|Birth: ||Mar. 26, 1913|
New York County
New York, USA
|Death: ||Jan. 4, 1995|
New York County
New York, USA
Wife: Evelyn Lobelson 9 Sep 1907-14 Dec 2000. Her parents: Nathan & Sophia Loberson, Mt Carmel Cemetery, Queens NY
children: Michael & Susan
Parents: Nathan & Sophia Riesel
Obituary, The New York Times, January 5, 1995:
--Victor Riesel, 81, Columnist Blinded by Acid Attack, Dies--
Victor Riesel, the crusading syndicated labor columnist who was blinded by an acid attack in 1956, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 81.
The cause of death was a heart attack, according to his son, Michael.
In a crime that shocked the nation, Mr. Riesel was assaulted just after leaving Lindy's restaurant in midtown Manhattan at 3 A.M. on April 5, 1956. An hour earlier, he had finished a radio broadcast in which he assailed the leadership of a Long Island local of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
"I wasn't important as a man, but I was important as a symbol," Mr. Riesel (pronounced re-ZELL) wrote later. "The attack on me was an attack on the entire free press, challenging its right to expose crime and injustice. In hitting me, the underworld was thumbing its nose at the community and the forces of law and order."
Accompanied by a friend and his secretary, Mr. Riesel was headed for his car on 51st Street that night when a young man emerged from the shadows near the Mark Hellinger Theater.
"The acid caught me right between the eyes," he wrote. "He stood there calmly for a moment, deliberately appraising his work. Then he ambled away."
One month later, doctors told Mr. Riesel that he would never see again.
"There was no terror at the moment when I knew I had crossed the line into permanent darkness," Mr. Riesel wrote. "There was only a sudden feeling of shame. I was afraid that people would treat me too gently or shy away from me as though from a freak. And suddenly, I wondered if I could go on writing and earning a living."
But he did.
Abe Telvi, the man accused of throwing the acid, was found dead on Mulberry Street on the morning of July 28, 1956. There was a bullet in his head.
On Aug. 18, the F.B.I. arrested eight men and said the blinding was the work of garment district terrorists determined to silence Mr. Riesel.
Despite his blinding, Mr. Riesel never stopped inveighing against gangster infiltration and other corruption in labor unions that had stirred his emotions since his youth.
His column, which appeared locally in The Daily Mirror in New York, was syndicated to as many as 350 newspapers at its height.
Until he retired about 1990, he typed his own columns. Mr. Riesel attributed his prowess at the keyboard to the fact that "I fell in love with my typing teacher."
Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists. By Sam G. Riley. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995. (BiDAmNC)
Who's Who in America. 38th edition, 1974-1975. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1974. (WhoAm 38)
Who's Who in America. 39th edition, 1976-1977. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1976. (WhoAm 39)
Who's Who in America. 40th edition, 1978-1979. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1978. (WhoAm 40)
Who's Who in Government. First edition, 1972-1973. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1972. (WhoGov 1)
Who's Who in Government. Second edition, 1975-1976. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1975. (WhoGov 2)
Who's Who in the World. Second edition, 1974-1975. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1973. (WhoWor 2)
Nathan Riesel (1888 - 1947)
Created by: Janet LaMotte
Record added: Aug 12, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74828340
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