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The only patient who fits Anderson's account?

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  • The only patient who fits Anderson's account?

    On another thread, Martin Fido posted the following:
    I don't deny that it could mean Anderson still had no positive conclusion in November 1889, and instantly concede that this would rule out David Cohen (who, I believe, is far more likely than Kosminski to have been Anderson's supect - and again, I note that my conclusions are being challenged by people who have not undertaken the necessary scholarly re-checking of my original work in tracing all Jewish patients in London asylums between 1888 and 1890 and all deaths of Kosminskis, Kosminskys and Kaminskys registered between 1888 and 1960 before I reached the conclusion that Cohen is the only patient who fits Anderson's account. To dismiss my arguments opponents depend instead on logic-chopping.)
    [my emphasis]

    I think the part I've put into bold is a remarkable claim. It would be interesting to know whether anyone else agrees with it, two decades on from the publication of Martin Fido's book proposing Cohen as a suspect.

  • #2
    I think it is clear that Anderson's statement fits both Cohen and Aaron Kosminski, but this is mainly because Anderson is so general in what he says. In fact there is nothing in "The Lighter Side" that is inconsistent with Aaron Kozminski... noting Anderson corrected the statement in the serialized version that the identification took place "when the individual whom we suspected was caged in an asylum." This was removed.

    Other than that, nothing in Anderson's statement is incorrect regarding what is known about Aaron Kozminski.

    - was living in the immediate vicinity of the scenes of the murders - Yes.
    - "was not living absolutely alone". - It is likely Aaron lived with family, or in "shops".
    - "his people knew of his guilt, and refused to give him up to justice" - possibly corroborated by other references & sources, but is clearly not incorrect based on what we know.
    - "his people were certain low-class Polish Jews" -yes
    - "the only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him; but he refused to give evidence against him." - this is corroborated by Swanson who specifically says the suspect was Kosminski... not Kaminsky or Cohen.
    - "loathsome creature whose utterly unmentionable vices reduced him to a lower level than that of the brute" - unmentionalble vices possibly refers to the cause of insanity given on Aaron's admission to colney Hatch, i.e self abuse, aka. solitary vice, masturbation.

    But generally, Anderson's statement would also fit Kaminsky (probably) with the exception of the fact that Swanson specifically said the suspect was Kosminski.

    In any case, fido said "Cohen is the only patient who fits Anderson's account", which is clearly not correct. But what I think Martin meant, and what we should probably be discussing is if "Cohen is the only patient who fits the account of the suspect described by Anderson, Swanson, and Macnaghten", as clearly (in my opinion) they are all talking about the same suspect.

    So I propose that we broaden the scope of this to discuss the proposition I mentioned above. Because if we are only discussing Martin's actual statement, then I can say he is clearly wrong. But I think what he meant to say was "the account of the suspect described by Anderson, Swanson, and Macnaghten".

    Rob H
    Last edited by robhouse; 08-03-2008, 03:25 AM. Reason: typos


    • #3
      So how well do the statements of Swanson and Macnaghten fit with Aaron Kozminski and David Cohen/ Nathan Kaminsky.

      First, let me say that I in no way agree with the assessment that Nathan Kaminsky and David Cohen are the same person. It is true that the only things that suggest they ARE in fact two different people are: different name, different, address, different occupation. On the other hand, the things that suggest they are the same person are: both jews, same age. Fido also claims they both had no known relatives. I am not sure if anything else suggests that Cohen and Kaminsky are the same person. But moving on...

      - "And after this identification which suspect knew no other murder of this kind took place in London." - not known when the said identification took place.
      - "suspect had been identified at the Seaside Home" - if this is the Seaside Home at Hove, which opened in March 1890, then this fits Aaron, but not Kaminsky/Cohen.
      - "On suspectís return to his brotherís house " - various sources suggest Aaron was living with one of his brothers, either Isaac or Woolf, probably during the time of the murders, quite possibly during the entire period 1881-1891, and most certainly around the time of his workhouse admissions in 1890 and 1891. Cohen/Kaminsky said to have no known relatives.
      - "was watched by police (City CID) by day & night" - this is possibly supported by Harry Cox's account of conducting surveillance on a suspect who lived in the workshop of a jewish tailor. Both Aaron's brothers were a Jewish tailor, and Aaron lived with his brother. Cohen/Kaminsky - this may fit if Kaminsky was a tailor, but no other known information on this.
      - "In a very short time the suspect with his hands tied behind his back, he was sent to Stepney Workhouse and then to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards "

      This statement is obviously the problem. As Martin points out "Stepney Workhouse" could fit either person. " In a very short time" refers to a short time after the identification and surveillance, but the dates of these are not known, so it could fit either. "Hands tied behind his back" - apparently fits Cohen, not known if this fits Aaron Kozminski. Colney Hatch fits both.

