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Grandma and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Tragedy March 25, 2018

Posted by judylobo in Zoo.
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Much has been written about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy that happened 107 years today. 146 lives were lost. It was the beginning of a strong labor movement in NYC and many laws were changed to protect workers.

My grandmother, Anna Osipow Goldberg worked at that factory.  She did not go to work the day of the fire.  Why, you may ask?  I never got a straight answer to that question.  By the time I was old enough to understand the consequences of that tragic day, my grandma was consumed by what we called in those days, ‘senility.’  It was probably Alzheimer’s Disease, but that word was not in the lexicon way back then.  My grandma was a tough, stern, unsmiling, woman.  She did not want to talk about her childhood in Czarist Russia, she did not want to talk about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory – in fact – she did not want to talk of much at all.  Whenever she wanted to speak, it seemed to me as a child, that she spoke in Yiddish.  I think I assumed she did not want us ‘kids’ to know what she was speaking about.

All these years later – I wish I had asked the right questions.  I sure would like to know why she never smiled.  Maybe she was thinking about all of those lives lost – I do not know. The photo shows Grandma holding my mother along with my Grandfather and Aunt Katie.