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October 6, 2006

100 Years Ago in the Forward Zipping down Manhattan’s Delancey Street from the Williamsburg Bridge, streetcar driver James Riordan saw that something was not right with Leo Schwartz, the apprentice motorman he was instructing. First, Schwartz forgot to stop the car at Broadway, even though passengers were ringing the bell. By the time the car got to the Bowery, Riordan realized that Schwartz was out of his mind, and so he tried to wrest the controls from him. Schwartz refused to give up control of the car, and the two conductors began to fight as the passengers screamed and banged on the windows. Those who could jump out of the speeding car did so. Finally, a few policemen jumped onto the car and wrestled Schwartz to the ground. The car was brought to a halt.

75 Years Ago in the Forward The prime minister of Romania, Nicolae Iorga, has some advice for the Jews in regard to their problems in the world: They should convert to Christianity. The prime minister made remarks on this subject after leaving a church. He had happened by a Jewish peddler and asked: “Aren’t Christian holidays more beautiful than your Jewish ones? Isn’t it about time for you Jews to get rid of your old clothing and put on our new ones?” For their part, the Jews of Romania and of the world in general have not responded to Iorga’s advice with open hearts. In fact, the Jewish press has bitterly attacked him, commenting that it isn’t permissible for a person of his stature to make such comments.

A group of prominent liberal German politicians and leaders published an open appeal to all German citizens to defend the country from the bloodthirsty antisemitic followers of Hitler. Coming on the heels of a number of recent attacks on Jews, the announcement is of particular importance, since the Nazi Party is now the second-largest party in Germany’s parliament. Echoing the words of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the appeal read: “It is the duty of Germany to win the moral trust of the world. However, in a time when we are struggling to retain Germany’s prestige in the fields of art and science, we have shamed our name with barbaric deeds.”

50 Years Ago in the Forward President Dwight Eisenhower said he was “concerned” to hear reports that Saudi Arabia refuses to permit Jews to enter the oil-rich kingdom. The report of racism was presented to the president by the head of the Jewish War Veterans Association, William Korman, who had been informed that Jews in the U.S. Air Force had not been permitted to enter Saudi Arabia. Eisenhower also expressed concern about the position of Christian chaplains working on the U.S. Air Force base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The president told Korman that he would look into the issue.

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