      "died shortly afterwards" - as has been endlessly pointed out this does not fit Aaron Kozminski. It does fit David Cohen.

      "Kosminski was the suspect" - fits Aaron. Doesnt fit Cohen. In a pinch, arguably could fit Kaminsky, except that Macnaghten also specifically said Kosminski.


      "No 2. Kosminski" - see above.
      "Polish Jew" - fits both
      "lived in the very heart of the district where the murders were committed" - this fits both Aaron, who likely lived on Greenfield St, and also Nathan Kaminsky whose recorded address is Black Lion Yd. It also fits Cohen whose recorded address is Leman St.
      - "He had become insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices" - as stated on Aaron Kozminski's asylum record.
      - "He had a great hatred of women, with strong homicidal tendencies." - not known for Aaron. Arguable for Kaminsky, as he had syphilis, but basically not known. Cohen - unknown.
      - "He was (and I believe still is) detained in a lunatic asylum about March 1889." the admission date does not fit Aaron Kozminski (unless he was admitted to another perhaps private asylum at this time). However, at the time Macnaghten wrote the memo, (Feb '94) Aaron was still in Colney Hatch, so the statement "He was (and I believe still is) detained" fits. By Feb 1894 David Cohen was dead.
      - "This man in appearance strongly resembled the individual seen by the City PC near Mitre Square." This possibly implies that Macnaghten was aware there was an identification. City PC is wrong in any case.

      I think it is clear from this, that with the exception of a few errors, the statements of Macnaghten and Swanson fit Aaron Kozminski better than David Cohen or Nathan Kaminsky. And therefore, Anderson's suspect fits better with Aaron Kozminski, as Anderson's suspect is clearly the man spoken of in the Swanson marginalia, and the Macnaghten memorandum.

      In all, the Cohen Kaminsky theory has three major problems.

      1. We have to accept that Cohen and Kaminsky are the same person. There is practically no good evidence to support this. To support this conjecture, we must also accept various convoluted explanations for why these two men have a different name, occupation, and residence.
      2. Even if Kaminsky and Cohen are the same person, there is nothing to suggest that they had anything to do with the crimes, EXCEPT for the fact that Kaminsky had syphilis, and lived in Black Lion Yard, and that Cohen was a violent maniac.
      3. The only thing that can possibly support the Cohen/Kaminsky theory is if this suspect(s) can be connected to Anderson's suspect. And there is little to support this, as numerous statements by Swanson and Macnaghten do not seem to fit with Cohen Kaminsky, AND do seem to fit with Aaron Kozminski. Not the least of these is the fact that they specifically say Kosminski, providing yet another "problem" that has to be explained away by yet another convoluted "confusion" theory.

