and there there was one Jew insAt Ak4r-3 Switzerland

and I worked for him and for three months I was there but the life was very ,_

I couldn't speak, I couldn't even speak German and his family was the only one I could

speak to so after three months, I got sick and tired. So I said no, I'll go to Zurich

maybe there are more Jews.and maybe there is more work there.. So after three months I

left for Zurich.

L: When did you go back to K IH I(E ?

K: k-;^ c'geeAY (gOre OV\y Xy ou want to know it already? CLAUQG-rcei

Page 27

L: Well back to _S_ _e_ .

K: YOu don't want to know about my life over there?

L: Not in Zurich so much, t t- \WLS"t 4V

K: I was in Zurich, I went to Paris.

L: Let's go back to \/\S- INE' From Paris you went to K kS E;/

K: Yes. And I Zived there, I lived in Zurich three months and Paris I lived for 9 months

and e ZJ(\Cr was about 10 days. Altogether it was about 13 months in Europe and

so you don't want to know anything about it?

L: And then you managed to get back to V.\SA \-V

K: Yes, I'll tell you what, I'll tell you how. The czarina,the czar's wife, gave the czar

a present. He only had girls and he wanted a boy. He wanted somebody after so in spring
of 2904 J she had a boy so on account of such occasion, he pardoned all the small

offenders, whether political or otherwise. The small offenders. And we were .

considered only one year was considered small offenders ror- P \ ( .crS

So we could come back to Russia and I came back there so in the spring of 1904, I

came back to Kis \-\ .

L: And what changes did you see? Were there better working. conditions in the shops.

K: Yea.

L: Were the tailors still working as hard ?

K: Yeah, they were but the conditions wexenbt so much but I was busy they had organizations

there, revolution organizations, besides those ___\\_ _, that used to I took

lectures for 9 months on the communist ^A t( F

L: Where did you study "EiVs \ \si\V ?

K: No, in Paris. to Paris- S-robiEJ Th i 'IS-I went I must tell you know. There

were students that didn't want to take part infthe revolution because they were afraid

it would interfere with their careers but still / like something to do for the

revolution because they were liberals and they wanted to have a free Russia. So they

used to give private lessons to the active members from the organizations. That was

Page 28

K: a-lot. They were a OMc Or--TE^pCu!aue utors too. In Russia you could SOt

// outside the school or inside the school so long as you came to you were
allowed to come to the e
the exam, you were out of, you got all the credit. So a lot of them couldn't make

the school because there was a corE____so they used to give lessons privately. Well,

anyway, in Paris there was a couple of schools, a couple of people like that that went

to 0CL0or .e, I don't know whether you ever heard of it, but anyway, they went to

on-bor e but still they considered themselves liberal and they wanted to do something

and I, being aoworking man, aftavworking about 9 or ten hours I was there, th -G -

e^so I wanted to take lessons in ev\c so I Use_ a private tutor inParis. And

then they were Kcr\ue epE SS>or-h\S they lived in Paris so they wanted also to

do something for the revolution: so they gave lectures. So I could educated \ l of

I learned quite a bit of things in the 9 months I was there. But otherwise, there was

not Lkr\\ t cO0.

"L: And in 1904 you came back to 'V NV ?

K: In the spring of 1904 I came back to K\S EV/ .

L: And you were an expert on the communist, you had studied all of this?

K: Oh yes.

L: So now what did you do in tA\SE ?

K: About my love affair you don't want to know?

L: I want to know politics.

L: Only politics. AZright. I came back to Russia, my mother had a stroke that time.

She could hardly afford to give me any to cover my board but still I could squeeze

it and I didn't have to work. Being in Paris for nine months and getting a few-

real education I must have something el SeT Vte and T OPSOC0 P, S-nr C

I also wanted to become a professional and even there were a lot of students in KIS4S AEV

that were willing to give you private lessons but not TFr\AG -- "- in

the revolution. So I got an idea if I asked my mother to give me just board I

Page 29

K: wouldn't have to go to the shop and the organizers2from the osaQ promised me

four private tutors. Four private tutors. So I asked h4m would you be willing to

let me Ke eam ly until I can make high school or something. But to be willing to

give me four and I shouldn't have to go to the shop and study. And I asked the man

in charge of the revolution st-S then, I told him will you let me off revolutionary

work too for a certain amount of time until the e an I wouldn't be needed

so I can be out. So he said alright. So for four months, I was studying with four

ters and didn't work in the ot-O and didn't work in the shop was only
sd-ryingr Ano(dS ( t-a-S
studying. And I R_ quite a bit of knowledge because I was Oy, 7 almost
M) C A
12 or 16,.14.. hours a day. So I was liked it very nee and I liked to study because

