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Looking Back November 11, 2011

100 Years Ago in the Forward

Detroit is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It also has a Jewish community of about 20,000 that is on the rise. Currently, Detroit’s Jewish ghetto centers on Hastings Street, a typically dirty Jewish street dotted with little shops and lunchrooms. The street itself wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for all the terribly dirty alleys that jut out on the left and right of it. The alleys are where the neighborhood’s Jews throw all their garbage. The Jews say that it’s the city’s fault their neighborhood is so dirty, and there’s a bit of truth to that, but they’ve also apparently never complained to the city about the situation. The Jewish section of the city’s public library does very well and is patronized by thousands. There are two main Jewish unions in Detroit: a carpenters union and a branch of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. We predict that within a few years, Jewish Detroit will grow into a fine community.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Lepke and Gurrah, better known in court as Louis Buchalter and Jacob Shapiro, have been found guilty of organizing a terror for-hire campaign in the ready-to-wear dress industry. The federal jury brought in the guilty verdict at 1:30 a.m., after deliberating for more than 33 hours. There was much talk that members of the jury had been paid off, a matter that is being investigated by the Justice Department. This is the first guilty verdict in the rich criminal history of these two racketeers. Gurrah has been arrested 14 times over the past 16 years, and Lepke has been arrested nine times over the past 14. Both have always managed to worm their ways out of guilty verdicts, and they have been helped, allegedly, by “friendly” politicos. But not this time.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Jewish community leaders in both Moscow and Leningrad have been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms for treason against the Soviet Union. The trials of these leaders, whose full names were not given and are known as only “Goldberg” and “Rashel,” took place secretly, behind closed doors. A third leader, former Leningrad community president Gedalia Pechersky, was also arrested. He was tried and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Why these leaders have been imprisoned is not exactly known, but some fear that the arrests and trials mark the beginning of a new anti-Jewish campaign in the USSR.

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