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January 16: ON THIS DAY in 1953, Soviets purge East Germany

January 16, 2019 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

ON THIS DAY IN 1926, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Moscow, Jan. 16 (AP) — Russian workers and peasants are flocking by the scores of thousands to enjoy the dazzling splendor of the crown jewels of the Romanoffs, now the property of every poor citizen of the Communist republic. This collection of gems, the estimated value of which is $250,000,000, has been turned into a source of revenue by the Soviet government, which has placed it on exhibition at the Soviet Trade Union House in Moscow. The regal collection represents the accumulated treasure of ten different Russian royal families, and includes crowns, scepters, coronets, emblems, tiaras, diadems, necklaces, bracelets, rings and gems of many other kinds. The general public is charged an admission fee of $1, but members of the trade unions and Communist organizations pay only 25 cents. Extraordinary precautions are taken against theft. Armed soldiers are stationed throughout the building.”


ON THIS DAY IN 1938, the Eagle reported, “Washington, Jan. 15 (AP) — A clear majority of administration supporters on the Supreme Court appeared assured today when President [Franklin] Roosevelt nominated Solicitor Gen. Stanley Reed, a veteran defender of the New Deal enactments, to succeed retiring Justice George Sutherland. Senators, who must pass upon the nomination, generally applauded the selection of the bald-headed Kentucky lawyer and dairyman. Even some bitter foes of the president’s defeated bill to reorganize the high tribunal joined in expressing approval. But there were numerous demands that public hearings be conducted before the Senate votes on the appointment, in view of the public furor caused by belated revelations that Justice Hugo L. Black, President Roosevelt’s only other nominee to the court, was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”


ON THIS DAY IN 1947, the Eagle reported, “Bethel Home, national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses at 122-124 Columbia Heights, will be expanded to accommodate the growing number of members who work in the sect’s factory at 117 Adams St., according to Nathan H. Knorr, president. The eight-story plant, where the group’s periodical, The Watchtower, and other Bible publications are turned out, is also to be enlarged. The sect plans to build a new edifice adjacent to the home on a plot now occupied by five houses it purchased last year for $203,000. Besides the executive offices, the seven-story brick and steel apartment building houses the bookkeepers, linotype operators, printers, stenographers, bookbinders and other Witnesses who work for the many industrial enterprises of the sect for a $10 monthly allowance. Mr. Knorr, who succeeded Judge Joseph F. Rutherford as leader of the Witnesses who are ‘incorporated and chartered for the dissemination of Bible truth,’ is president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., a New York corporation; of the International Bible Students Association, domiciled in Great Britain, and a Pennsylvania firm, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The organization has approximately 171,000 members in the world.”


ON THIS DAY IN 1953, the Eagle reported, “Berlin, Jan. 16 (UP) — Georg Dertinger, foreign minister of the Communist East German government, and two members of the Communist party’s central committee were reported under arrest today in a mushrooming purge in the Soviet zone of Germany. Targets of the purge appeared to be the renegade remnants of the Christian Democratic and Liberal Democratic parties, who collaborated with the Reds, and the Jewish communities of East Germany and East Berlin. Dertinger, 50-year-old deputy chairman of the Renegade Christian Democrats, has been charged with spying for the West. West Berlin socialists identified the two central committee members who are under arrest as Max Keilsen and his wife, Grete. Both are Jews. Specific charges against them were not known. The arrests coincided with the flight to West Berlin of 10 prominent members of the Jewish communities of East Germany and 15 members of their families. They reported ‘fear bordering on panic’ among East German Jews, arising from evidences of Soviet and Communist anti-Semitism.”

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