Shalom and Aloha: Famed Yiddish actor Maurice Schwartz (left) enjoying a day off from filming ‘Bird of Paradise’ in Hawaii with Renny Brooks (right), a noted Hawaiian musician.

New York City’s Homicide Bureau Investigating City’s Jewish Underworld

1915 • 100 Years Ago

New York City’s homicide bureau is currently investigating an interesting case that, if it goes to trial, will expose some information about the city’s Jewish underworld. The body of Morris Rubenstein, or “Fat Moyshe,” as he was known on the street, was found in the building at 185 Allen Street, the victim of foul play. Moyshe was an extremely well known figure in the café houses of the Lower East Side and police quickly arrested Joseph Berger, another well known tough from the neighborhood who had a long record and who was found bloodied and bruised on the same block just minutes after the murder. Berger denied committing the crime and told police that “Izzy the Presser” was the real murderer. According to Berger, Izzy had been arrested recently and while he was in custody, Fat Moyshe slept with his wife. After he was released, claimed Berger, Izzy killed Moyshe in an act of revenge.

1940 • 75 Years Ago

The Forverts received information from Nazi-occupied Warsaw — delivered by a Pole — describing the privations currently undergone by the city’s Jews. Interestingly, this particular Pole (whose name is being withheld) does not consider himself a friend of the Jews, but what he offers regarding the Jewish situation is revealing. “I am convinced,” he said, “that the Nazi attitude toward the Jews is chaos. All the Nazi officers in Poland stand by the ‘Führer,’ and torture the Jews, making their lives bitter. But the ways in which the different commanders ‘solve’ the Jewish question varies greatly. For example, the Jews in the General-Gouvernement areas are better off than those who are in those areas annexed by the German Reich, where they are being uprooted and killed. When, for example, one sees the Jews in the Lodz Ghetto, one can only think that the most horrible sadists couldn’t have come up with an idea like this.”

1965 • 50 Years Ago

World Jewish Congress president Nahum Goldmann criticized the increasing number of complaints about the way in which the Soviet Union treats its Jewish minority, calling them “too sharp.” Arguing that “unchecked accusations can only harm Soviet Jews,” Goldmann added that in no way must the USSR be compared to the Nazis in connection to the way in which it treats its Jews and that such a comparison is unjust, especially in light of the fact that the Soviet Union saved hundreds of thousands of Jews during World War II. Goldman’s comments gave the impression that he is opposed to mass demonstrations in support of Soviet Jewry and that their situation can only be improved by methods of quite intercession.

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New York City’s Homicide Bureau Investigating City’s Jewish Underworld

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