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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Cohen, David

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  #1  
Old 09-12-2014, 03:58 AM
Harry D Harry D is offline
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Question If they never knew his name...

Martin Fido says that he was named 'David Cohen' as a placeholder for Jews whose names were unknown or difficult to pronounce, then why was he listed as Aaron Davis Cohen at the magistrates court? Surely that is in fact his true identity?
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:37 AM
Harry D Harry D is offline
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Come on, I'm only asking for two cents...
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:38 PM
Scott Nelson Scott Nelson is offline
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The Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 9 September 1888, reported an encounter with "Leather Apron" near Albert Street, "The inquiries of our special representative led to the discovery that he is the son of a fairly well-to-do Russian Jew, but he is discarded by the Jewish fraternities as one who is a disgrace to their tribe."

There was a David Cohen living in Manchester in 1881, who was the eldest son of Zusman Cohen, a prominent rabbi and dayan of the Manchester Hebrew Congregation and the London Beth Din. Zusman was born near Bialystock, Poland (currently Vilkaviskis, Lithuania) in 1841, and was the son of a wealthy merchant. Zusman and his family first emigrated to Cheetham, Lancashire in 1872. Two of his other sons, Harris and Barnett Isaac, later served as rabbis at the Nottingham, Stoke Newington and the Sheffield Congregations.

If "Cohen" is a Jewish word for "priest" and according to the Torah, the brother of Moses was "Aaron", the first Cohen (priest), what do we make of the name, "Aaron Davis Cohen," the name recorded at the Thames Magistrates Court when the Metropolitan Police took Cohen there on December 7th as a witness to a brothel raid? By nightfall, the name was changed to "David Cohen", when he was taken to the Whitechapel Workhouse. Was the "Aaron" part a title similar to the English "Sir," if David had been a priest or rabbi? If so, who informed the court of this name or title and why was it dropped when he later entered the workhouse? If the insane David was his own informant, would his information not need to be collaborated by someone who knew him, if there was somebody available and willing to do so?
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:26 PM
J6123 J6123 is offline
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People don't talk about this guy anywhere near enough. Maybe it's because we don't know much about him.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:46 PM
J6123 J6123 is offline
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Can somebody learn Yiddish and get on the case and then report back what they have discovered and write a book about it as well please?

Last edited by J6123 : 04-28-2015 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:49 PM
Scott Nelson Scott Nelson is offline
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Might be rather difficult. Can somebody please ask Martin Fido at the upcoming Baltimore conference what his further thoughts are on David Cohen as a suspect?
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:08 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Nelson View Post
If "Cohen" is a Jewish word for "priest" and according to the Torah, the brother of Moses was "Aaron", the first Cohen (priest), what do we make of the name, "Aaron Davis Cohen," the name recorded at the Thames Magistrates Court when the Metropolitan Police took Cohen there on December 7th as a witness to a brothel raid? By nightfall, the name was changed to "David Cohen", when he was taken to the Whitechapel Workhouse. Was the "Aaron" part a title similar to the English "Sir," if David had been a priest or rabbi? If so, who informed the court of this name or title and why was it dropped when he later entered the workhouse? If the insane David was his own informant, would his information not need to be collaborated by someone who knew him, if there was somebody available and willing to do so?
Aaron is not a title, although Cohen is, as is Levi if it ever comes up. And we pronounce it a little differently, CO-hane, so when someone is taking dictation the spelling can get a little creative.

Neither Aaron nor David were particularly common names in actual use. Sure everyone knew of King David, people just didn't tend to name their kids that. Like Solomon. Well known, not a popular name. David is much more popular now, and more popular in the Christian community than the Jewish one, though I do know a small pack of Davids. it's my one real argument with the idea that David Cohen is a kind of John Smith. If it was really like a John Smith, it would be Isaac Cohen. Far more popular name at the time.

The interesting part of this is that Jews from the Pale tended not to have middle names, much less anglicized, unless they had been in the country awhile, though they were and still are given Hebrew names in order to keep a connection to our community. So it's entirely possible that Aaron AND David are both the given names of this particular individual. He would go by one name on the streets and another name in a ritual sense. For example he would be bar mitzvahed under his Hebrew name, not his English name. So Aaron at work, David in Shul. When asked for his full name, any Jew would likely include that name, and it is not uncommon for that to be attributed as a middle name. It's something we've seen in our immigration records. Then we started giving our kids middle names and it got even more complicated, except most of us are well aware that cops don't give a **** about our Hebrew names. I've certainly never given mine to someone unless they know enough to ask about it. Although mine's actually better than my English name, so I've used it at various points in my life, email addresses, nickname, some mailing stuff. It would be confusing to people who paid attention to those small areas of my life, but the government doesn't care in the slightest. So a guy in a hospital may have no idea what name they want him to give, so he may give both.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:56 PM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is offline
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But I thought the middle name mentioned in Scott's post up thread was "Davis", which sounds more English? Also is usually a surname, isn't it?
Of course, the paper might have gotten it wrong.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:14 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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But I thought the middle name mentioned in Scott's post up thread was "Davis", which sounds more English? Also is usually a surname, isn't it?
Of course, the paper might have gotten it wrong.
Look at your keyboard. I imagine someone typed it up for the printers and hit the wrong key.
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