Respondent
Cohen, Stanley G.
Interview Date
March 8, 2000
Abstract
Respondent Businessman, born 1935.
[T1S1] Respondent provides background information; gives names of parents: father, Art Cohen; mother, Faye Shrager Cohen; comments on poverty in father's family, notes father raised in orphanage until age 18. Respondent describes family business: Art R. Cohen Company: Penn Ave., originally sold brass fixtures; comments on flood, 1936 and damage to business; gives name of one brother. Respondent describes early education in Pittsburgh.; religious education and Bar Mitzvah at Beth Shalom Congregation; comments on family celebrations; attended University of Miami. Respondent mentions marriage to Ruth Odle, 1961: divorce, 1978; one adopted son; notes joining family business after father's death; comments on service in Army reserves, 1956-1957; lists positions held in various organizations; led mission to refuseniks in Russia.
[T1S2] Respondent comments on community activities: and humanitarian awards received; work with Brother's Brother; discusses interaction with Cuba: head of Human Relief Project; explains his involvement with Judaism: how it came about: impressed with refuseniks in Russia, feels "each Jew should have a chance to be Jewish." Respondent explains incident on Russian border: arrested for carrying tapes and treatment as spy; disturbed by refuseniks lack of freedom. Respondent discusses interest in Cuba: visited before revolution and returned in 1982, noted lack of medicines and food: started collecting food from Pittsburgh., then received help from CNN; believes "one person can make a difference in peoples lives." Respondent gives lengthy description of Cuba at present; Jewish community stronger and more viable, comments on shipments of food, medicine and mammography equipment; licensed to lead groups to Cuba; works with Cuban officials: very helpful. Respondent comments on political situation of Cubans in South Florida: want Fidel Castro out; Respondent feels his "life would be endangered if he pursued his projects in South Florida." Respondent discusses creating Jewish National Fund Guardian of Israel award: honored Ernest Nachmann; plans to devote rest of life to helping Jews.
[T2S3] Respondent discusses his ideology: very little fear of dying for a cause he believes in; warned not to return to Cuba in 1982; returned to Cuba: 1996, had fear of being arrested. Respondent comments on trip to Russia: took religious supplies, carried tapes in his trousers on train: body searched at customs; discusses involvement with KGB, cited for carrying anti-Russian material, detained several hours then KGB took tapes and released him. Respondent notes upon return to Pittsburgh., phoned Senator Specter to help retrieve tape: had to go to Russia to get it: did not go. R details participation in Jewish National Fund mission to Israel: describes precarious cruise to Greece and adventurous trip to Venezuela.
[T2S4] Respondent mentions visit to Vatican in Rome and private audience with Pope; describes awards he received from organizations; B'nai B'rith Humanitarian Award; feels he has accomplished all he wanted to do; notes "be the best of what you can do"; describes photos hanging in office and dignitaries he met.
Subjects
Art R. Cohen Company; B'nai B'rith; Brother's Brother Foundation (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Cuba; Jewish National Fund. Guardian Of Israel Award; Russia
Birth Date
1935
Work
Art Cohen
Length (hours)
2
Interviewer1
Mattes, Louella
Interviewer2
Karelitz, Bess
Indexer
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 100 FF 50
Identifier
ais196440.082
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh