100 years ago
Joseph Hoffman, head of a gang of schnorrers, was sentenced to six months in prison after it was discovered that he taught and organized a group of allegedly crippled panhandlers to beg for money, from which he received a cut, on the streets of New York City. One of his former charges, Joseph Rosenbaum, testified against him in court, claiming that Hoffman taught his “students” to walk with limps and to wear fake bandages. Rosenbaum, whose head was bandaged, was caught by a detective outside an uptown hotel. He initially told the cops that he was a striking painter who had been beaten up by a scab and was trying to get money to feed his family. But when the detective yanked off his bandage, there was no wound to be found. Rosenbaum was arrested and admitted the whole scheme, explaining Hoffman’s “cripple factory” to the police.
Stepping back into history reveals that Jews have long been thought of by Americans in a negative light. The image below was produced by Germany in 1944 for distribution to American soldiers, emphasizing a thought too horrible for many to contemplate: They were fighting for Jewish bankers who would crash the economy after the war, leaving them back in another Great Depression.