A Bridge Between Two Worlds

Editor's Note

By Lillian Swanson

Published March 16, 2011, issue of March 25, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

On these pages you will find translated into English for the first time the original coverage of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire from the pages of the Yiddish-language Forverts. In these pieces, the emotions run raw and the writing is evocative and as visual as any of the images that accompany the articles. They have an immediacy that takes you back to an earlier time, 100 years ago, when immigrant Jews and Italians were just gaining a foothold on new lives in America. For many of our ancestors, the first stop was the burgeoning garment industry in New York City.

Forverts Editor Abraham Cahan was not exaggerating when he said the entire Lower East Side neighborhood was sitting shiva. In these archival pieces, you will read of the grief of families torn apart as well as the brave and determined actions of those who declared “Enough!” Thankfully, this fire prompted many of the reforms in fire safety and workplace conditions that we enjoy today.

Be warned that some of the passages are more graphic than you would read in newspaper coverage of a tragedy today. They are offered here unvarnished, as a piece of history. Many of the stories are excerpts from much longer pieces, though some run at full length. Complete versions of 25 archival articles are available on this website.

As we mark this centennial, it would not be enough to reach into our archives to tell readers about this milestone. We also wanted to provide a modern perspective with essays and articles on labor and safety issues to offer a status report on where things stand today.

In many ways this section creates yet another bridge between the legendary Forverts and the cutting-edge Forward of today. We tip our hats to our fellow journalists of yesteryear, and hope, always, to continue their sterling tradition.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.