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Allen Tobias

@ Weeksville Heritage Center

Allen Tobias, David Tobias


Allen Tobias was born in 1943 in Brooklyn, NY. His family lived on Schenectady Avenue: a street Allen remembers as being mostly Italian in the 1940s and 50s. He recalls having African-American and West Indian American friends growing up, and that he was on good terms with most of the different groups on the neighborhood. He recalls that a particular Catholic Church, St. Matthew’s that included anti-Semitic thought in their religious instruction. He remembers being bullied by the St. Matthew’s students when they were released from their instructions. Allen’s family was Hassidic: his maternal grandfather had studied to be a rabbi. His grandparents didn’t speak English. Allen himself was a member of the Young Israel on Eastern Parkway. He recalls his upbringing as strict, and that his aunt and mother would look down on other Jewish people who did not follow their same traditions. Allen’s mother was a teacher at PS 44 in Bedford-Stuyvesant. His father worked for the subway system. Allen’s father had been a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps when he was a child. He had immigrated to the United States from Poland as a child and was the oldest of seven children. As a member of the CCC, he cleared logs and built barracks near the Snake River in New York. When he was 16, Allen graduated early from high school and entered Columbia University. He recalls being uncomfortable at the school, because of his age and background. In the second half of this interview, he...
Oral History Wav
Allen Tobias, David Tobias, Rose Heredia, Meron Tebeje
Created Date:
1943 2006
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Record Contributed By

Weeksville Heritage Center