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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An innocent Jewish man was hanged by a mob in 1915. Anti-Semites today are justifying his murder

(Continued from last week)

The final evidence of Frank's innocence emerged only 1982. Alonzo Mann, 83, a former worker in the pencil factory, told two journalists from The Tennessean that he saw Jim Conley carrying Phagan's body in circumstances that contradicted the janitor's testimony and confirmed Frank's version. At the time his parents told him to keep his mouth shut, and he did so. Over the years he disclosed his knowledge of the real murderer's identity only to a few family members and close friends. But when the two journalists, acting on a tip, approached him, he was more than willing to come clean. He related his story, submitted to a lie-detector test and passed with flying colors. Finally, the truth was out. In 1986, the state of Georgia granted a posthumous pardon to Leo Frank.

The lynching of an innocent man is something no country likes to recall. The fact that the American Jewish community couldn't save Leo Frank is not pleasant to reflect on either. Small wonder, then, that few people outside of Georgia remember the name of Leo Frank today.

But that has begun to change. The Washington Post recently reported that the largest and most accessible databases you will find online if you are searching for facts about the Frank case are run by well-known white supremacists and anti-Semites. More than a hundred years after the lynch, they are still trying to establish Frank's guilt and to justify the perpetrators of his murder.

"I don't think the Jewish community takes this seriously enough," Steve Oney told the paper. The lynch of Frank, he pointed out, took place only after old fears and superstitions about the Jews were stoked. These websites are trying to do the same thing: present the story of Leo Frank case not as an example of an egregious injustice, but rather as a heinous crime committed by a Jew.

Forgetting painful chapters of history comes with a price tag. If the Jewish community – and decent people everywhere – would rather forget the Leo Frank case, there are others who will always be eager to keep alive the memory of Leo Frank the Jewish Criminal, who murdered an innocent girl. Remembering Frank the Victim is the only way to combat these efforts, the only way to make sure the defamation of Frank doesn’t continue today, so many years after his absolute innocent was proven beyond any doubt.

Lynches and blood libels may seem like things of the past. But the internet campaigns against the martyred Leo Frank serve as an important reminder: even when at anti-Semitism appears to lie dormant, it is never quite dead. Not even in the US. 

By: Maayan Meir