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May 2, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

The New York City and Hoboken, N.J., police departments have an All Points Bulletin out on one Dr. Oswald Katz, who is wanted for theft, bigamy and possibly murder. After Katz’s wife, Lina Felestein Katz, died three years ago under mysterious circumstances, the doctor married a widow by the name of Ethel Spielberg, who set him up in a posh office on East 85th Street. A large amount of Spielberg’s jewelry and money disappeared. Compounding matters, Louisa Beckman of Hoboken went to the police to lodge a complaint about Katz. Apparently, Katz saw fit to marry Beckman while he was still married to Spielberg. It is also rumored that he has another wife, and children, in Chicago.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Because of the recent attacks and boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany, the normally bustling commercial center of Hamburg has been devastated. The damage is so great that the city’s Christian residents have come out in protest against the official Nazi policy of boycotting Jews and their businesses. Not only are those of Hamburg’s Christian residents who sympathize with the plight of their Jewish neighbors patronizing Jewish businesses, but some also have gone as far as sending them bunches of flowers. But the Jews, for their part, feel as if the flowers are like those sent to a funeral.

Sidney Goldsmith, a 40-year-old Manhattan resident, was pronounced dead on arrival at Knickerbocker Hospital after falling victim to a type of robbery that has become the plague of card players around the city. The way the scheme works is that robbers are tipped off as to where high-rolling card games are taking place. They knock on the door and ask to play. When they enter the apartment, they take out their guns and then rob all the players of everything they’ve got. Over the past few days, similar holdups have taken place in Lower Manhattan and in Brooklyn.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The history of the Jews of Persia is one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of the Jewish people. The Persian Jews’ plight is one of persecution, forced conversion, ostracism and murder. For many years, their societal status stood somewhere between half human being and half animal. Persian Jews do not even have an accurate sense of their own history: The vast majority of Jewish documents were burned in the thousands of fires set to force them out of their homes. Less than 40 years ago, Persian Jews were still living in ghettos as an isolated minority. Only now is their history coming to light.

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