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Let´s talk about that identification again

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  • Hence the theory, and variations of, that Anderson is sincerely confusing and conflating either Pizer and Vioelena (sic) in 1888 or Lawende and/or Sadler in 1891, and/or Lawende and Grant in 1895.

    For it is quite a coincidence that Aaron Kosminski was 'safely caged' around the time of the 'final' Jack murder of a young and pretty Unfortunate, and just days later a Jewish witness 'confronted' a Ripper suspect and said no.

    Swanson in 1901 may have respectfully queried Anderson how he, Swanson, was unaware of a positive identification of 'Kosminski', and was told -- again sincerely but mistakenly -- that this was because it had taken place outside of London (Anderson mis-recalling Sadler's Seaman's Home as the Seaside Home).

    Comment


    • I take Anderson’s ‘powers such as the French Police possess’ reference was a self serving excuse for his failure.
      It could mean anything – torture, arrest and lengthy detention on vague suspicion or the systematic searching of property
      Interestingly Anderson stated that door to door searches were made while he was away. They were door to door enquiries and I believe they took place when he had returned from leave.

      Jonathan
      It is the author of the annotations who is more confused. Anderson didn’t really say very much about the ID.
      “I will merely add that 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.”
      Just going on this, the witness could have bumped into the suspect in the street and could have told the police about this afterwards. Or the person who saw him may have been a City PC!

      But then this version is more detailed but again doesn’t mention a Seaside Home.
      ‘I will only add that when the individual whom we suspected was caged in an asylum, the only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer at once identified him, but when he learned that the suspect was a fellow-Jew he declined to swear to him.’

      Anderson was desperate to prove that Mylett wasn’t a Ripper victim. He discounted Mackenzie.
      Besides any genuine evidential reasons, there are two possible motives for this need (in the higher ranks anyway) to believe that Kelly was the last.
      One is that they thought that their pet suspect was either dead or incarcerated.
      The other is that they wanted to scare to be over as it was harmful to their reputations and more generally tarnished the public’s perception of the Police.

      Garry
      “Smith, Abberline and Littlechild effectively dismissed the identification”.
      Did they even refer to it?

      Stephen
      It is impossible to square the circle with the ID unless you add and subtract from Anderson’s writings and the annotations, and turn a blind eye to such glaring errors such as not knowing that the caged and banged to rights mass murderer was not dead.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
        Interestingly Anderson stated that door to door searches were made while he was away. They were door to door enquiries and I believe they took place when he had returned from leave.
        That is not correct. For part of the time the house-to-house search was ongoing, Anderson was in Ireland I believe, at his father's funeral... if I remember correctly. There was also another house-to-house search in the vicinity of Berner Street on Oct 1-2 (dates are not exactly known as far as I am aware)... this was while Anderson was out of the country. He returned I think around October 9.

        * Disclaimer: This post is from memory... forgive any lapses.

        Comment


        • Rob:
          You're correct. He was at his father's funeral.
          Alan Sharp, author of JTR & The Irish Press, revealed that information at the 2006 Ripper Conference in Baltimore.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
            Garry
            “Smith, Abberline and Littlechild effectively dismissed the identification”.
            Did they even refer to it?
            Not explicitly, Lechmere, which is why I used the word 'effectively'. But Abberline was said to have discounted the notion that the Whitechapel Murderer had been incarcerated in an asylum, Littlechild expressed scepticism with regard to Anderson's 'solution', Macnaghten rejected it in favour of Druitt, and Smith responded with barely concealed contempt. On balance, therefore, there seems to be little reason to suppose that there existed a solid evidential link between Aaron Kosminski and Jack the Ripper.

            Comment


            • That the retried Abberline was out of the loop about 'Kosminski' seems reasonable -- but Smith? Who takes issue with Anderson's claim.

              As does Reid.

