Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Case of Aaron Kosminski

Case of Aaron Kosminski
(AKA: Suspected to be Jack the Ripper, Aron Mordke Kozminsk)

White Chapel, East London, England

(September 11, 1865 – March 24, 1919) 

The Ripper murdered at least five women prostitutes between August and November 1888 but it's not known exactly how many he killed during his reign of terror.  Aaron Kosminski, was one of the four primary suspect in the case.  He was a hairdresser living in Whitechapel, East London, who was eventually committed to a lunatic asylum, where he died.

Kosminski was arrested by police after he threatened his sister with a knife.  The police were struck by his resemblance to descriptions of the Ripper.

Aaron Kosminski was considered too mentally ill to be questioned.


 Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents:

  1. Jack the Ripper identified by investigating detective  (07/13/2006)
  2. Official: Jack the Ripper identified (07/14/2006)
  3. The Leged of Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper identified by investigating detective
Category: Crime and Punishment
Life Style Extra - Thursday, 13th July 2006

The true identity of the man the investing detective at the time believed was Jack the Ripper was unveiled today - almost 120 years after the gruesome killer terrorised London.

New documents discovered by a relative of Chief Inspector Donald Sutherland Swanson, the police officer in charge of solving the mystery murders, has named his prime suspect.

The case is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of all time but police now believe the name of the culprit could be that of Aaron Kosminski - a Polish born Jew who spent the last 28 years of his life in a lunatic asylum.

The Ripper murdered at least five women prostitutes between August and November 1888 but it's not known exactly how many he killed during his reign of terror in the dark streets of Whitechapel in East London.

The great grandson of CI Swanson, the chief investigating officer at the time, today handed over original documents belonging to his great grandfather to the Met, to coincide with the relaunch of the New Scotland Yard Crime Museum.

The documents consisted of a book written upon retirement by the assistant commissioner CID at the time of the Ripper - Dr Robert Anderson - called 'The Lighter Side of my Official.'

In the book he writes: "For I must say at once 'undiscovered murders' are rare in London, and the 'Jack-the-ripper' are [sic] not within that category."

A copy of the book was sent to Swanson and he added personal notes in the margin and named his suspect for the killings as Aaron Kosminski.

Swanson also wrote that the reason Kosminski might never have been arrested was that a witness was scared to inform on a fellow Jew. He wrote: "Because the suspect was also a Jew, and also because his evidence would convict the suspect, and witness would be the means of murderer being hanged which he did not wish to be left on his mind."

He added: "And after this identification which suspects knew, no other murder of this kind took place in London."

At the back of the book Swanson added: "Continuing from page 138, after the suspect had been identified at the Sea Side Home where he had been sent by us with difficulty in order to subject him to identification, and he knew he was identified. On suspect's return to his brother's house in Whitechapel he was watched by police (City CID) by day and night. In a very short time the suspect with his hands tied behind his back, he was sent to Stepney Workhouse and then to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards - Kosminski was the suspect - DSS."

Speaking at a press conference at New Scotland Yard today, Nevill Swanson, the great grandson of Donald Swanson, said: "My great grandfather was convinced he had got his man.

"Although Kosminski was never arrested I am sure he would have thought he had done his detective work very well. The book is a family heirloom that has been with us for many generations."

Nevertheless the identification of the ripper is still not confirmed

DCS Steve Lovelock said: "The Ripper Murders were far from solved and remained open. This case has not been solved conclusively - but perhaps people don't want it to be solved.

"What I find most interesting is that we have the officer in charge at the time putting forward the name of the person he believed was the main suspect after he had retired."

Keith Skinner, a historical researcher who has worked on the Ripper case for 20 years, said: "Swanson was in a position to claim to know who the Ripper was.

"But unfortunately the evidence against Kosminski is non-existent. In the Swanson marginalia he is not referred to as Aaron specifically, just as Kosminski.

"I am not even sure Aaron Kosminski is the right person. There is no evidence against any of the 100 plus suspects in the Whitechapel murders.

"And there are contradictions and conflicts about the Swanson notes. They are not as clear as one would like them to be. There doesn't seem to be any clear evidence pointing to any suspect we don't even know why many of the names came into the frame."

Alan McCormick, the Crime Museum curator added that despite new DNA technology it was unlikely the police would ever find conclusive proof as to the identity of Jack the Ripper.

He said: "The only example of an exhibit that could give DNA samples was a knife that was found that may have belonged to Jack the Ripper there is absolutely nothing else. There is no possibility of any forensic evidence being found at all."

The emergence of Aaron Kosminski as a suspect is not new it has been in the public domain since 1981 but the Swanson book will now be displayed at the Crime Museum.


