April 1933

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April 13, 1933: Bonnie and Clyde survive shootout, leave behind photos and evidence
April 4, 1933: 73 die in the destruction of the U.S. Navy airship Akron
April 8, 1933: State of Western Australia votes to secede from the Commonwealth

The following events occurred in April 1933:

April 1, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Nazi government organized a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, with the assistance of Julius Streicher, publisher of the anti-Semitic daily newspaper Der Sturmer. The boycott failed to attract public support. Days later, laws were proclaimed to remove German Jews from various occupations.[1]
  • The first squadron of the Indian Air Force was organized.[2]
  • After a motion, for a vote for no confidence against the government of Prime Minister Manopakorn Nititada, was introduced in the Siamese Parliament, King Prajadhipok dissolved the session and gave Manopakorn the power to rule by decree.[3]
  • In an effort to attract more passengers to traveling by train, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and four smaller railroad companies in the southeastern United States slashed fares by one-third and eliminated surcharges on Pullman car travel. Further cuts were made on December 1, with the increased sale of tickets offsetting the revenue per ticket.[4]
  • Born: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, French physicist, and 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics laureate; in Constantine, French Algeria.

April 2, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

April 3, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • In the Soviet city of Kherson,[6][7] Dr Yuri Voronoy performed the first human kidney transplant, taking the kidney from a 60-year-old man who had died from a skull fracture, and implanting it into a 26-year-old woman who had attempted suicide.[8] The donor had "Type B" blood, while the recipient was "Type O", and she died two days later.[9][10]
  • The first flight over Mount Everest was made by two airplanes, piloted by Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Clydesdale and Flight Lieutenant D. F. McIntyre.[11]
  • Michigan became the first state to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, when the 100 delegates to its constitutional convention voted 99-1 for ratification.[12] The 36th state, Utah, would ratify on December 5.[13]
  • First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the first American President's wife to hold her own press conferences, told reporters, mostly women, that beer would be served at the White House as soon as Prohibition ended. Mrs. Roosevelt emphasized that she did not drink alcohol, but that it would be available to guests of the President.[14]

April 4, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • At 12:33 a.m., the American airship USS Akron was torn apart by a violent storm, and crashed in the ocean, 20 miles east of Barnegat, New Jersey, killing 73 of the 76 people on board. The three survivors— Lt. Comm. Herbert V. Wiley, boatswain's mate Richard E. Deal, and metalsmith Moody E. Irwin— were brought home on a Navy destroyer. Wiley reported that the Akron proceeded northeast to avoid a thunderstorm, and that at 12:30 a.m., fell from a height of 1,600 feet into the ocean, and broke apart on impact.[15]
  • The Berufsbeamtengesetz, officially the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" was promulgated in Germany, requiring that all "non-Aryan" Germans (mostly Jewish) be expelled from government jobs, including academic positions at public universities.[16] After a direct appeal by the Reich Union of Jewish Veterans, German President Hindenburg intervened to have Chancellor Hitler make exceptions for Jewish employees who had fought for Germany in World War I, or whose father or son had died in the war, or who had been employed by the government prior to the war; dismissed employees were to receive three months' salary, and those who had ten or more years of service were to receive a pension.[17] The exemptions would be removed with the enactment of the Nuremberg Code on September 15, 1935. Among the scientists who would leave the country were 14 who had won, or would later win, the Nobel Prize.[18]
  • Died:
    • Libbie Custer, 90, widow of General George Custer. She had campaigned to have him remembered as a national hero
    • William A. Moffett, 63, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, Medal of Honor recipient, and Director of the U.S. Bureau of Aeronautics and pioneer in naval aviation, was killed in the crash of the Akron.

April 5, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The International Court in The Hague decided that East Greenland belonged to Denmark and rejected Norway's historical claim to the landmass.[19]
  • U.S. President Roosevelt declared a national emergency and issued Executive Order 6102, making it illegal for American citizens to own gold. Hoarding was prohibited, and citizens were ordered to redeem the gold for the official price of $20.67 per ounce.[20]
  • President Roosevelt's Executive Order 6129 established the Civilian Conservation Corps, following legislation signed on March 31. The first camp was created 12 days later.[21]
  • Dr Evarts Graham performed the first pneumonectomy (removal of part of the lung) as a treatment for lung cancer. By the time of his death on March 4, 1957 — also of lung cancer — the surgery had become the preferred treatment for stopping the progress of the disease.[22]
  • Born:

