June 12, 2009

100 Years Ago in the Forward

Yankev Gordin is dead. Endless numbers of people have received the news with a sharp pain and with tears in their eyes. But for us, for the radicals, his death is especially painful. Gordin, with his literary activity, belonged to our radical circle. He was one of the best-known, important and interesting personalities in the Jewish world. Even though this tragic news has been anticipated for weeks, it is still difficult to believe and it is still painful to hear. For those who strive for liberty and justice for the Jewish masses, Gordin held the most powerful weapon in his hand. He held the stage in his hand. As such, Gordin was able to combine the best aspects of the Yiddish theater with the progressive political aspirations of the Jewish people.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

The courtroom in Katowitz, Poland, was packed to the gills. Even the tables reserved for journalists were overflowing. The general audience that came to see the trial was diverse, and included curious Hasidic boys, lawyers, historians, regular Jews and others. The crowd also didn’t lack for large numbers of Christians, including a group that, wearing Nazi outfits, had come to hear the accusations against the editor of the antisemitic paper Blyskawicy. This editor, Chowanski, claimed in a recent article that the Talmud commands Jews to kill Christian children and use their blood to make matzot. On account of these accusations, the Jewish community is suing Chowanski for libel. Rabbis, priests and professors were brought in to testify, and in the end he was found guilty and sentenced to nearly a year in prison.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

In an article published by the Carnegie Fund for International Freedom, Alfon Riss, chairman of the committee for “World Refugee Year,” sharply criticized the United Nations agency responsible for aiding Arab refugees. Riss claims that this agency, although it had the best of intentions, succumbed to the stubbornness of various Arab governments that sabotaged the work of the U.N. programs. For example, Arab governments arranged for a supply of food to refugees who had died many years previous, and apparently gave that food to citizens who were not refugees. Additionally, funds were provided for Arab refugees who have been in the same camps since 1951. Riss argues that they should have been settled with homes and jobs years ago. Riss also mentioned the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Iraq, Yemen and North Africa have not been considered at all by the U.N.

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June 12, 2009

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