The chase after the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow, brought about by the spread of exaggerated reports of fabulous fortunes overseas left by rich uncles or cousins to their nephews and cousins in Europe, is one of the plagues that lead to suicide and insanity.
The Hungarian Jewish newspaper “Ujkelet,” published here, made a survey of the fables which spread during the last few months in Central and Eastern Europe of great fortunes alleged to have been left by Jewish emigrants in overseas countries to their impoverished relatives at home. Invariably, the fables set up as the “rich uncle” a man bearing a popular Jewish name, such as Bernstein, Horowitz, Weinberger. The result is that hundreds of Jewish families bearing such names are thrown into a frenzy of expectation which leads to stark disillusionment and tragedy.
The quarrels which immediately arise as to who is the real relative, the real Horowitz, Bernstein or Weinberger, causes bitter feuds between various family branches and often culminates in legal suits, the impoverished families spending their last possessions to establish their priority to claim the fortune. In many of the families thus affected, cases of suicide and insanity were recorded because of the futile chase and the resulting total impoverishment.
The newspaper makes the assertion that it has reason to believe that these reports are spread by certain concerns, said to be operating from London and America, with a view to exciting interest in the numerous families of the alleged rich relative and exacting from them fees to trace kinship and establish the claim.
Another center of such reports is said to be Vienna, according to the newspaper.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.