January 28, 2011

Looking Back

Published January 19, 2011, issue of January 28, 2011.
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100 Years Ago in the Forward

The Forverts has received an unsigned letter from a local man who claims he will commit suicide on January 26. We are printing the letter in hopes that friends or relatives will bring this man to his senses. He says that he has written the letter as a type of apology. In it, he lists a number of problems he claims contributed to his situation: one, he has bad breath, a problem that embarrasses him when he talks; two, his teeth are rotten and black; three, his eyes always want to close; four, his face is thin and pale; five, his nose is always stuffed, and so he has to breathe through his mouth; six, he gets a lot of headaches. He adds that although he is a good cloak maker, he doesn’t have the energy to work. He offers apologies to his friends, and signs the letter: “Good-bye, Good-bye, The unlucky man from Stanton Street.”

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Not a day goes by in Poland without some sort of attack on Jews by Polish hooligans. These attacks are occurring all over the country and, like pogroms, spread from one town to the next. In many of the towns, riots begin as local hooligans smash the windows of Jewish-owned homes and then beat the inhabitants. In the town of Truskolas, a rumor that Jews had robbed a local Catholic Church had been spread among the peasants. They were whipped into a frenzy, and attacks on Jews began. There, at least, police managed to make some arrests. In the town of Pszitik, where 600 Jewish families live in terror because of the pogroms, the police have banned all public gatherings, including the weekly marketplace. This has caused problems for the Jews economically, but at least they are safe from the hooligans.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Jewish blood is amazing stuff: When the Jews are being slaughtered, it’s cheap as dirt. But when you’re investigating whether some famous person is descended from Jews, Jewish blood is suddenly worth its weight in gold. The blood of a well-known personage can be mixed with gentile blood for generations, and for anti-Semites and for Jews, this person becomes a Jew. We Jews look for the few drops of Jewish blood in him in order to take pride in his achievements and to say, “Look what a brilliant nation we are.” Gentiles look for Jewish blood in people in order to compromise them, to blacken their reputations before the masses. This issue has come up recently, with the appointment of Douglas Dillon, who happens to have a Jewish grandparent, to President Kennedy’s Cabinet.

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