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Jews And White Slavery

“Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion] could not imagine that Jewish women would stoop to crime or prostitution. When an associate, Meyer Weisgal, who resembled David Ben-Gurion, once told him humorously that a girl had walked up to him on a London street and offered her services, overwhelmed by the idea of sleeping with the ‘Israeli prime minister.’ Ben-Gurion, clearly troubled, was interested in only one thing: ‘Was she Jewish?'” — Dan Kurzman, 1983, p.39At the end of the 19th and beginning of the twentieth century, Jews were deeply involved in what was popularly called “white slavery”: international prostitution rings. “White slavery,” notes scholar Albert Lindemann, “was a concern of Jewish leaders throughout the world, who recognized it as a special problem.” [LINDEMANN, p. 33] [Jews have also dominated the pornography and commercial sexploitation business, a trend which continues to this day — see Mass Media section]

“Between 1880 and 1939,” notes scholar Edward Bristow, “the Jews played a conspicuous role in ‘white slavery,’ as the commercial prostitution of that era was dramatically called. Not only was this Jewish participation conspicuous, it was historically unprecedented, geographically widespread, and fraught with collective political dangers.” [BRISTOW, p. 1] “Jewish trafficking,” says Bristow, “was anchored in brothel keeping, women freelanced or kept houses while their husbands procured … Jewish traffickers also supplied Gentile-run houses.” [BRISTOW, p. 56-57]

Rooted largely in Eastern and Central Europe where they “dominated the international traffic out of the area,” [BRISTOW, p. 2] Jews were involved in prostitution rings that networked, wrote Arthur Mora (of London’s Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls and Women) in 1903, to “almost all parts of North and South Africa, to India, China, Japan, Philippine Island, North and South America, and also to many of the countries of Europe.” [BRISTOW, p. 1] Jewish criminals trafficked women under their control virtually anywhere, also including the major cities of Bulgaria, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Ceylon, Manchuria, South Africa, Rhodesia, and Mozambique. [BRISTOW, p. 181]

“By 1900,” says Bristow, “Jewish commercial vice was largely incorporated in underworld elements and many of it participants were predators of the poor.” [BRISTOW, p. 89] Jewish pimps, procurers, and traffickers preyed mostly on non-Jewish women, but even large numbers of Jewish women were part of their stables.

In 1872, for example, Jewish prostitutes in Warsaw numbered 17% of the known prostitution population, in Krakow 27%, and in Vilna 47%. [BRISTOW, p. 23] Within the Jewish community itself, it was not uncommon for recruiters to marry innocent Jewish young women and “deposit them in foreign brothels.” [BRISTOW, p. 25] Many of the Jewish criminal underworld figures apparently saw no gap between their day-to-day activities and their religious lives, often maintaining their religious obligations. A Warsaw thug, Shilem Letzski, organized a small synagogue for Jewish “prostitutes, madams, pimps, and thieves.” This criminal community even had a rabbinical court “to settle disputes between pimps.” [BRISTOW, p. 60] In Constantinople, prostitutes contributed money to “have their pimps called to Torah on holidays.” [SCHNEIDER, p. 225] In New York City, “a public school and a large synagogue were situated right next door to the house of prositution.” [RUBINOW, I., 1959, p. 114-115]

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, notes Donna Guy, the Jewish pimp organization called the Varsovia Society

“ostensibly functioned as a mutual aid society … In fact, the Varsovia consisted of pimps who wanted to maintain their business and still lead a religious life … Varsovia associates established their own synagogue on Guemes Street in the midst of the traditional bordello district.” [GUY, p. 22]

Israeli scholar Robert Rockaway notes also, for example, that prominent Jewish American mobster Longy Zwillman “always remained sensitive to his Jewish upbringings.” When a close friend died, and the funeral was conducted in a church, Zwillman refused to attend. As he explained it, he was an ancestral member of the Jewish priest caste (the Cohens) and it was religiously forbidden to him to be with a dead body in a room. [ROCKAWAY, R., 1993, p. 30]