      Rob H


      • #4
        Let's put Nathan Kaminsky on one side to start with. I found him before I found either Cohen or Kosminsky, and at a time when Dan Farson's transcription offered Kaminsky as a possibly form of the name in Macnaghten's notes. What made him look possible as the Ripper were the circumstances of his treatment - its nature and its proximity to the assault on Ada Wilson; his occupation (since after seeing in more detail eeh Violenia and prstitute evidence, and Sgt Thick's pre-inquest acknowledgement that he was not entirely certain that Pizer was Leather Apron, I had already concluded that Leather Apron was still in the frame), and the location of his residence. This all excited Richard Whittington-Egan greatly. Like Joe Gaute and Colin Wilson, when my book finally came out, he saw at once that linking Anderson's and Macnaghten's testimony and going to look through the records was producing unexpected new and valid ideas about the Ripper investigation. Nonetheless, I admit immediately that without Kaminsky going in to the asylum there is nothing but a coincidental set of 'opportunity' and general description facts to make him any more likely to be the Ripper than any other leather apronned Whitechapel resident.
        The big problem with Kaminsky is his non-appearance in the death registers.
        With neither Kaminsky nor Kosminsky showing up in the asylum records to 1890 anywhere, (and Aaron Kosminsky's Levesden death happening in a parish that I did not asociate with a lunatic asylum), and with Macnaghten's eroneous dating of the Ripper's incarceration misleading me, it was a shock to realize that Cohen - the very first Jewish lunatic in my notebooks, the time of whose incarceration would uniquely explain the sudden stopping of the murders - was also one of the most violent and dangerous lunatics in London at the time, and if I weren't looking for a Kos- or Kaminsky incarcerated in March 1889 would certainly have drawn immediate attention as probably the man Anderson was talking about.
        Now remember that up to that point I remained convinced that Kaminsky was probably the man I was looking for - only he'd diusppeared. [I]Then[I] I noticed that his age is given as identical with Cohen's, and that neither have any known relatives. (This is entered on the records - one reason for checking the work peple have done to verify their claims). So I made my first guess - that they really were the same, and somehow the name Kaminsky had been picked up by the police after this raving maniac, incapable of identifying himself properly, had been arrested and incacerated under the name of Cohen. (After I published people comntacted me from England, America and Vienna to say that they were called Cohen becauise officials couldn't be bothers with their immigrant grandparents' longer names. I know Paul Begg has heard a scholar from a Jewish institute deny that this ever happened, but I took my evidence from people who knew what had happened in their families. And I know from my own investugation of Nathan "Karnsky" - really Arginsky, that it was quite untrue that the authorities scrupulously established the true names of Jews in care or custody. Nonetheless, I have to say I have no idea how the authorities were able to say ANYTHING about Cohen's age, occupation, marital status or known connections, since he would appear incapable of communicating much).
        I had this standing in print (proofs) when the publishers told me they had more space and I could write an appendix. So I went to look for more Colney Hatch documentation on Cohen, and since the Admissions Books which i hadn't previously seen ran to 1894 or thereabouts - I found Kosminski whom I'd said didn't exist under that name! I had to rewrite my last chapter and pay for it to be re-set. I got te later Day Book details on Kosminsky and found that he was virtually the reverse of Cohen - a harmless non-violent creature who, in crowded slum conditions had once threatened his sister with a knife, and who had once forcefully resisted being made to bath, which was something his delusions urged him never to do. Moreover he was incarcerated so late that his incarceration simply didn't explain the ending of the murders. And to this day the only real clues we have from the events thmselves are the locations of the crimes and the piece of Eddowes' apron, and the sudden cessation of the murders.
        One last amazing coincidence: Kosminski was born in the same year as Cohen and Kaminsky.
        So my book came out saying that Cohen was the Ripper: he was probably called Kaminsky, and this would explain why his name got nmixed up with that of the other Whitechapel lunatic called Kosminsky.
        In response to the three books which appeared simultaneously (mine, Melvin Harris's and Howells & Skinner's), Jim Swanson obrtained permission from the Screws to show his marginalia to the Telegraph. Of course I was as puzzled as anyone else could be when Don Rumbelow and I went over them and discussed them for three hours. But sleeping on it, it came to me that they actually confimred what I was saying: that Cohen and Kosminsky were confused, since Cohen (uniquely among Jewish patients) really had died shortly after his incarceration, and Cohen had been taken to the asylum definitely and the workhouse probably under restraint, whereas Kosminsky, placed by his family, wouldn't have been.
        Simon Wood, a few years later, suggested mildly that Kaminsky was just one thing too many for him to swallow, so I make no point of him now, recognizing that the case against him consists of coincidneces and a guess. But it strains belief to imagine that Swanson would have believed a man identified as the Ripper after had died in an asylum when he hadn't: he might at any time have been declared sane and released. So I have no doubt whatsoever that Cohen and Kosminsky are confuised in Swanson's notes.
        As for Anderson, we have no idea exactly why he made the changes he did between the serial and the volume publication of his memoirs. But his reference in another place to the public going on panicking after the ripper was "safely caged in a lunatkc asylum" suggests that as he remembered it the ID occurred as he originally said. (If the suspect wasn't certified insane there was nothing to stop them from charging him, and in a case this size it's unlikely that a reclacitrant witness would have been enough to stop them).
        And I reiterate, if it is ever shown that Anderson really did mean Kosminsky, then I dismiss Anderson and his theory as dead wrong. Kosminsky's record show that he wasn't th sort of self-controlled figure who could rein himself in like the Green River murderer for a period of years.
        All the best,
        Martin F


