April 11, 2008

Looking Back

Published April 02, 2008, issue of April 11, 2008.
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100 Years Ago in the forward

The New York City Police Department is making mass arrests of anarchists and socialists on Manhattan’s Lower East Side after a bomb killed three people and injured dozens at a demonstration in Union Square last weekend. Among those killed was undercover police detective Irving Rasky, who apparently was trying to infiltrate an anarchist group. Police suspect that his cover may have been blown and that he was assassinated as a result. Celebrated anarchist Alexander Berkman was arrested, but he was quickly released after it was determined that he had not been involved. With many possible suspects, the police have fingered Brooklyn resident Zelig Zilberstein, who was also among the wounded, as the bomber. Speaking from his bed in Bellevue Hospital, Zilberstein, a 28-year-old tailor, denied throwing the bomb. None of the local anarchists interviewed by the Forward was familiar with Zilberstein. The police, however, said that Zilberstein threw the bomb at Rasky because the cop had beaten him on the head with a club at a previous demonstration.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Panic among the Jews of Germany has reached new levels this week, as the German police began conducting house-to-house searches to confiscate passports belonging to Jews. Considered to be a warning to the people of the Jewish community that they should not attempt to escape from Germany, all passports belonging to Jews will be marked with a special stamp. Travel exceptions are to be given if the passport holder can prove that he is going abroad for business purposes. The fear experienced by Jews has resulted thus far in the suicide of wealthy businessman Hans Sachs, whose passport and baggage had been confiscated at the border. Some Jewish families have smuggled themselves into neighboring Belgium under cover of night. This step has come in the wake of a large-scale boycott of Jewish businesses, initiated by the Nazi government. This attempt to pauperize the Jewish community has met with success, although it has also been reported that on account of low prices, Jewish stores have been packed with customers.

50 Years Ago in the forward

“Yiddish is an innovative language,” said Isaac Bashevis Singer in what is likely the first television interview about the language. “Since I was a boy, I remember hearing about the decline of Yiddish. The Yiddish language has survived until now, and it will continue to live.” Singer, one of the world’s best-known Yiddish writers and an important colleague of the Forward, discussed the future of the language, as well as his recently published “Gimpl-Tam,” on the popular television show “Newsbeat,” which is seen by more than 1 million viewers in the New York area. Singer also discussed his belief in higher powers and said that the Nazis never would have been able to have perpetrated their evils deeds against the Jews had the devil not been behind them.

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