Dr. Louis Maretsky, the head of the B’nai B’rith in Germany, forlornly noted in 1912 that at least 271 of 402 prostitution traffickers on a Hamburg police list were Jewish; in reviewing similar lists for Eastern Europe and South Africa at least 374 of 644 were from the Jewish community. [BRISTOW, p. 56] (No mention here is made of even higher possible percentages: as explored later, it has long been a tradition for many Jews in their diaspora to formally change their identifiable Jewish names). Concerning Galicia, Maretsky wrote that “the prominence of Jewish traffickers and brothel operators there is no doubt. From the files of the Austrian and German police there were 111 Jewish traffickers active in Galicia and the neighboring province of Bukovina for 1904-08 alone.” [BRISTOW, p. 56]

By 1889 Jewish women ran 203 of 289 (70%) of the licensed brothels in the “Pale of Settlement” (encompassing over 20 provinces in eastern Poland and western Russia — an area where Jews were about 12% of the population). 1122 of 5127 (22%) licensed prostitutes in this area were Jewish. [BRISTOW, p. 63] The grievous political dangers for local Jewry in the context of enduring interethnic hostilities, when 78% of the rest of the women were Gentile, many indentured in Jewish houses, is obvious.

Further in the West, 16 of 19 licensed brothels in Warsaw were run by Jewish women, prostitutes in the low-class establishments were expected to service 40-50 customers a day, up to 60-70 on Holy Days. (In 1905 the respectable part of the Jewish Warsaw community rioted against the brothels; 40 whorehouses — legal and illegal — were reported destroyed, 8 persons killed, and 100 injured). [BRISTOW, p. 61]

In Minsk, Jews ran all four legitimate houses of ill repute. In the Russian province of Kherson (which includes the city of Odessa) 30 of 36 licensed brothels were Jewish-owned. The American Consul in Odessa wrote in 1908 that the “whole ‘business’ of prostitution is almost exclusively in the hands of the Jews.” [BRISTOW, p. 56]

Martin Fido notes another genre of Jewish Eastern European profiteer in the prostitution world, in England:

“Latvian ponces accompanied [prostitutes] to help them cross borders and find accomodation and working premises. These men were despised by police and by some of the criminal fraternity for ‘living off immoral earnings.’ But they were not pimps … They were effectively travel agents, couriers and managers in strange and unfriendly places. Their arrival in London ensured that a major strand of prostitution would be controlled by organized crime. One of these Latvians, Max Kassell, was still running a small stable of hookers in the 1930s, when he was murdered in Soho … Jewish dominance of the East End [of London] and its crime was reflected in their Yiddish name, ‘spielers’ (places for games). In the Brick Lane neighborhood, Isaac Bogard, a Jewish villain whose swarthy complexion and tightly curled black hair earned him the nickname ‘Darky the Coon,’ extended his interests. He began in the early years of the 20th century by supplying muscle for street traders who wanted to prevent newcomers from moving in, but he moved on to managing prostitutes and drinking clubs.” [FIDO, M., 2000, p. 19-20]

Then in London there was Harry ‘Little Hubby’ Distleman, “a Jewish club manager, gambler and possibly part-sharer (with his brother) in a chain of brothels.” [FIDO, M., 2000, p. 31] Jewish author Chaim Bermant noted in the Jewish Chronicle in 1993 that “In the same period (1903-1909), 151 aliens [in Great Britain], most of them Jewish, were convicted for keeping brothels, and 521 for soliciting … Rabbi Avigdor Schonfeld … protested that to draw attention to the existence of Jewish prostitutes harmed the good name of the Jewish people.” [JEWISH CHRONICLE, 1-15-93]

More recently, Jewish singer Eddie Fisher recalls that “while performing in England in the late 1950s I had become friendly with a Jewish song plugger, a man who eventually left the music business to open a very exclusive whorehouse.” [FISHER, E., 1999, p. 293] A little later, there was the infamous Colin Levy:

“In 1973, one of the better-known and more appreciated solo practioners of that tony [London prostitution] underworld was Norma Levy (nee Mary Russell), an Irish-born prostitute in her mid-twenties whose career ‘on the game’ ws being managed by her husband Colin Levy, a petty crook … In 1973, Colin Levy found himself short of money. Aware that one of Norma’s patrons was the celebrated Lord Lambton, he decided to solve his problem with a bit of blackmail. Camera in hand, he lay in wait outside Norma’s bedroom during Lambton’s next vist to her flat. At the appropriate time, at a signal from Norma, he burst into the room. With flashlights popping in his face, the stunned Lambton was frozen on film, in flagrante delicto, for posterity.” [Levy’s blackmail failed, but there was a resultant scandal, including the ethics of newspaper (where Levy tried to sell his photos] that published accounts of the story] [KIERNAN, T., 1986, p. 162]

