Media Files
Title:
Interview with Steve Marcus, June 27, 2002, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Collection:
Wisconsin Jewish Archives Oral Histories
Organization:
Wisconsin Historical Society
Description:
summary Andy Muchin interviews Steve Marcus on June 27, 2002 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Steve Marcus discusses building a new temple in Oshkosh, antisemitism, and the history of his father's business. He also talks about his father's business partners, growing up in a predominantly Christian community, and his Jewish education.
Identifier:
accession number WSA0163
Format:
audio
Description:
summary Andy Muchin interviews Steve Marcus on June 27, 2002 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Steve Marcus discusses building a new temple in Oshkosh, antisemitism, and the history of his father's business. He also talks about his father's business partners, growing up in a predominantly Christian community, and his Jewish education.
Language:
English
Date:
created 2002-06-27
Agent:
Interviewee Steve Marcus
Interviewer Andy Muchin
Rights Statement:
Copyright to this audio belongs to the Wisconsin Historical Society or, in certain cases, either to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. We share them here strictly for non-profit educational purposes. If you have questions related to the copyright status of material included here, please contact us at asklibrary@wisconsinhistory.org.
Publisher:
Wisconsin Historical Society
Duration:
00:38:04
Source Metadata URI:
00050709
Type:
Sound
Partial Transcript: Steve's father emigrated to the U.S. from Poland at the age of 14. His father worked for the newspaper in Minneapolis, where he met Steve's mother. Steve's father encountered the movie business while working for the newspaper and decided that we wanted to go into that business. He partnered with his cousin, who lived in Wisconsin to start his movie theater business. He decided to settle in Ripon, Wisconsin, because the town did not have a movie theater. He purchased the remains of a burned down department store and turned it into a movie theater.
Partial Transcript: The business partner of Steve's father died in the early 1940s. The business partner was originally a farmer in Wisconsin.
Partial Transcript: Steve was born in Minneapolis about 6 months before his father opened the first movie theater.
Partial Transcript: The first Marcus theater was called the Campus Theater in downtown Ripon. Steve spent most Saturdays of his childhood at this theater.
Partial Transcript: There were two other Jewish families in Ripon during Steve's childhood. The Conney family owned a dry goods store. The other Jewish woman was a school teacher in town.
Partial Transcript: Steve was nine years old when his family moved from Ripon to Oshkosh. Steve cannot remember how his family celebrated Jewish holidays while living in Ripon, because he was so young. His parents had been devote Jews. Steve thinks that one of the reasons why his parents moved the family to Oshkosh was because they wanted their children to have a better religious education.
Partial Transcript: Steve's parents did not keep kosher.
Partial Transcript: The Marcus family moved from Ripon to Oshkosh in 1944. Oshkosh had a small, rundown shul near a business area of Oshkosh.
Partial Transcript: Steve does not remember what kind of congregation the Oshkosh synagogue had. He remembers that the synagogue had a wood burning stove to heat the building. He had his bar mitzvah in that synagogue. Steve's father was the chair of the first building campaign to build a new synagogue. The Marcus family had a big house and so sometimes Sunday school classes were held in their basement.
Partial Transcript: Steve often attended Sunday school in his own basement. He cannot recall if his parents ever taught Sunday school. Steve was confirmed in the new temple and there were three or four other kids in his confirmation class.
Partial Transcript: There were not many Jewish kids in Steve's public school and he did not typically hang out with other Jewish children.
Partial Transcript: Steve only experienced one case of overt antisemitism when he was thirteen or fourteen years old. He was called "a dirty Jew" by a school bully. The incident deeply bothered Steve and he was unsure of how to respond.
Partial Transcript: While in high school, Steve's parents considered moving to Milwaukee fro business reasons and so Steve got to know many Jewish kids from Milwaukee. Steve went to UW-Madison for college and joined a fraternity with many of his Jewish Milwaukee friends.
Partial Transcript: Steve does not keep in touch with many Jewish people from Oshkosh, because there weren't many in his age group growing up.
Partial Transcript: Steve does not remember if B'nai B'rith was active in Oshkosh during his childhood.
Partial Transcript: Steve's father played a key role in fundraising for the new synagogue.
Partial Transcript: The Marcus family lived in Oshkosh for nine years and the family moved to Milwaukee in 1953.
Partial Transcript: Steve's father was involved with Israeli bonds.
Partial Transcript: It was difficult for Steve to go to cheder, because the rest of his friends were not Jewish and so he would miss out on spending time them. Steve was trained for his bar mitzvah by a traveling rabbi, who played golf.
Partial Transcript: There was one other student rabbi in Oshkosh besides the one who trained Steve for his bar mitzvah. Steve cannot remember if Oshkosh ever employed a full time rabbi during his time there.
Partial Transcript: Steve did not know many Jewish kids in the Fox River Valley.
Partial Transcript: Some of his father's business partners were Jewish, but that was often not the case.
Partial Transcript: Steve concludes that the Jewish community in Oshkosh was fairly close. Getting the temple built in Oshkosh really brought the community together. The temple is still in use.
No transcript available for this file.