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February 9, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

The Forward is alerting its readers to be wary of the numerous beggars and charlatans that have flooded New York’s streets over the past few years. Among them are the well-known “bread-throwers”— people who throw pieces of dirty bread onto the sidewalks, wait until a woman walks by, and then pick up the piece of bread and eat it voraciously. The woman, feeling bad for such a poor, hungry person, usually gives him or her some money. Another type is the poor child who sits in the street with a bandaged leg that displays a terrible wound. These wounds are made with acid and, though they look terrible, are only surface wounds. Be on the lookout for beggars with tricks like this.

75 Years Ago in the forward

In a stunning turn of events, an Arab group has submitted a Middle East peace plan that recognizes there should be a national home for the Jews in Palestine. The plan calls for a round-table meeting at which Jews and Arabs would meet and discuss points on which they currently agree. Those behind the plan also said that Palestine would be divided into administrative districts, one of which would be a Jewish district and would be considered a “Jewish National Home.” Even the recalcitrant mufti of Jerusalem agreed to the plan, saying that the Arabs would never be able to get rid of the Jews, anyhow.

Sick and tired of the Gerer-dominated Agudas Yisroel political party, other Hasidic groups have begun to band together to try and fight the Gerer court’s domination of Orthodox politics by creating alternative parties. This won’t be easy, since the Aguda has close contacts in the Polish government and isn’t expected to take any challenges sitting down. Nonetheless, in an attempt to break the Aguda monopoly on Orthodox voters, the Belzer, Alexandrov and Parisover Hasidic groups have created a party called Makhzikey Hados. The irony is that the groups’ platforms are virtually identical. The battle is really about who will wield influence with the government.

50 Years Ago in the forward

A recently uncovered Soviet document dated from 1947 indicates that Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, has died in a Moscow prison. Apparently it was the Soviet government that informed the Swedish Embassy of the diplomat’s death. Wallenberg, whose diplomatic post was in Budapest, gave out thousands of Swedish protective pass documents to Jews and organized the creation of special “Swedish Houses” in the city where thousands of Jews were able to hide from the Nazis. Though the Soviet report claims that Wallenberg died of a heart attack, many outside observers think that he was murdered.


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