Forward Looking Back
100 YEARS AGO
1912 The trial of Charles Becker finally came to a close with the accused found guilty of murder in the first degree of Herman “Beansie” Rosenthal. The verdict, delivered almost at midnight after only eight hours of deliberation, was a terrible blow to Becker, who seemed to think he would be acquitted. Upon hearing the 12 jurors repeat “Guilty” over and over, the former New York City police lieutenant nearly collapsed in a heap. Becker was buried by the accusations of witnesses “Billiard Ball” Jack Rose, “Bridgey” Webber, Harry Vallon and Sam Shepps. He was a paragon of sturdiness during the trial, but then was unable to control his muscles and had to grip the iron railing in the court in order to stay upright as his face twitched uncontrollably. The verdict brings to a close this terrible case of collusion between certain members of the police force and a number of Jewish gamblers.
75 YEARS AGO
1937 Max Weinreich, head of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Vilna and a Forverts correspondent, was arrested while protesting the recently instituted decree separating Jewish and Polish students and forcing the former to sit on “ghetto benches” in the rear left of classrooms. In addition to Weinreich, a number of Bund activists were arrested. Only two schools in Warsaw have decided not to institute the “ghetto benches,” and even the directors of the main school for the deaf and mute have decided to separate Polish and Jewish students, despite the fact that the Polish deaf students claim they are opposed to it. As the story played out in the press, the Polish fascist newspapers viciously attacked the Jewish protesters, while the democratic newspapers questioned the government’s decision to separate Jews and Poles.
50 YEARS AGO
1962 Recently surfaced Nazi-government documents confiscated by the United States were just published. Among them were communications between the Nazi Embassy in Washington and the government in Berlin. The communications discussed the importance of American pilot Charles Lindbergh, who had apparently conveyed a request to German government officials that the press in Germany stop promoting him as a hero because it undercuts his ability to agitate against intervention in the European theater. The request was dated April, 27, 1941, and in fact, President Franklin Roosevelt had recently condemned Lindbergh’s “America First” activity.