100 Years Ago in the forward, Jews on Manhattan’s Lower East Side turned out in the tens of thousands in a huge demonstration to support the socialist candidate for president, Eugene V. Debs. Along with such speakers as Morris Hillquit and Jacob Pankin, Debs’s short speech about the incredible increase in socialism was met with storms of applause.
“Please Mr. Editor, please put an advertisement in the paper for me. I want to sell my child,” said a woman who carried a 1-year-old boy into the offices of the Forward. One of the writers approached her and inquired as to why she wanted to sell her son. “My husband,” she said, “he should get the plague. He dumped us without even giving us a penny. He should at least read in the paper that his child is going to be raised by strangers.” Our reporter, who didn’t think she was serious about doing this, asked if she would really give away her child. “Does it really matter?” she said, smiling. Though she admitted, “It’s a shame it had to come to this,” she went ahead with the advertisement. Her husband, Sam Dunel, walked out on his wife and child a month ago and left them with no support at all. “He disappeared like a drop in a pool of water,” she said.
Tragic economic circumstances struck the First Roumanian-American Congregation on Rivington Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and as a result, the synagogue was forced to begin selling off its Torahs this week in an auction that was open to the public. The scene was intense. Men cried and women wailed as Torahs were pulled from the Holy Ark and put on the block. After hearing that a “Jewish God” was being auctioned off, a number of local Irishmen wandered in to see what was happening.
100 Years Ago in the forward: An all-day shootout on the streets of Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood last Sunday was so violent that people were too frightened to come out of their apartments, so they stayed inside all day. The shootout, which began at around 9 a.m., was between former members of Kid Twist’s gang who have been vying for leadership of the gang since the murder of their boss in Coney Island a few months ago. The whole thing started when Alexander Bank and Harry Cohen came under fire in a saloon. Bank was badly wounded. When police arrived, they caught Cohen picking Bank’s pocket. Not long thereafter, Charles Krizal was shot up in a dancehall on Pitkin Avenue. Bank and Krizal were considered two of the top candidates for Kid Twist’s throne, and both are badly wounded and in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital. A half dozen other gang members were also shot, but they were taken away and treated elsewhere. The police do not know their whereabouts.
100 Years Ago in the forward: In the wake of New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham’s accusation that Jews commit the majority of crime in the city, the Forward received a letter from an actual thief who is currently imprisoned in “The Tombs.” The imprisoned man’s friends brought him copies of the Forward, and he informed us that our reaction — that Bingham should be fired — was the correct one, because the commissioner is a liar. Our incarcerated correspondent, who signed his letter “A Thief From the Tombs,” claims to have worked as a thief for nine years. He knows the profession well, and argues that the police arrest far more Jewish criminals than, for example, Italian criminals, as the police fear that the Italians will attack them. He says the police know that Jews tend not to be violent and will go quietly if caught. Italians, on the other hand, might stab them, so they often look the other way if they catch one committing a crime.