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

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  #1  
Old 05-27-2011, 07:59 PM
Steven Russell Steven Russell is offline
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Default "low-class Jews"

I have always thought that Anderson and Swanson gave the best possible solution to this case. However, SPE and others have caused me to revise my opinion of an unequivocable acceptance of Anderson's "definitely ascertained fact".

In 1910 he [Anderson] says, "And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were low-class 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."

If, by "for", he means "because", he has already formulated a theory.

Later, he says, "And the result proved that our diagnosis was right on every point".

Confirmation bias?

In other words, when the Konsminski evidence, such as it is, comes to him, Anderson says, "I told you it was a Polish Jew all along."

So Anderson thinks,
1) It had to be a Jew because they would keep it quiet,
2) Swanson and Macnaghten have told me about a Jew suspect,
3) Ba da bing! It all fits and I was right all along!

Could this have been the case or am I being naive? I still like Anderson and Swanson but... oh well.

Best wishes,
Steve.
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:23 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Originally Posted by Steven Russell View Post
In other words, when the Konsminski evidence, such as it is, comes to him, Anderson says, "I told you it was a Polish Jew all along."

So Anderson thinks,
1) It had to be a Jew because they would keep it quiet,
2) Swanson and Macnaghten have told me about a Jew suspect,
3) Ba da bing! It all fits and I was right all along!
I think that is cetainly the sequence of events Anderson is describing in his memoirs (except that of course he doesn't specify how the police found out about the suspect, or discuss the evidence - apart from the alleged identification).
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:35 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Russell View Post
I have always thought that Anderson and Swanson gave the best possible solution to this case. However, SPE and others have caused me to revise my opinion of an unequivocable acceptance of Anderson's "definitely ascertained fact".

In 1910 he [Anderson] says, "And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were low-class 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."


Best wishes,
Steve.
It simply isn't true that Jews would not "give up one of their number to Gentile justice" The only thing that could be remotely true about that was that Eastern European Jews would be more likely to not give up someone to a cop pounding on the door at night. Where they came from, that's how people disappear. However, it would also not be uncommon for the cops to pound on the door at night, and the next day someone would come to the police station to take them to the offender. It wasn't that they didn't trust cops. They didn't trust surprises.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:02 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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It simply isn't true that Jews would not "give up one of their number to Gentile justice".
One little irony is that we have a newspaper account of Aaron's brother Woolf discovering a young Jewish burglar hiding under a bed in his front room, who begged to be let go. Woolf immediately sent for a constable.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:02 PM
Rubyretro Rubyretro is offline
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I think that it's a very racist statement.

It's got nothing to do with 'jews' really. It's more likely a fact that people are
less likely to give up someone they perceive as being of the same tribe, to the mysterious 'them'.

So that it is equally likely that a frenchman would be less likely to give up a fellow frenchman to foreign authorities, and a born & bred eastender would be less likely to give up a fellow eastender to the Police. A member of a family would be less likely to give up a family member to punishment outside of the family.

That's not to say that any of those people wouldn't hand over someone that they genuinely thought was a serial killer -but they might give the culprit the benefit of the doubt, bury their heads in the sand, more easily than they would with an 'outsider'.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:17 PM
jason_c jason_c is offline
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I think that it's a very racist statement.

It's got nothing to do with 'jews' really. It's more likely a fact that people are
less likely to give up someone they perceive as being of the same tribe, to the mysterious 'them'.

So that it is equally likely that a frenchman would be less likely to give up a fellow frenchman to foreign authorities, and a born & bred eastender would be less likely to give up a fellow eastender to the Police. A member of a family would be less likely to give up a family member to punishment outside of the family.

That's not to say that any of those people wouldn't hand over someone that they genuinely thought was a serial killer -but they might give the culprit the benefit of the doubt, bury their heads in the sand, more easily than they would with an 'outsider'.
I'd agree with most of this. Apart from the racist accusation.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:20 PM
Stephen Thomas Stephen Thomas is offline
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Originally Posted by Steven Russell View Post
In 1910 he [Anderson] says, "And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were low-class 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."