        • #5
          The fact that Nathan Kaminsky is entirely absent under that name from any other offical records (census, birth marriage and death etc) suggests that he may either have left the country or changed his name at some stage before the 1891 census in which he has not been found.
          The notice below from the London Gazette may give some clue to the kind of name he would have adopted if he chose the course of a name change.
          I must emphasise that I am NOT suggesting that the individual below is either the Nathan Kaminsky we are seeking (the dates are obviously incompatible) or, indeed, has any connection to him but it may be of interest to show the Anglicisation process of an identical name.

          The London Gazette
          3 May 1938

          Notice is hereby given that I, Nat Kaye, of 224 Whitechapel Road, London, E.1., lately called Nathan Kamerensky and Nathan Kaminsky have assumed and intend henceforth upon all occasions and at all times to sign and use and to be called and known by the name of Nat Kaye in lieu of and in substitution for my former names of Nathan Kamerensky and Nathan Kaminsky and that such intended change of name is formally declared and evidenced by a deed under my hand and seal dated the 29th day of March 1938 duly executed and attested and enrolled in the Central Office of the Supreme Court of Judicature on the 28th day of April 1938.
          Dated this 28th day of April
          Nat Kaye.

          Possible birth:
          1907 Quarter 1
          Whitechapel Vol 1c Page 226
          Nathan Kamerensky


          • #6
            Hi Chris

            Comedian Danny Kaye was originally called David Daniel Kaminsky.


            • #7
              Hi Stephen
              That I didn't know!
              many thanks


              • #8
                Thanks to Rob, Martin and Chris for their comments.

                My feeling is that if we confine ourselves to what Anderson actually said, the statements are so general that they would fit quite a lot of people. (Except that, as Rob points out, Anderson's claim that the suspect's "utterly unmentionable vices [had] reduced him to a lower level than that of the brute" would fit perfectly with Macnaghten's statement that Kosminski "had become insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices" and with the cause of insanity stated in Aaron Kozminski's medical records. As far as I know, the same is not true of Cohen.)

                If we bring in the marginalia, then there is the reference to the suspect dying soon after being committed to Colney Hatch, but of course the is also the statement that he was called Kosminski, so some complicated theory of confusion has to be evolved if the obvious conclusion is to be avoided.

                It seems to me that it's possible to narrow things down to Cohen only by bringing in other factors, such as the date of his committal, or his demeanour when in custody, about which Anderson actually says nothing.


                • #9

                  What is the point in mentioning "when Dan Farson's transcription offered Kaminsky as a possibly form of the name in Macnaghten's notes".

                  Are you are suggesting that Dan Farson mis-transcribed a name that was difficult to read, and that he wrote variants of what he thought he was reading, and that Kaminsky was one of those variants? As you note in your book, "Farson's difficulties with this and other precise words arose from damage in a hand-written section of Lady Aberconway's notes."

                  You do admit that this "was not the form of the Scotland Yard fair copy" and also say that Farson "could not remember the exact sources of his variants"... whatever that means exactly.

                  In any case, it seems you are suggesting that the name Kaminsky was actually written in the Macnaghten memorandum version seen by Farson, then was mis-transcribed, and that Farson wrote variants of this name based on his being unsure of what it actually said, and among the variants of the name were Kaminsky and Kosminski. But then Farson chose the variant he thought most fit, and just happened to spell the mis-read name KOSMINSKI (exactly as the name appears on Aaron's grave). And then Swanson in his marginalia, misremembered the name Kaminsky, got confused, but also happened to spell the mis-remembered name exactly the same way - KOSMINSKI.

                  Or another option would be that somehow both Macnaghten and Swanson confused Kaminsky with another Polish Jewish lunatic named Kosminski, but this would imply that Kosminski had also been a suspect, and was known by Swanson and Macnaghten.

                  If neither of these is what you are suggesting, perhaps you have another explanation for it. Otherwise, I dont see any point in continuing to suggest that the name Kaminsky was actually written in the Macnaghten memorandum.

