Louis Diemschutz In Court

Louis Diemschutz was the steward of the International Workingmen’s Educational Club in Berner Street, and was the man who found the body of Jack the Ripper victim Elizabeth Stride at 1am on the morning of the 30th September, 1888.

In March, 1889, he found himself under arrest on a charge of making a riot, and for assaulting several people.

He appeared in court on Thursday 25th April, 1889, and The London Evening Standard reported on the hearing in its next day’s edition, albeit they spelt his name as Diemshitz:-


“Lewis Diemshitz and Isaac Kozebrodski surrendered to their bail, to answer an indictment charging them with making a riot and with assaulting and beating Israel Sunshine, Julius Barnett, Emanuel Snapper, Joseph Frost, and other persons. A man named Samuel Friedman was also included in the indictment, but failed to surrender. His recognisances were estreated.

Mr. Gill and Mr. Partridge prosecuted; Mr. W. M. Thompson defended.

A portrait of Louis Diemschutz.
Louis Diemschutz. Illustration By William McKay. Courtesy of Randy Williams.


On the 16th of March, there was a demonstration of Jewish unemployed at the East-end, and a procession was formed up at the International Working Men’s Club in Berner Street, Commercial Road, and marched to the synagogue in Great Duke Street, Aldgate. They were refused admittance by the Chief Rabbi, and then went to a piece of land named Mile End Waste, where they held a meeting.

Inspector Ferrett and nine constables followed the procession.


After the meeting was over, a crowd gathered round the International Club, and some disturbance took place in consequence of one of the Defendants, who came out of the Club in his shirt sleeves, and struck a boy. Hooting ensued, and then the two Defendants with Friedman struck out right and left amongst the crowd.

Frost remonstrated, and then he was kicked and violently assaulted by them. Friedman caught hold of him, and, with the aid of the other Defendants, dragged him into the passage of the Club, where he was again struck over the head with a stick, and hit by Kozebrodski two or three times.

The Defendants were arrested and charged with riotous conduct.

A view of Berner Street.
Berner Street.


When at the police station, Lewis Lyons went there and preferred a charge against the police, which, however, was dismissed.

Application was also made for a summons against Inspector Ferrett for assault, which was not granted.


Evidence in support of the charge was given by Inspector Ferrett, Serjeant Wright, Police Constables Frost, Harris, Sherrington, and others.

Israel Sunshine, Julius Barnett, and Emanuel Snapper and others, also spoke to being in the crowd, and being assaulted by the Defendants without any provocation.

For the defence, Mr. Thompson called a large number of witnesses, most of whom were foreigners, whose evidence had to be interpreted, who said that on the 16th of March there was a Synagogue parade and a “procession of the unemployed and sweaters’ victims.


After it was over, there was a great disturbance outside the International Working Men’s Club. The people were throwing stones and creating a great disturbance. The doors of the Club were broken open, and Frost struck Diemshitz. and rushed into the Club.

The police ran after Diemshitz and two of the crowd struck him on the back. None of these witnesses saw any blows struck by members of the Club, the mob and the police being the aggressors.

Mrs. Diemshitz made an attempt to rescue her husband, and did strike the police with a hair broom; but that was the only assault that was committed.

On the way to the police station, Diemshitz was kicked and handled by the police.


One of the witnesses said that he saw the handle of the door, tied by some boys, and Diemshitz and his wife came to see what was the matter.

Although Inspector Ferrett was there, Frost kicked Mrs. Diemshitz, and struck her on the breast.

Mr. Thompson contended it was highly improbable that the case as submitted by the prosecution was correct, as a great deal of what occurred was in a dark passage, where it was highly probable that the police had made a mistake.


Mr. Gill briefly replied, and Sir P. Edlin having summed up, the Jury, after a brief deliberation in the box, found both the Prisoners Guilty of assaults on the police only.

Kozelvodski, who was recommended to mercy, was ordered to pay a fine of £4, or, in default, one month’s imprisonment, the money to be paid on the 6th of May.

Diemshitz was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour, and at the expiration of that time to enter into his own recognisances in the sum of £40. and to find two sureties in the sum of £20 each to be of good behaviour for twelve months.”