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July 21

100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

This week the Forward gave away a brand-new copy of Alexander Harkavy’s English-Yiddish dictionary as a prize in the newspaper’s “Best Joke” contest. Originally the editors wanted to pick one joke as the winner, but the paper’s joke committee couldn’t decide, so they chose a final six. Among the winners was this entry, sent in by reader Yosef Edelshteyn:

Man: You women are such cowards that you’re even afraid of cats.

Wife: And you men are such wimps that you’re even afraid of women.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

The Jewish Agency passed a resolution this week calling for a desire to achieve a permanent understanding between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect. In addition, the agency stated that Arabs and Jews have a mutual interest in developing a harmonious relationship in which no group dominates the other. In the meantime, the secretary of the Palestine Mandate sent a warning to the grand mufti of Jerusalem regarding articles published in the Arabic newspaper El Jemiya El Arabia that instigate attacks on Jews. This week alone, the British arrested more than two dozen Arabs on weapons charges.

In the first interview in the two years since he was exiled from the Soviet Union, former commissar Leon Trotsky said that he was in agreement with the current state of affairs in the USSR. Speaking from a small wooden villa in a suburb of Istanbul, the former leader of the Red Army demanded that the correspondent from The Associated Press publish everything he said, word for word. He also refused to answer a number of questions, saying that a word-for-word dictation of his answers would require many articles.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Soviet Yiddish writers Peretz Markish and Itzik Fefer, who were executed by the Stalinist regime in 1952, officially have been cleared of all charges against them. The USSR feels that they have been rehabilitated. Now their families can begin receiving pensions from the government. Markish and Fefer were among dozens of Yiddish writers who disappeared mysteriously in 1948 as Stalin instituted a campaign of antisemitism, charging that Jews were “rootless cosmopolitans.” Many writers who were imprisoned during this time were ultimately executed, Markish and Fefer among them. Thanks to our correspondents in Moscow, the Forward was the first paper in the world to publish the story.

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