Mark King (Ripperana, No. 11, Jan 1995, "Kozminski" and No. 15, Jan. 1996) describes two Kosminski families in separate articles. In the former, it is clearly established that Aaron Kosminski’s brother-in-law, Woolf Abrahams of 3 Sion Square, certified his confinement at Mile End Old Town Infirmary in July, 1890, and was listed as Aaron’s next-of-kin ("Wolf") upon his incarceration at Colney Hatch Asylum in 1891. The cited birth certificate of Matilda to Woolf and Betsy Kozminski in May, 1890, apparently links Aaron to Betsy as brother and sister because of the Sion Square address recorded on Aaron’s admission to the Infirmary. In the latter article, a Kozminski family at Goulston St. is listed in the 1891 census: a father, Isaac, 43, boot and shoemaker, a mother, son, (all born in Poland) and a daughter, Betsy, 17, born in Whitechapel.
There seemed to me a possible link between Aaron, the presumed "Kosminski" suspect and this Goulston St. household. Was this Betsy living on Goulston St. the same Betsy who was married to Woolf Abrahams and living at 3 Sion Square? Apparently not. Additional census data not cited in the article indicates the latter Betsy was aged 34 in 1891 and born in Russia (Sugden 1995, revised Complete History JtR, p. 474-475) while the former Betsy was aged 17 and born in Whitechapel. This diminished the possibility of a direct link between the #76 Goulston St. and the #3 Sion Square households, although Isaac may bear some relation to Aaron, be it father, uncle, or in-law. As Aaron lived with Woolf and Betsy (nee Kosminski) Abrahams, and Aaron and Betsy were related, the possibility exists that Aaron was also born in Russia, not Poland. Thus, Anderson’s Polish Jewish suspect maybe someone other than Aaron.
The above hypothesis was discussed in three posts, dated 4/20, 4/23 and 5/20/99, on the Aaron Kosminski Suspect Board. Some points, both pro and con, are outlined below for this hypothesis. One of the central problems is relying on census data that was compiled every 10 years and recorded for the first year of each new decade, ie., 1881, 1891, 1901, etc. We can’t be sure where people lived on a year-by-year basis, or specifically if the census date even reflected the actual residence recorded on that date. Unfortunately, there is a 100-year moratorium on the public release of PRO census data. The 1901 London census, for example, will not be available until January 1, 2002. Another problem is that all files on criminal lunatics are officially closed for 100 years after the person’s death. Doubtless, there are many other factors to be considered in this theory. Lets look at some that struck me:
In two previous posts (April 20 and 23, 1999 on the Aaron K. Board), I thought that the name "Betsy Kosminski" at both #76 Goulston St. and #3 Sion Square (Abrahams/nee Kosminski) in 1891 seemed a bit beyond coincidence and reasoned that they were probably the same person, which they were not. Now what if the police, during their October 1888 house-to-house search for the killer in Whitechapel, came to #76, noted family members present and some suspicious behavior, ie., that they were trying to hide something? Faced with the continuing massive task of interviewing all of the residents in the district search area, they mark #76 down on a shortlist denoting reasonable suspicion, and continue with the rest of the search. About two or three years later, Aaron K. attacks his sister with a knife at #3 Sion Square (outside the 1888 Metropolitan Police-led search area) and is brought to the attention of the MET police. A background check of the records (from both the City and MET 1888 police notebooks) reveals previous suspicions (recorded by City Police (point #8 above) on a Kozminski family member, who also happens to have a daughter, Betsy, residing at the #76 house. This family is by now (early 1891) difficult to trace for whatever reasons (lack of census data, family breakup; the mother ended up living on New Road, Whitechapel in 1894, the son and daughter may have married and moved on), so the police initially assume that Aaron was this other suspicious Kozminski, and that Betsy, his sister or aunt, was the same Betsy who formerly resided at #76 Goulston St. Subsequently, Aaron’s sister or aunt clarifies her background to the police and provides a link via Aaron back to the #76 Goulston Street family.
