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The Murder of Mary Phagan – Part 6

More on two of Frank’s “confessions”. Also, tracing the history of the jews in Georgia.

The Biography of Mrs. Lucille Selig Frank (Wednesday, February 29, 1888 – Tuesday, April 23, 1957), and Leo Frank Murder Confession Number Two of Four Known:

By 1913, the Selig clan were amongst the most prominent and respected Jewish families in Atlanta, Georgia, not only because two generations earlier in the middle to late 19th century, Levi Cohen, had participated in creating the first permanent Synagogue in Atlanta

On Wednesday, November 30, 1910, Miss Lucille Selig and Mr. Leo Max Frank Were Married.

The evidence presented at the trial suggested Leo might have had an unhappy marriage with a Lucille, especially because she had been barren during her 3 year marriage to Leo and lurid things were alleged to have gone-on behind her back. In other twists and turns revealed during the trial and appeal, there were other accusations that painted Leo Frank as a sexually aggressive rake and mathematician playing the numbers game with a selection of his female employees, as in “testing the waters” to see which ones might potentially be willing to engage in extracurricular actives. There were reports from the factory roustabout Jim Conley, that described Leo Frank cheating on his wife at the factory with Atlantan prostitutes on various Saturdays. Conley recalls two incidents when he walked in on Leo Frank engaging in oral sex on two different Atlanta prostitutes at two different times.

Frank’s final burial 900 miles away on Friday, August 20, 1915, in Cyprus Hills (now Glendale), Queens, New York

Lucille requested cremation in her notarized will and personally requested to her family (Oney, 2004) that her ashes be disbursed in Atlanta, indeed there was no request by Lucille, for her ashes to be buried, or spread, near Leo Frank in NYC.

The empty grave #1 which was reserved for Lucille Selig Frank at the Mount Carmel Cemetery is an uncomfortable reality for the Jewish Community.

Lucille’s missing gravestone is mute testimony that she did not honor her husband in death. It is reasonable to suspect that it was because she had known all along that he had murdered Mary Phagan.

From the perspective of the Jewish community, Lucille’s quiet and controversial 1957 cremation was 2-fold unusual, especially for a faithful, proud, and practicing Jewess from a prominent, and historically significant Jewish family, to go against the traditional practice of burial next to ones deceased spouse or at the very least requesting to have her ashes buried or spread near her husband. While Cremation was a very rare occurrence for Jews in the 1950′s, it is now much more common in the 21st century, but still far from commonplace for prominent Jews.

The history of the jews in Georgia traces back to the first colony.

England’s King George signed a charter establishing the colony and creating its governing board on April 21, 1732. The first 114 Christian colonists arrived from England in February 1733. The first to die in April was the colony’s only doctor.

Judaism and Jews, New Georgia Encyclopedia:

The first Jews to arrive in Georgia were a group of forty-two men and women who came on the schooner William and Sarah. They landed in Savannah on July 11, 1733, soon after founder James Edward Oglethorpe arrived with Georgia’s first settlers. Oglethorpe was surprised by the arrival of the new settlers, but at that point he had not received instructions from the Trustees with regard to non-Christian colonists. He was pleased to see among the group a physician, Samuel Nunes, whom he later credited with saving many colonists who were ill with yellow fever. Oglethorpe cited his gratitude to the doctor among his reasons for assigning plots of land to fourteen Jews. Among other reasons mentioned by scholars is the fact that another one of the Jews, Abraham de Lyon, had experience in viticulture, which would be useful to the colonists in their efforts to produce wine.

Samuel Nunez, Wikipedia:

Samuel Nunis (1668–1744) was a Portuguese physician and among the earliest Jews to settle in North America.

After this ship landed, Captain Thomas Corain, one of General Oglethorpe’s aides, wrote, “Georgia will soon become a Jewish colony.” Captain Corain feared that if this news leaked out, rich Christians would not support the colony and poor Christians would not settle there. The London Trustees urged Oglethorpe to remove them. They had no legal basis for this request as Georgia’s charter permitted all persons “liberty of conscience in the worship of God” except Catholics.