In Vienna, authorities knew of about 50 Jewish prostitution traffickers based in Czernowitz, “and they were a very inbred lot extending over two generations.” [BRISTOW, p. 74] The most publicized ‘white slavery’ trial occurred in 1892, in Lemberg (once also called Lvov, then a Polish provincial capital, today called Lviv in Ukraine), where 27 traffickers — all Jews — were prosecuted for ensnaring women to go to Constantinople, Egypt, and India. Some of the women recruits understood their tasks, but others “were maids, others fieldworkers, one a butcher’s helper, all apparently promised honest jobs.” [BRISTOW, p. 74] (Lemberg, “a cradle of Zionism from the 1880s onward,” also had anti-Jewish riots in 1918. [KRAJEWSKI, S., p. 340] )

There was a tradition of Yiddish folk songs about Jewish criminal behavior, like this:

“I am Salve, the thief, Four brothers are we; One is hungry, the other well fed, But thieves all four are we.

One is a pickpocket, The second a pimp, a handsome fellow; One is a hijacker on the lookout for packages, And I am a house thief.

A pimp is common, As all agree: From his own wife, He gets the disease To be a hijacker is bitter: You can rupture your lung, It’s hard to earn something with some of the packages, The best thing is to be a house thief.” [RUBIN, R., 1979]

“In an age of pandemic anti-Semitism,” says Bristow, “a Jewish pimp was a political as well as a social force,” [BRISTOW, p. 4] very emotionally reinforcing anti-Jewish sentiments of the day. Jews were already blamed in central Europe for a financial crash in 1873 and economic competition between Jews and non-Jews was heightening.

A young and enraged Adolf Hitler paid particular attention to the highly visible phenomenon of Jewish street hustling and prostitution rings in Vienna, and was incensed that many non-Jewish women were coerced into the largely Jewish-run trade. “In no other city of Western Europe,” he wrote in Mein Kampf, “could the relationship between Jewry and prostitution, and even now the white slave traffic, be studied better than in Vienna … an icy shudder ran down my spine when seeing for the first time the Jew as an evil, shameless, and calculating manager of this shocking vice, the outcome of the scum of the big city.” [BRISTOW, p. 84]

The Jewish prostitution business extended from Europe across the world, where it sometimes overlapped with French, Italian, Chinese, and other rings. In the Punjabi (Indian) capital of Lahore, “Jewish pimps were in the habit of leaving their women penniless only to reappear after workers had accumulated some money.” [BRISTOW, p. 195] In Rio de Janeiro Jewish immigrants from Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania were so much identified with prostitution in the late 1800’s that “the kaftan, a Jew’s traditional long gown, became synonymous with pimp.” [BRISTOW, p. 113]

Thirty-nine Jews were expelled from Brazil in 1879 for soliciting women for prostitution and running illegal whorehouses. [BRISTOW, p. 114] Of 199 licensed whorehouses in Buenos Aires in 1909, 102 were run by Jews and more than half the prostitutes were Jewish. [FRIED, p. 71] 4,248 Jewish women were registered for licensed brothels in Buenos Aires between 1880-1913, and those represented only the licensed ones. Edward Bristow estimates that 9,000 Jewish women immigrants came to Brazil in a 25-year span in that era as prostitutes (many were no doubt highly transient), when the total Jewish population of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay combined amounted to less than 60,000 people in 1910. [BRISTOW, p. 119]

In 1889, the Buenos Aires Bulletin Continental reported that 200 German/Austrian women were held against their will by Jewish pimps from Poland. [GUY, p. 5] “Jewish procurers,” says Donna Guy,

