Apologies Offered, Massena Incident Closed, Official Police Investigator Reports
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Apologies Offered, Massena Incident Closed, Official Police Investigator Reports

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(Jewish Daily Bulletia)

With the apologies offered by the local officials to the Jewish congregation of Massena, N. Y. in the incident arising out of the interrogation of Rabbi Berel Brennglass following the disappearance of the child, Barbara Griffith, and the subsequent suspicion cast against the local Jewish community, the matter is now closed, was the report submitted by Lieutenant E. F. Heim of Troop B of the New York State Police to the Commanding Officer of the Troop at Malone. Lieutenant Heim was sent to Massena to investigate the matter. Lieutenant Heim’s report follows.

September 26th, 1928 “To: Commanding Officer, Troop ‘B’, N. Y. S. T., Malone, N. Y., “Subject: Joseph Stone, Massena, N.Y.,–Complaint.

“1. Lieutenant Heim proceeded to Massena on Sunday afternoon September 23, and received a complaint from Mr. Joseph Stone, a prominent Jewish business man of Massena, to the effect that Corporal McCann had asked Rabbi Brennglass, whether or not it was customary in the old Jewish days to sacrifice the blood of a Gentile child on the Jewish Day of Atonement. Mr. Stone claimed that the Rabbi and members of the Jewish church in Massena, were very much incensed at this question and demanded that an investigation be conducted.

“2. On Saturday afternoon, a four-year-old child disappeared from the vicinity of her home in Massena and was not found until about five o’clock Sunday afternoon, just previous to my arrival in Massena. During the investigation made by Corporal McCann and the other officers, a Jewish boy who is admittedly of low intellect, voluntarily came to the Police Office at Massena, giving the name of ‘Jacob Shulkin’ and stated in a rambling conversation, that the girl might be in any one of several different places, among which was Hogansburg. After same conversation with this boy, the investigators realized that he was of low mentality, and at midnight Saturday, he was sent to his home in the custody of an officer and turned over to his father for safe keeping.

“3. After all other efforts to find the child had failed, investigators began to work on the theory that possibly some person or persons had kidnapped the child and destroyed her in some manner, and starting on this theory, the first person to be investigated was the Jewish boy ‘Jacob Shulkin’. With this in mind and knowing that Monday was the Jewish holiday of Atonement, it was deemed necessary and essential to find out whether or not it was customary in the olden days. for the members of the Jewish faith, to offer a blood sacrifice, the investigators feeling that if this was so and the Shulkin boy was familiar with the fact, he might in his condition, have taken it upon himself to offer such a sacrifice.

“4. Morris Goldberg, was the first Jewish person to be questioned about this custom, and he apparently knew nothing about it and suggested that the Rabbi be interviewed. On Sunday afternoon Coroporal McCann telephoned to the Rabbi and asked him to stop at the Police Station when he came by as there were some questions which it was necessary to ask him. The Rabbi, during the afternoon, did come to the Police Station voluntarily, and he was questioned in the private office of the Chief of Police by Corporal McCann and Corporal McCann states that the question which was asked was; ‘Was it the custom in he olden days of the Jewish faith, to offer a blood sacrifice on any of the Holy Days?’ At this question Corporal McCann and also the Rabbi states that the Rabbi became very much incensed and denied that was the custom at any time in the Jewish Faith, after which an apology was offered by Corporal McCann.

“5. The matter was reported by the Rabbi to the members of his congregation who reported it to the Commanding officer. This investigation is the result of such report.

“6. On Tuesday afternoon at two o’clock, Mayor Hawes. Chief of Police Sanjuel. Attorney A. J. Hanner, Corporal McCann and Lieutenant Heim, proceeded to the ### and there met the Rabbi, Mr. Stone and several Other prominent Jewish business men. The matter was gone into very tharoughly over a period of two hours and we tried to explain to the Committee, the reason for asking this question, but the Committee seemed to take the attitude that this question was agitated by some organization to bring criticism on the Jewish church and its members in Massena, and several of them assured us that the matter was of world -wide significnnce. They advised us that they had reported the matter to their attorney in New York City and would be guided by his advive. We offered them apologies and we feel that the matter is now closed.

E.F. Heim,

Lieutenant. Troop “B”

A complaint against Corporal H. M. McCann. the trooper who summoned Rabbi Brennglass to the Police Station has been lodged by Mr. Louis Marshall with Major Warner. Superintendent of the Division of State Police, at Albauy.

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