July 25, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

It has been revealed that the famed “Hotel Thief,” who has been burglarizing rooms in some of New York’s fanciest hotels, is one Nathan Levine, formerly of Clinton Street, currently of Sing Sing Prison. Levine, who dressed impeccably and played the role of a wealthy gentleman, would rent rooms in expensive hotels and then, under cover of night, sneak into other rooms and rob the occupants. Last week, however, Levine met his match. After renting a room in the Hotel Belmont, he waited until around 2 a.m. to crawl out onto the ledge of the building and sneak into the room next door, which was occupied by British tourists the Cooksons. He accidentally woke Mrs. Cookson and, after putting a pistol in her face, told her to keep quiet. Her husband, Major Cookson, woke up, as well, and Levine bound and gagged the two of them. He then tried to chloroform the Mrs., but she screamed bloody murder, waking up half the hotel. Her screams also prompted her husband to attack Levine, which he did to great success. Levine was already subdued by the time the police arrived. And less than 24 hours later, he was on his way to Sing Sing.


75 Years Ago in the forward

The Viennese press is ablaze with sensational articles claiming that antisemitic German Chancellor Adolf Hitler has Jewish familial origins. The Mittags Blatt, The Abend Blatt and the Reichspost, all papers closely connected with the Austrian government, were filled with articles, photographs and documents meant to prove Hitler’s Jewish origins. Among them were photographs of the grave of one Clara Hitler in Czechoslovakia, allegedly the Führer’s grandmother. According to the reports, Hitler’s great-grandfather, Avrom Hitler, left Polno, Czechoslovakia, for Vienna, where he converted to Catholicism. In the meantime, Nazi officials in Berlin refuted the charges categorically and said that Hitler’s ancestry can be traced to Catholic peasants in Lower Austria. They added that Hitler doesn’t even have any Slavic blood in his veins and is 100% pure German.


50 Years Ago in the forward

There has been much talk lately as to what American Jewry will look like in 30 years. One sure thing is that the proster yid (simple Jew), who built American Jewry but could barely read a newspaper, will no longer exist. Instead of shoemakers, tailors and sewing machine operators, Jews will be a people of doctors, lawyers, professors and actors, among other occupations. There also will be changes in religious practice. It’s already obvious that Jews are not becoming more religious; however, many still feel the need to connect to some kind of Jewish organization, though it is more often a community center than a synagogue.

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July 25, 2008

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