“… became an organized ring in major cities all over the world. They were particularly powerful in the Argentine port cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario … [GUY, p. 10] … Turn-of-the-century reports by the Hamburg B’nai B’rith [a Jewish fraternal organization] concluded that most prostitutes in Buenos Aires were Jewish and that traffickers ‘dress with ostentatious elegance, wear large diamonds, go to the theatre or opera daily; they have their own clubs and organizations where wares are sorted, auctioned, and sold … They have their own secret wireless code, are well organized, and– heavens! — in South America everything is possible.” [GUY, p. 19]

“Pooling their financial resources in a kind of guild,” notes another Jewish scholar, Howard Sachar,

“the [Polish Jewish] newcomers [to Argentina] in 1909 controlled slightly more than half the nearly two hundred licensed brothels in Buenos Aires. Jewish women served as their madams, and Jewish immigrant girls often were recruited and lured into their hands as prostitutes.” [SACHAR, H., 1985, p. 283]

In Cuba, Jews “became engaged in the ‘White Slave Trade,'” says Robert Levine, “importing prostitutes — some Jewish — from Poland … Many women recruited to the business had been trapped in the Russian and Polish Pale and throughout the Hapsburg Empire by force or fraud, and the human dilemma was great.” [LEVINE, p. 66]

Incredibly, even in Germany, where Jews have such a horrible history, such Jewish-related problems still bubble beneath the surface. In 1994 a US News and World Report reporter noted the observations of a Frankfort policeman patrolling Precinct 4:

“‘It’s all owned by Jews,’ [Bernd] Gayk says of the train station’s red light district. ‘Practically everything in this area is owned by German Jews. There is a single cabaret here owned by a German, but the rest belongs to the Jews.'” [MARKS, J., p. 42, 44]

Shockingly, even shortly after the Holocaust when there were only a few thousand Jews left in Germany, they remained prominent in the prostitution business there. In 1961 Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein interviewed Dean Heinrich Gruber of the Evangelical Church of East and West Berlin. Rubenstein notes that Gruber nearly himself perished in a Nazi concentration camp, and he “had a long and heroic record of opposition to the Nazis on Christian grounds as well as friendship and succor for Nazism’s chief victims [Jews].” [RUBENSTEIN, p. 5] “The problem in Germany is that the Jews haven’t learned anything from what happened to them,” the Dean told a startled Rubenstein, “I always tell my Jewish friends that they shouldn’t put a hindrance in the way our fight against anti-Semitism.” [RUBENSTEIN, p. 7] Gruber then complained that “many of the brothels and risqué night clubs, for example, were in Jewish hands, especially those in close proximity to army camps.” [RUBENSTEIN, p. 7] And Rubenstein’s response to the clergyman? “Look,” the rabbi said,

“I don’t understand why you are so troubled about a pitifully small number of Jews in shady positions or interested in making money rather than following more edifying pursuits. It seems to me that every person pays a price for the kind of life he or she leads. Why should Germany be upset about a few such Jews unless they are overly involved in other peoples’ lives? Must every Jew make himself so pale, so inconspicuous, even invisible, that he will give no offense to Germans? … After what happened [the Holocaust], why should any Jew remain and worry about German approval?” [RUBENSTEIN, p. 7-8]

Marvin Wolf, a Jewish captain in the U.S. army serving in Germany, recalls that in 1971

  • “Rabbi David, the Jewish chaplain in Frankfort am Main — and the husband of my mother’s second cousin — told me that he knew several Jewish millionaires at whose homes I would be welcome — but, ‘I’m not crazy about any of them,’ he said. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘After the war, ’45, ’46, Germany was in ruins,’ he explained. ‘Terrible times. Nobody had money except the Occupation forces and a handful of Jews who had survived the camps and got a monthly pension — government reparations. In Frankfort, a few of these Jews recruited starving, desperate German girls and opened brothels. Got their revenge, and got rich, too. They’re in other businesses now, but do you really want to spend Pesach [Passover] with such people?” [WOLF, M. J., 1998]

