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January 5, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

In an interview in a Minsk synagogue, a local rabbi announced to reporters from the Yiddish press that the best Jewish political party to support is the Bund. While the rabbi insisted on remaining anonymous, he said that because the Duma (Russian Parliament) has nothing to do with religious issues, it is best to support the party that best promotes Jewish civil rights. He said that the socialist Bund is far better than the Zionists in that regard. He did add that the Bundist “shkotsim” had caused problems because of their protests and strikes, but now it’s time for them to do something good for the Jewish community.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Louis Levin, a gambler on Manhattan’s Lower East Side who is known on the street as “Crooked Neck Louie,” was gunned down during a poker game in the basement of the Victoria Hotel on 51st Street. Levin, who fashioned himself a “second” Arnold Rothstein, was found by police slumped in his chair with five bullet holes in his head. Although it was evident that the room had been packed with people, nary a soul was to be found when the police arrived. Evidently he had won the last hand and had a huge pile of poker chips sitting in front of his dead body. Levin had a revolver on his person, but apparently he did not get the chance to use it.

Jews in Piotrkow, Poland, are in fear for their lives after local antisemites used a Christian boy’s disappearance to foment anti-Jewish hatred among the town’s citizens, saying that the Jews planned to use the boy’s blood for religious ceremonies. The 10-year-old boy had gone into Rotbein’s store to buy something, but he left. His mother came looking for him and made a scene, saying that the Jews had kidnapped him. Townspeople began to gather, Jews in the street were attacked and police were called. As the police arrived, the boy wandered by. The atmosphere remains tense.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Saying that recent attacks from bases in Gaza were “not important,” State Department officials demanded that Israel withdraw its forces from the arid strip of land it recently acquired from Egypt during last fall’s conflict. The same officials said that if Israel did not withdraw, it would not be able to count on economic aid from the United States. In the meantime, Farid Zainerin, Syria’s ambassador to the United States, mocked President Dwight Eisenhower’s plan for the Middle East, saying that any foreign intervention regarding Soviet aggression there should be handled by the United Nations, not by the American government.


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