Bleiberg, Morris
Interview Date
July 11, 1994
Respondent farmer, born 1903.
[T1S1] Respondent provides background information: born in Austria; gives names of parents: mother Frayda Shaller, born in Boreslav, Austria; father, Avram Yehuda Bleiberg, born in Austria, enlisted and served in Austrian cavalry, 1888-1891; describes early life, notes great celebrations when King Franz Joseph came to town; agricultural area. Respondent continues lengthy description of family; mentions names of six siblings, details childhood: summer activities, notes only Yiddish spoken at home, explains parents marriage arranged by "schadchen" (matchmaker), provides additional information on extended family; sheds light on father's work as farmer.
[T1S2] Respondent discusses father's arrival in America, 1907: left to escape further service in Austrian cavalry; sent money earned at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, to bring family to America: gives details on how work was arranged; arrival of family: 1909. Respondent continues discussion of family's arrival in Ellis Island: work of Jewish volunteers; notes father rented home in Kingston, near Latrobe; helped dedicate synagogue in Greensburg, PA: 1912; explains father had opportunity to buy land 70 miles away: mother not willing, wanted to remain in Jewish area.
[T2S3] Respondent adds additional information to previous tape: explains how father found work at St. Vincent College; describes ice cream making and selling at 11 years old, work and life on farm, depression years and unhappy first marriage; notes work in America good in 1920s.
[T2S4] Respondent describes learning mathematics in Yiddish from mother; family move to Penn Township: father rented farm; explains how to grow various crops; notes negative attitude of community: doubted Jewish farmers could be successful; gives names of other farmers in the area. Respondent reflects on early education in 2 room school house; comments on chores of other siblings; describes conditions on farm: no electricity, use of kerosene lamps, rotation of crops; lack of high school and travel to city for education; describes mother's observance of Sabbath.
[T3S5] Respondent reflects on father's desire to bring grandparents to America; change in immigration laws; perished in Holocaust; comments on Bar Mitzvah: learned from brother; provides description and work by other farmers in area and move to another farm; gives additional family information, notes purchase of 1<sup>st</sup> automobile: Ford, had to be cranked,
[T3S6] Respondent describes father's work as peddler and junk dealer prior to renting farm: knew many languages; describes growing oats and millet on farm; gives name of second wife: Clara Shaer, their marriage: 1954; describes interaction with Italian community; comments on various reports sent to Internal Revenue Service (IRS): number of animals on farm and bushels of grain sold.
[T4S7] Respondent depicts "roaring 20's": good times; provides additional information on siblings; repeats descriptions of neighborhood; discusses glass manufacturing in Jeannette, PA; discusses various methods of evaluating taxes and insurance for farmers: tied to county wide values of buildings, equipment and animals. Respondent gives date of father's death: 1937; describes milk delivery from cans before bottles: milk ladled into customers containers; recalls delivery of ice cream to homes; notes most field crops used for dairy feed; mentions 1<sup>st</sup> silo built: 1917: held large amounts of feed.
[T4S8] Respondent describes depression years: details closing of banks: 1929, bad conditions, no money available to buy necessary items, many farms closed, Bleiberg farm 5 years in arrears on taxes; took on additional work to raise money; gives date of mother's death: 1938. Respondent reflects on unhappy first marriage to Bessie Mallinger: divorced, 1951; gives names and birth dates of three daughters; describes 2<sup>nd</sup> marriage to Clara Shaer, 1954, worked together until her death, 1968. Respondent details running farm alone: paid all taxes and insurance, not productive, sold farm: 1968; describes move to Pittsburgh, PA.
[T5S9] Respondent describes kosher cheese production; repeats circumstances of first marriage; reflects on father becoming United States citizen: 1912; repeats information on move to Pittsburgh: Hill District; return to Jeannette, PA after father's death; sheds light on divorce from 1<sup>st</sup> wife.
[T5S10 blank]
[T6S11] Respondent mentions award received from Tree of Life Synagogue, 1994: pioneer in formation of Morning Minyonaires; discusses difficulties and annoyances with Lubavitch neighbors; adds to information on 2<sup>nd</sup> wife; gives name of 3<sup>rd</sup> wife; reflects on dedication to milk delivery. Respondent describes learning Judaism on farm and holiday celebrations.
[T6S12] Respondent discusses need for electricity on farm: arranged through Rural Electrification Administration; discusses early use of telephones and responsibility for maintaining telephone poles; explains his greatest accomplishment: helping his fellow man. Respondent touches on his good mental and physical health, describes happy visit to Israel; gives advice to senior citizens: "do not give up home and get help if needed to maintain the home."
Americanization; Austria; Economic Depression; Farms; Agriculture; Immigrants; Latrobe (Pa.); Peddlers and Peddling; Synagogues
Birth Date
Oakland; Hill District; Jeanette, PA
Occupation (father)
Austrian Calvary; St. Vincent College
Length (hours)
Newell, Anita
Rubinstein, Judy
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 100 FF 27
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