If, by "for", he means "because", he has already formulated a theory.

Later, he says, "And the result proved that our diagnosis was right on every point".
That's how science works, Steven. You have to start with a theory or there would be nothing to test. After testing it, the theory can be shown to be right or wrong.

Here, Anderson is saying that the police theory ( he says 'diagnosis') was proved right.

Anderson was either telling the truth or lying for some as yet unknown reason.

But he certainly wasn't the senile fantasist that some think he was.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:40 AM
Errata Errata is offline
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Originally Posted by Rubyretro View Post
I think that it's a very racist statement.

It's got nothing to do with 'jews' really. It's more likely a fact that people are
less likely to give up someone they perceive as being of the same tribe, to the mysterious 'them'.
.
I keep going back and forth on whether or not Anderson was racist, or just hated poor people. I think he hated poor people. I think that he thought that any "race" or religion was fine, unless they were poor in which case they turned into scurrying vermin cluttering his city. Evidently he was able to conduct himself admirably with the wealthy and important Jews of the city. To the point that the head Rabbi of London wrote him a grateful letter for keeping the Jews safe during this time. So either his poker face was outstanding, or like many well-off men, he didn't understand why the poor didn't just "get a job" or some nonsense.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:24 AM
jason_c jason_c is offline
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I keep going back and forth on whether or not Anderson was racist, or just hated poor people. I think he hated poor people. I think that he thought that any "race" or religion was fine, unless they were poor in which case they turned into scurrying vermin cluttering his city. Evidently he was able to conduct himself admirably with the wealthy and important Jews of the city. To the point that the head Rabbi of London wrote him a grateful letter for keeping the Jews safe during this time. So either his poker face was outstanding, or like many well-off men, he didn't understand why the poor didn't just "get a job" or some nonsense.
Or he honestly believed Eastern European Jews were less likely to turn each other over to Gentile justice. The next time you make any progressive statement in the pub talk boards I will make a point of generalising on all kinds of beliefs on your part.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:14 AM
Errata Errata is offline
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Or he honestly believed Eastern European Jews were less likely to turn each other over to Gentile justice. The next time you make any progressive statement in the pub talk boards I will make a point of generalising on all kinds of beliefs on your part.
I have no doubt he genuinely believed it. Why on earth would he lie about such a thing?

The question is, if he believed something that is false, then why did he believe it to be true?

Now it could be that he experienced a radical skewing of the statistics on these things, and one does hear about that happening. A friend of mine has somehow always lived next door to French people, which there arent a lot of around here. Now of course he realizes not all neighbors are French, but he experiences a statistical anomaly. So it's possible.

Anderson clearly makes some statements about Jews that are less culturally sensitive than one would like, but that could easily be a function of the times he lived in. He also makes statements using stereotypes and broad generalizations, or accepts the stereotypes and generalizations told to him as true. Now as a somewhat professional gatherer of information, I would not question a report of these assumptions. The question arises because he shares them.

As for his attitude towards poor people, well, I admit I have not read his entire works. I have read The Lighter Side of My Official Life. He lacks compassion for poor men and women. I don't specifically recall any mentions of his impressions of poor children. I would like to think he could manage compassion for impoverished children. He certainly would not be the only man of his class or profession who could not. He is derisive, sanctimonious and intolerant in his own stated views on poor people.

That's why I think he doesn't like poor people. And you know what? That doesn't make him a bad person. It doesn't even make him wrong in his conclusions. It makes his conclusions suspect. It makes his reasoning faulty. A person can build an equation of untrue things and still come to the right answer. More likely a wrong one, but still...

Am I generalizing? Aren't we all? None of us knew the guy. I look at what he wrote. I come to conclusions based on the verity of his own words. I assume prejudice. I could assume ignorance, or complicity, or a desire to inflame. I see no evidence of any of that. He is a Victorian man, and as much as it may pain you, that comes with a certain amount of arrogance and intolerance. But I see it as flaw, not a mortal sin. I don't think the man was an idiot. And I don't think he was some caricature of racist evil. I think he had prejudices that led him to some unfortunate conclusions.
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