July 8, 2005

100 YEARS AGO

• Last week, the Forward predicted that the besieged Russian battleship Potemkin would celebrate its own Fourth of July. This, in fact, happened. On July 4, the soldiers and officers of the Potemkin formed a mutiny and joined the ranks of the revolutionaries. Just as the American revolutionaries declared themselves free from the yoke of oppression, so, too, did these Russian sailors. “Every pure heart in the world beats with the hope that the Potemkin’s call for revolution will be answered throughout Russia,” the Forward said. “Hurray for the Potemkin!”

75 YEARS AGO

• As the worldwide Depression begins to take its toll, antisemitism is on the rise and attacks against Jews are increasing throughout Europe. This week, pogroms occurred in Rumania and Poland, and a large anti-Jewish protest took place in Berlin. In Bukovina, a rural area ruled by Rumania, peasants who have been whipped into an anti-Jewish fervor by priests have been attacking and beating Jews and destroying their property. In Kowal, Poland, attackers who were ostensibly demonstrating against the Pilsudski government wounded 28 Jews. In Berlin, while one rally was being held to protest the ongoing threats against Germany’s Jews, an antisemitic rally was going on in another part of town. The rally quickly turned violent, and police arrested many of the demonstrators. The rally in support of the Jews, which was attended by many Berlin city officials, remained peaceful.

• The mattress factory at New York’s Sing Sing prison ships out a large number of mattresses each year for sale to the public. The prisoners make the mattresses, which undergo inspections at four different stations on their way out of the prison. A recent shipment made it past the first two inspection stations but was stopped at the third, because a guard thought that one of the mattresses seemed a bit thicker than the others. He was right. Stitched inside the mattress was 44-year-old Yankl “Jake” Levi, who was serving a 25-year sentence for armed robbery. Levi was placed in solitary confinement — with no mattress.

50 YEARS AGO

• Bertrand Russell, a close friend of recently deceased physicist Albert Einstein, published the scientist’s “ethical will” this week. As is well known, Einstein was particularly aggrieved by the fact that his theories and work helped develop atomic weapons. Shortly before his death, Einstein dictated a warning to mankind, saying that the human race is in imminent danger of destruction if it cannot find a solution to the current strife plaguing the world. He added that banning atomic weapons was not sufficient, but the threat of war must be eradicated once and for all if mankind hopes to remain alive.

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July 8, 2005

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