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Yes. Our friends were Jews and everybody else was a
Christian, and we knew no others. I remember that my brothers
brought to the house a fellow who was on the baseball team, a
pitcher. His name was Serge Grinkovich. He was Russian but he was
not Jewish. The idea of bringing into the house a non-Jew was a
precedent-shattering kind of thing. My parents didn't know what to
do. You know, it was like someone with horns would come in, and it
turned out he was a very nice guy. He later became a pitcher at
Lafayette College and later became a doctor, a surgeon, and that was
the first thing. But what I do remember is that at various times --
Williamsburg is near Greenpoint, and Greenpoint was predominantly
Christian, Italians, Irish, just all of them, and from time to time,
particularly on election night, there would be invasions. On Halloween
there would be invasions of the Christians and you'd get off the street
and you'd get caught. They came in with stockings with stones in
them, and they really let you have it.
What occasioned that?
Tradition. There was never a reason for it, but it was like
suddenly they decided that they'd go in against the Jews.
And the Jews ran away and didn't fight back?
I don't recall. Your parents said, “Don't be outside in the
street.” Otherwise, in the wintertime, we were out in the street with
mickeys, potatoes roasting, that kind of thing, but that was off limits,
get into hiding, because the marauders are here.
How big a group was it, do you remember?
They'd come in groups of four or five or six. They were just in
groups, but people would take off.
And find an individual Jew and beat him up.
Find an individual kid and beat him up, yeah.
Did it ever happen to you?
I don't recall it ever happening to me.
Or to your brothers?
No. By the way, you know this area is described in very great
detail by Daniel Fuchs in his trilogy on Williamsburg, Summer in
Williamsburg, a novel. He came out of this area. He came a little
earlier than us. There were a number of people who became famous,
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