I was a student all my life, from S\ A five years, I like to study. So what happened

the police arrested many of the r k. and the organization knew 'T-

and he came to me and said your holiday is over. I have to go back because they need
me rNO '1 u -
me _'-'- And that's a moment I'll never forget. Because I couldn't, maybe

I could get a teacher, maybe I could struggle but how can you sponge on a mother with

four kids when you are only working in the revolution. I had to go to work. Once I

worked in the revolution, I had to go:'to the tailor. I couldn't sponge around anymore.

I had to give up the four teachers and I had to go to the shop and I couldn't live with

my mother anymore. And that was one of the worst things that could have happened- to me

in my life because I wanted to become a professional because the girl Iw s in love with

was going to the >pOr?^yNer and how can you love a girl who goes to the s__uv

and you being a tailor? So not only that, I simply didn't like the shop so I and in

Russia, if not for the police that arrested the revolutionists, I could in a couple

years, make something. And so I have to go back to the revolution. So I became in

the revolution a real revolutionist. I was already appointed to the executive committee

of the tC I was appointed not only the organizes of the tabhes but organizer.

of the ay trade Each trade had an organizer andtthen there were certain what

they call a-Z trades like the capmakers, village tailor, village tailors, other, a.-

bunch of trades, I had, and I knew a little bit more of the and I gave. lectures to the

Page 30

K: certain groups and I never thought my speech I couldinever get into

that e \ht position which they always assumed when they talked OU.)' T0

I used to talk then like I talk now My Soc_^\ was alright for the workers

because they !l make life better for them but to get _____ \ and to be able to

move or to know what I was supposed to do, I couldn't do it. So- but groups

of workers I always had V, -t people I could talk to them about the worker movement

in Europe and America: and how they could what they could do in order to bring about a

revolution, anything pertaining to the revolution and NS'Tof/ so that but I worked

in the shop, I went back to the same tailor I was working before because that was always

my home. Whenever I was away. And I worked and in that way (w Oh

yea, that was 1904. And 'til 1905 and.I was a member of the social change, in 1904 the

revolution got wise to itself and it made self-defence groups in every place. They had

bought contrabandists, they bought pistols and it was very easy to learn how -to

shoot and they organized people that like to that would be willing to defend, in case

T(V - ( r.o.t-o \ to defend our this, that even the Christians organized that too.

And so the Christians were organized on a different organization. The revolution

organization was organized by nationalities. The Jewish had their own organizations,
uJ T-o
-_fev the central committee. The Christians had their own organization, two or three

because there were different kinds of revolutionists. So thJ3oN was only for the

Jews. So the Jewivk had their own self-defense group, the Christians had their, not
"pOqr9ory-, \0 we
for the n but for the revolution because when you make a revolution you only meke ^V

S-r'L\ -e but when you make a revolution and try to break down the czar, you have

to fight the military too.So, I joined the self-defense group. I was
I r? G-STE E $Tr. G .
active, very active, very iwe2 si. And then I forgot about the giIl, 'I forgot about

everything. After 1905, was there anything later?
'PO ra. \J\
L: In 1905, there was another pe in
-p6rorr\ po0ryrr
K: Oh yes. After that pdv because that Paew-made another place in my life.
: Do you remember the circumstances of the second
L: Do you remember the circumstances of the second uaepdvoin?

Page 31

K: Yes, I remember the second poEdp SoGr70 C-1

L: Was it instigated ?

K: Usually they were all the same. The same instigators.


K: Yea, yea S-\\ v' X_ they still had the same, maybe all the drunks, all the

bums.. But the real Russian, I mean the decent Russian population did not take

at least in K SiA1 4E\, I don't know about those other places. But in V\ S\_ -_ )

they didn't take any part in the pdron. So but our trouble was the military, not

the people and not the pdne because in 1905, I'Zll never forget. That was a

long story. In the .morning. of October the fifth, 1905, we heard that the czar gave

our constitution. We heard about that. Why did he give the constitution? Because

he had a downfall with the Japanese. He was beaten by the Japanese. And he was down

and out for money and the revolutionists, the more he was beaten, the more they got

