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
Finally, the Haman of Ellis Island has met his end. Now that the evil immigration commissioner, William Williams, has resigned from his position, tens of thousands of immigrants will hopefully no longer have to suffer the insults and degradations of his policies. Many complaints had been lodged against Williams, who was known to have an antipathy toward certain types of immigrants and simply shrugged off charges against him. “America is for Americans” is what Williams thought. Fortunately, Senator James O’Gorman helped launch an investigation into the situation and exposed the terrible conditions maintained by Williams. Now that the commissioner is to be replaced, Ellis Island will no longer be flooded with rivers of immigrants’ tears.
75 years ago
Reports from the offices of the League of Nations, in Geneva, indicate that the British government has concluded that the best and most just plan for the Middle East is to divide the Land of Israel between the Arabs and the Jews. This statement was made recently at a meeting of the League’s Mandate Commission. During the meeting, several members of the commission expressed their opposition to the recent reduction in the number of immigrants to the British-ruled Palestine Mandate, particularly in light of recent events in Europe. The British defended their policies by explaining that the war they are fighting with Arab terrorists is preventing them from making changes, but they also claimed that the British military is achieving great success against the terrorists. Other members of the commission were not so sure, and suggested that British policy in the Middle East has no endgame.
50 years ago
Reports in the Soviet press are claiming that Israel, with the help of West Germany, is developing an atomic bomb. Both Soviet television and the newspaper Pravda have made the same accusations against Israel. Lewis Strauss, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, recently visited Israel, a trip that the Soviets argue he did not make as a private citizen, but in fact in connection with the collaboration of Israel and West Germany on the bomb. The Soviet press agencies also suggested that Israel’s accusations against Egypt’s alleged missile program are a smokescreen to hide Israel’s own atomic weapons program. In reality, West German scientists have already admitted to helping Egypt produce its own missiles for use against Israel, a fact that the Moscow press fails to mention.