Official: Jack the Ripper identified
By Stewart Tendler
Times Online, UK - July 14, 2006

Scotland Yard has taken possession of a policeman's memoirs which names the serial killer

PRIVATE handwritten notes by the man who led the hunt for Jack the Ripper naming the chief suspect were given to Scotland Yard's Black Museum yesterday.

Chief Inspector Donald Swanson kept quiet for years but in retirement, frustrated that the murderer had escaped justice, could not resist scribbling notes in the margin of his boss's memoirs, naming the man that they both believed had become the world's most famous serial killer.

The man he named was Aaron Kosminski, a Polish-Jewish hairdresser living in Whitechapel, East London, who was eventually committed to a lunatic asylum, where he died.

According to Swanson the police were so convinced that Kosminski was the killer of at least five prostitutes in the 1880s that they organised a secret identity parade at a police rest home. The witness was a Jew who was said to have refused to give evidence.

Swanson made his notes in a book called The Lighter Side of My Official Life by Sir Robert Anderson, who was an assistant commissioner, for whom Swanson became staff officer.

Sir Robert said as a "definitely ascertainable fact" that the killer was a Polish Jew. He said that the only person who ever had a good view of the killer "unhesitantly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted but refused to give evidence".

Mr Swanson wrote: "Because the suspect was also a Jew and also because his evidence would convict the suspect and witness would be the means of murderer being hanged — which he did not wish to be left on his mind."

He said that the suspect had been taken by police to the rest home for the identification and that Kosminski knew he had been identified. He was taken back to his brother's home in Whitechapel and police kept a secret watch.

Eventually he had to be taken, bound, to a workhouse and then to an asylum where he died "shortly afterwards". Swanson wrote: "Kosminski was the suspect."

Yesterday as the Swanson family handed over the book with its margin notes to the Yard's refurbished Crime Museum, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Lovelock, who heads detective training and the museum, said that the identification was very interesting.

Mr Lovelock said that the name had been mentioned before and the margin notes were revealed some years ago but he believed that they were significant.

Nevill Swanson, the Victorian detective's grandson, said; "My grandfather thought he had got his man but never nailed him."

Yard researches suggested that Kosminski was arrested by police after he threatened his sister with a knife and they were struck by his resemblance to descriptions of the Ripper.

But he was considered too mentally ill to be questioned, He was taken in the care of his brother to a Yard police rest home in Brighton and the identity parade was held there.


The Leged of Jack the Ripper

Aaron Kosminski (September 11, 1865 – March 24, 1919)

Kosminski (born Aron Mordke Kozminski) was an insane Polish Jew who was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in 1891. Kosminski emigrated to England in the 1880s and worked as a hairdresser in Whitechapel during the time of the Ripper Murders in 1888. It wasn’t until years after the murders that documents were discovered suggesting that a “Kosminski” (without a forename) was a police suspect.

At the time of the murders, police named a “Kosmisnki” as one of their suspects, and described him as a Polish Jew in an insane asylum. Nearly a century had passed since the investigation before Aaron Kosminski was identified as the “Kosminski” the police had suspected at the time of the murders. The reasons for Kosminski’s inclusion in the investigation are unclear, as there is little evidence to suggest he was the Ripper.

It is possible that Kosminski was a victim of antisemitism, or was perhaps confused with another Polish jew of the same age, e.g. Aaron Cohen (aka David Cohen), who happened to be another institutionalized Polish Jew at Colney Hatch, but with very violent tendencies. Kosminski was mostly harmless while at the asylum; his illness taking the form of auditory hallucinations, paranoia of being fed by others, and a refusal to wash or bathe.

Melville Macnaghten named Kosminski as a suspect in his 1894 memorandum, as did former Chief Inspector Donald Swanson in handwritten notes seen in the margin of his copy of Asst. Commissioner Sir Robert Anderson’s memoirs. In Macnaghten’s memoirs he states that there is strong reason to believe Kosminksi is the Ripper because he “had a great hatred of women … with strong homicidal tendencies”.

In Anderson’s 1910 memoirs, he claimed that the Ripper was a low-class Polish Jew, to which Swanson added the name “Kosminski” in the margin of his copy. Swanson also noted that Kosminski had been watched by police at his brother’s home in Whitechapel, was later taken with his hands tied behind his back to the workhouse and then to Colney Hatch Asylum, and that he died shortly after.

In 1987, author Martin Fido searched asylum records for any inmates named Kosminski. His search turned up only one: Aaron Kosminski. Macnaghten’s and Swanson’s notes both bear descriptions of the suspect that are similar to those found in his asylum records, however, Swanson’s claim of Kosminski’s death being shortly after his admittance differ from his file. Aaron Kosmisnki died in 1919.
Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

No comments: