Interview with Morris "Moe" Dalitz by Brenda Baxter, on several dates in late 1977 to early 1978. In this interview, Dalitz talks about his business and career endeavors before coming to Las Vegas, which included a laundry service and military service. Dalitz partnered with Wilbur Clark and became a successful hotel and casino owner in Las Vegas, as well as a real estate developer with properties including the Boulevard Mall and Sunrise Hospital.
Moe Dalitz was born in Boston in 1899, and soon after his family moved to Detroit, Michigan and where his father started a linen supply company. In 1930, during Prohibition, Moe moved to Cleveland, Ohio and he became involved with the then-illegal liquor business. At the age of 41, Dalitz enlisted in the Army and was stationed at Governors Island. Moe was put in charge of laundries and dry cleaning because of his experience in the laundry business. He played an important role in creating mobile laundry units that were used in the front lines in North Africa. His ingenuity won him a non-combatant award for his "unusual interest, ingenuity and talents" applied during his service. At the end of war, Moe returned to Cleveland, where his partners were successfully carrying on their business. It was then that they decided to go into the casino-nightclub business, opening nightclubs in Ohio and Kentucky. A couple years later, Moe and his partners met Wilbur Clark and agreed to finance his inactive project in Las Vegas. Thus, in 1950, the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino opened, and Moe Dalitz ushered in a new era for the city. Moe and partners continued to elevate the sophistication of the Strip when they acquired the operating lease to, and later part ownership of, the Stardust Hotel and Casino. Moe was instrumental in bringing the French Lido de Paris show to the Stardust, which was considered the most spectacular nightclub show produced in Las Vegas at its time. In addition to his gaming industry ventures, Moe engaged in significant real estate development, along with partners Allard Roen, Merv Adelson and Irwin Molasky. Their projects included Sunrise Hospital, The Boulevard Mall and Las Vegas Country Club as well as La Costa Resort and Spa in California. At the time of the interview, Moe was involved with the construction of a downtown hotel and casino. Moe Dalitz was the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Research Center, and supported the Variety Club and the Home of the Good Shepard, amongst other charities.
Gilbert Yarchever was one of nine siblings, born and bred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He describes the way his mother?s family was granted the last name of ?Kurfeersf" by Emperor Franz Joseph (of Austria-Hungary), explains the Seder (the Jewish observation of the exodus of Hebrews from Egypt), and tells what it was like to survive the Depression. Gilbert describes the jobs he held after high school and the government examination he took that led to his lifetime of adventure and travel. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1940 and kept himself busy working for the government and taking classes at George Washington University, as well as working part time at Hecht Department Store and as a freelance court reporter. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Gilbert was sent to Africa on a merchant ship, helped smuggle Jewish survivors into Jerusalem, and was assigned the task of negotiating with Arab sheikhs for laborers to build a road. In the years after that, he worked in Europe, Panama, Alaska, Japan, and Hawaii and describes many of the jobs he was responsible for and many of the individuals he met. He also married and had children, kept up with university classes whenever he could, and collected art objects and paintings. Following his retirement in 1977, Gilbert and his family came to Las Vegas and bought a condo in Regency Towers. He did some consulting work for a couple of years, and then he and his wife began traveling around the states and going abroad. He was involved with UNLV?s EXCEL program, the music department, and the Las Vegas Art Museum. (He and his second wife Edythe presented the first major exhibition on Holocaust art at the museum.) These days Gilbert often donates pieces from his art collection to churches, synagogues, and charitable organizations.
Gilbert Yarchever was in the Navy during World War II, helped smuggle Jewish refugees into Jerusalem, worked as a civil servant in many countries, and moved to Las Vegas in 1977. He helped found the EXCEL program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was an art collector with his wife, Edythe Katz-Yarchever.
Included in this oral history are reminiscences of Sonja Saltman's personal non-Jewish heritage in Austria, the importance of her grandmother in her life, and how she recalls becoming part of the Jewish community.
Sonja Saltman is a psychologist and philanthropist in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is executive director and co-founder of the Existential Humanistic Institute, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California that offers training in existential-humanistic therapy and theory. In 2003 Sonja and her husband Michael Saltman founded the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) William S. Boyd School of Law. The Saltman Center is focused on research, teaching, and public service related to "the advanced study of the nature of conflict and how to resolve it." A native of Austria, Sonja Saltman also serves as the Honorary Consul for Austria in Las Vegas. The Saltmans are involved with multiple charitable organizations and initiatives, both locally and abroad. Sonja Saltman has served on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League, Nevada Women's Philanthropy, and the Black Mountain Institute. Projects that the couple has supported include the rebuilding of homes and bridges is Bosnia, and Streetball Hafla, a basketball program to improve relations between Jewish and Arab teenagers in Israel. In 2014 Sonja and Michael Saltman were recognized as Distinguished Nevadans by the Nevada System of Higher Education. Included in this oral history are reminiscences of her personal non-Jewish heritage in Austrian, the importance of her grandmother in her life, and how she recalls becoming part of the Jewish community.
In this interview, the Straus? discuss the joys of growing up in Las Vegas during the 1960s and 1970s, and the changes within the community over time, especially in educational opportunities. Both talk about Joyce Straus? career as artist and art educator, and the influence she had on their lives. They also remember Heidi?s father, Jay Sarno, and the impact he had on the local gaming industry. There is also discussion of the founding of Congregation Ner Tamid, the role of Jewish women?s philanthropy within the community, as well as the establishment of The Meadows School.
Jewish Federation of Las Vegas Champions of Freedom dinner gala proceedings, with masters of ceremony Jayn and Art Marshall. A guest of honor was former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak. The Champion of Freedom award was given to Faye and Leon Steinberg.