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March 6, 2009

100 Years Ago in the forward

On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, near the corner of Essex and Grand streets, policemen dragged and shoved Ida Levinskovitz, a Jewish peddler, after arresting her for selling tomatoes on Hester Street without a license. After one officer arrested Levinskovitz, another came to help him push her down the street to the police station. When another woman, Fanny Marcus, protested the officers’ treatment of the peddler, she was arrested, as well.

All the yelling and screaming attracted a large crowd, which followed the action as the two pairs made their way to the station.

When they got to Grand Street, a finely dressed American passerby stopped them and asked what the trouble was. “Who are you to get yourself mixed up in this?” one of the cops asked. “I’m Magistrate Crane,” came the reply. The judge apparently didn’t want to see the case before him in police court, so he held the trial right then and there. The women were released. “It’s scandalous to harass people who are trying to make an honest living,” the judge said. The policemen, needless to say, were furious.

75 Years Ago in the forward

It goes without saying that the Jews of Berlin haven’t been laughing much since Hitler came to power. It stands to reason: Some of them, thanks to the new “Aryan” laws, have lost their jobs. Large numbers have been sent to concentration camps. Others simply have been harassed in their daily lives. But after half a year of the Hitler regime, Berlin Jews have begun to lighten up a bit. After all, it doesn’t cost them anything to smile. Despite everything that’s going on, Jews visit cafés, although they are mostly Jewish-owned establishments, and even dance halls. And to boost their mood, there are “Aryans” who join them. Nothing is more of a slap in the face to Hitler than to have a dance with a tall, blond German woman.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee shipped more than 50,000 pounds of matzot to Jewish communities in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia. While about half the shipment is going to Yugoslavia, the Jews of Greece are set to receive18,000 pounds, and 2,000 pounds will go to the tiny Jewish community of Albania. The Forward had organized a large portion of the funds used for this transport, and more shipments are planned to Jewish communities in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Austria, all of which are still suffering the privations of the last war.

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