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Role of the Jewish Community in the Ripper Case


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In 1910, Sir Robert Anderson, retired Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, claimed that it was a 'definitely ascertained fact' that the Whitechapel murderer was a poor Polish Jew, and he indicated that his family had protected him from the police. Although some former police officials vehemently disagreed that 'Jack the Ripper' had been identified, and the claim remains controversial today among writers on the Ripper case, a number of Ripperologists have tended to believe Sir Robert Anderson, that this might be the answer to the mystery that has persisted for over a century.

Forum member Stewart Evans has told me that he believes it is possible that different police officials held differing views on the case, and I believe he doubts that Anderson held the key to the case. Indeed, Anderson was not a hands on detective but a bureaucrat and he was out of the country during part of the Autumn of Terror.

Nonetheless the Jewish connections in the case are tantalizing, whether the Ripper was a Jew or if the murderer was trying to implicate the Jews, or whether the members of the Jewish community were merely witnesses and bystanders to the crimes.

Particularly on the night of the so-called 'Double Event', the murders of the third and fourth canonical victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, early on the morning of 30 September 1888, aspects of the case appear to have converged to create a series of Jewish links to the murders. Do these links to the crimes indicate a real connection between the crimes and the Jewish community of the East End or are they instead only a series of coincidental links that remain intriguing even if they tell us nothing about the reason for the murders?

The first victim, Elizabeth Stride, a known prostitute born in Sweden who could speak Yiddish was found murdered around 12:35 am in Dutfield's Yard at the side of a Jewish socialist club in Berner Street. It is possible that Diemschutz, a member of the club arriving with a horse and cart, disturbed the murderer before he could perform his customary abdominal mutilations on the victim. At around the same time, a man possibly involved in the crime, if not the actual murderer, shouted out "Lipsky" -- the name of a recently executed Jewish murderer -- at Israel Schwartz, a Hungarian Jew who was passing by. The murder of Catherine Eddowes took place in Mitre Square around 2:10 am next to the Great Synagogue in Duke's Place, Aldgate, and she was possibly last seen by three men coming out from the Imperial Club, a Jewish social club. One of the three men, Joseph Lawende, is thought by many experts on the case to have been the only witness to get a good view of the murderer--if the man he saw with Eddowes was indeed the killer.

After the two murders, at around 2:55 am, a chalk inscription was found in a doorway in Goulston Street by Metropolitan Police Constable Alfred Long 254A. The inscription was on the painted brickwork in the inside a doorway leading to Wentworth Model Dwellings, a tenement known to be home to immigrant Jews.

Although we cannot know for sure that the chalk inscription was left by the murderer, a bloody piece of apron that had belonged to victim Kate Eddowes was found below the writing, and this strongly suggests to many that it could have been the killer's writing. Nonetheless, the writing remains one of the most controversial and exasperating parts of the puzzle known as the Whitechapel murders.

The wording was also ambiguously worded and could be interpreted as saying the murders were directed against the Jews. Was the killer, as the writing seems to suggest, somehow blaming the Jews for the murders?

Unfortunately the writing was erased before it could be photographed so

today there exist two versions of the inscription:

The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing

.... version agreed by the Metropolitan Police and Home Office except

that P.C. Long was unsure of the spelling 'Juwes'

The Juwes are not The men That Will be Blamed for nothing

.....version agreed by the City Police as noted by Detective Constable

Daniel Halse

In the days following the erasure of the 'graffito', as it is usually referred to, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren would claim he ordered the inscription washed from the wall because he was afraid news of the reference to the Jews might cause a riot against the Jews. This may well be true, particularly when we realize that Warren, a career soldier, had a reputation as the 'law and order man' responsible for the Trafalgar Square riots of November 1887. At that time, the Metropolitan Police were ordered by Warren to deal with severely with unruly demonstrators when hungry East Enders marched on the West End. Possibly Warren was anxious to avoid another riot like that 14 months earlier.

What are the true facts? Is it possible that a Jew could have been the murderer? Or was it a Gentile trying to implicate the Jews, or a man saying the Jews had driven him to do the murders. If the Jew was the murderer, did his family try protect him? At the least, we know that East End Jews were suspects taken in for questioning, and that a number of Jews were witnesses at the inquests into the murder victims. Could the man who so cruelly despatched those women, poor prostitutes or 'unfortunates' of the East End, the man known for all time as Jack the Ripper, have been a Jew?

Christopher T. George

Edited by Christopher T. George
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Interesting post Chris. As you note, I do not think that Anderson provides the answer to the Ripper mystery, he simply adds many minor mysteries. Unfortunately Anderson does little for his own case when he writes in such an overbearing and dogmatic manner. His words convey the hidden message 'do not disagree with me - I know what I am talking about.' But he does provide ample material for the theorists to get to work with and his importance cannot be gainsaid. An immense influence on Ripperworld.