It the cooperation and advocacy of a single man at the top, Oglethorpe, which enabled the jews to infiltrate and establish themselves in Georgia. Who was he enabling? A group of aliens which had for generations lived amongst Europeans under false pretenses.

The Nunis Family Caught by the Inquisition

Such a family was the Nunez family. For many generations, this family kept up its Jewish faith in secret, and some family members met a violent death at the hands of the Inquisition. (A Clara Nunis was burned in Seville, Spain, in 1632; and in the same year, Isabel and Helen Nunis also were condemned to death for loyalty to their Jewish faith.)

One branch of the family, living in Portugal, was among the most distinguished of noble families. Although it was a little more than 200 years after the Expulsion from Spain, this family secretly still observed the Jewish religion.

Although on the surface, Dr. Nunis was as good a Catholic as any churchgoing Christian, the leaders of the Portuguese Inquisition took note of the warnings given to them by the doctor’s enemies. They managed to smuggle an “agent” into the household of the Nunez family in the guise of a servant, so they would be informed of what went on within the family circle.

Eventually, the agent reported that the Nunis family definitely was practicing the Jewish religion in secret. Every Saturday, they all retreated to a synagogue in an underground part of their mansion on the Tagus River in Lisbon. There they threw off their pretense of being Christians and worshiped in true Jewish fashion.

This portion of the story (especially) reads like a typical jewish fairy tale:

Escape to London

Dr. Nunez hit upon a brilliant, bold idea. He arranged a Banquet and Ball to which he invited all of the important people of the city. His guests included many high-ranking officials.[1]

One evening he was host to the captain of a British brigantine anchored in the Tagus River. When the party was in full swing, the captain invited the guests and the Nunez family (accompanied by their unsuspecting Inquisitor keepers) to visit his ship.

What the guests did not know was that a surprise awaited them. About an hour or so after they had boarded the ship, they suddenly became aware that they were moving! Yes, they were, in fact, sailing away from the shores of Portugal at full speed, heading for the friendlier shores of England. Dr. Nunez had every detail arranged with the help of his relatives, the Mendez family, one of whom married Zipra, one of the lovely daughters of Samuel and Rebecca Nunez. Dr. Nunez secretly had succeeded in selling part of his estates and possessions and had transferred the money to England through secret couriers. Thus, he had been able to enlist a British captain to bring his brigantine to the Tagus River on the night of the banquet for the surprise voyage to London in August 1726.

Once in London, Samuel and his sons underwent circumcision to identify themselves as Jewish. Diogo and Gracia remarried in a Jewish ceremony and changed their names to Samuel and Rebecca. Early in 1727, Rebecca gave birth to their seventh and last child, a son who died as an infant.

A few years later in 1733, the Nunez family was among several mainly Sephardic Jewish families from Portugal who left London for the colony of Georgia. Also joining them on the William and Sarah was a small group of Ashkenazi Jews with German origins.

London Jews had been contributing liberally to the Oglethorpe scheme, providing new homes for impoverished Christians in the new colony of Georgia. In 1732 there were 6,000 Sephardic Jews living in London having lived as Crypto-Jews, publicly practicing Roman Catholicism and secretly preserving their Jewish heritage, prior to their departure from Portugal. The Bevis Marks Synagogue, still a Sephardic Jewish congregation in London today, helped finance the trip of their congregants.

All but eight of the original 42 Jewish colonists to Georgia were among these Spanish/Portuguese Jews who had arrived in London seven years earlier. They chartered two boats and sent a total of 90 Jews to Savannah in one year.

Turning back now to Judaism and Jews, New Georgia Encyclopedia:

Thirty-four of the Jewish arrivals in 1733 were Sephardim, most of them having fled from Portugal to England before departing for the New World. The Ashkenazic Jews felt mistreated by the more numerous Sephardic Jews. Indeed, in 1734 an Anglican clergyman in Savannah noted that, “Some Jews in Savannah complained . . . that the Spanish and Portuguese Jews persecute the German Jews in a way no Christian would persecute another Christian.” The internal feuding ended in 1741, during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, when the Sephardim, fearing Spanish invasion, fled to Charleston, South Carolina, and New York, leaving only the Sheftall and the Minis families, both Ashkenazim, in Georgia.