The police eventually trace the mother (Elizabeth) to New Road, Whitechapel. She tells them that her husband, Isaac, has gone to live with his brother in Stepney. The police find Isaac at #23 Baker St. (Baker’s Row?), Stepney or another local address. Isaac, who by now has exhibited unmistakable outward manifestations of mania, is identified by the police as this other "Kosminski" who had initially fallen under suspicion in 1888 from the police house-to-house search and from follow-up City Police surveillance (Sager’s recollections in point #8). He is then taken from his brother’s house to the Police Convalescent Seaside Home. An initial attempt is made to identify him as JTR using Aaron as a witness, and he is returned to his brother’s house, shortly to be sent to Stepney Workhouse, Bromley, under restraint. The central point to this scenario is the possible police confusion of the name "Betsy Kosminski", a rather uncommon name in Whitechapel, I would think, with the relative of a legitimate JTR suspect living "in the immediate vicinity of the scenes of the murders" (Anderson, p. 137) and a sister or aunt of the same name, who happened to live with a demented imbecile of the same surname.
Finally, two aspects I didn’t touch on before: (1) Anderson, in his 1910 memoirs, "The Lighter Side of my Official Life", wrote that while he was abroad, the results of the October 1888 house-to-house search pointed to the murderer being a low-class Polish Jew. When the Ripper was later "identified", this previous conclusion was verified in every respect. Anderson’s exact words were "and the result proved our diagnosis was right on every point" (Blackwood’s Magazine serialization, 1910). Thus, their 1888 house-to-house search led to suspicions on a poor Polish Jew, which were later confirmed when the trail may have led back to Isaac via Aaron’s relatives. (2) During the witness identification of the suspect, Anderson (p. 138 of his memoirs) says that the witness "unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him, but he refused to give evidence against him". Swanson, years later, noted that "…because the suspect was also a Jew and his evidence would convict the suspect, and witness would be the means of murderer being hanged, which he didn’t wish to left on his mind…" The preceding dovetails rather well if Isaac and Aaron were known to each other in the crimes because they were related and that Aaron may have actually partook in one or more of the murders, and that Anderson knew this. Anderson in all likelihood would have banked on an identification between two well-acquainted persons, not on a fleeting sighting two or more years earlier. Aaron may have been the witness (because he was possibly an unwilling participant in the murders), and could recognize and identify a relative, but either could not or would not give evidence against him because he was a blood relation. Anderson also knew that incriminating testimony from a certified lunatic, although admissible, would have had limited effect in a court of law, but I believe, he had little else to fall back on at that point. Hence, his reticence about the murderer’s identity in latter years in his writings, to the press, friends and even to fellow Scotland Yard detectives who were directly involved in the investigation, but not the identification. Two objections to this second aspect are (1) Anderson’s other description of the witness-suspect confrontation described in the earlier serialized Blackwood’s Magazine, March (1908): "…but when he LEARNED the suspect was a fellow Jew, he declined to swear to him…". Clearly this implies that they were completely unknown to each other, aside from the witness sighting. (2) Anderson said "I could not accept responsibility for the non-detection of the Ripper crimes" (Evening Chronicle, 1 Sept., 1908). This statement, I believe, has been misinterpreted by researchers to mean that the Ripper was never identified (brought to public justice), but in all probably meant that by the legal means of the Victorian British Judicial System, the police could not bring a convicingly guilty case against the suspect to the public based on evidence that had it’s source in part, (a) to family testimony two+ years after the Canonical Murders, and to (b) that mental lunatics were extremely difficult to convict in a court of law. Anderson quoted years later said that "The necessary evidence for his conviction is unobtainable." (Daily Telegraph, 19 November 1918).
Why did the City Police put the Kosminski suspect under surveillance at his brother’s house after his identification at the Seaside Home and before his confinement at the Stepney Workhouse? It is because the City Police may have obtained information on Isaac (from the October 1888 house-to-house search) and that Isaac lived on Goulston St. when the Eddowes murder was committed in City Police jurisdiction. Begg (Uncensored Facts, p. 209) citing a hand-written amendment by Swanson to the list of Whitechapel victims adding Frances Coles (who died 2-13-91) suggests that this places the identification of the "Kosminski" suspect sometime after February 13, 1891. But Aaron had already been incarcerated at Colney Hatch Asylum for one week. So Paul asks why would the police take Aaron (already incarcerated in an asylum since 7 Feb., 1891) to the Seaside Home for identification, then to his brother’s house, then the Workhouse, and back to the asylum from which he originally came, if he were the suspect? The answer, I believe is that Aaron was the witness, and Isaac the suspect, who had not been in an asylum as of this date. Aaron, as a witness, was taken from Colney Hatch Asylum directly to the Seaside Home and promptly returned there. Isaac may have joined him there in confinement shortly thereafter.
