Thursday, November 03, 2016

Jewish Student Attacked, "H" Carved into His Neck - 1939

While researching for operations by the Hagana and Irgun in Haifa, I came across this, in the year 1939, of which I had no previous knowledge:

So I continued looking and found this:

And continued:

I presume that is a photograph of the "H" carved into his neck:

Another photograph from a newspaper, The Daily Herald from Provo, Utah on June 21, 1939:

Can anyone get this story's continuation from TIME Magazine, June 26, 1939?

Gwynn's Falls Park Junior High School, in Baltimore, has 2,500 students, of whom 50% are German, 30% Jewish. Recently its teachers noticed that a group of boys had taken to signing swastikas to notes passed around the classrooms. They shrugged, wondered what boys would think of to do next. Last week they learned.
During a baseball game in the school yard one day, some 40 boys with swastikas inked on their bare arms, gathered around Melvin Bridge, 14.
"Are you a Jew?" barked one.
"Yes," quavered Melvin Bridge.
"Why are you a Jew?"
No answer.
Thereupon the 40 fell upon Melvin Bridge, inked a swastika on...
And now finally a research paper:

...a more explosive situation in June 1939 when Milton Bridge, a ewish student at Gwynns Falls Junior High School, was attacked one Friday by a group of boys, many sporting inked swastikas on their arms. In the melee, they reportedly cut an “H” (for Hebrew) on the back of his neck with a “sharp instrument.” Bridge’s friend Morton Rosen, a nineteen-year old ex-seaman, went to the school on the following Monday to protect him, got into a fight with two students, and was arrested for assault. Jewish students from City College also showed up to “get even” with Bridge’s attackers and police chased some thirty City boys through the woods near the school. Four City students were suspended by Weglein, along with eighteen Gwynns Falls boys implicated in the attack on Bridge.

The episode inflamed the Jewish community. The Jewish Times devoted significant coverage as reports circulated of a “secret bund organization” operating in the schools. School authorities downplayed the incident, describing it as a “boyish prank” or “fracas between school children.” Weglein promised a full investigation, which found no evidence of organized antisemitism at Gwynns Falls or any other school. Instead, the investigatory report deplored the “great amount of publicity” which created an “exaggerated impression of what occurred.” It made a plea for “real tolerance” but made no recommendations except to place the suspended students on probation for the following school year. Criminal charges against Morton Rosen were tossed out by a grand jury.

Rosen and the City students demonstrated that Jewish youth were ready for a more aggressive “fight” strategy than their elders. Indeed, young Jews had not been silent in the face of earlier incidents; in 1936, ninth graders at Clifton Park Junior High School had protested the required reading of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, charging that their classmates had used antisemitic passages from the book against them. Jewish Times columnist Maurice Shochatt had chosen not to cover their protest at that time but three years later he proudly hailed Rosen’s “solid punches in the defense of Melvin Bridge.” He was not the only adult to approve the teen’s actions: Rosen received pro bono representation from prominent attorney Ellis Levin and was given a job by a Jewish businessman. Taking heart from the younger generation, the Jewish community, it seemed, was now in a more fighting mood. 

What ever happened to Bridge and Rosen?


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