In 1909 one Jewish observer, Marcus Braun, estimated there to be 50,000 Jewish immigrant prostitutes in America and 10,000 pimps. (Edward Bristow considers these figures grossly inflated, but notes that one of Braun’s colleagues, echoing at least public feelings about the problem, thought there were up to 100,000 American Jewish women of ill repute.) In any case, the Jewish pimps of New York City (who owned many of the “so-called French” bordellos in the Tenderloin district and “sought to fill them with French prostitutes from abroad”) [BRISTOL, p. 165] had their own official organization: “The New York Independent Benevolent Association.” Frances Kellar, a respected social worker, wrote in 1907 that “the two nationalities who may be said to be central to the disorderly house business in New York [are] French and Jewish … French houses … are not … to be so much feared as the Jewish … [which are] thoroughly vicious and bad.” [BRISTOL, p. 165] By the turn of the century, “hundreds and hundreds” of Jewish women walked the Lower East Side of New York City as prostitutes. [FRIED, p. 8] Benjamin Altman described the whores he saw on Allen Street: “A hundred women on every … corner. Tall women, short women. Fair women. Ugly women.” [FRIED, p. 12]

Between November 15, 1908 and March 15, 1909, almost three-quarters of 2,093 prostitute cases before the New York City courts were “native-born” women, “a preponderance,” noted Albert Fried, “who were presumably Jewish.” (Ethnic categories included “Russian” and “Polish,” but not Jewish). [FRIED, p. 8] Of “foreign-born” prostitutes in court, 225 were Jewish, 154 French, 64 German, 31 Italian, 29 Irish, and 10 Polish. [FRIED, p. 8]

“The Jewish pimp,” says Albert Fried, “freely used marriage brokers and unemployment agencies to snare his victims — the young, the lonely, the innocent, the weak, the alienated, the oppressed.” [FRIED, p. 14] Starting out with one whore in 1890, for example, by 1912 Motche Greenberg had a “controlling interest in eight whorehouses and 114 women and was earning $4,000 a month, an incalculable amount by today’s standards.” [FRIED, p. 18]

In Chicago, by 1907 Rabbi Emil Hirsch declared that 75% of the “white slavery” in his city was controlled by Jews. [BRISTOW, p. 177] The Jewish periodical the Forward forlornly reported that “the facts that were uncovered at the trial [for corruption] of [police] inspector McCann are horrifying. 75% of the white slave trade in Chicago is in Jewish hands. The owners of most of the immoral resorts on the West Side are Jews. Even in Gentile neighborhoods Jews stand out prominently in the nefarious business.” [FRIED, p. 70]

(Even in 2001, as a result of an undercover police investigation, Joel Gordon (a cantor, i.e., the man who sings liturgical songs and leads prayer in a synagogue) and his wife Alison Greenberg were tried in Chicago for running a brothel. Ginsberg was also charged with acts of prostitution. “We now realize,” said Howard Peritz, a member of Gordon’s synagogue, “that in starting a congregation around a man [Gordon], we were canonizing him.” [JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY, 1-5-01] The same year, a synagogue room (Finchley Synagogue’s Kinloss Suite) in Great Britain made the news when it hosted a “stag party with three strippers performing ‘sexually explicit acts.'” Some of the money raised was supposed to go to a Jewish charity.) [ZERDIN, J., 29-01]

In 1987, a Jewish ultra-Orthodox group bought a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, and began hiring illegal non-Jewish aliens from Eastern Europe to do the menial jobs at their company. Despite the fact that only Jews dominated the upper eschelons of the firm, and Jewish author Stephen Bloom’s underscores Jewish exploitation and condemnation of the entire non-Jewish community in his book called Postville, he frames the following in cautiously distancing, apologetic form:

“[A woman in her mid-twenties said:] ‘The managers are incredibly rude. One manager fired me because I wouldn’t go to bed with him.’ The translator used the word ‘manager,’ but the woman was most likely speaking of one of her supervisors, who would have been a Christian. ‘If the manager wants to sleep with you and you do, you get a raise. If you don’t, he makes your life miserable. Girls have no choice.’ No one [of a group of fellow workers] disputed what the woman said.” [BLOOM, S., 2001, p. 138]

