|LYA GRAF: TWO|
| It was June 1st, 1933. The Senate Banking Committee, after a four-day Memorial Day recess, was set to resume hearings focusing on the financial practices of JPMorgan - the empire and the person.
With the 1929 stock market crash fresh in everyone's memory, an effort was underway to regulate the industry. President Roosevelt, still in the first 100 days of his presidency was looking for national support for his "New Deal" and supposedly, at his behest, Morgan, a political enemy, was called before the Committee.
The Circus happened to be in town at the same time. It was a Wednesday morning and Lya and her sister Lotte decided to take in the sights as they were wont to do at every stop. They made their way to the Capitol and perhaps hearing and seeing all the hubbub went to investigate what all the fuss was about.
When Scripps-Howard reporter Ray Tucker heard she was in the corridor he managed to get Lya in and had her meet the financier. Morgan stood up, shook her hand and made her acquaintance. But when he sat down, someone (some say a circus press agent) sat her upon Morgan's lap and photographers fell over themselves to get the picture.
With the unscheduled photo-op over, Lya and sister were on their merry way to do more sight-seeing. For J.P. Morgan, his image as a curmudgeon was effectively ended.
|J.P.Morgan, Senate Banking Committee, June 26, 1933 just before 4-day Memorial Day break|
|The hearings were named after this man, Ferdinand Pecora, the Senate Banking Committe's chief counsel. When he forced Morgan to say publicly that he and his partners had paid no income taxes for the previous two years, the Nation's working class was in an uproar. But in J.P.'s defense, he broke no laws and had paid more than 50 million in taxes in previous years.
The upshot of the hearings was the formation of the now familiar Securities and Exchange Commission.
|The photo seen 'round the world. Lya's dress was blue and her woven headdress red. What little conversation the two were recorded to have had was mostly made up by the press.|
| Lya continued on with the Circus. It is not clear if the Circus itself exploited her fifteen-minutes-of-fame. It is recorded, however, that when she appeared at Coney Island she would charge patrons 25¢ to hear the story of her Washington encounter from her own mouth.
After two years Lya returned home. But it was to a different Germany. The concentration camp at Dachau had been established to house political prisoners. Hitler's grip was tightened over the country with the banning of all political parties other than the Nazi party. Lya's home country had become a dictatorship. But worst of all and of most concern to Lya and her family was the passing of the Nuremburg laws depriving Jews of German citizenship.
You see, Lya's true name was Margaret Furthmann. Lya was half-Jewish.
Dwarves in Hitler's Germany were tolerated if show-people. But a midget Jew was something else - showperson or not.
The Furthmann family were sent to a concentration camp. Many surmise it was to Poland at Auschwitz/Birkenau but that camp was not established till 1940. It is more likely they were taken to Germany's camps of Dachau or Buchenwald where Lya would have perished of malnourishment and forced labor.
|THE VICTORY WILL BE OURS!|
|(History records otherwise)|