              Druitt was Macnaghten's exclusive secret, or so he claimed in 1913, and no other police figure in the limited extant record seems to be aware of him (everything Abberline says in 1903 is wrong).

              Littlechild does not even know that the 'drowned doctor' comes from Macnaghten, and not Anderson.

              Macnaghten quashed Anderson via Sims in 1910.

              Plus Macnaghten's 1914 memoir functions as an anti-Anderson polemic.

              Here is what he had to say, by implication, about there supposedly being a positive witness identification:

              'On this occasion it is probable that the police officer on duty in the vicinity saw the murderer with his victim a few minutes before, but no satisfactory description was forthcoming.'

              I have had it put to me that Anderson's confidential assistant and the second in command at CID was also out of the loop about the Jewish witness and the positive identification of Kosminski, presumably at the coastal police hospital.

              It's not impossible.

              But is it really likely, when it is Mac who knows that the suspect is alive and not deceased, and [arguably] also knew that the suspect was sectioned a considerable time after the Kelly murder?

              Comment


              • In addition to which, Jonathan, Swanson stated that the City conducted a Kosminski-related round the clock undercover operation. Thus Major Smith would not only have been aware of Kosminski contemporaneously, he would have invoked first principles and summoned Lawende to view Kosminski before finally deciding it was safe to abandon the covert investigation. From this we may conclude that the City uncovered little or nothing to implicate Kosminski in the Whitechapel Murders - and yet, presumably based upon the same information, Anderson concluded that Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.

                Comment


                • And therein lies the problem, or puzzle, of such scanty and contradictory primary sources.

                  To try and make every fragment fit together I subscribe to the theory that Aaron Kosminski was never under surveillance, not was he ever subject to a witness confrontation -- positive or otherwise. I also [provisionally] believe that Anderson (and Swanson) only learned of Aaron's existence in 1895, as their actions prior to that date, otherwise, make no sense.

                  Other interpretations are possible.

                  You have to make up your own mind as to which is the strongest argument, until at least a document, or artifact, turns up which expands -- or confirms -- our knowledge of this strata of the case.

                  Putting all the bits and pieces together we can see that, at least by 1895, Anderson and Swanson believed that the case was pretty much solved, albeit without the evidence ever tested in a courtroom. They held this opinion in 1910 too: a local madman, driven insane by masturbation, who died soon after being sectioned.

                  By 1910 they believed that there had been a positive identification, one that would have convinced a jury. Except that for treacherous sectarian-tribal motives the witness refused to testify. However it did not matter: the suspect was 'safely caged' and then deceased.

                  I would like to see debate as to when Anderson and/or Swanson thought this had all happened?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
                    To try and make every fragment fit together I subscribe to the theory that Aaron Kosminski was never under surveillance, not was he ever subject to a witness confrontation -- positive or otherwise.
                    That's where we differ, Jonathan. I incline to the view that Swanson related events to the best of his knowledge and recollection. As such I have little doubt but that Kosminski was both suspected and investigated, and was at some point identified by Schwartz.

                    Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
                    I would like to see debate as to when Anderson and/or Swanson thought this had all happened?
                    You and me both, Jonathan.

                    Comment


                    • To Garry

                      I differ with everybody.

                      I think that Macnaghten simply briefed Anderson, in early 1895, about 'Kosminski' assuring his pious, reactionary boss that he was a ferocious masturabtor, that he was incriminatingly sectioned in early 1889, and was now conveniently deceased.

                      Two of those bits of data are untrue, but it is not Anderson's fault that he was misled by his confidential assistant -- if that is what happened.

                      That Schwartz was Anderson's 'slam dunk' witness is feasible, but in my opinion -- and this time others' too -- not a strong or convincing argument.

                      Joseph Lawende was used once and perhaps twice, albeit un-named in the press sources. Why not a third time?

                      Besides Scwartz's sighting of a bullying man does not describe a Jewish-featured figure (nor is Knifeman so described) and the figure allegedly used an anti-Semitic epiphet.