In 1932, a few Polish-American officials of the city of Hamtramck (within Detroit) were charged by a grand jury with the “familiar charge of collusion with vice interests for gratuities.” The central player among those convicted was Jewish, Jacob Kaplan, “head of a vice syndicate” who collected $2,000 a month from disorderly houses in the Syndicate.” [WOOD, 1955, p. 53-54] In 1941, the Detroit Free Press listed the names of those involved in another exposed vice ring in the area of Hamtramck, a ring that drew city officials and administrators into its web with bribes and payoffs. The racketeers included “Sam (the Jap) Gross, Hamtramck area brothel operator;” Charles Berman, “charged with operating a vice resort;” Irene Kaplan, “defendant in accusations as brothel keeper;” Ike (Forty Grand) Levy, “vice resort operator;” Kitty (Big Nose) Silverman, “reputed vice resort keeper;” and Jack (alias Jack Jesus) Silverman, “husband of Kitty.” [WOOD, A., 1955, p. 84, 86]

Israeli scholar Robert Rockaway notes the dimensions of Detroit’s all-Jewish Prohibition-era Purple Gang:

  • “Detroit’s Canadian border and existence of Jewish-owned Canadian distilleries, such as those of Sam and Harry Bronfman [Jewish founders of Seagram], offered opportunities to Detroit’s Jewish gangsters that rivaled bootlegging operations in Chicago and New York. Instead of transporting the liquor themselves, the Purples arranged for the Jewish-dominated ‘Little Jewish Navy’ to bring it across the river for them … The Gang’s dealings also extended to the sale of stolen diamonds, narcotics and prostitution in Canada.” [ROCKAWAY, R., 2001, p. 113-]

Green Bay, Wisconsin? George Tane, also Jewish, “was a bootlegger who controlled Green Bay, Wisconsin. After Prohibition, he owned all the houses of prostitution in the city.” [ROCKAWAY, R., 1993, p. 214] Atlanta, Georgia? In 2001, Steven Kaplan, owner of the nude “Gold Club,” faced a Federal indictment on counts of “loan sharking, money laundering and bribing police officers.” He was also accused “of building a $50 million fortune in part by providing prostitutes for celebrities … Atlanta’s Gold Club is one of the most profitable nude clubs in the country.” [COURT TV, 4-30-2001] [See also evidence in this volume — Mass Media 2 Chapter — about prostitution rackets controlled by today’s “Russian” mafia, which is largely Jewish in organization; Heidi Fleiss (the much-publicized, high-priced Jewish prostitution “madam” to Hollywood stars), famed Jewish prostitute Xaviera Hollander (“The Happy Hooker”), and details of enormous Jewish influence in the worlds of “smut” and pornography]

With the American public beginning to note the high Jewish representation in the prostitution trade; some journalists implied wider corruption. In the June 1909 issue of McClure’s magazine, for instance, George Kibbe Turner wrote:

“Out of the Bowery and Red Light districts have come the new development in New York politics — the great voting power of the organized criminals. It was a notable development not only for New York, but for the country at large. And no part of it was more noteworthy than the appearance of the Jewish dealer in women, a product of New York politics, who has vitiated more than any other single agency the moral life of the great cities of America in the past ten years.” [BELL, p. 187]

“It is an absolute fact,” wrote Ernest Bell in his 1911 book about white slavery, “that corrupt Jews are now the backbone of the loathsome traffic in New York and Chicago. The good Jews know this and feel keenly the unspeakable shame of it.” [BELL, p. 188] “The criminal instincts that are so often found naturally in the Russian and Polish Jew,” wrote Frank Moss in a popular volume called American Metropolis (1897), “come to the surface in such ways as to warrant the opinion that these people are the worst element in the entire make-up of New York City … A large proportion of the people of New Israel are addicted to vice.” [FRIED, p. 55-56]

“Vice and crime did pervade the Lower East Side,” remarks Albert Fried, “and no one knew it more keenly than its residents. The better part of wisdom, so far as they were concerned, was to keep the disgrace quiet, to avoid publicizing it.” [FRIED, p. 59] Meanwhile, in the early 1900’s the National Council of Jewish Women even had Yiddish-speaking volunteers working to keep new female immigrants at Ellis Island “out of the clutches of men (often Jewish) who would try to entice them into prostitution.” [SCHNEIDER, p. 224]