the more strikes they made and the more trouble they gave-him. So it came to that

stage when the people got lent him the money and you know there was a lot of liberals

in Russia too. And Liberals in Europe. They said unless the czar gives our U _

ro0- e parliament he canlt get any money. So, he gave the constitution ard they gave him
the money. The constitution was very badly organized. It was just a talking constit-

ution, it was not really a constitution it was organized in three layers. On the top

was the highest aristocracy. The landowners were usually there. And the highest merchants

and the highest of rf-C-v` '-that were (CTo0 4. 0The richest people were

on the top. The middle people were in the middle and the workers were al.-lthe way

on the bottom. So and the highest aristocracy they had more say than anybody else.
Ir\ r\VQry-\\TG
It was a talking constitution. And the mvang you heard about that so I went out

to read it and I don't think I brought any pape' then but there was paper in town and

they used to putthe main things on the bulletin board over there. Being the constitution,

they put it igct on the bulleting board. And I met over there a woman that was in

the state committee. You know,T- TO' YOU state committee. And 44_ ? -

PBC49AB \Y/ ^^ ^OST P 60C^^GW- \v 0 rer. -ro krk TO S,,NT-S.' T, KHE SYV\e N.O u-_ Cf< r- Y rE
Page 32 PA->C~(= U'r -THW" C:r^ ST <-rOT(0 > LPTZrC) t CeLPr rS>7

e-s o C-LO T -
K: children or maybe even Q>, Ae t when they see a parade, they joined
them. For two blocks i-wLa like that and nobody stepped... After the two blocks,

we heard shooting so we knew that the military must be there because they wouldn't
0 e ( Vi\eoc\j3C e<^ SVOOT- c^ peSOV ^-.
0v4 o- 7 I walked with this woman so we got into a store and we becameo-ersons

other people either didn't know it was wrong or they got them But

after they were through killing, they went away. And we went out and where I went

I don't know but anyway I had a call to join the self-defense.
pocqr ryrp
L: Before we leave, you said the first Pe- was WOr T-

K: C____\_____\ ______

L: Oh excuse me.

K: I got a call.

L: But I want to know who were the trouble makers? You were in this parade and you

heard shooting

K: That was, they were shooting at the parade but then I went, .,

L: The police were shooting?

K: No. The military. The police couldn't shoot so much. There weren't so many police.

I mean there were the police but they couldn't collectfso. much. They had to have

about two or three companies in order to protect, in there must have been onecompany

that started to shoot at us because we were against the czar. Down with the czar and

so forth. But anyway, in the afternoon I get a call that I should come to the market

place because they are looting the place so I went over there and we were about 25 of

us self-defense we started to shoot at the looters. At the time, at that date, they

didn't expect any self-defense so they only had it from the back. The front they

left open so I emptied my pistol five times. I and they went back so the military
in TYrc tV4pd t>\Ty
weri back of them so they made way for thomo.ee and tJey1pstarted to shoot at us.
T- Q S
A-4 the military h ________ we couldn't fight the military so we ran."

away and that was the end of what we could do. The next two days we tried to organize

we couldn't because they were already on all four sides of the PV'o Three

Page S 30

K: on one side but on all sides. fThre were only 25 people in the self-defense.
1e ACV-ev\5
How in can you protect anybody or anything than the military? So we

went wrong and this time they also went mostly to the poor section because in the

poor section they couldn';get anybody to organize and to do anything defensive.

The,'rich people they didn't bother. The rumor was that the rich'.people bought them-

selves off Sn 1905. The middle class they didn't sr- either. I don't n-vGtJ VoO

,AQ\ so and we couldn't do it so the delf-defense unrL O eAc.o g aOX aCe

chance to go up to the rich man's, I had a friend in the rich section. I was up
there fooGo \ PS
there for two days while the arrer d. Because I couldn't defend my

mother or my sister because at that time we lived in the middle of town also so.they

were untouched. So

L: Was this\P O' worse than in 1005 was it was a worse pagram than 1903.

K: Oh yes. Many more people Lasted for three days and there were many more

peoplelin the 0P PkJt 1\ )

L: There was an outcry.,

K: Not only that, not only lSA'" ,"it was all over Russia. Instead of making a

petitioner, i4--ws C --q

L: In those days, did you read what IYLV wrote?

K: I read it at that time but now I don't remember. Of course I read it, I knew it.

