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June 08, 1973 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-06-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

age Ten

THE SUMMER DAILY

Friday, June 8, 1973

A PRISONER FOR 51 YEARS

B
NEW
Kare p
gle to
golden
across

A t 68, Israel Karp is free at last
ly BARBARA REHIM HE DOES NOT even remember I try not to think about that." Karp cranes his neck around Thanks for the treat.I
YORK (UPI) - Israel the boss's name now, nor the He settles back for the drive street corners and buildings head back. Right back
ounded his fist on the ta- reason for the shooting. into Manhattan, eyes darting looking for something misplaced, joint. This is good enou;
ok a long swallow of the In October 1933 Karp was de- furiously. "Boy, I feel like I'm something familiar. "I feel like
beer and swilled it clared legally sane. "He could in the free world again," he I'm in the wrong place," he sighs. KARP HANGS up hi
his tongue. have been free long ago," says says. suit and felt hat. Standir

Time to
to the
gh.'
s brown
ng again

"Ah, that's beer all right," he
sighed. "My first in 51 years."
He shook his head furiously
and toasted an unseen audience.
"'chaim, To life;" cried.'
"A FEW BEERS mean noth-
ing when you're a kid. But this
--a beer to remember."
It was March 1922 when the
doors at Dannemora State pri-
son clanged shut behind Israel
Karp. He was 17 - convicted of
second degree murder for shoot-

prison Supt. J. Edwin LaValle,
"but nobody wanted him."
On May 5, 1973 Israel Karp
was transferred from Dannemora
to Sea View ursing Home on
Staten Island.
IN ALL THOSE 51 years none
of his brothers and sisters came
to see him.
"They don't like the idea I
committed murder. I'm supposed
to be the black sheep of the fam-
ily. But if they come, I'll receive

"I'm 68 you know, 68. Not much time left
-. -butI didn't think I'd ever get out to see it
(the city), so I have no complaints with life."
-Israel Karp

ing his hoss,
Bloomers were going for 5
cents at Lord and Taylor. Prohi-
bition agents kept raiding Jimmy
Kelley's down on Hester Street.
Mayor John Hylan was cleaning
Tammany Hall and Israel Karp
was makin' .17 a week as a
shipping clerk.
NOW 68, a bristling skeleton
of a man, Karp slowly walked
out of prison into the late May
afternoon.
The Empire State Building
has been built, the World Trade
Centers topped off. Telephones
and televisions are in nearly ev-
ery home, and every bar serves
cold beer.
"Yep, it's all changed. I
expected it would. Yep, it's
changed all right. I see the world
changes. Time goes on without
you," Karp says in his Brooklyn
staccato.
"I DIDN'TTIIINK I'd ever get
out to see it, so I have no com-
plaints with life. At my age,
you can't complain. life comes
as it comes," he says.
"I'm glad for this."
At age 17, Israel Karp, one of
five children of a Brooklyn
widow, shot and killed his boss.
The date was March 7, 1922. "I
never fired a gun before that
day. Not even at the shooting
galleries on Coney Island," he
says softly.

them. I'll be civil," he says.
In the dim corridors of the
nursing home. Israel Karp gets
ready for his first trip to the
city in 51 years. lHe pulls on a
frayed brown shit over dull blue
pajamas. .
"NO POINT IN takin' 'em off.
I'll be back in the joint in a
few hours," he shrugs.
He fixes the battered felt
brown hat on his head and walks
slowly past the bed rows of old
men.
"Sometime later," he says,
"I'd like to live in the city. Just
a small room somewhere to
w a t c h things. Everything. I
missed a lot. I'd just like to
watch things now.
'"I'M 68 YOU KNOW, 68. Not
much time. But I have no com-
plaints. I kept going then. Yep.
Kept going all right. I'll keep
going now.
"I'm lonesome, sometimes. But
R BARBERS
and STYLISTS
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Michigan Unionj

PASSING A CEMETERY on
the outskirts of Brooklyn, Karp
rubs the thick stubble on his
face. "Cripes, it's been over 51
years. Someday I'll pay a visit
to these cemeteries.
"I have some relatives there
I never seen in my lifetime. If
I can locate them, I'll look them
up."
The afternoon is punctuated
with Karp's hard, sharp senten-
ces. "That's a toll machine.
Yep. It's a toll machine alright.
I read about 'em.
"THAT'S A SKYSCRAPER-
Yep. I know why they call it a
skyscraper alright.Itt scrapes the
sky. Alright. I read about them,
too. And now I see."
Walking through the lower
East Side, Karp bites his lips.
"Not very familiar after so many
years. I see the world changes."
IN 1922 elevated trains roared
down Sixth Avenue and mount-
ed police directed traffic. "I
see that's gone," Karp says.
"Yep, I see that's all gone."
"Now there's so many people.
People everywhere. And build-
ings cover everything. It's all
crowded now. I need to watch it
to know if I like it.
"Yep, it's different. One has
to expect it," he says.
"EVEN THE W O M E N
wear pants now. Pants! What a
thing.
"You know, I don't think I'll
bother with any women now. At
my age, hello and good day
should just about do it. I
haven't thought about a woman
for as long as I can remember."
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THE WAREHOUSE where he
used to work is gone. In its
p1uce is a Chinese laundry and
a row of crUnibling buildings.
"I look at this," he says
softly, "and it makes me think if
I'll ever be free. He asks to be
taken back to Sea View.
"It's been a good ride this.

in his pajamas and shoes, he
looks at the rows of men and
stuffs a kosher salamaai into his
locker.
He sits on the edge of the bed
and turns to the window. "Looks
like rain," he says, "maybe
thunderstorms," and pulls up the
thin blanket.

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