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March 16, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

This week’s Bintel Brief describes a terrible situation in which a clothing manufacturer writes of a 16-year-old girl who works in his shop and won’t go home at night because her mother is trying to force her to become a prostitute. Telling both the girl and her younger sister that they can have pretty dresses and lots of jewelry if they go into prostitution, the mother also notes that they no longer will have to work in sweatshops. The anonymous writer is horrified and wants to know what to do. The Forward sends a reporter to the shop to interview the girl, who describes the awful life she must endure. Abraham Cahan is moved to write an editorial about the story, in which he concludes that it is money that is the root of all evil.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Campaigning in Germany has reached a fever pitch, and the Nazis have flooded the country with their propaganda. Only recently, they’ve passed out more than 12 million handbills and nearly 1 million posters, and in the past two week they have organized 50,000 election meetings. Many have begun by asking where the Nazis have gotten the money to publish such a large amount of propaganda. Reports from Berlin also indicate that, in the run-up to the forthcoming elections, Adolf Hitler and his Nazis have suddenly stopped their antisemitic rhetoric. For the first time in this campaign, Nazi propaganda has appeared that doesn’t mention the Jews. It is alleged that Hitler himself ordered his party members to refrain from their usual vicious attacks on Jews for fear of scaring off undecided voters.

A Columbia University study of New York City schoolchildren has concluded that the children who best succeed in the intellectual arena are those born of Jewish, Scottish and English parents. The study, which followed a group of 65 children over the course of 10 years, indicated that the majority of successful students are those with parents who work as professionals — that is, doctors, lawyers and engineers. There were, however, also a smaller number of students who did equally well but whose parents were simple, working people.

50 Years Ago in the forward

“It’s long past Robert’s bedtime,” said Albert Strom to the phalanx of reporters gathered outside the family’s building. Strom was referring to his son, a 10-year-old Jewish boy from the Bronx who won big this week on the televisions show “The 64,000 Dollar Question.” Strom added that he wouldn’t be giving little Robert any more than the $2.50 allowance he gets each week, and that the money would be used for furthering his and his older brother’s education. Next week, young Robert will have the chance to win $256,000. His father, a schoolteacher, said the family was not yet sure if they were going to let him try. “For Rob,” he said, “it’s just a game.”


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