He was, I know he was ri at that time, I wrote afterwards but

not at that time. So I know, the .// organization knew they couldn't do anything

for the Jews because altogether we were 25 people in and I used to sleep, for three

years I slept with a pistol in my pocket. And I took it out only at night. And I kept

my pants near me(.because in case, the necessity was so great that the you couldn't

help it. So we had to diobse The man who was in charge of us asked do you want
or\cQ -r\
to die or you want to live? If we go:out fighting we are surely to die because te.,

n - Bia open fire once or twice and you are kaput.

L: Were. there other Jews who tried to fight? Or < they were just helpless.

Page Sr

K: No. Maybe there was another Jewish organization that had self-defense,there must

have been but they were not organized. They were, and even if they were ,

you 'can not fight military. A military at least one in each company and it went

only to one company. Four sides, four hundred people. With rifles, not with thif p\S-S

how can you fight four hundred rifles with pistols and only about 100 people maybe

maybe all the organizations were dead. But you couldn't organize because you were

all all over.

L: This time again, did the Jews blame the Jewish revolutionaries?

K: No. This time they couldn't blame the revolutionaries. I don't know whether they

did or not, I didn't read the papers very much about that time. But I only know they
started te to America. That's it, they ran off because at that time only

a few of them from all the .cities but 1903, but in 1903 they were not effective so

much. As in 1905. In 1905, they had to make, the gave ca-;the OgSl O -e

pogrom. There was a story about a village that had one Jew barkeeper, you know the

Jewish used to be barkeepers over there. Barkeepers and bankers in the small villages

where they used to cone to have their drinks. They didn't have anything else to do.

And they used to have a couple dollars and they used to give it to the Jewz -r0To L\ -

because they knew proo -r-'- and you give it back to me whenever you come.

So,. in one village there was one Jew barkeeper and the men, the old men from the

villageT Oel CL- The Jews were good friends with him. He comes over here
~l~b s \lc~ 1e 7 PN\\ M V-C P- PbOGTZOr-l
rO oVov-TS Te -ve, \ ^ and they come to the village where there's one
Jew. I4e gave 4;,pdvice he'd say go outside. Throw a few stones on my windows

and W) \7r S C oT .- 0 v A a ^ VoF\CO? -

L: Is this a story or this really happened?

K: I don't know. I know I heard the story but whether it really happened or not I

can't tell. It might have been a story too.

L: Do you think there could be a relationship where the Gentiles would come to

their friends the Jews?

Page 35

K: Yeah.

L: Such friendships, ,.

K: There were many, many, many Gentiles that kept the Jews in their places but not

only the Gentiles were anti-semite, you know. Some Jews, there were a lot of

Jews were anti-revolutionists at that time, too. But even the p F1 Gentiles,

if they lived together with the people, they got friendly with them. And even

if they talked of the Jews as Christ-killers, they still didn't call them into

the face "Christ-killer. They might have called them privately but not in their


L: What did you do after that 1905 pogrom?

K: ( e-|'-i |i T|'ATS i i \ the pogrom. I now remember that

it was after 1904 that I forgot to tell you about. So the first thing happened is

the old Russian revolutionary congress that took place in Europe.) Every state in

Russia had to send one or two delegates to the Russian Congress. It was a very

important congress because there is where the cleavage took place between the

Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. In 1904 in Europe. So that was an important part
,n ,o ^E).Q
not only in the .n-e organization)but in my life too. The reason was

because every five hundred members from each state could send a delegate to that.

The Russian Congress in Europe. Our organization the FZ,- in XRussia in

Vh\^^t i" ,in Bessarabia only had didn't have 500 members, in the whole state. s3

The state committee was in cause they organized it and they had to

send a delegate and they couldn't get the five hundred members because every little

city and every little town had to prove how many members they got. And thereby

collect the 500 members. The only place that they could, in every little city,

how many members, could they have more than they really had. And then they had

liars all over. So they decided that Yd:is== was the only place they could call-

a T-r and they made the amount of members more than there really was and thereby

had the five hundred members. In Kais.v, I belonged to the executive esni

Page 36

K: I told you about. The executive committee knew, of course it was from all the
-\ VT > they knew how many members we got and I, being a member, I knew U.