                      Mind you, if people can have Israel Schwarz as the wtitness why can't I have the Vicar talking about the un-named Druitt?

                      Comment


                      • I think that Macnaghten simply briefed Anderson, in early 1895, about 'Kosminski' assuring his pious, reactionary boss that he was a ferocious masturabtor, that he was incriminatingly sectioned in early 1889, and was now conveniently deceased.
                        Unfortunately, Jonathan, the evidence isn’t there to support such a proposition.

                        That Schwartz was Anderson's 'slam dunk' witness is feasible, but in my opinion -- and this time others' too -- not a strong or convincing argument.
                        Schwartz got a closer and more sustained view of the man thought to have been the killer than any other witness, Jonathan, on top of which he was the only person to have observed actual violence perpetrated on a soon to be killed victim. Given Anderson’s assertion that the Seaside Home witness was the only informant who ever got a good view of the murderer, along with Swanson’s observation that the witness’s evidence would have been sufficient to have convicted the suspect, no-one other than Schwartz fits the bill.

                        Joseph Lawende was used once and perhaps twice, albeit un-named in the press sources. Why not a third time?
                        As I’ve said repeatedly, Jonathan, investigators would have discarded no witness who was thought to have seen Jack the Ripper. With this in mind, I have little doubt that Lawende and Long were used whenever a realistic suspect came under police scrutiny – Kosminski included. The point being, however, that the person who identified Kosminski was described by Anderson as the best witness. Since in terms of the quality and duration of the various sightings this could only have been Schwartz, I think it a realistic possibility that Lawende and Long did view Kosminski but failed to identify him.

                        Let’s look at this from a different perspective. For a time City investigators clearly regarded Kosminski as a viable suspect. They mounted a round the clock surveillance operation which demonstrably turned up nothing. But this initiative would not have been discontinued on a whim. It would have been terminated only once Major Smith was satisfied that Kosminski was not the man who had killed Kate Eddowes. So how would such a determination have been made? Quite simply, Smith would have called in Lawende.

                        And therein lies the problem. Those who promulgate Lawende as Anderson’s witness would have us believe that Lawende identified Kosminski unhesitatingly at the Seaside Home, yet failed to recognize this same man on behalf of Major Smith a week or two later.

                        Frankly, this is an argument which to my mind confounds all common sense.

                        Besides Scwartz's sighting of a bullying man does not describe a Jewish-featured figure (nor is Knifeman so described) and the figure allegedly used an anti-Semitic epiphet.
                        According to Anderson, his witness was unaware that the man he’d sighted was Jewish, which would suggest that the suspect was not overtly Hebrew in appearance.

                        And the cry of ’Lipski’?

                        Just one more reason why Kosminski was unlikely to have been Broad Shoulders, I’m afraid, Jonathan.

                        Comment


                        • Thanks Garry

                          for going to that trouble.

                          I totally agree with trying to fill in the gaps because we have the beginning, the murders, and then we have the end, the killer was [insert name of favoured police suspect] but the middle is glimpses in the fog.

                          None of what you wrote, nevertheless, cuts any ice with me whatsoever -- for what that is worth -- and it amazes me from what a slender thread the Schwarz sub-theory hangs from.

                          It's actually a much weaker argument than the Pizer-Vioelena (sic) theory of the mid-1960's.

                          Joseph Lawende is the best witness because of the timing between the victim being seen alive and then deceased.

                          The meager extant sources show that, arguably, in 1992 Anderson gave an interview -- matching previous sources -- that he was unaware of a chief suspect who was a local Polish madman.

                          In 1894, we know that Macnaghten knows about 'Kosminski' and has mixed a real person with fictional elements -- whether by accident or design is a matter of disagreement.

                          In 1895, Anderson begins confiding in Major Griffiths that he is pretty sure of the fiend's identity as a locked-up madman -- in the wake of a Ripper suspect being affirmed by a Jewish witness, yet not arrested for those crimes.

