David Finkelstein (1985-1979)

David Finkelstein was born in 1895 in Chaterisk, Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States in 1913, and settled in south Portland, Oregon where he already had a sister living. He worked with relatives at a junk shop upon his arrival. He lived close to the Neighborhood House, where he learned English and went to night school. He worked at Meier and Frank in the loading dock for a while. He received notice from his family that his father had throat cancer and was receiving treatments in Vienna, Austria; so he would send money to help out. In 1915, he brought his younger brother Wolf over. Wolf worked at a grocery store, where he was killed in an explosion at the store. 

During World War I, David joined the army in 1917. He was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. He trained for overseas duty, but when they realized he had bad eyesight, he was put in the headquarters company, where he worked in the officers’ store. He received his citizenship papers from serving in the army. David met his future wife Sadie Goldman while he was on leave and attending at dance in Seattle. He proposed to Sadie after the war, but her father said her older sister needed to get married first. In the meantime, Sadie got engaged to someone else, but eventually broke it off and she and David got back together and were married in 1923. 

David owned a grocery store in Vancouver, and the Ku Klux Klan had an office upstairs in the same building. There had been a man working at the store who was Catholic, David fired him as he did not need his services. When the Klan found out, they boycotted the store. The Catholic community found out David’s store was being boycotted, and so they started buying from David to make up for it. 

Interview(s):