Atlanta Police Question Suspects on Synagogue Bombing; F. B. I. Active
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Atlanta Police Question Suspects on Synagogue Bombing; F. B. I. Active

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Several suspects were detained today by the police for questioning in connection with the bombing of the synagogue here early yesterday, demolishing a part of the building and causing damage estimated at $200,000. Other suspects marked by the police authorities for detention have "conveniently" left town.

Among those interrogated were members of a group which recently carried out an anti-Jewish demonstration in front of the offices of an Atlanta newspaper. The intensive hunt today was launched by the combined forces of the FBI, state, and municipal police. An Atlanta police captain said the department was putting all resources into operation.

Rewards offered by the Mayor of Atlanta, William B. Hartsfield, municipal agencies, local newspapes and others for finding the terrorists neared $10,000 today. It is hoped that as much as $50,000 in reward money will be posted as community indignation at the bombing finds means of expression.

Meanwhile, many churches and other non-Jewish groups and individuals have expressed shock and repugnance at the deed. These expressions contributed to the general feeling in the local Jewish community that while the bombing had its anti-Semitic aspects, it was essentially a blow at democratic values and law and order.

The Atlanta Constitution, in an editorial today, called the bombing the "harvest of defiance of the courts by many Southern politicians." The editorial insisted that while those who opposed the orderly processes had not called for bombings of synagogues they had, nevertheless, "unloosed the flood of hate and bombing" because once hatred is directed at one people "no one is safe."


The Jewish Community Council here met today in executive session and decided to issue a public statement expressing appreciation to the non-Jewish population for the condemnation expressed through the Mayor, church leaders and the press. The Council will contribute to the Mayor’s fund for the reward for finding the terrorists. Walton I. Weiss and Edward Kahn are president and executive director of the Council, respectively.

Meanwhile, the police stationed around-the-clock guards at the homes of Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, who heads the congregation of the bombed synagogue and William B. Schwartz Jr., congregation president, after Mrs. Rothschild received an anonymous call last night from a man who said: "You had better get out of the house. It will be dynamited in five minutes." The rabbi was not at home at the time.

Another call was received by a telephone operator at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution after the papers offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the dynamiters. The anonymous caller told the operator: "I have news for you. This is the Confederate Underground. You nigger-loving Atlanta papers, the Negro churches, the Jewish churches we’re going to blow all of you up."

It was reported here that more than 300 Atlanta policemen and FBI agents are engaged in searching for and questioning persons suspected of the bombing of the synagogue. FBI agents from Miami, Nashville and Jacksonville were flown to Atlanta to aid the local authorities with information they acquired in similar but less damaging synagogue blasts in those cities earlier this year.

Despite the damage to the Temple, prayer services will continue, Rabbi Rothschild said. Next week Sunday School classes will be held at the nearby Jewish center. Some 600 children are enrolled in Sunday School classes, some coming from as far as 50 and 75 miles outside the city. For a period some five years ago, the Temple’s classrooms and other educational facilities were used by the public school system to replace a school which had been burned to the ground.

Defense Department sources reported unofficially that Army demolition experts had been authorized to aid Federal and local authorities. It was reported that experts were carefully sifting tons of debris for clues.

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