Brooklyn Boro

November 20: ON THIS DAY in 1945, Helpless cops propose crime wave vigilantes

November 20, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History

ON THIS DAY IN 1915, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “A desecration of the American flag by workmen engaged in repainting the walls of the main corridor of Borough Hall was discovered and indignantly stopped by officials of the borough government yesterday afternoon. In order to protect oil paintings of former mayors of Brooklyn hanging on the walls, the painters covered them with large American flags. The drops of paint fell, not upon the pictures, but upon the Stars and Stripes. Thomas King, watchman in the building and a veteran of the Civil War, was the first to notice the insult. He rushed into the Borough President’s office and also notified the Board of Aldermen in their room nearby.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1938, the Eagle reported, “BERLIN, NOV. 19 (AP) — Nazi Germany broadened its campaign to eradicate all possible traces of Jewry from national life today amid swift financial, religious and international cross-currents. Protestant churches in some parts of the country were ordered to eliminate the German word ‘Jehovah,’ taken from the Hebrew for God, and Old Testament names of Jewish prophets. Wealthy Jews in Nuremberg, according to advices received in Munich, were forced to sign over 90 percent of their possessions to the German labor front and then told to leave the city within three months. A mass eviction of Jews was reported in Vienna. In Berlin thousands clamored in vain for permission to leave while officials debated ways and means of letting them go. Lay teachers of religion in public schools asked that pastors and priests assume such instruction. They explained no German teacher could interest Nordic pupils in ‘Jew-written Psalms’ and Old Testament history. A police order was issued today forbidding Jews to use bridle paths.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “Organization of citizens into neighborhood groups of vigilantes to combat the rising crime wave in Brooklyn was suggested informally in Police Department circles today. As three more major crimes, including a stickup and two robbery assaults, were added to the borough crime toll, police officials, who for obvious reasons cannot be identified, cited the following facts in urging formation of the private vigilantes: 1 — The department is 4,000 men short and cannot effectively oppose the lawless wave; 2 — There are 2,500 names on the present Civil Service list for the department, but only two-thirds of them have passed examinations, and a great many of these are in the armed forces; 3 — It would take nine to ten months before patrolmen could be appointed from a new list; 4 — Appointment of official Sheriff’s deputies will not solve the problem, for they use their authority excessively. However, as one detective pointed out, ‘There is nothing to prevent home owners and residents from banding together and forming their own patrol system. There is nothing to prevent a man from hiring a club for himself and using it in his defense. Groups of citizens could take a block and properly patrol it in two and three-hour tours of duty.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1947, the Eagle reported, “(UP) — Princess Elizabeth today spoke a tremulous ‘I will’ in ancient Westminster Abbey and with those words the future Queen of Britain became the wife of the newly created Duke of Edinburgh … Despite postwar austerity and slate-colored skies, it was the most brilliant occasion Britain had known since the days before the war … A million persons lined the historic streets of London — the Mall, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square — for the spectacle … The wedding ceremony was carried by radio to every part of the British Empire, as well as to the United States, while television and movie cameras recorded the occasion. Twenty-seven kings, queens, princes and princesses of the ruling houses of Europe, all the ambassadors accredited to the Court of St. James, statesmen and the great of many lands were present.”


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