These two families were the leading Jewish families in colonial Georgia, with the Sheftalls being particularly influential.

Atlanta’s Jewish Population

Having been steered away from farming by historical circumstances (for example, many of the governments in Europe imposed restrictions on their owning land), Jews across Georgia tended to gravitate toward nonagricultural work. Thus the history of Georgia’s Jews finds most of them clustered in the more urban areas, especially Savannah and Atlanta; the latter has become the center of Georgia’s largest Jewish population.

At the time of the Civil War (1861-65), only 50 Jews lived in Atlanta; by 2000 the Jewish population had risen to 85,900. The first Jewish Atlantans were Jacob Haas and Henry Levi, who, with their families, settled there about 1846 to become shopkeepers. In 1860, responding to the needs of the Jewish poor during the Civil War, the community formed the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

In addition to such figures as Jacobs [the owner of a drug store chain in which Coca-Cola was supposedly created] and Rich [founder of the company that eventually became Macy's], Atlanta’s fame in connection with its Jewish citizens centers on two incidents, both grievous examples of anti-Semitism and the marginalization of Jews by accepted white society in Georgia. The first began with the trial and conviction of a Jewish pencil-factory superintendent, Leo Frank, for the murder of Mary Phagan, a thirteen-year-old employee, in 1913. Scholars generally agree today that Frank was almost certainly innocent of the crime. At the time, however, virtually all Georgians thought him guilty.

A commemorative plaque, erected by the Jewish community of Cobb County, now marks the area where Frank was hanged; the plaque reads, “Leo Frank (1884-1915). Wrongly accused, Falsely convicted, Wantonly murdered.”

David Emanuel, a jew, became the 24th Governor of Georgia in 1801.

In 99 Years Ago: Did Leo Frank Confess?, at National Vanguard, “Mark Cohen” makes some interesting points about Leo Frank’s testimony, my emphasis:

The law also did not permit Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey or his legal team to orally interpret or comment on the fact that Leo Frank was not making a statement sworn under oath at his own murder trial. The prosecution respected this rule.

The jury knew that Leo Frank had had months to carefully prepare his statement. But what was perhaps most damaging to Leo Frank’s credibility was the fact that every witness at the trial, regardless of whether they were testifying for the defense or prosecution, had been sworn, and therefore spoke under oath, and had been subject to cross-examination by the other side — except for Leo Frank. Thus it didn’t matter if the law prevented the prosecution from commenting on the fact Leo Frank had refused cross examination, opting instead to make an unsworn statement, because the jury could see that anyway. Making an unsworn statement and refusing to be examined does not prove that one is guilty, but it certainly raises eyebrows of doubt.

Frank had emphatically told the seven-man panel led by Coroner Paul Donehoo at the Coroners Inquest, that he (Leo Frank) did not use the bathroom all day long — not that he (Leo Frank) had forgotten, but that he had not gone to the bathroom at all. The visually-blind but prodigious savant Coroner Paul Donehoo — with his highly-refined “B.S. detector” was incredulous as might be expected. Who doesn’t use the bathroom all day long? It was as if Leo Frank was mentally and physically, albeit crudely and unbelievably, trying to distance himself from the bathroom where Jim Conley said he found the body.

Furthermore, Leo Frank had told detective Harry Scott — witnessed by a police officer named Black — that he (Leo Frank) was in his office every minute from noon to half past noon

 
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3 Comments  comments 

3 Responses

  1. fnn

    This website provides a few intersting details:

    http://www.leofrankcase.com/

  2. Thomas Gaffney

    It’s always the same. Wherever Christians go the jew will always follow…

  3. Gil Martin

    A fascinating mystery and series. Thanks.

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