Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
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The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. Where provided, transcripts created prior to 2008 or commissioned by a third party other than BHS, serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. More recent transcripts commissioned by BHS are nearly verbatim copies of the recorded interview, and as such may contain the natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, and repetitions that are common in conversation. The decision for their inclusion was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Oral history interview conducted by Jill Vexler
July 21, 1993
Call number: 1994.006.13
Oral History Interview with Zalman Kleinman
In 1933, Zalman Kleinman was born a Lubavitcher in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union. After the death of his parents, he and his sister were sent to Siberia, where he was adopted by a rabbi. For a time he lived in the Central Asian state of Sumerkand, amongst the Bukharian Jews. Kleinman immigrated to Paris, where he studied at an underground Lubavitch yeshiva. From Paris, he traveled to Israel where he began painting. He returned to Paris where he met and married his wife Rosa. In 1958, they immigrated to New York City and to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. An esteemed artist who painted Jewish life within the Hasidic community, Kleinman died in 1995.
In the interview, the narrator discusses his childhood in Communist Russia; his adoption; life after World War II; immigrating to Paris, Israel and New York; meeting his wife; family life in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights; being an artist in a religious community and the making of a good family. Interview conducted by Jill Vexler.
This collection contains oral history recordings and transcripts, as well as exhibit materials, from Brooklyn Historical Society's Crown Heights History Project, also known as "Bridging Eastern Parkway." Crown Heights History Project oral histories include audio and transcripts created and collected within the context of an exhibition project undertaken in part by BHS in 1993 and 1994. Three interviewers recorded conversations with over forty narrators. In addition to exhibition product value, the oral histories were conducted as life history and community anthropology interviews; topics of discussion include family and heritage, immigration and relocation, cultural and racial relations, occupations and professions, education and religion, housing and gentrification, civil unrest and reconciliation, media representation and portrayal, and activism. The series of exhibition research materials document the outreach efforts for interviews and materials from the community as well as exhibit scripts and curatorial notes.
CitationKleinman, Zalman, Oral history interview conducted by Jill Vexler, July 21, 1993, Crown Heights History Project collection, 1994.006.13; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Congregation Lubavitch (Crown Heights, New York, N.Y.)
- Kleinman, Zalman
- Children's literature
- Emigration and immigration
- Jews, Russian
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Paris (France)
Finding AidCrown Heights History Project collection