I was only a member of the executive that they had to do something to because the

rest of them, the ones that decided the city committee, they decided and they knew

about it but ITwas the only one from the rings that wasn't _o T__ committee
____-A so they t
and I didn't know because I didn't belong to the city so they had to do
\ s>EJ fs ot hadCS toC> o T-
something about me a-4 all 6; and they tell how many members you got

in Kishivev and I knew better than that and I made a protest, I may say something.
h-r^ v Ccmrv ex\-r-\o t-
But anyway, und ______ the man that ran for the Bolsheviks and the Communists,

he found out that there were 13 delegates to the convention, 6 for the Mensheviks and

7 for the Bolsheviks. And he was the one -____ and he was the one to go to Europe

and he had the his parents were well-to-do and he could afford to go to Europe and

represent but if he tells them and he was also a member of the \"G and he

but 11/'/"K he ToGV- from the convention and told me the conditions thereN

-Y e 4 .1h0ypwo s& good and keep quiet. That's all. I don't have to tell the lie
S-tVc%\ ^'t\
myself. Thy the lie that I should be quiet. I was stunned, you know. When

I came to the revolution I thought all the revolution is harmless, and the

best of people. And here look at what we have to do. -eTelle a lie. Maybe I told;
w) Cr.TN T- r-OF 4 Z\ -nkkr fH s
lies before but anyway they u;6reMnc' such a So I told them, he saw

the way I looked because he really shocked me tremendously so he started to give me

the argument which I gave you. But anyway, I think to myself, I told him I'll take

a day to think about it. Because at the moment I couldn't give him my consent because

I was so shocked. When the day came, I gave my consent and he was elected as the
-rTO ., COr'ev\n \ io
delegate tef the convention pr\b &-Xev" but the Pr- was tremendous because

after that moment I never felt about the revolutionists1pas-y liars or cheaters or

whatever it can be and here, look what they did. They lied, not only that but they

cheated for the see\eS So I could; never think of the revolutionists or -#4e

idealists as people wk-:--t-t// without r mn LrOY"
ideasts as peope without sometimes and lying sometimes
idealists~* as pepl _____

Page 37

K: That's the first thing that happened in 1904. Another thing happened to me in 1904

was: in Luxembourg, to remind you .That is about the workers themselves. You

know I was in charge of the tailors, the hatmakers, the shoemakers and the shoemakers

had the 4 -Pqf- e -ve4 \ V. They wanted and they organized, I organized

a strike for of the ac-Sy/ rsT when I made the speeches to them

about striking, I got a little bit B eX.C \ not a lot of it but a little

bit excited and I promised them the world. The whole world, you know how it is. They

could get the whole world but not in Kishivev and not at that time. But I maybe \ SKr\
16 1 T- %< -V- ksA< E
TA but anyway, they took my word for it and they wanted 4@- \0 T- They put 0u

pr \>T~ of 6* conditions. When I came to the bosses and Se \ TT e C

showed me the books and said you can't do it. There's too much. You want too much.

Either in pay or in other S O -. So I didn't know that you^can nt r books

at that time. The books told me you were in the red and you can't afford and you

can't settle the strike. I said well alright, we'll make it for less than that.
to E c-n^\a tox
So I compromised and we settled it and not as much as we could .h peI V.

And I settled the strike and the workers went back to work. But some of them couldn't

forgive me for settling the strike with my compromise. So ew of them stopped talking

to me, stopped looking at me and were really angry at me and that bothered me a lot.
I could go
Here, I was, my life was all a sacrifice for them because anytime gmxxwm exto prison,
I can go
anytime kat:xynxe to Siberia and here I do it because I want to do it for the
worker O C 0 V,
workers I was really working for the workers. And herehwhat do the workers do.

When you don't give them the you lose. So .they get angry at you.
\<> V "o T "o klP VQ
Even I, maybe the bosses at thatitime ai two kinds of books and maybe they put it

over on me. I was only 18 years old and I was trying to do my best and deep down

in my heart, I knew that I didn't do anything bad or anything wrong. So I couldn't

take their bad looks and I couldn't take their bad, what do you call it, when you

are angry, I couldn't take their anger. And since that time I stopped thinking

about the workers as being good and deserving everything. I know they are human

Page 38

K: just as much as the other :. So those two facts in 1904 made really

affect on me which lasted all myife almost. Whenever I wanted to join the labor

movement, even in the United States, I said to myself) what's the use. I'll have to

give up my evenings, I'll have to do this, I'll have to be some SRC\\Ct _

L: In 1905, after the pogrom, what did you do? Did you stay in Russia?

K: Yes. I was in Russia until 1909.

L: But you weren't so active. You were less active than the

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs