500 Stores, Mostly Jewish, Looted and Damaged in Riots in Brooklyn
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500 Stores, Mostly Jewish, Looted and Damaged in Riots in Brooklyn

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More than 200 stores in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, most of them Jewish-owned, were looted and 300 stores were damaged by rioting Negroes through last night and into this morning, police officials reported today.

The officials said that the rioting did not appear to be directed at the stores because they were Jewish-owned, because the rioters also stormed and ransacked stores owned by Negroes in the section, which still has a heavily-Jewish population.

Community leaders, representing both Jews and Christians, including Negroes, met in the office of Brooklyn Borough President Abe Stark today to map means of dampening down the explosive atmosphere. The rioting in Brooklyn followed a violent outburst in Harlem the previous three nights, where only about 20 stores were sacked.

Among those attending the meeting in the Borough President’s office was Rabbi Benjamin Kreitman, representing the Brooklyn Jewish Community Council. Rabbi Kreitman also was acting in his capacity as chairman of the Borough President’s Community Action Committee.


A spokesman for the Brooklyn JCC said that anti-Semitic slogans had been yelled by some of the rioters. He added that the concern of the community leaders was to find means of bringing calm to the crime-wracked section before matters got much worse. He said the Brooklyn JCC was ready to “take every step possible not only to protect the Jews in the area but the community at large.”

An interfaith Citizens Committee, composed of representatives of the Board of Rabbis, Catholic Universal Council and the Protestant Council in Brooklyn, appealed to Mayor Robert Wagner to take urgent measures to prevent a repetition of the riots.

Police said 83 persons had been arrested in the Bedford-Stuyvesant rioting. Seven civilians and three policemen were injured in the clashes. Two men accused of looting were shot and critically wounded by police during the rioting. Shopkeepers blamed the looting on outside rruffians who had invaded the area.


In the nearby Crown Heights section, where a Safety Patrol was organized recently by a group calling themselves “The Maccabees,” on the initiative of Rabbi Samuel Schrage, an adherent of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, there was great apprehension but little rioting, the rabbi said.

“However,” he added, “because the police forces were busy in Bedford-Stuyvesant, we had to increase the number and strength of our patrols last night, and will do so again tonight. We had 12 cars cruising the area last night–the largest group we ever put on duty for self protection.”

According to Rabbi Schrage, a number of Arab students had entered the area from Manhattan to help stir up trouble against the Jews. He said one Jewish policeman told him he had recognized some of these trouble-makers as Arabs. “And this man knows Arabs,” the rabbi said, “because he fought with the Israeli army during Israel’s War of Independence.”

“I have been in the trouble area four times today,” Rabbi Schrage said, “and it is like a battlefield.” Many of the wrecked stores, he declared, are Jewish-owned, as jud by the signs on the storefronts. He stated also that many Jews who are members of CORE had been instructed by CORE leaders to stay away from the trouble area.

Mayor Robert F. Wagner, who returned from vacation to take charge of the situation, broadcast an appeal this evening, asking all citizens to help restore order in all areas of the city.

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