Ban on “oliver Twist” and “merchant of Venice” from New York Schools Sought in Court

Teachers in New York City schools are taking special care to explain to their students that the anti-Jewish characters in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” and in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” are not “typical” of the Jewish people.

A statement to this effect was made yesterday by Dr. William Jansen, Superintendent of Schools, in an affidavit submitted in Brooklyn Supreme Court, in opposition to a taxpayer’s suit that would ban the two volumes from this city’s public schools. The judge reserved decision.

In behalf of the taxpayer–Murray B. Rosenberg, of Brooklyn–his attorney, Joseph Goldstein, declared that the books were inimical to the best interests of growing children and were “anti-Semitic and anti-religious.” With regard to Dickens’ novel, he stated: “It is calculated to, and does, inculcate bitter hatred and malice in the hearts and minds of many students and pupils attending our public schools and secondary schools against American citizens of Jewish faith.”

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