By the early years of the twentieth century, large urban department stores had reputations “as breeding grounds for prostitution.” In New York City, for example, Macy’s fell under suspicion to some, in part for its proximity to a former red light district. In 1913, Percy Strauss, the Vice President of Macy’s, hosted a “vice vigilante” group to investigate his store. “Strauss,” notes William Leach, “no dour Puritan, had a personal interest in leading a campaign against vice. For one thing, as a German Jew and spokesman for the Jewish community, he had to disprove the charge — widely made — that immigrant Jewish women (and many of his own employees, therefore) were more likely than other women to be prostitutes.” [LEACH, p. 117] By 1915 the Committee Against Vice (of which Strauss had conveniently become chairman) published a report that affirmed that Macy’s was “normal.” “On the other hand,” says William Leach, “testimony in the ‘secret reports’ told a different tale. Saleswomen, it was revealed, passed around pornographic cards and poems about themselves, talked openly about ‘sex’ and ‘sex desire,’ and ‘gossiped about fairies,’ as one investigator put it. Private accounts by other investigative reformers echoed this view, that things at Macy’s and in other department stores were hardly ‘normal’ or ‘decent.’ ‘The strongest temptation of girls in department stores,’ warned one reformer, ‘is not poverty but luxury and money.'” [LEACH, p. 118]

Although Jewish poverty was — and is — often argued as a major reason for their high international representation in such a vice, a 1914 League of Nations survey of 25 Jewish prostitutes in Buenos Aires showed that only 4 of them claimed to be poor before their new trade. Nine, however, stated that their family lives had been “immoral or abusive in some way.” [BRISTOW, p. 95] (As Robert Rockaway notes about the dozens of members in Detroit’s all-Jewish criminal Purple Gang, which was involved in everything from murder to prostitution: “[Purple Gang members] were not products of crushing poverty, broken homes, or widespread economic despair. Most of them had been raised in lower middle class households where the father had a steady, if not well-paying, job.”) [ROCKAWAY, R., 2001, p. 113-]

And what, in complete dismissal of the facts of history, is the common Jewish perspective about the unabashed prominence of Jews in the “white slave trade?” This, in 1998, from Jewish scholar Gary Tobin in a popular Jewish newspaper:

“For those with a knowledge of history of 19th century anti-Semitic propaganda, the idea that Jews are running “the white slave trade” is nothing new. Cartoon like stereotypes of loathsome Jewish villains trading on the lost virtue of non-Jewish maidens was standard material for the Nazis and their precursors … It took a sick mind to imagine that Jews were running the world’s oldest profession.” [TOBIN, Distinguished, p. 51]

Tobin was responding to a very disturbing article in the New York Times (January 11, 1998) which described the horrible situation that Slavic Gentile prostitutes face today, trapped in Israel. As the Times notes, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and a resulting economic chaos, literally hundreds of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian women have been dispersed throughout the world, most entrapped in an international prostitution trade run by the “Russian mafia.” (Although it is certainly inferred, what the Times article does not overtly mention is that a significant part of the Russian mafia is Jewish. See later chapter). Glenn Frankel, however, a Washington Post correspondent in Jerusalem, took the perspective in 1994 that “there was much talk about the Russian mafia muscling in [to Israel], although the police and most crime experts agreed that the brothels were almost entirely under the control of the Israeli mafia and that the Russians worked mostly as low-level managers or hookers.” [FRANKEL, p. 175]

“Israel has become a routine destination for the global trafficking of women,” noted Leonard Fein in a 1998 Jewish Bulletin,

“women coerced into prostitution. The thousand such women brought into Israel annually derive principally from the countries of the former Soviet Union, and the way they get to Israel is that they are ‘purchased,’ each one costing between $10,000 and $20,000. And they are, of course, expected to repay the cost to their masters through what amounts to indentured servitude — or, if you prefer the simpler and more straightforward, slavery … Some [are] as young as 15, and even 12 … Each woman earns between $50,000 and $100,000 for her pimp. The turnover of the prostitution trade in Israel comes to some $450 million a year.” [FEIN, 1998, p. 21]

In a country of six million people, this averages about $75 a year paid to a pimp for every man, woman, and child in Israel. There are today 150 brothels and sex shops in Tel Aviv alone. [SILVER, E., 8-25-2000, p. 32]

