Looking Back: October 7

100 Years Ago in the Forward

As 25-year-old Bronx resident Flora Kirsch was walking her 3-year-old son, Aaron, to the store, 35-year-old Jacob Spielman accosted her and began yelling at her. As she walked away, Spielman drew a revolver and began running toward her. Bystanders screamed for her to take cover, but her frightened boy was grabbing her skirt and she couldn’t run. As Spielman got close, he shot Kirsch. She collapsed while hugging her child. A huge crowd gathered, and Spielman began to run away but was caught by a woman who yelled for people to catch the assailant. Seeing the hundreds of people surrounding him, and a pair of policemen that was approaching, Spielman shot himself in the mouth. It turned out that Spielman and Kirsch have known each other since childhood. Spielman had tried to convince the woman to leave her husband and run away with him, but she refused. For this he attacked her. Both are currently in critical condition.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

The Nazis have officially banned Jews from teaching law and economics in Germany. According to German Justice Minister Hans Frank, Jewish professors and teachers of these subjects will be summarily fired, and books that Jews have written on these topics will be pulled from library and bookstore shelves. According to Frank, since Jews are no longer considered to be German, German law should have nothing to do with Jews, nor should they comment on it. In addition, a law banning Jews from owning pharmacies went into effect recently, and more than 150 pharmacies in Berlin were transferred to Aryan owners.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Famed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, best known in the West for his poem “Babi Yar,” in which he attacks Soviet anti-Semitism, has come under attack by the Soviet magazine Komsomolskaya Pravda for what the magazine called “deviating from the communist line.” Considering Yevtushenko’s popularity among a wide array of Soviet citizens, this is an unusual development. According to the Soviet report, a group of young poets criticized Yevtushenko for bringing up issues that had been already dealt with in the USSR, the implication being that there is, in fact, no anti-Semitism there. The poets complained that Yevtushenko “shows sympathy for Jewish victims of the Nazis, but shows none for the other victims.” They continued, “There is no doubt that Yevtushenko’s poem, ‘Babi Yar,’ should be considered to be a serious mistake by the poet.”

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Looking Back: October 7

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