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Louis Marshall Corrects Detail in Hilsner Case

February 23, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A misstatement of one of the details of the Hilsner case in which the recently unfrocked Bronx Rabbi, Judah Tilinger alias Elfenbein figured is corrected in a letter by Louis Marshall to the J. C. B. Mr. Marshall points out that Hilsrer was convicted only once of the ritual murder charge, and that the blood accusation was reversed by the Austrian higher court.

Commenting on the J. C. B.’ “exceedingly interesting account” Mr. Marshall says “the fact is that Hilsner on his first trial was convicted of murder committed for the purpose of securing blood for ritual purposes. Professor Masaryk, now the President of the CzechoSlovakian Republic, interested himself in the case and wrote a most admirable pamphlet, in which he demonstrated the impossibility of the charge, and the highest court of Austria reversed the judgement and directed a new trial. THE SECOND TRIAL DID NOT INVOLVE THE CHARGE OF RITUAL MURDER, but was based solely on the theory that Hilsner was engaged in a sexual offense.”

Abraham Berman, attorney for the Jacob Schiff Center of which Elfenbein was rabbi, today issued a statement explaining that the accused rabbi was engaged by the Congregation on recommendation of two well known New York rabbis. The Congregation, he points out, had no knowledge of his unsavory past.

Berman also says that Elfenbein at the time of the hearing before the Union of Orthodox rabbis was not connected with the Schiff Center. “On January 15, 1923” says Mr. Berman, “at a regular meeting of the Congregation, a resolution was adopted notifying the Rabbi, that the Congregation was dissatisfied with his services, and that his relations with the Congregation would terminate within four weeks from the Saturday following the date of the meeting, herein-before mentioned. According to this resolution his services therefore terminated on Saturday, February 17, 1923, and said Rabbi was not in the employ of the Congregation at the time that these various charges were heard before the Union of Orthodox Rabbis.”

A dispatch from Youngstown, O. where Elfenbein was at one time rabbi of the Hungarian Congregation “B’nai Israel” states he was identified there by David Fish, a Youngstown social worker, who knew him from his native town of zoblotov, Galicia. The Congregation at first was not inclined to believe the charges, but when Fish succeeded in gathering further evidence, Elfenbsin suddenly disappeared, and nothing was known of his whereabouts until his recent “expose” in New York.

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