Jane Krieger Schapiro

b. 1922

A fourth generation Baltimorean born in 1922, Jane Krieger Schapiro's independent spirit found expression in her leadership of numerous community organizations. She studied journalism at New York University, but returned to Baltimore, graduating from Goucher College in 1952. Jane eloped with Leroy Cohen in 1942 while still in college. They had two children, JoAnn and Howard. Jane's father, Abraham Krieger, was a founding member of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, and strongly influenced her active participation in Jewish philanthropy. A life-long student of Judaism and a capable leader, Jane was the first woman to serve on the boards of The Associated and of Chizuk Amuno Congregation. She took an active leadership role in the creation of Baltimore's Project Renewal program in Israel, as well as numerous other organizations. Several years after her husband's sudden death in 1966, Jane married Marvin Schapiro, a Baltimore realtor, to whom she has been married for over 25 years. Committed to her children and grandchildren, Jane travels extensively and maintains an active volunteer and social life.

Scope and Content Note

Jane discusses her heritage, early childhood in Baltimore, family background, father’s business, and the antisemitism she encountered living in the city. She grew up in an observant household, had many Jewish friends, and joined a Jewish sorority.  Jane remembers meeting her first husband, Leroy, a student at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  They fell in love immediately and decided to elope in 1942 because they did not have the support of their parents.  Jane's father felt she was too young and needed to finish college first.  Jane talks about her religious practice and its evolution throughout her life.  In December 1943, Jane's first child, JoAnn, was born, and Leroy was sent overseas for a nineteen-month tour of duty in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  During this time, Jane belonged to the American Women's Voluntary Service and attended New York University.  After the war and spending some time in Denver, Colorado, Jane and Leroy moved back to Baltimore when Jane's mother became sick, and she reconciled with her father.  Leroy came to work with Jane's father at the Gunther Brewing Company.  Jane formed the first Child Study Group, which eventually became a national organization whose mission is to educate women on pregnancy, birth, and raising children.  In 1947, Jane's son Howard was born, and she began an informal Jewish study group that met for over twenty years.  Jane recalls being asked to help load the SS Exodus and refusing, which she regretted her whole life.  Since then, Jane has felt a responsibility to the State of Israel and found ways to support Israel through missions, visits, foundations, and organizations. Jane details her involvement in the Sisterhood, Baltimore’s Jewish Federation, Baltimore Jewish Community Center, and several others.  Jane's husband Leroy died in Israel in 1966 after suffering from a heart attack.  She talks about how her life unfolded after his death, not considering remarrying until she met and married Marvin Schapiro, a widower, realtor, and neighbor of Jane's.  She discusses their children and grandchildren and how their lives have unfolded.  Finally, Jane reflects on motherhood, Judaism, Israel's history, her friendships, and the ways her independent spirit found expression in the leadership of numerous community organizations. 

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Jane Krieger Schapiro. Interviewed by Marie Cohen Ferris. 11 April 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/schapiro-jane>.

Oral History of Jane Krieger Schapiro by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.