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August 13: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

August 13, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “EBERBACH, GERMANY (A.P.) — Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, the American draft evader, said last evening that he had expected to return to the United States with his mother on Sept. 27, but that last Saturday’s effort to kidnap him made him hesitate about doing so. Mrs. Bergdoll was not in the hotel when the attempt was made to seize her son. Bergdoll has not been arrested but has made a formal statement to the police. The four men who are being held in connection with the attempted kidnaping were removed last night to another place in Baden, the name of which was not made public. They were kept in separate cells while here. The men are [G.H.] Griffith, a former American lieutenant; Faust Gagarin, a Russian Prince; Roger Sperber, a French detective and a citizen of France, and John Nielson, an American chauffeur. The German police say that Sperber, who was wounded twice during the clash in the hotel, had informed them that Griffith engaged him in Paris two months ago to arrange the kidnaping, telling him that a well-known American organization was financing the affair. Karl Schmidt was shot three times by Bergdoll and died without making a statement. He was a Swiss citizen and a resident of Lausanne. The shooting occurred in a dark room. Bergdoll fired six shots, three of which hit Schmidt, while two struck Sperber and one went wild.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1943, the Eagle reported, “A war veterans’ hospital in Bay Ridge appeared assured today when a resolution approving its establishment was introduced at the American [Legion] state convention in the Hotel Pennsylvania. While the resolution is one of seven offered by the Kings County delegation, many other delegations indicated their support of the measure and no opposition was expected. Setting up the hospital requires congressional approval and all of the state’s representatives and both senators have declared themselves in its favor. The convention also had before it a resolution condemning the government practice of sending home and discharging wounded men in need of hospitalization. The resolution urged that the Veterans Bureau be required to provide necessary hospital service for the men of World War II.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1944, the Eagle reported, “Eight of Luna Park’s 16 1/2 acres were reduced to a mass of twisted, smoking wreckage late yesterday by a spectacular fire, which, though resulting in an estimated total of $500,000 damage, was brought under control without causing a single fatality. Flames shooting skyward as high as 400 feet roared and crackled across eight of the amusement park’s 16 1/2 acres, while thousands of spectators jammed Surf Ave. Towers, rides and other recreation devices tumbled to the ground as the fire raged for two hours before being brought under control. But Coney Island, the playground of New York City’s millions, with an estimated 750,000 men, women and children packing the beaches at the time, averted panic. Late reports indicated the resort had come through one of its worst fires in recent years with no more than 16 persons receiving minor injuries.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “New Yorkers today awaited the news that peace again reigned in the world in a state of high expectancy but, at the same time, in a skeptical frame of mind. They had traveled the emotional roller coaster culminating in the high thrill and spill of a false United Press flash announcing the end of the war … The fires of celebration flared high shortly after 9:30 o’clock when the United Press unglued people’s ears from their radios and sent them cheering into the streets. In Brooklyn, Navy Yard whistles screeched as the streets filled rapidly … GIs and civilians in bars rushed into the streets with joy unconfined. Shipyards up and down the river joined in the tooting, auto horns melted into the din and tons of paper scraps were fluttering from windows when, at 9:36 p.m., the U.P. wired editors: ‘Hold that flash!’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle reported, “Crime-beset Brooklyn got a short, flat answer today from Police Commissioner George P. Monaghan. Crime wave or no crime wave, there will be no increase in the number of cops assigned to this borough. In fact, bewildered citizens were told there is no crime wave at all, despite official Police Department figures issued earlier this week, which showed a shocking 37 percent jump in major crimes. The crime wave really is just ‘statistics’ and ‘mere numbers,’ the city was told. This came straight from the horse’s mouth — Mayor [Vincent] Impellitteri and his top police brass. Despite this lack of a crime wave, the Mayor trumpeted the news that 1,600 more men will be added to the Police Department between October and next June. Some of the heartening effect of this notice was promptly dissipated by the admission that this ‘increase’ would barely replace retiring police, if that. The Mayor and his high police aides didn’t apply the word ‘statistical’ to the so-called ‘increase’ in the police force but they repeated it freely when decrying the reported crime wave. In fact, deaths, resignations and retirements might well leave the Police Department still short of its quota despite the 1,600 additions.”

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Debi Mazar
Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP
Janet Yellen
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was born in Brooklyn in 1946; former N.Y. Yankees shortstop Fred Stanley, who was born in 1947; opera star Kathleen Battle, who was born in 1948; Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke, who was born in 1949; “United 93” director Paul Greengrass, who was born in 1955; “The Partridge Family” star Danny Bonaduce, who was born in 1959; weather anchor Sam Champion, who was born in  1961; “Mad Men” star John Slattery, who was born in 1962; “Goodfellas” star Debi Mazar, who was born in 1964; Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was born in 1982; “Captain America” star Sebastian Stan, who was born in 1982; and Olympic gold medalist and NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, who was born in 1990.

John Slattery
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

Quotable:

“A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide.”

— N.Y. Yankees legend Mickey Mantle, who died on this day in 1995


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