Brunwasser, Albert
Interview Date
January 28, 1995
Brunwasser, Albert, director of Allegheny County Health Department, born 1923.
[T1S1] Respondent mentions his close relationship with grandparents. Respondent talks about family history of Brunwassers, from Austria-Hungry; maternal from Vilna, Poland; their jobs; father's career as Constable in Pittsburgh's third ward, Prothonotary (keeper of records); his sister, schooling, sister's job; Respondent's school activities, how neighborhood changed, Jews started moving to Squirrel Hill. Respondent mentions father's childhood, grew up in Bloomfield, story about him attending shul. Respondent describes an incident of antisemitism in service: in Navy aviation program from 1943-45, never saw combat. Respondent recalls school father attended in Philadelphia, started by Rabbi Joseph Krauscoff which trained Jewish boys agricultural skills so they could later settle in Palestine; Respondent attended school as well. Respondent mentions discharge; attending college to study food technology; friends from Krauscoff's school who went to Palestine who where later killed.
[T1S2] Respondent talks about his Bar Mitzvah; religious education, religious life today. Respondent tells story about how he became employed with Pittsburgh Health Department (PHD). Respondent describes improvements that were made in clean air, housing, food service while he worked for PHD; David Lawrence, R.K. Mellon's vision for better PHD; how Respondent helped implement their vision. Respondent talks about implementing last phase of clean air act. Respondent details what steel companies, big industry did to environment in 1930s; enacting first Clean Air Act in US; starting Allegheny County Sanitary Authority; reactions of coal barons to new legislation; Councilman Abe Wolk's push for cleaner city. Respondent describes steel, coal companies exploitation of workers; how union started.
[T2S3] Respondent talks about wife Maxine Slovonsky, their courtship, marriage 1960; her background, religious life; their four daughters. Respondent details daughters' marriages, husbands, careers, residences, religious life, college educations. Respondent talks about home life while girls were growing up. Respondent lists organizations, associations to which he belongs. Respondent discusses future of Pittsburgh, concerned youth cannot find jobs here; believes no leaders have vision that Mellon, Lawrence had.
[T2S4] Respondent continues talking about strengths of Mellon, Lawrence. Respondent explains First International Conference of Rapid Transit was held in Pittsburgh; why second conference was held in France. Respondent talks about Jewish migration from Hill District to Fox Chapel; loss of camaraderie in Jewish community. Respondent details his duties as director of Allegheny County Health Department; its budget. Respondent talks about consulting for Resource Development Management Inc.: purpose of company; his duties relate to environment, government. Respondent mentions college, graduate degrees. Respondent elaborates on his experiences in Navy. Respondent mentions people who influenced him including Paul Bryant while Respondent was in service. Respondent lists names of some family members.
Allegheny County (Pa.). Health Dept.; Allegheny County Sanitary Authority; Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; Bryant, Paul; Business; Industries; United States. Clean Air Act; Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Krauscouff, Joseph; Lawrence, David Leo, 1889-1966; Mellon, Richard K. (Richard King), 1899-1970; Pittsburgh (Pa.). Dept. of Public Health; Vilna (Poland); Vilnius (Lithuania); Wolk, Abe
Birth Date
Pittsburgh, PA
Public health
Director, Allegheny County Health Department
Hill District; Mt. Lebanon; Bloomfield
Occupation (father)
Elected constable
Length (hours)
Herzog, Bernice
Herzog, Marvin
Collateral Materials
Box 100 FF 36
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