Stewart

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Guest Stephen Turner

Stewart & Christopher, Welcome to the forum.

For visitors to these threads, that are new to all things JTR Andersons Polish/ Jew suspect, is widely held to be one, Aaron Kosminski, Also named by Sir Melville Macnaghten in 1894 (2 years after police closed files on the case.) In what became known as "The Macnagten report" He names his three main suspects 1,M J Druit. 2,Mr Kosminsky. 3, Michael Ostrog. He describes Kosminsky as " A polish Jew, resident in Whitechapel that had become insane due to many years of solitary vices. And had a great hatred of women, particularly prostitutes. he had strong homicidal tendencies, and was placed in an asylum in 1889.

As to the chalk message, Its a conundrum, isnt it. Did Jack want to draw attention to it by dropping the peice of Eddowes apron there? How long had the graffito been on the door jamb? As chris points out we cant even be sure of the exact wording,let alone its meaning. Steve.

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Hi Stewart and Steve

I tend to put less faith in Anderson than does Paul Begg, who puts great weight on Anderson's assessment, although as you point out, Steve, the Macnaghten memorandum does list Aaron Kosminsky, a poor Polish Jew as a leading suspect, and Donald Swanson's annotations of his copy of Anderson's book do clarify that Kosminsky was the suspect Anderson meant. So Anderson's contention cannot be dismissed lightly.

On the question of the graffito or inscription on the wall, the writing could have been on the wall before the killer dropped the piece of Eddowes' apron in the doorway. The graffito is curious and does fit in with the idea that the killer left messages -- vide the hundreds of "Ripper" letters, although most of those are discounted as pranks by the majority of students of the case. Patricia Cornwell is probably the major exception to that rule and she has actually said that she thinks her suspect, painter Walter Sickert, wrote 90% of those letters, a contention that defies belief in that the letters were written in many different handwriting styles on different stationery and mailed from all over the British Isles.

Best regards

Chris

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Chris, I think we should make it clear that Macnaghten's report of 23 February 1894 (written in response to a series of articles in the Sun Newspaper alleging that Jack the Ripper was one and the same as a Thomas Cutbush detained in an asylum) named the 'Polish Jew' suspect merely as 'Kosminski' with no first name mentioned at all. It is later researchers who have concluded that it 'must' be Aaron Kosminski as his details appear to conform with what is known of 'Kosminski' the suspect. However, as with so many aspects of this case - it is not certain beyond doubt.

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Hi Stewart

Many thanks for that clarification. As you say, Macnaghten's inernal memoranda of 23 February 1894, in response to the articles in the Sun alleging that Thomas Cutbush could have been Jack the Ripper, named the 'Polish Jew' suspect as 'Kosminski' with no first name given. As you say, later researchers have concluded that it 'must' be Aaron Kosminski as the personal details about the barber Kosminski seem to conform with what is known of 'Kosminski' the suspect.

It is also worth noting that Thomas Cutbush appears to have been a relative of Superintendent Charles Cutbush of Scotland Yard, who committed suicide, and the question arises how much the memoranda were meant to deflect interest from the police official's supposed kinsman. AP Wolf and others have recently been conducting research into Cutbush family history and have so far failed to confirm that Supt. Cutbush was Thomas Cutbush's uncle as previously thought. The actual newspaper articles that Macnaghten was responding were recently acquired by Natalie Severn and transcriptions were posted by Chris Scott on the Casebook Jack the Ripper Message Boards under "Newspaper Reports 1894 naming Thomas Hayne Cutbush as Jack the Ripper."

All my best

Chris

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Macnaghten's report appears to have been compiled in order to have an answer ready should a debate arise in the House (this was probably anticipated as the radical MP and journalist Henry Labouchere had been drawn in by the Sun and was interviewed about Cutbush). In the event it appears that such debate did not arise and a Home Office response was not called for. Interestingly Labouchere was referred to by Queen Victoria as "that horrible lying Labouchere." Others, such as his friends the artist James Whistler and actor Henry Irving, found him to be honest and with a sense of fun. Labouchere had his own idea that the Ripper might be a Spanish sailor.

I have had the series of Sun newspaper reports on Cutbush for many years and have never thought of them as casting any light on the identity of Jack the Ripper.

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There is another possible explanation. In Masonic legend, the Juwes are the original Masons who supposedly built the Pyramids. Add this to the claims that the corpse mutilations strongly resemble curses uttered during Masonic initiations as what will happen if Masonic secrets are revealed and suddenly suspicion swings away from illiterate Polish butchers.

