Looking Back: January 20, 2012

100 Years Ago in the Forward

New York City seltzer factory worker Philip Cohen, 23, heard that his boss, Morris Rubin, was anti-union and rumored to have poisoned the horses of some union delivery men. When Cohen was on his way home from work, he happened to see Rubin on East Broadway. Curious as to where Rubin might be going, Cohen followed him. As he got closer, the seltzer boss turned around and lunged at Cohen with a huge knife, stabbing him in the stomach. As Rubin ran off, Cohen was brought to the local station house, where he described to the police what had happened. He was then brought to the hospital in critical condition. The police later picked up Rubin and brought him to the hospital, where he was identified by Cohen as his assailant. Rubin was sent to prison, and Cohen died a few days later.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

A massive bomb destroyed the editorial offices of the Vilner Tog , the largest daily newspaper in Vilna, Poland. The explosion was so powerful that not only were the offices destroyed, but hundreds of windows in surrounding buildings were shattered, as well. Another bomb was set to go off in front of another Jewish business in Vilna, but it was discovered and defused. Bombs were also thrown at Jewish stores in Warsaw — from the windows of moving cars — and did much damage, including destroying a large number of goods and injuring a number of Christian passersby. Although no group has yet taken credit for the attacks, it is obvious to all that they are the work of anti-Semites.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Yiddish culture and literature will never return to the Soviet Union unless Soviet Jews demand it from the government, said Mikhail Suslov, a Communist Party secretary, to a British communist delegation that was visiting Moscow. One of those attending, Hyman Levy, a well-known British academic and member of Britain’s Communist Party, reported on the event and noted that the years 1948 to 1952 are considered the “black years” for Soviet Jews. During these years, Soviet Jews were fired from their jobs simply for being Jewish. The Yiddish language was banned outright, and writers and poets were arrested and eventually liquidated.

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Looking Back: January 20, 2012

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