The Death of Leo Frank

This editorial was translated from Yiddish by Chana Pollack

Frank is dead.

The tragedy ended with blood and murder. The hand that persecuted the unfortunate one for more than two years didn’t rest until it made an end to his young life. A heavy hand! A cruel hand!

This is the same hand that held him between life and death for months and then years. In that way all the doors of justice closed for him and only one egress remained—to the electric chair. This had already been ordered for him after his being assaulted by a criminal’s knife. This hand dragged him from prison and brought about the bloody revenge as a conclusion. Frank is dead.

Wild racism. Fanatical, raging hatred of everything ‘other.’ Barbaric customs of former slaveholders who remain uncivilized and have thus corrupt police, corrupt administrations and corrupt justice all coalescing to rob a man of his life.

Nowhere in the world would this have taken place in this manner. In no other place in the world would it be understood how it was possible for Frank to die.

We wouldn’t be awed if at the site of Frank’s murder yesterday a picnic with music would be organized the following day with the crowd drinking, eating, singing and dancing and politicians giving speeches. But that is what took place only a short time ago in that same ‘South’ where two Negroes were hanged. That was how the wild African tribes used to behave when they’d capture a foreigner and prepare him for roasting and eating. That’s how all savages behave and the Southern savages are no different.

One thing does beg commenting. When will our administration query this? Our President, our Justice Department, our Governors, our Police-Chief—will they say to you that America is a civilized country and that in a civilized country anarchy cannot be permitted. And actually—every time police even smell a hint of anarchist activity they prepare with all their might to oppress and persecute. If it’s not the work of anarchists then they prepare for ‘conspiracies’ and traitorous acts.

Frank’s murder is a full-on anarchist plot. It’s the fullest expression of a well organized well implemented conspiracy against the law and against humanity. That’s the real threat against the public welfare.

Will the police be as nimble here in finding the guilty? Will they really place the accused on the bench? Will they prove that murder is murder and that blood spilled cannot be tolerated in an organized society? We have every right to doubt it. The history of many such murders speaks clearly.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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