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September 1, 2006

100 Years Ago in the Forward “We’re the orphans from the pogroms, and we want to see the editors of the Forward,” said one member of a group of six girls and a boy, refugees from the recent attacks in Bialystok, when they appeared in the offices of the paper. But when asked to tell their stories, only one could muster the strength to do so. The 12-year-old-girl told a group of editors how a gang of hooligans broke into her family’s house and grabbed her parents. Her brother, who ran in holding a pistol, caused the pogromists to back off a bit, but one of them smashed the gun out of his hand and grabbed him. Their mother tried to stop the gang, but they killed both mother and son.

75 Years Ago in the forward Four Jewish boys from “fine families” were arrested on charges this week that they murdered gangster Anthony Ferrari and wounded two others. Barney Wolfson, Irving Shneider, Phillip Renert and Solly Leibowitz, all from Brooklyn and all 20 years old, apparently botched the murder job they had attempted. Having forced the Italians at gunpoint into a lumberyard in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, they lined them up against a wall and executed them. Or so they thought. The gang of Jews was apparently so frightened by their own shots that they hightailed it out of the lumberyard without checking to see if the gangsters were dead —and, as it turned out, only one of them was. Wolfson, who has admitted to being the ringleader, originally had made a deal with Ferrari, the leader of the rival Italian gang, to unite their two groups to do hold-ups, set up a protection racket and extort money from neighborhood peddlers, but it didn’t work out and Wolfson decided to take out Ferrari, Chicago style. Though Wolfson told his gang that he wanted to “rule Williamsburg,” his success was short lived.

50 Years Ago in the forward As Egypt threatens to close the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, President Dwight Eisenhower said at a press conference that the country must abide by an 1888 agreement, which holds that, as custodian of the canal, Egypt must allow free passage for all. Eisenhower reiterated that, according to the agreement, the canal is considered an “international waterway.” The Egyptians, however, protested this assertion, claiming that the canal belongs to Egypt. In response to Egypt’s nationalization of the canal, Britain and France have begun mobilizing troops and sending weapons shipments to Cyprus. The Soviets, for their part, don’t think the Americans will get involved if it comes to an armed conflict over the Suez Canal.


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