A Shooting After a Shvitz in a Lower East Side Bathhouse

From Buchenwald to New York

Out to Space: Dr. Joseph Kaplan, a Hungarian born, Jewish astrophysicist, was active in the United States Satellite Project creating the first American satellite to orbit earth. He also founded the Institute for Geophysics at the University of California.
Forward Association
Out to Space: Dr. Joseph Kaplan, a Hungarian born, Jewish astrophysicist, was active in the United States Satellite Project creating the first American satellite to orbit earth. He also founded the Institute for Geophysics at the University of California.

By Eddy Portnoy

Published March 15, 2014, issue of March 21, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

1913 •100 years ago

Shooting in the Shvitz

Isaac Schwimmer, a civil engineer who lives on East 7th Street, was taking a shvitz in the Turkish baths on Third Street near Avenue A. Apparently overcome by the heat, Schwimmer fell asleep in the steam room. He awoke to find his diamond ring missing. Furious, he accused Spunky Congers and Louis Bernstein of stealing his ring while he was asleep. The two men claimed not to know anything about it. Schwimmer called the police and told them the story after they arrived, demanding that the officers arrest Congers and Bernstein. But without any evidence, it wasn’t possible to make an arrest, and the two men were told they could leave. Unable to control his anger, Schwimmer pulled out a revolver and shot them. Both were rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where the doctors said they would almost certainly die of their wounds. Schwimmer was placed under arrest.

1938 •75 years ago

Viennese Composer Kisses the Ground

Kissing New York’s ground after disembarking from the ship, “City of Baltimore,” the famed Viennese composer Hermann Leopoldi said: “How thrilled I am, how happy! Here I can breath freely. In Germany everyone carries a weapon in hand.” Leopoldi was one of the most well-known and successful composers of popular song until the Nazis took over Austria last year and he was forced to stop working. He was arrested and sent to the Dachau concentration camp for four months. He was later transferred to Buchenwald, a different concentration camp, for another five months. Leopoldi’s wife and daughter, who had arrived earlier, met him at the port. The family will settle in the Bronx.

1963 •50 years ago

Shocking Testimony in Auschwitz Trial

According to a witness at the ongoing “Auschwitz trial” of Nazi criminals in Frankfurt, West Germany, prisoners were sometimes made to sing and dance before being sent to the gas chambers. The witness, Herman Biermanski, was a political prisoner who fought against Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He was first arrested in Berlin in 1940 and placed in a cell with one Wilhelm Boger, who was in jail for theft. Boger is one of the Nazis currently on trial in Frankfurt. During his testimony, Biermanski pointed out Boger as one who forced dozens of Gypsies into the gas chambers. He testified that he saw Boger shoot victims at close range, including a German woman who had been married to a Jew.


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.