Skip To Content

Backward Looking Back: Glimpses of the Backward Archives

The Backward is the Forward’s annual satirical Purim edition. Enjoy!

100 years ago

1913 Backward editor Babe Kahan returned from a month-long trip to Europe, during which he visited those “bastions of peaceful civilization” France and Germany, as well as the “delightful” Balkan countries of Serbia and Montenegro. In each community Kahan visited, Yiddish speakers discussed the growing influence of their language on the pan-European movements that were bringing countries ever closer. They cited Esperanto as the biggest threat to the future, but felt confident that this would be the Jewish century.

75 years ago

1938 American Jewish leader, Dennis Mendel, condemned Germany’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party for launching a new line of Hitler memorabilia ahead of a rally in Nuremberg. A Nazi spokesman said that the “Get Fuhrious. Get Anschluss” mugs, T-shirts and key rings, were meant to promote the recent annexation of Austria by Germany. But Mendel called the use of images of Hitler a “deplorable marketing ploy” and a trivialization of the forthcoming Holocaust. “There can never be any justification for using the images of Hitler, SS guards or any other depiction of the Nazi killing machine to promote products or services,” Mendel said. Nazi officials hurried to deny reports of a wave of systematic murder that they insist will not happen over the next six years.

50 years ago

1963 The Milwaukee JCC is finding itself in hot water over a staging of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl’s 1891 comedy “Prinzen aus Genieland,” (“Princes in Genius-land”) after key donors withdrew from the event, citing Herzl’s “insufficiently enthusiastic” support of the State of Israel. “I’m just not convinced that he is truly supportive enough,” said one donor, noting passages in Herzl’s “Altneuland” complaining about the weather in Palestine. After the play’s producer pointed out that Herzl is widely regarded as the founder of the Zionist enterprise and the inspiration for the Jewish State itself, the donor responded, “Nope – still not enough.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.