Yitzhak Ben Zvi Memorialized

Blood Libel Rumor Leads to Murder and Anti-Nazi Editor Beaten by Nazis

50 Years Ago: Israelis gathered for Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s funeral.
Forward Association
50 Years Ago: Israelis gathered for Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s funeral.

By Eddy Portnoy

Published April 20, 2013, issue of April 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Forward Looking Back brings you the stories that were making news in the Forward’s Yiddish paper 100, 75 and 50 years ago. Check back each week for a new set of illuminating and edifying clippings from the Jewish past.

100 years ago
1913

Walery Waszkewicz, a Polish resident of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, was murdered by his wife, who accused him of selling their 11-year-old boy to the Jews. Waszkewicz was the superintendent of 30 Pitt Street, a building occupied entirely by Jews. “I killed him,” Mrs. Waszkewicz told police, “because he took my one and only child and sold him to the Jews, who wanted to use his blood for their holiday. In return, the Jews paid him with seven chickens and a five-cent glass of schnapps.” Police detectives found Waszkewicz in his bed with his head split open. Next to the bed was a long block of wood flecked in blood, the alleged murder weapon. The 11-year-old boy that was allegedly sold to the Jews was found outside, playing. He told detectives he had no idea what his mother was talking about.

75 years ago
1938

Thirty-one-year-old Charles Weiss, editor of the anti-communist and anti-Nazi newspaper Uncle Sam, was brutally attacked by a gang of Nazis that broke into his office on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Weiss was beaten unconscious by the gang, who carved swastikas into his back and chest with sticks. They also destroyed his office. Weiss was brought to Brooklyn Jewish Hospital in critical condition. There it was discovered that his skull was broken and that he suffered massive internal damage. Brooklyn police have launched an investigation and expect to arrest the assailants any day. New Yorkers were shocked by this attack, which comes on the heels of a Nazi riot in a bar in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, during which war veterans were attacked.

50 years ago
1963

More than 100,000 mourners attended the funeral of former Israeli president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, which took place in Jerusalem. Wailing sirens, two minutes of silence throughout Israel and a complete work stoppage preceded the funeral. All places of entertainment were closed, ushering in a nationwide period of mourning for seven days. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, a longtime friend and colleague of the president, gave the first eulogy. He recalled Ben-Zvi’s early days in Russia, which he spent organizing Jewish self-defense groups during times of pogroms. Ben-Gurion also recounted many of Ben-Zvi’s successes in Israel. “I had the privilege of working with him since I arrived in the country,” Ben-Gurion said, “and I never knew a man so great in achievement and spirit and at the same time so humble, modest and simple in all his ways.”


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 does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • 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.