Noyma Appelbaum was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born to immigrant parents, his father being Lithuanian and his mother Ukrainian. Mr. Appelbaum’s parents were politically radical and had involvement in the labor union movement of the early 20th century. His mother, Esther Kaminsky, was involved in the organizing of workers in the textile industries of New York City and Philadelphia. His father, Meyer Appelbaum was pivotal in organizing workers in Philadelphia’s auto industry and, according to the interviewee, was a founding member of Philadelphia’s Communist Party.
Noyma Appelbaum was heavily influenced by his parents’ involvement in leftist politics. In his youth he participated in protests and became a member of the Young Pioneers, a youth communist group similar to the Boy Scouts of America in organization but not ideology. He attended Philadelphia schools and eventually went to Temple University with the help of scholarships. During his work there on a journalism degree he worked for the Philadelphia edition of The Daily Worker, a Communist Party supported newspaper. Mr. Appelbaum spent his post college years working in industrial Philadelphia in an attempt to organize factory workers. A major political shift occurred for Mr. Appelbaum in 1956 as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev exposed the atrocities of the heavy handed rule of former Premier Josef Stalin. His disenchantment with communist policies matched that of many Communist Party members.
Mr. Appelbaum returned to Temple University in an effort to receive a teaching degree. He goes on to work for many years in Philadelphia area education and eventually works toward his doctorate in education. He and his wife have lived in the East Oak Lane of Philadelphia for over 40 years.
Appelbaum, Noyma and Matz, Daniel, "Interview of Noyma Appelbaum, Ed.D." (2011). All Oral Histories. 9.
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