April 6, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • By a 53-30 vote, the U.S. Senate passed the Black-Connery bill, providing for a 30-hour work week with no cut in pay.[23] The measure went to the House on April 17. By then, the National Association of Manufacturers had organized opposition to the bill, and President Roosevelt withdrew his support. The Rules Committee of the House of Representatives never voted on the bill, and the 6-hour workday never came to pass.[24]
  • The Screen Writers Guild was formed by screenwriters who were dissatisfied with the Writers Guild of America.[25]

April 7, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

April 8, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • In a In a referendum in the state of Western Australia, voters overwhelmingly (138,653 to 70,706) favored seceding from the rest of Australia. [28] The British House of Commons would conclude that the request could not be honored because the Statute of Westminster 1931 required approval also by the Australian federal government. [29]
  • Austrian musician Herbert von Karajan, who aspired to become a musical conductor, joined the Nazi Party in Austria the day after Germany began removing Jews from occupations. Reasoning that the removal of Jews from existing musical jobs would make more jobs available to him, Karajan concluded that party membership would allow him to advance his career more quickly. Five years to the day later, he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra for his first time.[30]

April 9, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

April 10, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

April 11, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • British aviator William M. Lancaster vanished while attempting to break the speed record for a flight from England to South Africa, after departing Reggane, in French Algeria and flying over the Sahara Desert in his airplane, the Southern Cross Minor. [36] When the plane's engine failed an hour later, Lancaster landed in the desert and survived for eight days until running out of water. A search for him was unsuccessful, and he his remains would not be discovered until almost 30 years later, by French Army troops, on February 12, 1962.[37]
  • Four days after the first laws were enacted against employment of Jews in Germany, an amendment was added to clarify who would be excluded. "It is enough for one parent or grandparent to be non-Aryan", a memorandum from Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick explained, adding, "This is to be assumed, especially if one parent or one grandparent was of the Jewish faith."[18]

April 12, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Nazi Germany announced a census of all Germans. Reich Statistical Office Director Friedrich Bürgdorfer, who was also the director of the Nazi Party's "Race Political Office" set out to use the census to identify every Jew and non-Aryan in the nation. IBM and its German subsidiary, Dehomag (Deustche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft), contracted with the government to supply IBM computers and to train employees to use them in tabulating the data—within a few months rather than three or more years.[38]
  • In Philadelphia, Harvey Fletcher of Bell Laboratories demonstrated stereo sound to an astonished audience of 300 investors and reporters who had been invited to witness the demonstration of high fidelity.[39]
  • Born: Montserrat Caballé, Spanish Catalan operatic soprano, in Barcelona.
  • Died:
    • Adelbert Ames, 97, Governor of Mississippi (1868–70 and 1874–76) and U.S. Senator (1870–74) during Reconstruction, and the last surviving General to have served in the American Civil War (a native of Maine, he fought on the Union side)
    • Zelia Nuttall, 75, Mexican archaeologist and anthropologist.

April 13, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

April 14, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • Mr and Mrs John Mackay, of Drumnadrochit in Scotland, were driving near a lake called Loch Ness, when they spotted what they described to a reporter for the Inverness Courier as "an enormous animal rolling and plunging" in the lake's waters. The newspaper described the creature as a monster. On May 12, the Courier created an internationally-known legend under the headline "Loch Ness Monster", and in the month that followed, 20 people would say that they witnessed the same creature.[45]
  • One week before Winnie Ruth Judd was scheduled to be hanged for murder, hearings began to determine her sanity at the time of the "trunk murders" committed on October 16, 1931. After a jury found her to be insane, she was committed to the Arizona State Hospital, from which she escaped seven times, including one stint where she was at large from 1963 to 1969.[46] She would be paroled in 1971 and would live until 1998.
  • Born: Morton Subotnick, American electronic music composer, in Los Angeles.

April 15, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

April 16, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

April 17, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • The first Civilian Conservation Corps camp was opened, near Luray, Virginia, and designated as "Camp Roosevelt", with 200 young men working for the U.S. Forestry Service.[50] By July there were 1,468 camps in U.S. parks and forests, with 250,000 employees, 25,000 supervisors and 25,000 experienced woodsmen put to work at various tasks to improve the environment.[51]
  • Born: Joachim Kroll, German serial killer, in Hindenburg, Upper Silesia (now Zabrze, Poland) (d. 1991).
  • Died: Harriet Brooks, 57, Canadian nuclear physicist.

April 18, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

April 19, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • President Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard by ordering that gold exports to other nations be halted.[53] The effect would be to devalue the U.S. dollar by 36% (against gold-backed currencies) over the next eight months.[54] However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had increased by 55% on July 18.[55]
  • Four hundred American citizens of Mexican descent became the first repatriados to move from the United States to "Colony Number 2", near Pinotepa Nacional in Mexico's Oaxaca State. They were joined by several hundred more Mexican-Americans seeking new opportunities during the Great Depression. By February 1934 the population of the colony had dropped from about 700 to only 8 colonists, as the repatriados moved back to the US.[56]
  • Les Pawson won the Boston Marathon.[57]
  • Born: Jayne Mansfield, American actress (birth name Vera Jayne Palmer) in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (killed in accident 1967).

