Anti-Semitism in America

From the New-York Daily Tribune, an article dated October 2, 1905.



Syracuse Boy Complains of Maltreatment at Webb Academy.
[By Telegraph to The Tribune.]


Syracuse, Oct. 1 -- Because he was unable to withstand the hazing and persecution of fellow students because of his religion, Abraham Klein, a freshman in the Webb Naval Academy, at Fordham Heights, who stood second in a class of thirty-six candidates and on a scholarship, has returned to this city. Young Klein says the other students told him that the sooner he left the school the better it would be for him, and as he left New-York his cherished ambition to become a naval architect vanished.

In the initiation last Monday, Klein says, all the other freshmen had to do was to tell jokes as they assembled in the gymnasium, while he and another Jew, from Oil City, Penn., were maltreated. Even fellow Syracusans, he says, turned against him because of his creed.

"They told me," he said, "that if I stayed in Webb there would be lots of other Jews from Syracuse who would get in. Monday evening they nicknamed me 'Rabbi,' and started in. They tried to make me ridicule the Jewish religion and make a fool of me. Then they put a cent in the bottom of a washtub full of water and made me get it out with my lips. Then they made me lie down in the middle of the floor in a great puddle of water and molasses and had me give an exhibition of swimming., first on my stomach and then on my back. I was a sight when I got through. Then they made me roll a peanut around the floor with my nose, and I skinned my nose.

"Then the initiation was over for the rest, but I had no sooner got to bed then they pulled me out and made me go over to another room, where a lot of students were. I had to stand there and make a fool of myself for more than an hour. Then they gave me to understand that they didn't want me there and the quicker I got out the better."

Professor J. Irving Chaffee, resident manager of the institution, admitted last night to a Tribune reporter that Klein had been hazed, but denied that his religion provoked the hazing, at least as far as he could learn.

"The student came here September 18," he said, "and left here on the 26th without notifying any one. The hazing here is not too severe, I believe; but at the same time is not allowed if a student complains. Mr. Klein complained and I assured him that he would not be hazed any more. His mother came to see me and I tried to impress on her the same idea. She left apparently satisfied. Klein said he would stay, but the next morning he left without a word of explanation. He did not say anything about religion when he made his formal complaint to me.





Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Copyright 2008-9. Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved. 
Image Use Policy.