                          No mention of a witness until 1910.

                          Comment


                          • Hi Lechmere,

                            Your arguments here puzzle me, and it's quite clear I'm not alone.

                            You accuse me of "pure invention" despite the fact that my views are very much in accordance with mainstream thinking on the subject, whereas yours are brand new and highly controversial. Nothing inherently wrong with that per se, but I thought it worth pointing out in light of your insinuation that I've come up with something extraordinary.

                            My position is simply that Anderson and Swanson may have convinced themselves that the witness refused to swear to the identification because of the suspect's fellow Jewishness, as opposed to the far more probable explanation that he simply wasn't sure after several years since the original fleeting sighting (which holds especially true if the witness was Lawende). There is no other credible explanation, or to borrow your expression, "no room" for one. The witness would not have been permitted to refuse to swear to an identification he had just made "unhesitatingly", and unless the witness was a weird weird lunatic, there is no way he would have admitted that the suspect's Jewishness was the reason for his sudden U-turn in refusing to swear. These are obvious realities which, of necessity, demand that the annotations are not taken "at face value". They can't be.

                            I find it very bizarre that you're so against trying to make sense of what we've got in terms of Anderson's and Swanson's comments, and consider it preferable instead to take it all at face value first and then chuck it all out - attributing it to fakery or the result of Parkinson's disease! It makes no sense to me. What's the point of adopting a purist approach to a document that you insist was faked? And how do you explain Anderson if you A) don't think any of what he said was true, and B) don't think The Lighter Side of My Official Life was faked (I assume?!)...?

                            Dismissing your "fake" explanation then, we're left only with the generally-considered-plausible explanation that the assumptions of Anderson and Swanson had mutated into factoids over time, and that these were reflected in their interviews, books and "annotations". Does that make either of them "bad policeman" for writing as much? No, of course not. Writing memoirs does not involve any "policing". They could write whatever they wanted, providing it didn't have any impact on an active murder investigation.

                            All the best,
                            Ben

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Ben View Post

                              Does that make either of them "bad policeman" for writing as much? No, of course not.
                              Hi Ben,

                              Of course it does.

                              We can all be led astray in terms of deluding ourselves. I mean you only have to think of the a priori justification which is the catalyst for left-wing thinking.

                              But, what you're suggesting is that Swanson allowed himself to be led astray in the most egotistical of fashions.

                              You seem to be thinking that Swanson deliberately ignored what actually happened during the ID event.

                              How else can you explain Swanson's conclusion that the witness refused to testify because he was Jewish? There are only two options here: 1) it was as Swanson wrote or 2) there was no such communication from the witness.

                              If the latter is the case then Swanson arrived at a firm view which was absolutely not grounded in that which he witnessed. And, seeing as Swanson was in the business of sifting through the evidence objectively, then that would render Swanson grossly incompetent.

                              Comment


                              • Hi Fleets,

                                Of course it does
                                No, definitely and irrefutably not.

                                Swanson wasn't conducting any "police" work when he annotated a copy of his boss' memoirs years after the murder investigation. He cannot, therefore, be accused either of "gross incompetence" or bad policing. He was free as a bird to write whatever liked about the identification - even if it meant mutating opinion into fact - secure in the knowledge that it had no impact whatsoever on what he did before his retirement in the capacity of an actual police official.

                                It is impossible - completely and utterly impossible - to accept that a witness "unhesitatingly identified" a suspect, but then retracted that identification after admitting himself that the reason for this retraction lay in the fact that the suspect was a fellow Jew. No sane person would undermine his credibility and risk prosecution so brazenly, foolishly, and illogically. If the witness had truly identified the suspect, and was truly anxious to avoid that suspect hanging after realising that he was a fellow Jew, he'd have lied about it. He's have said "actually, wait a minute, I don't think this is the guy after all".

                                All the best,
                                Ben

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