Jewish Property Losses in Detroit Rioting Estimated at $20 Million

Jewish merchants suffered losses estimated to run at least $20,000,000 in the two days of racial rioting that transformed the core of this city into a burned-out hulk.

The center of the disturbances was the 12th Street area, downtown, which, years ago, was the Jewish ghetto. About 20 Jewish merchants who still maintained businesses there were all but wiped out since insurance companies had refused to issue policies on stores in the area.

The disturbances reached some of Detroit’s finest shopping areas in other parts of the city as well. One of the city’s largest and most popular music stores — Grinnell’s — which was Jewish-owned, was gutted and its stocks of television and radio sets and musical instruments looted.

Jewish organizations generally were closed throughout the city yesterday but were reopening this morning. The Jewish Community Council, in association with the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Protestant Council of Churches, opened an advice and counselling center downtown.

Observers stressed the absence of any manifestations of anti-Semitism throughout the disorders. To the extent that the disorders represented protest, they were directed against whites as such. Detroit authorities largely discounted the protest nature of the disturbances, citing the fact that many Negro civil rights leaders actively tried to quiet the rioters, and claimed that the disorders were “lawlessness and hoodlumism.” It was pointed out that in some districts, the bands of looters were “integrated” with whites and Negroes working together to empty the shops.

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