Partial Transcript: "So Sidney, it's great to welcome you back to Madison."
Segment Synopsis: John Tortorice interviewed Sidney Iwanter, who attended UW-Madison from 1967-1971, earning degrees in history and film. Sidney was born in Milwaukee. His father was from Vilna, Lithuania, and his mother was from Cockney, England. Sidney's father was a professional soldier and fought from 1939-1945 during World War II. He was part of the Polish Cavalry because Lithuania was a part of Poland at the time. His father was fluent in many languages and was part of the last cavalry charge in European history, during the Siege of Warsaw. They lost the battle and Sidney's father ended up fighting for the French army. He was captured at Dunkirk and spent four years in a German Prisoner of War Camp. They knew he was Jewish, but luckily the S.S. did not run the camp and he was allowed to live. His father attempted to escape multiple times and was shot in numerous places. When the Americans liberated the camp, they put a rifle in his hand and he fought at the Battle of the Bulge.
Keywords: Battle of the Bulge; Polish Cavalry; Prisoner of War; Siege of Warsaw; World War II
Partial Transcript: "Well, this may explain some of your interest in history."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney's family settled in the Greenbush neighborhood in Madison. The neighborhood was comprised of diverse elderly individuals and he was one of the few kids in the area. Sidney used to love listening to the old people tell their stories during his youth, which sparked his love of history. The storytelling culture of the Greenbush neighborhood does not exist anymore, but the stories live on. It was a working class area and a historical environment. Sidney would sit for hours, completely mesmerized, listening to the adults in his neighborhood tell their stories.
Keywords: Greenbush Neighborhood; History; Madison, WI; Story-Telling
Partial Transcript: "So was there a teacher, an individual that encouraged you to attend UW?"
Segment Synopsis: Sidney was a student whose path to higher education was unclear. In eighth grade, he was reading at a third grade level, but a teacher named Mark Parish "saved his life." Parish helped Sidney through his dyslexia, and tutored him every day after school. In one year, Parish helped Sidney bring his reading level up from a third grade level to a ninth grade level. Parish was a teamster, and would tell Sidney stories about his experiences. Sidney did not like lessons and learned best through stories. Sidney credited Parish with putting him on the right path in life.
Keywords: Education; Madison Central High School; Teachers
Partial Transcript: "So you came to campus in 1967?"
Segment Synopsis: Sidney had a B-average in high school, but he was accepted to UW-Madison because he was from the area. Sidney took as many history classes as he could. In the 1960's, tuition was very cheap. Sidney lived at home during his college years, and helped his dad at his butcher shop. His dad was the last kosher butcher in Madison, WI until he closed his shop in 1969. The shop was on Mills and Chandler.
Keywords: Kosher Butcher; Madison, WI; UW-Madison
Partial Transcript: "So you came to campus in 1967?"
Segment Synopsis: Sidney went to Central High School and lived on Chandler. He used to walk home from high school down State Street. He spent a lot of time on campus even before he attended college at UW. By 1965, Sidney had already witnessed political demonstrations. Sidney would skip high school classes and sit in on lectures. One of the classes he stumbled into was Harvey Goldberg's. Sidney loved Goldberg's lectures and was mesmerized by him. He secretly recorded his lectures, even though Goldberg made it crystal clear that nobody was to record him. To ensure that he did not get caught, Sidney taped a recording device to his stomach, and wired the microphone through his sleeve. Even in super hot weather, he wore a giant sweatshirt to hide the recording device. Sidney did this dozens of times and the tapes are now in the Goldberg Center. Sidney stored the tapes in Dutch master cigar boxes under his bed for years until he gave them to the center. Sidney discussed Harvey's theatrical, electric, and all encompassing lecture style. According to Sidney, Harvey never stumbled in his language, or said "uhm" once. Sidney saw a lot of incredible public speakers, including MLK on the UW campus, but still claimed that Harvey was the best.
Keywords: 1960s; Harvey Goldberg; Martin Luther King Jr.; UW-Madison
Partial Transcript: "Okay so let's move on to Mosse."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney compared Harvey and Mosse, as he took classes with both of them during his time at UW. Sidney described Mosse's class as less emotional and more sinister than Goldberg's classes. Harvey encouraged political activism, while Mosse was focused on content. Harvey was not recognized by the university for his incredible teaching, nor were his lectures officially recorded. Harvey was more of a lecturer and while his research was wide-ranging, it was not fully reflected in his published works. Mosse, on the other hand, was a pioneering author and his lectures were recorded officially.
