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Today we have twin stories of the legal system, as the New Jersey police go too far and an Armenian vigilante goes just far enough. Behave affectionately on a secluded bench on…
June 3, 1921
At a ceremony honoring New York City’s “Best Babies,” public school official Dr. Irving Steinhardt advises cutting “frills” from the school system so that children may graduate in sooner than eight years.
After new evidence is introduced that makes her guilt doubtless, Mrs. Ethel Hutchins Nott pleads guilty to the murder of her husband and collapses as she is sentenced to life in prison.
After refusing to carry out his sentenced housework, unemployed railroad detective George Watson is given one week to find a job or be sentenced to the workhouse.
In the aftermath of the Tulsa race massacre, the city pledges to rebuild the district it burned, as the commander of the military forces controlling the city declares the violence was caused by “an impudent negro, a hysterical girl and a yellow journal reporter.”
The Weather: Cloudy and warmer today; Saturday, probably showers; fresh south, shifting to west and north winds.
This newsletter has been saying it for years: let the spooners spoon!
“I acted like a perfect lady, I wish my mother could have seen me,” Miss Rose Goldberg told Magistrate Dodd in New Jersey Avenue Police Court yesterday when she and Max Kaminsky of 871 Miller Avenue, Brooklyn, were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct made by Policeman Heck, who arrested them Wednesday night in Linton Park, where he said that they were behaving too affectionately on a secluded bench.
The policeman testified that Kaminsky, despite great discrepancy in weight and stature, wanted to fight him when he suggested that home was the place for courting. He started for the station house with one of them on each side. When the trio passed through the block in which Kaminsky lives he and Miss Goldberg wanted to walk together so that the presence of the policeman wouldn’t be too obtrusive. Heck objected and Miss Goldberg knocked off his hat.
Magistrate Dodd agreed that the parental home was the place for demonstrations of affection, found the pair guilty, and suspended sentence.
Last week, Tulsa. This week, Armenia. I’d like to slap a massive content warning all over this story, which contains graphic descriptions of the Armenian genocide and some pretty casual racist language about people from the Middle East. Pay particular attention to the phrase “swarthily palefaced,” which is so racist that it contradicts itself as the writer takes pains to note that even though his subject may have looked white, he did it in a dark-skinned way.
If you’d like to read more about the Armenian Genocide, the United States Holocaust Museum and Memorial has a short overview, while the Wikipedia entry goes into much greater depth. The Armenian National Institute and Project Save have much more.
BERLIN, June 2.—“I am not guilty because my conscience is clean. A fortnight before this deed the scenes of the massacre of Erzerum reappeared to me. I saw my mother, brother and ravished sisters lying as corpses. Suddenly the dead body of my mother stood up, placed itself before me and said: ‘You know that Talaat Pasha is here. You are utterly indifferent. You are therefore not my son.’ I then became suddenly awake and reached a decision to kill Talaat.”
That was the dramatic defense today of Salomon Teilirian, 24, an undersized, swarthily palefaced Armenian, at his trial for the shooting and killing of the Young Turk leader, Talaat Pasha, in March last year in thronged Hardenberg Street, the fashionable West End section. There Talat, a refugee condemned to death as a Turkish war criminal, lived incognito as plain Herro Ali Saly Bei.
Berlin’s most picturesque and most sensational criminal trial in years is in reality the case of the massacred Armenian people versus the Turkish and German war leaders who perpetrated, ordered and condoned the many massacres.
Berlin’s entire Armenian colony turned out for the occasion today. There were many in the courtroom and those unable to gain admission besieged the street entrance.
Berlin’s most famous criminal lawyers are defending the young Armenian murderer and with them is associated one of the foremost German international law authorities, Privy Councillor Niemeyer, of Kiel. The damning German angle to the Turkish war atrocities in Armenia was patent to all present, but counsel for the defense announced they would do everything possible to protect “Germany’s legitimate interests.” The defense of Teilirian is that he acted in a brainstorm.
Witnesses summoned included General Liman von Sanders, German commander in Chief in the late Turkish Empire.
Talaat’s attractive young Turkish widow, fashionably attired in modern black silk mourning, was also present. A half dozen professional German alienists completed the picture.
As Teilirian was narrating, through an Armenian interpreter, the Turkish atrocities in Armenia, his Oriental temperament got the better of him and he shrieked, “Rather will I die than again live through the black days when my mother and sisters were outraged and murdered and my father and brother were butchered. I won’t discuss it further.”
Finally persuaded by the presiding German Judge, the accused told the following story:
“In 1915 the Armenian populace of Erzerum was suddenly alarmed by the news that the Turkish Government planned violent massacres. Shortly afterward the populace was herded together and driven off in columns under the conduct of Turkish soldiers. After being robbed of their money and belongings the massacre, in which my family were victims, took place. After I had seen my brother’s skull split, I was hit on the head and lay unconscious probably one or two days.
“In a neighboring village an aged Kurdish woman gave me some food and old Kurdish clothes in exchange for my blood-covered Armenian garments, but she feared to conceal me any longer. After two months of wandering I reached the Russian territory in the Caucasus. I wandered about in Russia and Persia until I heard of my home town being freed again. I returned there and found only two Armenian families still living.
“My paternal house was deserted and devastated. I knew my father had buried some gold in the ground so I searched and found some 4,800 Turkish pounds. Then I went to Tiflis and remained there two years until the beginning of 1919. I went then to Constantinople, then to Saloniki and to Serbia, where back to Saloniki and then to Paris, where the Persian Consul gave me a pass to Geneva where the German consulate gave me a visa to Berlin.
“I accidentally recognized Talaat on the street, found out where he lived, rented a room in a house opposite and then observed him.” Then followed his dramatic story of his murdered mother’s ghost inspiring the shooting.
The painstaking German Justice must now decide whether the brainstorm was bona fide or whether Teilirian made his long odyssey from Armenia to Berlin with intent to kill Talaat.