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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > Anderson, Sir Robert

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  #21  
Old 05-28-2011, 07:48 PM
Steven Russell Steven Russell is offline
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Default Apology.

Just been looking at Scorpio's Kozminski thread and I do remember having read post no. 1 before I started this thread. It is obvious that I ripped off Scorpio's idea albeit unconsciously. So sincere apologies for that, Scorpio. Must try to avoid reading the boards when drunk!

Best wishes,
Steve.
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  #22  
Old 05-28-2011, 08:33 PM
Scorpio Scorpio is offline
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I cannot think why the Anderson confirmation bias angle is not discussed more.
Thanks for reading my thread.
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  #23  
Old 05-28-2011, 08:36 PM
Steven Russell Steven Russell is offline
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I cannot think why the Anderson confirmation bias angle is not discussed more.
Thanks for reading my thread.
Me neither. Pity I was too dense to think of it on my own.

Steve.
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  #24  
Old 05-28-2011, 08:38 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Hi Errata

I think Sir Robert Anderson was a product of his time, with the type of attitudes of the day, but also speaking as he was as someone who had held an exalted position in Scotland Yard. I would suggest that the generalization that he makes about poor Polish Jews is similar to the statements that Littlechild makes about sexual deviants: in effect saying, "this is the way they are, I know." There's a kind of certainty there that you also see in Macnaghten's writing: declarations spoken by a man who has held a high position in the police.

All the best

Chris
To an extent, you gotta wonder how much lofty certainty is based on simply not having been there. He was not on the case for the first murder, and was on vacation for the next three. He comes back, he is being held responsible, he holds himself responsible, and he has to get notes from a classmate.

Now, one one hand, that was well within his wheelhouse. He coordinated information from agents and police as part of his job. But on the other hand, he hadn't been directing the work done. He came back to find out all sorts of things that had been done in his absence. And I imagine quite a bit of it would have been done differently had he been there. The bit of drivel about only a low class Polish Jew could escape notice when covered in blood was a conclusion made by the police while he was gone. Clearly others could have made it around Whitechapel covered in blood. Someone wearing black for instance... So why did Anderson just accept that conclusion? And accept it wholeheartedly?

I think its possible that in order to feel in control of an investigation he had so far little to do with, he had to function almost as though he had given all of those orders himself. He was certainly going to judged as though he did. So someone told some cops to go out and find out who could do such a thing, they came back with "lower class Polish Jews". Anderson could a: say "No that's clearly crap, do it again, and properly this time" which would devalue any investigative effort in his absence. Or b: he could say "Good job lads!" assumed that they did their job with due diligence, and accept their report as fact. And I think if he really did think the cops were full of it he WOULD have ordered it done it again. Or dismissed. I just don't think he had enough experience with the flow of Whitechapel to judge the likelihood of such a statement.
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  #25  
Old 05-29-2011, 06:17 AM
Steven Russell Steven Russell is offline
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The bit of drivel about only a low class Polish Jew could escape notice when covered in blood was a conclusion made by the police while he was gone.
I don't think anyone put it in those terms though, did they? That would have been obviously ridiculous.

I am sure Anderson had better reasons than those you suggest for suspecting a Polish Jew. Let's not forget our old friend Leather Apron. Assuming he was not a newspaper concoction, LA was a strong early suspect and I am still not 100% convinced that John Pizer was the real Leather Apron (although some people probably did call him by that name).

Best wishes,
Steve.

Last edited by Steven Russell : 05-29-2011 at 06:32 AM.
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  #26  
Old 05-29-2011, 07:42 AM
Errata Errata is offline
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I don't think anyone put it in those terms though, did they? That would have been obviously ridiculous.

I am sure Anderson had better reasons than those you suggest for suspecting a Polish Jew. Let's not forget our old friend Leather Apron. Assuming he was not a newspaper concoction, LA was a strong early suspect and I am still not 100% convinced that John Pizer was the real Leather Apron (although some people probably did call him by that name).

Best wishes,
Steve.
Well, things are somewhat unclear, although clearly kinda odd. It says

"One did not need to be a Sherlock Holmes to discover that the criminal was a sexual maniac of a virulent type ; that he was living in the immediate vicinity of the scenes of the murders ; and that, if he was not living absolutely alone, his people knew of his guilt, and refused to give
him up to justice. During my absence abroad the Police had made a house-to-house search for him, investigating the case of every man in the
district whose circumstances were such that he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret. And the conclusion we came to was
that he and his people were certain low-class Polish Jews ; for it is a remarkable fact that people of that class in the East End will not give
up one of their number to Gentile justice"

Now clearly they did not have a house to house search in Whitechapel. I think a: that's a rather tall order and b: that would have been a major story. So if not an actual house to house search, then it was a directed house to house search. Ie:"Look for these types of people and see if they could have gotten away with it". And while not an invalid method, it's not technically what was described. Realistically any man who lived alone and had a semi-private entrance should have fallen into the category of "guy who could have done it". Or any man who had access to a place to change outside of the home. Or any number of other circumstances. So then how on earth do you get to "certain low-class Polish Jews" out of literally thousands of other viable options?

