For­ward Look­ing Back

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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.


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.


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.

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