In an interview with Marina, a Russian prostitute, the (Jewish) Forward noted in 1995 that there were nine or ten “Russian” prostitution rings in Israel. “Girls are regularly beaten to keep them obedient,” Marina told the Forward, “… [The Israeli police are] regularly paid off with free visits to our girls. A reporter like you thinks you’re picking up a stone from the road, but you might find you’re digging into a mountain.” [SHILLING, p. 5] As a report by Israel’s Women’s Network noted in 1997:

“Every year, hundreds of women from the former Soviet Union are lured to Israel, gaining entry by posing as immigrants, on the promise of finding lucrative jobs, and then are lured into prostitution by abusive pimps.” [GROSS, N., 1997, p. 16]

In 1998, Hungary’s Consul in Tel Aviv, Andrea Horvath complained that four Hungarian women “had allegedly met their Israeli employer in a Budapest discotheque. They were hired as dancers but were later forced to provide sexual services as well.” [MTI, 3-20-98] In 2000, Robert Friedman, in talking about his book about the “Russian Mafia,” noted Seimon Mogilevich, head of a major Jewish mobster network, noting him as “one of the world’s biggest traffickers in women, Eurasian women.” [PENKLAVA, M., 5-3-2000]

“Women are sold into the sex business in Israel for between $5,000 and $15,000,” reported the Jerusalem Post in 1998, “while the pimps who buy them can earn between $10,000 and $50,000 a year per woman … 2,000 women are brought to Israel from the CIS and forced by pimps to work as prostitutes. Many are brought here on false pretenses and held against their will.” As Ira Omait, head of the Haifa Emergency Shelter for Women told the Post, “We are fast heading in the direction of trade in minors for prostitution and slavery.” [COLLINS, L., 12-15-98, p. 5] Incredibly, as noted in a Jerusalem Post editorial in 1998, “According to the Women’s Lobby [a women’s group in Israel], part of the [prostitution] problem is that there is no law against slavery in Israel.” [JERUSALEM POST, 1-13-98, p. 10]

“Poor Women of Ex-Soviet Union Lured Into Sex Slavery” headlined a 1998 Associated Press story. Women forced into prostitution in Israel, noted the article, were locked in rooms and provided only food and condoms. And Israeli law on the subject? In 1996 150 men were arrested for pimping or running brothels. Merely 21 cases went to trial, and no one was ever convicted of a crime. [LINZER, D., 6-13-98] In 1998 an Israeli judge even ordered an insurance company to pay for a client’s prostitution addiction:

“An Israeli insurance company has been ordered to pay 300,000 shekels ($80,000) to fund the prostitution habit of a man injured in a car accident.” [DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR, 4-22-98]

The man claimed that since a 1993 car crash he couldn’t form relationships with women and relied on the prostitution world.

The 1998 New York Times article noted that more than 1,500 Slavic prostitutes — mostly from the Ukraine — have been deported from Israel for residence infractions in the past three years. (Israeli oppression knows no end: “Unlike many countries, Israel does not pay airfare for deportees.” [LINZER, D., 6-13-98]) Prostitution is not illegal in Israel and clients include foreign workers, “Israeli soldiers with rifles on their shoulders,” business executives, and tourists. The Times noted that

“The networks trafficking women run east to Japan and Thailand, where thousands of young Slavic women now work against their will as prostitutes, and west to the Adriatic Coast and beyond … The routes are controlled by Russian gangs based in Moscow … In Ukraine alone … as many as 400,000 women under 30 have gone in the past decade … Israel is a fairly typical destination … Police officials [in Israel] estimate that there are 25,000 paid sexual transactions every day. [This in a country with a population of 6 million]. Brothels are ubiquitous … Once they cross the border [into Israel] their passports will be confiscated [by pimps], their freedoms curtailed and what little money they have taken from them at once … The Tropicana, in Tel Aviv’s bustling business district, is one of the busiest bordellos. The women who work there, like nearly all prostitutes in Israel today, are Russian. Their bosses, however, are not. ‘Israelis love Russian girls,’ said Jacob Golan, who owns this and two other clubs, ‘…. They are blonde and good looking and different than us … And they are desperate. They are ready to do anything for money.” [SPECTER, p. 1]

“The situation,” wrote Jewish author David Weinberg in an 1998 article about prostitution in Israel entitled Not So Holy Land, “is enough to make you cry in despair, or vomit from shame.” [WEINBERG, D., 1-18-98, p. 8]