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May 9, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

Last year, 17-year-old Esther Sheffer fell in love with Harry Chofetz, who won her heart with his good looks and fine speech. After he promised to make her the happiest girl in the world, she agreed to marry him. Seven months after the wedding, Harry disappeared, leaving poor Esther pregnant and penniless. After she gave birth, the nuns at the hospital asked that she leave the child with them, but she refused. She tried to raise the baby on her own, and was taken in by a poor family that could not support her. She asks that readers of the Forward take pity on her and her baby son, whom she wants to give up for adoption. She also desperately needs a job: Her previous employment was at a ladies shirtwaist shop.

75 Years Ago in the forward

In a huge show of anti-fascist unity, more than 75,000 people demonstrated at Manhattan’s Union Square for the annual May 1 Labor Day festivities. It was a massive demonstration on the part of unions and socialists in support of organized labor and socialist ideals and against poverty, exploitation, war and capitalist reaction. Most of all, the huge demonstration stood in firm opposition to Hitler and to German fascism. Demonstrators packed the square to hear such speakers as Abraham Cahan, Norman Thomas and David Dubinsky, among others. All the speakers received huge ovations.

At a lecture at Manhattan’s Town Hall Theatre, American writer Ellery Walter, who recently returned from a trip to Europe, downplayed the suffering of Jews under Hitler in Germany, saying that threats and attacks on Jews there were “bunk.” Numerous members of the audience were furious, among them the secretary of the delegation from the American Jewish Congress to the Peace Conference, Bernard Richards, who immediately began to heckle Walter. After a few moments of silence, Walter tried to defend his remarks by saying that he stands firmly opposed to antisemitism and that its recent spread in Germany was an echo of medieval times.

50 Years Ago in the forward

At a meeting this week in Jacksonville, Fla., mayors from 29 southern cities decided to pool their resources in order to find the hate group that has been bombing synagogues, Jewish centers and black schools and organizations around the southern region of the United States. The meeting is the first of its kind, and Jacksonville police decided to call it after the bombing not only of a local Jewish center but also a school run by blacks. Over the past year, there have been 45 bombings of Jewish and black organizations. While it is clear that these terror attacks have a pattern, the FBI has thus far refused to get involved in the search for the perpetrators.

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