                  Rob H


                  • #10
                    Swanson's comments don't seem to be internally consistent whichever K-ski he's talking about. He implies that the murders ceased because the suspect knew he'd been identified - then says that the suspect was watched by police round the clock, and that he was incarcerated within a very short time - two more excellent reasons why no more murders were committed, but which work against the first reason (that the suspect knew he'd been identified).


                    • #11
                      Hi Rob
                      In my copy of Farson the name in Macnaghten's notes is transcribed as KOSMANSKI (see below)
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris Scott View Post
                        In my copy of Farson the name in Macnaghten's notes is transcribed as KOSMANSKI (see below)
                        Mine too, so Martin Fido's comment puzzles me.

                        I wonder whether he was thinking of McCormick (revised edition, paperback, 1970), who says that Kosminski was "possibly a misspelling for Karminski", though I'm not clear why.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fido View Post
                          And I reiterate, if it is ever shown that Anderson really did mean Kosminsky, then I dismiss Anderson and his theory as dead wrong. Kosminsky's record show that he wasn't th sort of self-controlled figure who could rein himself in like the Green River murderer for a period of years.
                          All the best,
                          Martin F
                          Dear Chris, Chris, Martin and Rob

                          Firstly many thanks for your interesting and inciteful posts.

                          There are just a couple of points I'd like to raise. Firstly Martin I'm not totally convinced that your accessment of Aaron Kosminski's mental condition is correct.

                          If Aaron was suffer from Schizophrenia his condition is partencially consistant with how we would expect a Jack the Ripper suffering from the same condition to behave. Schizophrenic serial killers are extremely rare but it is not unusual for schizophrenics to become completely harmless once taken out of society. It is difficult to make comparrissons with the likes of Peter Sutcliff (who is by no means a typical schizophrenic) because of modern drugs and treatments.

                          My brother who works on a regular basis with suffers of the condition described to me how the illness goes through phazes known as psychotic episodes. These early psychotic episodes typically start between the age of 19-22. They last for a period of 12 to 18 weeks..

                          An age that clearly matches Aaron Kosminski's and a period which mirrors the time period known as the Autumn of terror. The illness would progress over a period of time in waves, the sufferer appering to get better and then relapsing into a worse condition until they reach a faze in their late thirties known as burn out. There is no reason to beleive that Jack the Ripper would necessarily be a raving and obviously violent homicidal murderer..

                          Indeed logic would dictate that JtR was plausable enough to his victims.

                          In my brothers opinion it is possible that Aaron Kosminski and JtR were one of the same person. If they suffered from Schizophrenia.

                          Re: Kaminsky. The reason given for Kaminsky's/Cohen mental condition is/was syphilis....My brother believes mental deteriation of suffers of this condition would have happened over a much longer time frame than the few years required for this theory. It takes some time for a sufferer of syphilis to go mad, many years.

                          Anyway many thanks again for your posts.

                          Yours Jeff

                          PS I do appologuise for my spelling I suffer from dyslexia. Is there any chance you could put more gaps in your posts Martin? I end up in all sorts of problems trying to read them..many thanks.


                          • #14

                            I agree with your post re: Kosminski. Another thing not taken into consideration is the news article showing Kosminski appearing before a magistrate about the behavior of a dog seemingly in his care. The article appears to show some lucidity on his part, if not a bit of mischievous humor. I think Chris posted the clipping and it was an eye-opener, though one article is hardly definitive of anything.




                            • #15
                              It would be useful to have the known time frames worked out..

                              You must remember that schizophrenics are often high achievers. My brother attends many university students.

                              It was once suggest to me (not my brother) that schizophrenia is a form of brain 'over load' to many thoughts wizing around unable to escape. Or by others that it is similar to LSD in experience. Certainly my brother is concerned by the current use of 'Skunk' in our society and believes it responsible for some problems.

                              Back to Aaron, its possible he was highly intelligent as a young man, the family golden boy rather than 'embaracement' especially academically.

                              Rob, you once suggested to me that if Aaron had gone into a private asylum it would explain the belief that he had died in an asylum at an earlier time..

                              The kosminski family may well have been wealthy enough to have afforded this?

                              Have you any more thoughts or ideas on this theory? It would explain a lot.

                              I still believe that your idea's are the simplest and most rational answers to the whole Jack the Ripper problem.

                              Yours Jeff