I think you have to either a: be looking for a specific person without wanting to be seen to be looking for a specific person or b: have the search criteria start out as a bunch of cops sitting around saying "Oh! you know who I bet it is? I bet its a Jew butcher!" and the others going "Yeah!" and adding to it. Situation A makes sense if they were looking for say, Leather Apron. There is a guy they know who has a similar MO and they want to see if he could have done it. But then why a "house to house search"? Why not say "We thought it was Chuck. And we think it could have been". If it's Situation B, then you've just hamstrung your investigation. If the only way to get away with bloodstains you can come up with is a Jewish butcher, then you aren't looking at doctors, clinic workers, mortuary workers, even typesetters get covered with a rust red stain from the ink. You don't think about people who can get in and out of their houses because they have a private entrance (or can leave a window unlocked). You don't think about people wearing black wool.

I'm pretty sure that the cops did not make a house to house search, and I don't think they investigated EVERY man "whose circumstances were such that he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret". I don't even think they could have accomplished that in the amount of time Anderson was gone. So why did he say they did? Was he exaggerating? Lying? Was he exaggerated to? Lied to? Vastly oversimplifying a process that had little to do with actual statistics and actual investigation and much more to do with broadly checking off certain economic strata and races based on stereotypes and popularity, eventually ending up with either Polish Jews or like, Gypsies, and there weren't Gypsies in town? It's possible. Or maybe they said "well, Leather Apron was Jewish, and Lipski was Jewish, ergo Jack the Ripper is Jewish, and since the Queen's granddaughter is now a Russian, we're gonna look at the Polish."

I don't know. And unless we find a whole lot more notes, I don't think I will ever know. I know I believe that Anderson was an honorable man. But "Brutus too is an honorable man". I don't know what are mistakes vs. misstatements vs. sloppiness vs. lack of imagination or who is responsible. I know it is likely, given Anderson's statement. But maybe somehow they really did all of those things and eliminated everyone in Whitechapel through due diligence except for some Polish Jews. I just don't think any evidence supports that. Or laws of physics really.
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  #27  
Old 05-29-2011, 10:12 AM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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But surely the problem with Anderson is that he was saying this characteristic was unique to Polish Jews - to the extent that the police were able to deduce that the killer must be a Polish Jew, starting only from the supposition that he had been shielded by his family.
Chris,

I don't necessarily believe this is the case. He never said, "Especially Polish Jews." If he believed a Jew was the murderer from whatever information he had, this was a qualification to support his belief, right or wrong and it woudl apply to any immigrant group or as you have said, a family, even a sorority group or a cricket club. I have little doubt, had he information that the murderer was a n Inuit, he would have said that same thing, and generally speaking, ir would have been true.

Mike
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  #28  
Old 05-29-2011, 11:09 AM
Chris Chris is offline
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I don't necessarily believe this is the case. He never said, "Especially Polish Jews." If he believed a Jew was the murderer from whatever information he had, this was a qualification to support his belief, right or wrong and it woudl apply to any immigrant group or as you have said, a family, even a sorority group or a cricket club.
But I read Anderson's narrative as follows:
(1) The murderer obviously lived in the "immediate vicinity" of the murder sites.
(2) He was obviously either living "absolutely alone" or being protected by the people he was living with.
(3) During the house-to-house search the police had investigated [and eliminated] every man in the vicinity who was living alone ("every man in the district whose circumstances were such that he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret").
(4) Therefore the murderer must have been protected by those he was living with, and hence the conclusion that he was a "low-class Polish Jew" - because low-class Polish Jews in the East End will not give up their own to Gentile justice.

The logic only works if Polish Jews are unique in that respect. If most of the population shared that characteristic, Anderson's narrative would provide no explanation at all for his conclusion that the murderer was a Polish Jew.
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  #29  
Old 05-29-2011, 11:41 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Chris

Let me ask you something.

Do you believe that the story which Anderson published in 1910 is what he believed, regarding Ripper the case, in 1888?

As in, the four points you laid out in the previous post. Are they what Anderson believed in 1888 at the height of the murders?
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  #30  
Old 05-29-2011, 11:54 AM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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But I read Anderson's narrative as follows:
(1) The murderer obviously lived in the "immediate vicinity" of the murder sites.
(2) He was obviously either living "absolutely alone" or being protected by the people he was living with.
(3) During the house-to-house search the police had investigated [and eliminated] every man in the vicinity who was living alone ("every man in the district whose circumstances were such that he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret").
(4) Therefore the murderer must have been protected by those he was living with, and hence the conclusion that he was a "low-class Polish Jew" - because low-class Polish Jews in the East End will not give up their own to Gentile justice.

The logic only works if Polish Jews are unique in that respect. If most of the population shared that characteristic, Anderson's narrative would provide no explanation at all for his conclusion that the murderer was a Polish Jew.
Chris, your conclusions are sound, but the areas that were searched and the people questioned probably had a very high percentage of low-class Jews. Let me paraphrase a bit:

(The areas being searched are full of low-class German Catholic immigrants)

It is a fact that people of that class are reluctant to give up one of theirs to Anglican justice. We came to the conclusion that the murderer was a low-class German because of the reluctance of the people to give us any information. It had to be that they were hiding something.

being from low class Germans who were kicked out of Bosnia, I take no offense in that conclusion.

So, the slant is the same, but it is based upon suspicions due to the make-up of the populace. It may be an erroneous conclusion, and a bit too judgmental, but it isn't necessarily racist.

Mike
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Last edited by The Good Michael : 05-29-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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