Keywords: George L. Mosse; Harvey Goldberg; UW Madison
Partial Transcript: "So let's get to the 1971 class."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney discussed taking Mosse's pioneering course on Jewish history in 1971. It was the first course at a Midwest public university that was specifically focused on Jewish history. Mosse courses were mostly on German Jewish history. The class was very eye opening for most students, as their previous knowledge of the Holocaust was small. To Sidney, the material was not entirely unfamiliar. Other Jewish students Sidney met at UW wanted to embrace a secular lifestyle while in college. Sidney struggled with these students because he believed trying to escape your background was futile. The non-Jewish students had very little knowledge of the Holocaust and Jewish history. Unfortunately, some harbored antisemitic beliefs like Jews ran Wall Street and the media. Sidney believed Mosse dug deep into his soul during his lectures. Throughout Mosse's career, he researched areas of history that were personal to him. Sidney taped Mosse's lectures so that his Dad could hear them. John Tortorice, Skye Doney and Sidney discuss the fate of the original tapes.
Keywords: Antisemitism; George L. Mosse; Jewish History; UW Madison
Partial Transcript: "Much of the anti-war activity on campus in those years really originated in the history department."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney was in one of the definitive pictures of the Dow Chemical Riots. He was very politically active on campus. Sidney remembered being at the student union with his friends when the draft notices were coming out. He was saved from the draft. Sidney discussed radical protests he witnessed on campus. Sidney also recognized Mosse's sense of rationality in his lectures. Skye and Sidney discussed Mosse's answers to a common question student's asked him: "Why didn't the Jews fight back?" George believed that survival was a form of resistance. Sidney discussed current day antisemitism.
Keywords: Antisemitism; Dow Chemical Riots; Draft; George L. Mosse; UW-Madison; anti-War protests
Partial Transcript: "Well perhaps we should move on."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney does not believe that you truly appreciate an education until years later. He feels very strongly about UW-Madison and talks up Wisconsin as much as possible. Sidney still spends time in the special collections at Memorial Library. Sidney used to walk around campus and collect posters to keep. His mother threw them away because she did not think Sidney was going to come home again.
Keywords: Memorial Library; Memories; UW Madison
Partial Transcript: "So this brings up then your post UW career."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney got accepted to UCLA's film school, and dropped out after a year. He felt that academically, it was the pits. His major film professor was Russell Merritt, who had a PhD in comparative literature. Merritt said to Sidney, "you do not study film as film." He believed most educators at UCLA studied film in a vacuum, which is ineffective. Sidney stayed in Los Angeles and his girlfriend at the time helped him get a job at a TV station as a tele-typist. That job led to another at Paramount Pictures television as a typist, which led to a job at Hanna Barbera in 1979. Sidney got the job at Hannah Barbera through a woman who was eventually fired due to her cocaine use. Sidney was then fired because that woman hired him. However, he got the job back through another woman who ended up recurring in his life over and over and hired him at different studios. Sidney worked on a number of children's animation projects, like X-Men, Batman, Spiderman, Silver Surfer, and Goosebumps. He has now spent 40 years in kid's programming. The X-Men show is the project he is most proud of, because he believes that it helped revive the Marvel universe. Sidney was the network executive for that show.
Keywords: Children's Animation; Kids Programming; Los Angeles; Russell Merrit; UCLA; X-Men Show
Partial Transcript: "Anything else you want to say about your education or your career?"
Segment Synopsis: Sidney set up an award at UW-Madison. He knew he wanted to give back, but did not know how. He created an award given to the best interdisciplinary senior-thesis each year. He always looks forward to reading the theses every year. Sidney discussed how proud of different students he was after reading their theses. The Iwanter Prize is one of his proudest accomplishments.
Keywords: Iwanter Prize; UW Madison; Undergraduate Theses
Partial Transcript: "If you've got a few minutes, let's get back to the Greenbush thing."
Segment Synopsis: Sidney and John discussed the clearing of the Greenbush neighborhood. Many residents were driven out of the Greenbush area, the buildings were torn down, and John Nolen Drive was created, but the area past Mills street was spared. Many elderly people lost their homes and were forced to move due to the city's efforts to dismantle the neighborhood.
Keywords: Greenbush Neighborhood; Madison, WI
Partial Transcript: "So what are you doing the rest of your time here in Madison?"
Segment Synopsis: For the remainder of the interview, Sidney, Skye, and John further discussed the history of the Greenbush neighborhood, the picture of Sidney at the Dow Chemical Riots, and Sidney's plans in Madison.
Keywords: Greenbush neighborhood; Historic photos