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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Witnesses » Schwartz, Israel » Why was Schwartz out so late? « Previous Next »

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T Seymour
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Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 12:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Schwartz's statement to the police was that he was out on the streets at 12:45 a.m. because his wife was moving that day, and he was on his way home to see if she was gone yet. I can't help but wonder if this explanation sounded a little implausible to them. I would have asked why his wife was moving out in the middle of the night, without him. Possibly he explained it by saying:
He had a job that kept him out late, or,
His wife was observant, and didn't do any work, such as packing and moving, on the Sabbath (sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday,)and waited until after dark to move. (This doesn't explain why he wasn't around on Saturday night to help haul pots and pans.) or,
She had left him, but he knew where she was and went there after possibly seeing Jack at work.
Does anybody know which of these theories flies best?
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Florian Petzold
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Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 8:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good evening TS, and...

... I fully agree with you. Israel Schwartz' reason for passing through Berner Street at that late hour sounds indeed rather odd. It makes him look, not only like a coward who takes to his heels the moment he sees a woman in trouble, but also like a sad little patriarch who apparently holds his wife to be his donkey. If he couldn't or didn't want to help with the packing and carrying, did he even talk as little with his wife as to rest in ignorance of the day and hour, when she expected to move? Seems not altogether convincing that the marriage was falling apart, since on feeling threatened he ran straightway to take shelter at his new abode ... and obviously, he had no longer any doubts as to its being already inhabited, then! Above all, why did he go to the old adress to make sure? Everyone in his right senses would first have looked at the new one. No doubt, this part of his story gives the impression of an utterly improbable, implausible and slovenly thought up pretext for his being where he had no business to be.

But, alas! We don't know what Schwartz told police concerning this point. For all that story of his wife's moving to new quarters and his looking if she had done it ... stems from the Star's account of things! If Philip Sugden is right, Schwartz's statement to police survives only ‘in Chief Inspector Swanson's synthesis of the Stride evidence, written on 19 October' (p. 203 of my copy), and that synthesis tells us no more about Schwartz' coming and going than, ‘on turning into Berner Street from Commercial Road & had got as far as the gateway where the murder was committed he saw...', and afterwards, ‘he ran as far as the railway arch'.

Now, if you compare the Star article with Swanson's raw draft, you'll realize that the discrepancies are tremendous, even on taking into account that hacks are forever dramatizing and exaggerating what little truth is told them. So maybe Schwartz told the police a wholly different story on that head, too.

Somehow I feel a little sorry that Schwartz has never been suspected of being the Ripper. I don't mean to say that there aren't already more than enough Rippers, and rest assured that I shall never turn up with a theory incriminating Schwartz. But if he had been suspected, we should know a good deal more about his life, his marriage, his profession, his career etc., than we do now. Considering that his testimony is estimated as a ‘crucial' one, even by Sugden, this would be highly desirable.

Best wishes

P.S. You'll find an excellent post discussing the differences between the Star article and Swanson's summary in an above thread, the one which started very hopefully in about the same way as this one, but then degraded sadly into one of those dreary 'Joe Barnett's echolalia'-discussions, and which most certainly doesn't in the least answer its title question, Who was Israel Schwartz?. Thanks for opening a new thread and leading back to this interesting subject.
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Thomas C. Wescott
Username: Tom_wescott

Post Number: 166
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 12:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello all,

I agree that it's a very interesting discussion. If you will, please allow me to point out a few things. It's often mistaken, as it was above, that Schwartz's wife had left him. That's not at all the case. I'll quote from the Star article:

'It seems that he had gone out for the day, and his wife had expected to move, during his absence, from their lodgings in Berner Street to others in Backchurch Lane. When he first came homewards about a quarter before one he first walked down Berner Street to see if his wife had moved.'

Now, from this, one might get the impression that Schwartz's wife was leaving him, but later on in the article, following the description of Schwartz being chased by the second man, it reads: 'he fled incontinently to his new lodgings'. So, from this we know that Schwartz and his wife, together were moving to new lodgings. He had probably spent the day working or looking for work, and his wife was able to move alone because they probably lacked possessions. I hope this is of interest to you.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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Tammy Seymour
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Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 9:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the input on this question. It looks as though the Star did some major embellishing. T.S.

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