Portrait: German starlet Lya de Putti in a photograph taken at the Atelier Binder, the famed Jewish studio in Berlin. Putti is best known for her roles on the German stage and screen but never achieved the same level of success on Broadway after moving to America.

Forward Looking Back

1916 100 Years Ago

Four Jewish men, all recent immigrants, were arrested and sent to prison for “blocking the sidewalk” on the corner of Bayard and Elizabeth streets. During their trial in the Tombs courtroom, the two policemen who arrested these “criminals” claimed that they had obstructed the sidewalk and passersby were blocked from crossing the area. The men are Charles Perles, a peddler; Benjamin Solomon, a tailor in a shop and father of four who was on his way to a job interview; Philip S. an old Jew with a long beard; and Louis Broide, a used clothing peddler. It was the first time in court for these four. They had no lawyer and couldn’t speak English. All were found guilty and sentenced to 15 days in prison. Their families won’t know where they are because they can’t reach them and also won’t have a way to feed themselves.

1941 75 Years Ago

Zionists in London have turned to the British government to request that Bulgarian and Romanian Jewish refugees be permitted to enter Palestine. Because Bulgaria has been taken over by force by the Nazis, it is expected that the situation there will become terrible for the country’s Jews. The same goes for Romania’s Jews, who have already experienced severe pogroms. The British Zionist newspaper Zionist Review explained that young Bulgarian and Romanian Jews could easily be absorbed into battalions fighting with the British Army. Additionally, a group calling itself Free Romania was recently founded in London. Not unlike other expatriate groups, the Free Romanians have declared that they are adamantly opposed to the anti-Semitism that is occurring in the country right now.

1966 50 Years Ago

Gedalye Petshersky, former chairman of the Leningrad Jewish Council, is still in prison despite the rumors that Soviet government had freed him, according to people who have recently visited him. Petshersky, who was 60 years old at the time of his arrest in 1961, was arrested with his Jewish Council colleagues Nokhem Kaganov and S. Dinkin, both of whom were sentenced to shorter terms on account of their advanced ages. The trial of the Jewish figures, who were charged with “consorting with foreign agents” and “crimes against the state,” was greeted with major protests abroad. It is thought that the actual reason for their arrests was connected to their attempts to open a Yiddish children’s school.

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