Mordecai Shapiro, Jewish student from Palestine at the Genbloux Agricultural College, who stabbed the Russian student, Michaelson, on May 22, in a quarrel over a Jewish question, was given a suspended sentence of five weeks’ imprisonment by the district court of the province of Namur.
The court ordered Shapiro to pay Michaelson the amount of 1,200 francs damages and stated the sentence is to be imposed if Shapiro is found guilty of any offense within the next three years. Attorney Grafet, who acted as Shapiro’s counsel, described the persecutions suffered by the Jewish students at Genbloux at the hands of the Russian and Polish students, banded together in an anti-Semitic organization of which Michaelson was the leader. Zionism, the party affiliation of Shapiro, figured largely in the arguments. Michaelson was taken to a hospital following the stabbing and is recovering from the wounds.
The case aroused wide attention in the Belgian press and several newspapers attempted to describe Shapiro as a Bolshevik who resented Michaelson’s monarchistic views. The Jewish student organizations in Belgium denied these charges, as Shapiro, who is now a Palestinian, is known to be a devout Zionist, a Jewish nationalist and opponent of the Communist doctrine. It was related that shortly before the occurrence, the anti-Semitic student organization, including Russian monarchists, Polish nationalists and Roumanian Cuzists, students at Genbloux, developed a strong anti-Semitic propaganda, its members on the campus wearing hatbands with the inscription: “Beat the dirty Jews.” When Shapiro and Michaelson met several days before the stabbing, Shapiro asked the anti-Semitic leader to discontinue his activities, to which Michaelson replied “Sale Juif” (dirty Jew). Several days later the stabbing occurred.
The Jewish student organizations in Belgium morally and financially supported the defense of Mordecai Shapiro.
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.