Menu JTA Search

New Trial Ordered for Nine Constantinople Jews Once Acquitted

Are now Accused of Insulting Turkish Republic (Jewish Telegraphic Agency

A new trial for the nine Constantinople Jews, who were arrested on the charge of participation in a demonstration at the funeral of Elsa Niego, the Jewish girl murdered by the Turkish official, Osman Bey, was ordered by the Grand National Assembly at the demand of the public prosecutor. The nine Jews were acquitted on September 21, 1927 of the charge of seditious conduct at the funeral of the Jewish girl whose death called forth wide indignation. The affair gave rise to anti-Semitic attacks in the Turkish press, which resented the fact that the family of the murdered girl protested against the unseemly crime committed by a Turkish official.

At the new trial which opened on January 12, the nine Jews were charged with having insulted the Turkish Republic. They are liable to prison terms cp to three years if found guilty of this charge. Following the preparatory proceedings, the case was adjourned until January 26.

Osman Bey, the murderer of Elsa Niego, is still being kept in hospital under observation.

Elsa Niego, not yet 20 years old, was employed as a typist by the National Insurance Company of Turkey. Fatherless, she started to work very young and with her younger sister, Regina, who also found employment lately, she was the only support of her widowed mother and young brother. Last year, Elsa obtained a short holiday and went with her family to Halki (Princes’ Islands) where she intended to spend her leave. She was not at Halki long, when Osman Bey, son of Ratib Pasha, a former governor in Mesopotamia during the old regime, noticed her and fell in love with her. His age, he was 30 years her senior, his different faith, his grown-up daughter, were not considered by him He followed the girl’s steps day and night and her pleas to be left alone and her pointing out all the differences existing between the two of them, were of no avail. The mother, in despair, had to shorten their stay at Halki and they secretly returned to town.

On her return to town, the girl had seen no more of the man for a short time and she thought herself free. One day, on leaving the office, Elsa noticed that the man was waiting for her. She hurried home more frightened than over, as not only did the man follow her and repeat his declarations but he started to threaten her. The girl told her employers of the persecution of which she was the object.

One evening last winter. Miss Niego was getting ready to leave her office when, looking out of the window, she noticed Osman Bey and three others waiting outside. The manager of the company telephoned for the police and the quartette was arrested. It was found out, afterwards, that Miss Niego was to be kidnapped that night and the individuals were sentenced to two months imprisonment each.

Shortly before the tragedy Miss Niego became engaged to a young Jewish man, one of her office colleagues. Osman Bey, having in the meantime been liberated from prison, learned about the engagement, and became more importunate than ever.

Several fights ensued between the two rivals, with the result that Osman Bey promised to leave the girl alone. On the day of the tragedy Elsa and her sister left the house about 6 o’clock for a walk. On returning home about an hour later but 100 yards from the house, the younger sister heard someone running after them and upon turning round, saw Osman Bey, holding a knife in his hand. Regina shouted to her sister to run home, but the latter was overcome by fright and fell. Osman Bey, seeing his victim on the ground bent over her, and with the knife which he had that day bought, cut her throat from ear to ear and plunged his weapon in the girl’s chest and stomach eight more times. Regina, on seeing her sister murdered, started struggling with the murderer, who also stabbed her twice in the thigh. All this occurred in the sight of the mother who was rendered speechless by the wild scene.

The murderer would have been lynched, had it not been for the police, who took him away from the unfuriatd crowd which attacked him with stools, chairs and sticks.

NEXT STORY