What of the incarceration at Colney Hatch? One can only assume that if there was another "Kosminski" suspect, Anderson, Swanson and company continued to attempt to extract a confession from and/or witness identification of their prime suspect up until his death in the asylum. Anderson said the identification took place after the incarceration, Swanson before. Actually, both were probably correct as multiple attempts were undoubtedly made to secure sufficient evidence or a confession; it is highly unlikely that the police would have given up after only one attempt at the identification. Why are there no known Colney Hatch asylum records concerning this suspect if he was JTR? Perhaps the incarceration of this suspect warranted official secrecy. It may even have been kept from senior Scotland Yard detectives who had worked on the case only two or three years before, while a select few continued to amass probative evidence to obtain a formal conviction up until the suspect’s death. One of the potential sources of hard evidence on this suspect could have come from un-accessed Stepney Workhouse records and the later Patient Casebook records of the Colney Hatch Asylum, if the police did not confiscate them. Other unseen (criminal) asylum records may even exist which may be currently accessible had the patient died sometime prior to 1895. In sum, it is UNLIKELY that Anderson and Swanson would misremember important events about their prime suspect, Kosminski, even years after the crimes.
|Dissertations: A Reply to Kosminski and the Seaside Home|
|Dissertations: Aaron Kosminski Reconsidered|
|Dissertations: Alternative Ripperology: Questioning the Whitechapel Murd...|
|Dissertations: An Alternate Kosminski Suspect and Police Witness|
|Dissertations: Anderson and the Swanson Marginalia|
|Dissertations: Coles, Kosminski and Levy – was there a Victim/Suspect/Wi...|
|Dissertations: Isaac Kosminski|
|Dissertations: Kosminski and the Seaside Home|
|Dissertations: Kosminski´s Relatives|
|Dissertations: The Kozminski File|
|Dissertations: The Men Who Suspected Kosminski|
|Dissertations: The Polish Jew Suspect - Jewish Witness Connection: Some ...|
|Message Boards: Aaron Kosminski|
|Official Documents: The Macnaghten Memoranda|
|Press Reports: Jewish Chronicle - 11 March 1910|
|Press Reports: Jewish Chronicle - 4 March 1910|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 14 February 1890|
|Ripper Media: Criminals and Crime|
|Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Cast of Thousands - Kosminski/ Lubnows...|
|Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: The Uncensored Facts|
|Suspects: Aaron Kosminski|
|Suspects: David Cohen|
|Dissertations: A Mystery Play : Police Opinions on Jack the Ripper|
|Message Boards: Donald Swanson|
|Police Officials: Donald Sutherland Swanson|
|Dissertations: Anderson, Monro and Jsfmboe|
|Dissertations: Arthur Griffiths, Robert Anderson, & Jack the Ripper|
|Dissertations: Dr. Anderson at New Scotland Yard: An 1892 Interview Redi...|
|Dissertations: Emily and the Bibliophile: A Possible Source for Macnaght...|
|Dissertations: From Dublin Castle to Scotland Yard: Robert Anderson and ...|
|Dissertations: Reader Reactions|
|Dissertations: The Lighter Side of My Official Life - Textual Comparison...|
|Message Boards: Sir Robert Anderson|
|Police Officials: Sir Robert Anderson|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 30 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 4 November 1889|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 31 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 18 November 1918|
|Press Reports: Washington Post - 21 March 1910|
|Ripper Media: From Constable to Commissioner: Chapter 16|
|Ripper Media: Lighter Side of My Official Life, The|
|Ripper Media: Police Work From Within|
|Ripper Media: Sir Robert Anderson and Lady Agnes Anderson|
|Ripper Media: Sir Robert Anderson and Lady Agnes Anderson|
|Ripper Media: The Life and Memoirs of John Churton Collins|
|Ripper Media: The Lighter Side of My Official Life|
|Ripper Media: The Police Encyclopedia: Volume IV|
|Dissertations: The Butchers Row Suspect – Was He Jack the Ripper?|