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February 15, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

Jacob Lustig, a skinny Russian Jew who operates a small fish store, was robbed of $1,026 in a very unusual way. Apparently, a landsman came to him and told him he had $100 and wanted to do some business. Lustig told him that if he gave him the $100, he’d make him a partner. His landsman agreed and gave him the money. The landsman also showed Lustig a small box and told him that it was a magic box out of which, if you put in a dollar and a small, white piece of paper, another dollar would come. He even showed him how it worked. He put in a dollar and a piece of paper, waited a few minutes, and sure enough, when he opened the box there were two dollars there. He then offered Lustig the chance to use the box. Lusting took all his money, $1,026, and put it in the box. His friend told him that in the morning, he’d get double his money. He took the box and put it in the store’s safe. In the morning, when he went to get his $2,052, the box was empty. Police detectives are currently searching for the thief.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Followers of Adolf Hitler have taken his rise to power as a license to attack Jews. Antisemites in Berlin attacked the city’s Jewish community center and a synagogue, smashing windows and destroying property. The Jewish-owned Ganzer Bookshop on Oranienburger Strasse had its windows smashed three times this week. Nazis stole a number of rare volumes from the shop and left a note that read, “Hurray for Hitler, Death to the Jews.” Many Jews were also attacked on the streets of Berlin, especially following the broadcast of a speech by Hitler in which he denounced democracy and socialism.

Many Jews from inside the Soviet Union have moved to Birobidzhan because they are poor and have no choice, but there are also a number of Jews from the United States and Europe who have moved there because they are sympathetic to the Soviet cause. These Westerners, however, are usually quite surprised at the primitive conditions and tend not to last very long in the Far Eastern colony. One of these ex-Birobidzhaners recently returned to Belgium and filed a report, in which he described his reason for leaving. It began with the 11-day train ride from the Ukraine in a rickety train car with broken windows and no doors. This was followed by the arrival at a place with no housing. He and his family had to sleep on the bare ground, enduring freezing nights and sweltering days. Worse yet, the food was barely edible and in low supply.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Ten Israeli policemen and 10 demonstrators were wounded after a clash during a demonstration of 3,000 members of the Neturei Karta sect against the construction of a new swimming pool in Jerusalem. Prior to the demonstration, the sect’s leaders made speeches in the Mea Shearim section of the city, denouncing and cursing the government, city hall and the construction company that built the pool, which men and women will use together.

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