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Gus B. Kaufman Family Papers

Identifier: Mss 135

Scope and Contents

Researchers studying the Gus Kaufman Family Papers will gain insight into Jewish life in Macon, Georgia. All material is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within each folder.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1881 - 2003

Biographical / Historical

The following is the obituary of Gustave Bernd Kaufman of Macon, Ga.:

GUS BERND KAUFMAN, 89, of Macon died Friday, Jan. 4, 2008.

The funeral was held Jan. 6 at Temple Beth Israel with burial at William Wolff Cemetery in Macon.

Born in Columbus, Mr. Kaufman was the son of Simon Mony Kaufman of Columbus and Elberta Bernd Kaufman of Macon. He was a graduate of Lanier High School for Boys in Macon and a Boy Scout and later received Scouting's highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award.

He attended the University of Georgia but returned to Macon after two years to work in the family business, G. Bernd Co., of which he was president from 1943 to 1980. He also owned and operated Joyland Toy Store and Macon Raceway and Hobby Shop.

In the 1940s he became a life member of the NAACP and worked with the Macon Council of Human Relations to plan integration in Macon. In 2004 he received the James Wimberly Racial Barrier Breaker Award for his pioneering work in civil rights.

A lifelong Democrat, he worked for 70 years behind the scenes for Democratic candidates at the local, state and national levels.

He was a lifetime member and past president of Temple Beth Israel in Macon. He chaired the citywide Israel Bonds program and the Middle Georgia Federation of Jewish Charities. In the fall of 2007 he and his wife received the first Keter Torah Award from Temple Beth Israel for lifetime service to the temple and the entire Middle Georgia community.

He was the president of the Macon Little Theatre for a number of years and chaired the drive to build the current theater facility. Mr. Kaufman chaired Macon's Solid Waste Committee, and at Carlyle Place, the Macon retirement community in which he lived, he reorganized the recycling program. He was active with the Macon Friends of the Library, the Georgia Jewish Genealogical Society and the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and was on the board of the Straus Historical Society.

When the tsunami hit South Asia in December 2004, he organized fundraising among Carlyle Place residents, who gave the largest donation to the Red Cross for tsunami relief of any organization in Macon.

Mr. Kaufman and his wife participated in Macon's Great Books Club. He wrote about book collecting and other subjects for Macon Magazine.

Mr. Kaufman was an early member of the Southern Jewish Historical Society. His first book, a family history and genealogy called The Family of Simon Kaufmann of Lichtenau, Germany (1992) traced the family to the late 1700s in Germany. Later he and his wife tracked down every Jewish grave in Macon, found a lost Jewish cemetery and helped restore Macon's oldest Jewish cemetery. That resulted in their second book, The Jewish Burials of Macon, Georgia, 1844-1997, and in projects to restore Jewish cemeteries in small towns in Georgia and Alabama. He became a tour guide on cemetery rambles through the seven Jewish cemeteries in Macon. The Kaufmans also wrote 1490 Listings of Marriages of Macon and Bibb County, Georgia, With One or Both Spouses of Jewish Birth, 1823-1997, published in 1998. His last book, The Great Migration and the Founding of Congregation Sherah Israel (Now Sha'arei Israel) in Macon, Georgia, 1881-1910, was published in 2003.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Marian Waxelbaum Kaufman; children Dr. Aaron B. Kaufman of Albuquerque, Dr. Gus B. Kaufman Jr. and partner Reydante Banag of Atlanta; Lise K. Dayan and husband Sig Dayan of Macon, and Marianna Kaufman and partner Diana Aleman of Atlanta; and grandchildren Mamie Dayan of Macon and Georgia, Caroline and Sarah Jane Kaufman of Albuquerque


2.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Gus B. Kaufman was a native of Columbus, Georgia, but spent most of his life in Macon. His family was active in both Jewish and general community activities in Macon. The collection consists of papers relating to the Atlanta Ballyhoo Club (1935); Congregation Sherah Israel (now Congregation Sha'arey Israel); the Civil War (including Confederate burial records); a history of the Bernd and Bloch families; Congregation Mickve Israel, Savannah, Georgia; a booklet "The Great Migration and the Founding of Congregation Sherah Israel in Macon, Georgia, 1881-1910"; correspondence between Gus Kaufman to Marion Waxelbaum (1934-1935); advertisements for the G. Bernd Company; a letter regarding the Jewish War Relief Campaign (1921); articles on the Waxelbaum and Gus Kaufman family; booklets on Palestine: "Before the United Nations. A Plea for a Just Solution of the Problem of Palestine"; "I Speak as a Christian" by Dorothy Thompson; "There Is Only One Answer ..." by Dorothy Thompson; "Shall the Door Be Shut?"; a genealogy of the Straus family; confirmation program of Temple Beth Israel (1928); Temple Guild Cookbook; the wedding program for Mannie and Mame Waxelbaum (1905) and a letter and accompanying report relating to obscene letters sent to Thomas E. Watson of Thomson, Georgia in 1912.


All material is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Gus B. Kaufman Papers, Mss 135
Sandra Berman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States