This, I believe, is the reason that the police, likely all Masons, imediately removed the chalked words. They knew what the word Juwes meant.

Edited by Norman T. Field
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There is another possible explanation. In Masonic legend, the Juwes are the original Masons who supposedly built the Pyramids. Add this to the claims that the corpse mutilations strongly resemble curses uttered during Masonic initiations as  what will happen if Masonic secrets are revealed and suddenly suspicion swings away from illiterate Polish butchers.

This, I believe, is the reason that the police, likely all Masons, imediately removed the chalked words. They knew what the word Juwes meant.

Hi Norman

The theory of the meaning of "Juwes" you give is consistent with the theories expounded by Stephen Knight and other proponents of the Royal Conspiracy theory in the 1970's. Repeated enquiries by Ripperologists, however, have failed to support the notion that the name "Juwes" was used in Masonic ritual either in the nineteenth century or today.

Once again, given that the chalked inscription was in an entranceway to a tenement inhabited by Jews, it would seem that the explanation given by Commissioner Warren, that he erased the inscription in order to prevent a public disturbance against the Jews, is the most likely reason why the writing was ordered to be erased.

The conspiracy theory might hold more water if the content of the inscription was kept from the public, but it was not. The wording was openly discussed at the inquest of Catherine Eddowes and the meaning of "Juwes" was discussed in the press with Commissioner Warren and Chief Rabbi Adler having input on the meaning of the word as it related to the Jewish community.

In all probability, whomever wrote the wording, whether it was the killer or not, and this is not certain, they were a bad speller, or else since the chalk was written on painted brickwork, it was hard to write the word properly.

The wording incidentally was only three-quarters of an inch high, something that is not always realised. Per City detective Halse, "There were three lines of writing in a good schoolboy's round hand. The size of the capital letters would be about 3/4 in, and the other letters were in proportion."

Best regards

Chris George

Edited by Christopher T. George
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Guest Stephen Turner

Chris, do you belive as I do, that the idea of a killer slitting Strides throat, escaping from Diemschultz by the skin of his teeth, walking/running the best part of a mile, engaging Eddowes, throttling her, ripping her throat, eviserating her, removing organs, performing facial mutilation conforming to Masonic ritual, escaping police detection at the scene, AND THEN TO TOP IT OFF, stops at Wentworth Dwellings to chalk an obscure message on a door jamb, in small schoolboy script, a little hard to swallow... Steve.

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Chris, do you belive as I do, that the idea of a killer slitting Strides throat, escaping from Diemschultz by the skin of his teeth, walking/running the best part of a mile, engaging Eddowes, throttling her, ripping her throat, eviserating her, removing organs, performing facial mutilation conforming to Masonic ritual, escaping police detection at the scene, AND THEN TO TOP IT OFF, stops at Wentworth Dwellings to chalk an obscure message on a door jamb, in small schoolboy script, a little hard to swallow... Steve.

Hi Steve

Sorry, I am not sure what you are asking. Are you saying the scenario is hard to swallow because you don't think the murder conformed to Masonic ritual, or that it's hard to swallow because you think it's unlikely he would have taken the care to write the inscription in the aftermath of the murder? Could you clarify your point? Thanks.

All the best

Chris

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Guest Stephen Turner
Chris, do you belive as I do, that the idea of a killer slitting Strides throat, escaping from Diemschultz by the skin of his teeth, walking/running the best part of a mile, engaging Eddowes, throttling her, ripping her throat, eviserating her, removing organs, performing facial mutilation conforming to Masonic ritual, escaping police detection at the scene, AND THEN TO TOP IT OFF, stops at Wentworth Dwellings to chalk an obscure message on a door jamb, in small schoolboy script, a little hard to swallow... Steve.

Hi Steve

Sorry, I am not sure what you are asking. Are you saying the scenario is hard to swallow because you don't think the murder conformed to Masonic ritual, or that it's hard to swallow because you think it's unlikely he would have taken the care to write the inscription in the aftermath of the murder? Could you clarify your point? Thanks.

All the best

Chris

Sorry Chris, getting late, its the second point you raise, that after all that activity,with the Police on his trail, he would have had time to dabble in a bit of grafitto,that nobody can fathom the meaning of anyway. Steve.

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Guest Stephen Turner
Of course, the graffiti might just be coincidence.

"Sherman, fire up the way back machine!"

Hi Norman, Ive just read back on my two previous posts,and I come across as dismissive of your theory, as I would like these threads to remain free of name-calling etc I appologise. But as Chris points out this particular conspiracy theory has been thoughly rebutted, even the guy who sold this snake oil to Knight has admitted he lied. But as you know though your study in JFKR, once these ideas get legs they keep running, ie Castro did it!!! But as I say any theory must be debated before being dismissed. Steve.

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