1913 •100 years ago
Verdict Awaited in Pimping Trial
After days of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Avrom Belkin was still unable to come to a decision. On trial for forcing a young woman into prostitution, Minsk-born Belkin claimed he was innocent. Annie Jacobs, the girl in question, testified against him and described how Belkin approached her at a picnic in Downtown Manhattan’s Liberty Park and presented himself as a ladies waist maker and a loyal union man. He earned her trust, and, after a few weeks of dating he asked her to marry him. He took her to what he said was his aunt’s house in Brooklyn’s Brownsville, where he beat and raped her. He then installed her in a nearby brothel, where what transpired cannot be written about in a family newspaper. For his part, Belkin claims that he is the victim, that the girl he was dating turned out to be a prostitute. The trial, incidentally, is Belkin’s second; the first ended in a hung jury.
1938 •75 years ago
Labor Leader Dead at 52
On the order of New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, flags at all city buildings are at half-mast to commemorate the tragic and untimely death at the age of 52 of the brilliant labor leader Baruch Charney Vladek. Active with the Bund in Russia, Vladek was imprisoned for illegal political activity in 1904 and left Russia for the United States shortly after his release. Hired by the Forverts office in Philadelphia in 1912, he moved to the New York office, where he became the manager. Vladek was also active in politics, having been elected as a New York City alderman in 1917 as a socialist. In 1933, he was instrumental in founding the Jewish Labor Committee, an outgrowth of the anti-Nazi boycott. Last year he was elected to the city council. LaGuardia appointed him to run the New York City Housing Authority. Telegrams have been pouring in from all over the world, conveying their condolences for the loss of this great leader.
1963 •50 years ago
USSR Rabbi May Appeal Sentence
Sentenced to death in the USSR last August for “economic crimes,” Rabbi Boris Gavrielov has won the opportunity to appeal his sentence, although it is not clear to whom — the highest court in the land, or the president of the High Soviet Council. Well-informed sources in Paris tell us that the Soviets recently made this surprising decision. Gavrielov was sentenced in the city of Piatigorsk, along with two accomplices, for speculation on foreign currency markets, and is alleged to have been involved in the illegal purchase of gold. He is thought to be the only rabbi sentenced to death for economic crimes. In a related matter, the Soviet High Court has announced that future proceedings against speculators will be open to the public.