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Audio clip from interview with Adele Baratz, 2007

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Download jhp000195.mp3 (audio/mpeg; 4.39 MB)






In this clip, Adele Baratz talks about her parents' experiences in real estate and business ownership in the 1920s and 1930s in Las Vegas.

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Adele Baratz oral history interview, 2007 March 19. OH-00076. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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So was the Jewish community really big as you were growing up as a little girl? No. Oh, no. The Jewish community was exceptionally small here. My mother cooked for the few Jewish men that were here that didn't have a family. So she used to cook dinner for them. That's how they were making money because we didn't have anything then. People always ask me about anti-Semitism in Las Vegas and I really didn't feel any of that except one time. I went to a birthday party of a friend of mine that lived across the street and they all started talking about religion. This one didn't like this one. This one didn't like that one. So then they said, ?Well, what's left?? And somebody said, ?Well, Jewish.? And this one girl said, ?Oh, I would never want to be that.? Well, I burst into tears. But that was the only time that I really felt anything like that. But I had a pretty?except for the fact that we didn't have anything?I had a pretty normal childhood. But most everybody didn't have anything. That's what I was about to ask you. Was that different? Was your family any difference than most of your friends? No, not really. Your parents' friends? No, not really. So tell me what kind of work your father did when he first came to Las Vegas. Well, he worked for the man that sold the bootlegger supplies, grocery store. [Laughing] And then after that?well, what he did?I'll tell you a little story?what he did was he saw all the vacant land, because I told you the story, and he said he's got to have this. The guy that he worked for and this attorney that he knew, the three of them went together and they bought land. Some of the land that they bought is where the MGM stands now and stuff like that, out on the L.A. Highway. Of course, we sold it before all this big boom started. That's what he did. What happened was the gentleman who he worked for paid his portion and my father worked it out. And they really didn't have that much. Wow, what an arrangement. That was great. Yeah, yeah. In fact, the gentleman that my father worked for, he told my brother one time, he said, ?If it wasn't for your father, I would never be able to live the way I'm living now.? Because I guess my father had the foresight to see what was?no, the fortune teller did?to see what was happening. We didn't have a car when we came here. My father eventually went into business. He owned a bar on First Street, which was across the alley from where the Review Journal used to be on First Street. So my father wanted a car. He didn't have the money for a down payment. This was a Plymouth. So he gave this guy twenty five acres of land for the down payment and this was on what is now Tropicana. You know how the airplanes come in and fly over that area there? Well, it was in that general vicinity, this property. The guy later sold it, I think, for twenty five thousand dollars. [Laughing] Wow. Now, was your mom a stay at home mother? Yes, except she cooked and sewed, but she did all of that at home. Then, of course, after my father went in the bar and started to make more money, then she didn't work. My father had slot machines and she loved to go play them. He had the bar before the Second World War broke out because he had that the thirties I think he started with that bar, someplace in the thirties. I can't remember. And my mother used to love to go play the slot machines. Oh, that's funny. She loved them. Now, do you remember any of those?you were only two in '28. Do you remember the Depression years, I guess about the middle of the Depression? Do you remember some of those years? Not too much. I remember my mother used to make all my clothes for me. As far as not having too much, I don't remember that because we were all pretty much in the same boat, most of the people. Now, some of the people that were in my class were not because the Cashmans were in my class. Wingert was in my class. You know what I mean?