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Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Newton Friedman
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Newton Friedman was born in Minneapolis in 1912. His father, Samuel Friedman, was a leader in the Socialist Party. His mother participated in the Women's Socialist Club as well. Mr. Friedman, a lawyer, defended socialist draft resisters during the First World War. In 1919, when the Communist Party was formed, the Friedmans stayed with the Socialist Party, among bitter accusations back and forth. (Samuel Friedman was state secretary of the party around the time of the split.) The Friedman family lived in the Jewish neighborhoods of Minneapolis until 1931, when they moved to New York. Samuel F. Friedman died in New York at the age of fifty-three, and is therefore not to be confused with Samuel H. Friedman, a socialist newspaper man and publicist who also lived in New York until the 1990s. Mrs. Friedman remarried and moved to Detroit, and finally returned to Minneapolis, where she died in 1979. Newton Friedman followed his father's lead and became a lawyer, too. During the Second World War he served in the army in the European theatre, and in the Occupation Forces in Germany following the war. When his enlistment was over, he settled in Duluth with his wife and two children. There he practiced law, with an emphasis on labor and civil liberties cases. At the time of the interview he was trying to retire. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Workmen's Circle in Duluth. Jewish locals in the Socialist Party in Duluth and the Twin Cities, 1910s. Decline of the Socialist Party, 1916–1920. Jewish emigration from Minneapolis to the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution. Description of Socialist Party picnics, 1910s. Prosecution of members of the Industrial workers of the world in northern Minnesota, late 1910s. Socialist opposition to World War I. Prosecution of the editors of "Industrialisti" for criminal syndicalism by the Commission on Public Safety. Struggle in the Socialist Party leading to the formation of the Communist Party, 1919 to 1920. Socialist Party activity on the Iron Range. Dissolution of the Workmen's Circle in Minnesota, 1980s. Jewish cemeteries in Minneapolis and Duluth, 1980s. Differences between secular and religious Jews, 1980s. Opinions about the loss of idealism among former Socialists and their decendants. Legal work on civil liberties issues. Documenting Jewish history, and transmitting stories from one generation to the next; Friedman family history. Anti-Semitism in the army during and after World War II; U.S. occupation of Germany. Awareness of the holocaust in the U.S., prior to Germany's surrender. Arab-Israeli tensions in the Middle East, 1940s to 1980s. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: The interview is rather disjointed. There were several interruptions in the interview as Mr. Friedman talked with his secretary and even dictated letters. These have been edited out of the transcript.
2 hours sound cassette
20 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
01:13:02 running time
Interviewee: Friedman, Newton
Interviewer: Frenkel, Susanna
Interviewer: Ross, Carl
Made in: Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 30 (Library Call Number)
AV1990.228.21 (Accession Number)
MHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project'