August 26, 2005

100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

News reports out of Russia indicate horrific pogroms are taking place in Bialystok, Berditchev, Homel, Minsk, Pinsk, Vilna and Bobroisk, among other locales. In these cities and towns, simultaneously and according to the same plan, drunken and enraged soldiers have attacked at workers’ meetings, in clubs and in the streets. Whomever they caught was murdered. If a worker was not grabbed, any Jew was a sufficient target, though they also attacked the elderly, women and children. Most of those attacked turned out to be Jews, and more than 100 were killed.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

One of the liveliest groups of creative types in Hollywood, Calif., is the one that writes the songs accompanying the new “talkies,” and with which the entire world sings along. One of the biggest surprises is that about 90% of these songwriters are Jews. The king of these songwriters is, of course, Irving Berlin. But there are also a lot of “princes” — popular-tune writers whose names are not as well known. They include Lew Brown, Fred Fisher, Wolfy Gilbert, Sammy Lerner, Benny Davis, Al Dubin and Billy Rose, better known, perhaps, as Fanny Brice’s husband.

Vienna’s Jews have been partying hard after the wedding of one of their most important daughters: Lise Goldarbeiter, who won both the Miss Europe and the Miss Universe beauty pageants. Thousands of Jews from the poor Leopoldstadt section of the city besieged the ornate Vienna Temple to try and participate in the festivities. Many were decked out in their Sabbath best — from top hats to shtreimels — to celebrate the event. Goldarbeiter herself was born in Leopoldstadt, where her Galician-born Hasidic father currently runs a leather goods shop.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

A dance teacher from Camp Kinderland has admitted to writing two songbooks in praise of convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Edith Segal decided to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights during her testimony to the communist-hunting committee of the New York State Legislature, which is currently seeking communists involved in summer camps. For her part, Ms. Segal said, “I am very proud of what I have written, but because the committee intends on twisting my words, I am forced not to answer.” She did, however, inform the committee that her songs about the Rosenbergs were not taught to the children at Camp Kinderland.

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August 26, 2005

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