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Looking Back: July 6, 2012

100 Years Ago

1912 Annie Hoffman ran out into the street screaming after her Brooklyn candy store caught fire. Hearing her cries, the local beat cop, Officer O’Sullivan, hit the fire alarm and ran into the building to evacuate the tenants. In just a few minutes, he managed to get everyone out; however, in the chaos, Mrs. Kaplinsky realized that she had forgotten her baby, only a few months old, in the apartment. Kaplinsky began screaming, and O’Sullivan, risking his own life, ran back into the building to the third-floor apartment to find the baby. After a few tense minutes, the police officer appeared at the third-floor window. Not wanting to risk taking the baby back down through the burning building, he instead threw the infant down three stories, into the arms of another police officer, who caught it and saved it.

75 Years Ago

1938 Music lovers in America and worldwide are mourning the death of American Jewish composer George Gershwin, who died July 11 in Los Angeles from a brain tumor. He was 38 years old. Gershwin, who was renowned for helping to transform jazz into a popular music form, was in the midst of an enormously successful career, truly in his most creative period. Prior to being diagnosed with a brain tumor and undergoing surgery, Gershwin had been working on a new talkie, “The Goldwyn Follies.” One day, while working in the studio, he collapsed and was brought to the hospital, where he passed away not long after surgery.

50 Years Ago

1962 Despite the fact that Carlos Adrago, the Argentine interior minister, announced that anti-Semitic acts will be severely punished and that the government will not tolerate attacks on synagogues, a group of Nazi hooligans sprayed Buenos Aires’s Sephardic synagogue with machine gun fire. Yitzhak Goldenberg, head of the Jewish community, said that anti-Semitism has existed in Argentina for a long time and will not be halted by statements made by the interior minister. He added that in order to protect themselves from further attacks, it is of the utmost importance that Jews become more politically engaged.

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