Forward Looking Back
From The Archives
1915 100 Years Ago
Leo Frank, who had been found guilty of murdering Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee in the pencil factory he managed in Marietta, Georgia, was kidnapped from the state prison in Millersville, Georgia, by 25 masked men who lynched him and left his body hanging on a tree about a mile outside the town. All the telephone and telegraph wires in the area had been cut, so the authorities could not be alerted that anything unusual had occurred. Frank’s mother made the following statement: “Thank God my son is dead. Death freed him from all of his troubles. His life would have been horrible, had he lived. Those who had thirsted for his blood might have killed him in a much more terrible way.” Although deputies were sent by area police to attempt to find those responsible, it is not likely that they will succeed.
1940 75 Years Ago
Leon Trotsky, former leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, has died from wounds he received after being attacked by a man in Mexico City wielding an ice pick. On his deathbed, Trotsky told his secretary that the attacker was an agent of the GPO, the Soviet secret police. The attacker was identified as Jacques Mornard Drescher, a 36-year-old, Persian born Belgian citizen. Trotsky’s bodyguard heard screams from the studio where his boss was working, and upon entering he saw Drescher standing next to the limp body of the architect of the Red Army, who had an ice pick still stuck in his head. Surgeons tried to save Trotsky but were not successful. Trotsky’s last words, spoken to his secretary, were: “Tell our comrades that I am sure of the success of the Fourth International. Forward!”
1965 50 Years Ago
The murder trial of a number of Auschwitz guards came to a close this week as the defendants were found guilty and were sentenced. The two most sadistic guards, Wilhelm Boger and Oswald Kaduk, received life sentences. Both murderers laughed out loud when the sentences were pronounced. Upon hearing the sentences of former Auschwitz commandants Robert Mulka, who received 14 years in prison, and Karl Hecker, who received nine, special prosecutor Friedrich Kaul pounded on the table with his fist and said he would appeal for more severe sentences. Other prosecutors involved in the case have not yet decided if they will appeal what they also believe to be short sentences. They are all expected to have their hands full, as the court is expected to hear the cases of more than 300 former commanders and guards at the German-run death camp.
1917 Yiddish Diva: Famed Latvian-born Yiddish actress, Betty Kompaneyets-Rabinowitz, married actor Leon Rabinowitz and settled in Paris until emigrating to Mexico in 1938 where the two continued their Yiddish theatrical work. Betty gave birth to two daughters, Fanny and Regina, who both entered the arts. Fanny, a great painter, sculptor and muralist eventually worked with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.