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Warsaw Beggar King Distributes ‘fortune’

Joseph Stitzman, “King of the Beggars,” commonly known as “Yoshke the Drummer,” has died here at the age of eighty.

For many years “Yoshke the Drummer” had been one of the popular figures in the streets of Warsaw, where he was always to be seen beating a small drum, from which he derived his nickname. He was a member of a family of beggars, all of whom made an excellent living from their profession. A sister of his, who died some years ago, left a fortune amounting to several thousand dollars. Yoshke, who was a bachelor, lived with a brother of his, Benish, also a member of the “profession,” and was considered by his colleagues to be a “millionaire.”

Yoshke’s death was not discovered for some days, and then only by accident. On the Eve of Yom Kippur two colleagues came to wish their “King” well over the Fast, and found him lying dead in the cellar he occupied with his brother, Benish, the brother, had not reported his death as he wanted first to discover where his brother had hidden his “fortune”. It is not known to what extent he was successful, but the police, who made a thorough examination, only discovered small sums hidden away in various odd places.

The police, however, also discovered a will, in which Yoshke bequeathed $10 to the Warsaw Jewish Community for the improvement of the ritual bath, $1 for a Jewish charity, and $3 to a colleague of his who used to accompany him on his ’rounds’.

The funeral procession consisted of the whole army of Jewish beggars, ‘schnorrers’ and cripples, who had come to pay their last respects to their dead King.

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