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Culture

December 7, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

Eight months ago, Mary Ershansky’s husband abandoned her. He left Ershansky, a young, penniless Jewish mother, and the couple’s two children with nothing. A neighbor, Mrs. Cohen, took them in after they were evicted, but Ershansky’s situation hasn’t improved. She has a 1-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. The boy goes to kindergarten, but Ershansky has no place to leave her 1-year-old while she goes to work. She was refused when she tried to give the child to an orphanage. As a result, she’s willing to give her baby to anyone who can offer her a good home.


75 Years Ago in the forward

Antisemitic riots broke out this week in Lublin, Poland. They began after a gang of high-school students attacked Jews on the streets, severely wounding a number of them. The same gang broke the windows of a number of Jewish homes and stores and of the Lublin Yiddish daily paper. The police made several arrests. Attacks on Jews also occurred in Czenstochowa and in Warsaw. Polish police searched house to house in both cities, in attempts to arrest those who had instigated the riots.

Locals in the area of Tlumacz, in Galicia, have been terrorized lately by a band of masked bandits who stop travelers along the roads and rob them. What is unusual about these thieves is that their leader, who is the first to approach the victims with a cocked revolver in hand, appears to be a woman. The bandits would run off into the woods, making it difficult for the police to apprehend them. But after much hard work, the police finally trapped the gang in its hideout. They discovered that the leader was a 20-year-old Jewish woman by the name of Hantshke Fogel and that her gang comprised four Ukrainian henchmen. All the gang members can expect long prison sentences.


50 Years Ago in the forward

By now, it is a tragic and well-known fact that Stalin and his henchmen destroyed Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union and executed many of the Soviet Union’s most important writers, poets, historians, actors and other cultural activists. In the wake of Stalin’s death and revelations of 20th Party Congress, the “new” leaders of the USSR, Khrushchev and his cronies, have said they want to “rehabilitate” the executed writers and allow Yiddish culture to flourish once again. That is a lie. Although the widows of Peretz Markish, Leyb Kvitko and Itsik Fefer were all given 3,000 rubles, the writers were never rehabilitated. And as for the renaissance of Yiddish culture, there is nothing; there are only the identity cards, which have “Jew” stamped under the nationality section.

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