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January 26, 2007

100 Years Ago In the Forward

Meyer Schwartz, 17, and 16-year-old Gussie Kling, both of New York City, killed themselves in a suicide pact after their parents refused to give them permission to marry. The two were cousins and grew up around the corner from each other, Schwartz on Broome Street and Kling on Orchard Street. Last year, Kling quit school to go to work. Meyer would pick her up at night and take her home. He would stay there with Kling until her mother (his aunt) would send him packing. Their parents always made fun of their relationship. “They’ll grow out of it,” they’d say. But when things got serious, the parents put the kibosh on the couple. In response, the two young hearts took their own lives.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Albert Einstein said that Adolf Hitler would never be able to carry out his threats against the Jews because Hitler would be powerless to do so. If Hitler were to gain power in Germany, the professor said, opposition political parties would hold him in check. In regard to the complaints of certain German politicians about Einstein’s support of Zionism, the professor warned, “If there were no existential threat to Jews, there would be no need for the existence of a Zionist movement.”

Four Soviet workers were recently put on trial on charges of antisemitism. The laborers, who worked in a factory near Odessa, were charged with harassing Schactman, a fellow worker who is Jewish. Schactman testified that not only was he attacked before and after work hours, but his attackers also burned him with hot iron bars during work. When he complained to the factory board, the workers threatened to kill him. The accused, who were found guilty of antisemitism and of being enemies of the working class, were fired from the factory and kicked out of the Communist Party.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Taking New York by storm, 14-year-old Israeli pianist Daniel Barenboim played this week at Carnegie Hall. Though Barenboim immigrated to Israel from Argentina only four years ago, he feels a strong attachment to the Jewish state and considers it his home. As a small child he wanted to be a violinist, because at family gatherings his father always played the piano. But six months after beginning piano lessons — at the age of 7 — he had his first public recital and it was clear that he was a prodigy. Though his father only let him practice for a half-hour per day, his talent continued to grow. By the age of 11, he was already touring. Invited to perform all over the world, the only place he refused to play was Berlin.

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