Kosminski: Not the Ripper

Aaron Kosminski was not Jack the Ripper. The main reason he is considered a suspect was because of Robert Anderson, the Assistant Commissioner of the CID in 1888. In his memoirs, he wrote that the murders were committed by a Polish Jew, who was identified as Kosminski in the Macnaghten Memoranda and the Swanson Marginalia. Both Swanson and Anderson insist that an unnamed witness identified Kosminski. There is evidence that the witness they were referring to was Joseph Lawende, who saw Catherine Eddowes the morning of her murder.  They claimed Kosminski was not convicted because Lawende refused to testify against a “fellow-Jew.” However, Lawende’s identification was shady. Right after the murders, Lawende insisted that he wouldn’t be able to recognize the man he saw. Supposedly, he instantly recognized the suspect when he was brought into the police station, two years after the murders!  

Not only that, but there is also other evidence against Kosminski’s candidacy. Although he was mentally unstable, there was no evidence in the asylum records that he was particularly violent. He didn’t fit many witness descriptions. He was 22 or 23 at the time of the murders, much younger than witness estimates. Schwartz, a witness for Liz Stride, described a stout, broad-shouldered man, which Kosminski was not. In 1888, Kosminski was already dirty, disheveled, and out of work, which doesn’t match with the respectable appearance reported by Long, Smith, and Schwartz. To top it all off, if Kosminski was the Ripper and Kelly was the last victim, then he was inactive for two years and three months afterwards. Such a long period of inactivity is uncommon with serial killers.

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