April 20, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Adolf Hitler's 44th birthday was celebrated for the first time as a national holiday, with celebrations across Germany, including parades and special church services in his honor.[58]
  • The Soviet Union approved a project for the creation of "labor villages" in western Siberia and in the Kazakh SSR, for the forcible deportation and relocation of up to one million prisoners. Administered by the General Directorate of Camps (commonly known as the Glavnoye upravlyaniya lagyleryey or G.U. Lag.) each colony came to be called a gulag.[59]
  • During a visit to the White House, pilot Amelia Earhart, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a group of women reporters went on a nighttime airplane flight over Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.[60]
  • The Longworth House Office Building was completed 10 months after construction began, providing 251 suites and 16 committee rooms for the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1962 the building would be named in honor of Nicholas Longworth, who had been Speaker of the House in 1933.[61]
  • Died:

April 21, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • Nazi Germany effectively outlawed the Jewish practice of shechita, the ritual slaughter of animals in the preparation of kosher food. The German law did not refer to the Jewish religion, but required that animals be anesthetized with electric shock or stunned with a special hammer, counter to the Jewish practice.[62]
  • John Collier was appointed as Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, and began major reforms in federal government treatment of American Indians. Collier, a former social worker and an anthropologist, reversed the U.S. policy of assimilation of the various cultures, mandating bilingual education in federal Indian schools and changing school curricula to include the teaching of tribal history and traditions.[63]
  • In response to the influx of Jewish physicians among refugees who had fled from Nazi Germany, France enacted the Armbruster Law, which limited the practice of medicine to French citizens and subjects who had been granted the diplome d'État by France. Even the most renowned foreign doctors were directed to go through nine years of undergraduate and medical studies, as well as the last year of high school to obtain a baccalaureate, or be arrested for illegal practice of medicine.[64]
  • The American airship USS Macon was launched, 17 days after the destruction of its sister ship, USS Akron. The Macon was destroyed in a 1935 crash.[65]
  • Rudolf Hess was appointed as the first Deputy Fuehrer of Germany (Stellvertreter des Führers), a ceremonial job with no actual power.[66]

April 22, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • King Zog of Albania decreed government control over all private schools in that Balkan nation, including the immediate closure of the Roman Catholic schools that had been established by Italian settlers. Italy would invade and conquer Albania in 1939.[67]
  • Born: Mark Damon, American film distributor and founder of Producers Sales Organization, as Mark Harris, in Chicago.
  • Died: Henry Royce, 70, co-founder, with Charles Rolls of the Rolls-Royce automobile and aviation company.

April 23, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

April 24, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

April 25, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The "Law Against the Overcrowding of German Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning" (Gesetz gegen die Überfüllung deutscher Schulen und Hochschulen) was issued, limiting the number of Jewish students in public schools to 1.5% of the total enrollment, ostensibly based on the percentage of the German population who were non-Aryan.[18]
  • The Soviet salvage ship Russlan sank in an arctic gale off the Norwegian coast, killing all 33 people on board.[72]
  • Born:
  • Died: Franz Nopcsa, 55, Hungarian-born paleontologist and pioneer in the study of paleobiology.

April 26, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Gestapo (Geheime staatspolizei, literally "Secret State Police") was created by Hermann Göring to control political dissent within the German state of Prussia. On April 20, 1934, it would become the secret police force for all Germany. Historian William Shirer later wrote that "An obscure post office employee who had been asked to furnish a franking stamp for the new bureau ... unwittingly created a name the very mention of which was to inspire terror first within Germany and then without."[73]
  • Born:

April 27, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Karl Guthe Jansky, on what one author described as a date that "is officially considered the beginning of radio astronomy"[74] delivered a lecture at a meeting of the International Scientific Radio Union in Washington, D.C., entitled "Electrical Disturbances of Extra-terrestrial Origin". Jansky, an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, had been investigating interference with radio transmissions at Bell, and discovered radio waves that varied in intensity depending on the time of day and the time of year, but maintained the same frequency, leading to the conclusion that the waves were coming from beyond the Earth, apparently from the center of the Milky Way. Jansky would become famous in a Bell Labs press release that was reported on page one of the New York Times on May 5.[75]
  • Following his demonstration of stereophonic sound on April 12, Harvey Fletcher had the Philadelphia Orchestra perform for members of the National Academy of Sciences at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. After the lights were turned on, the Washington audience was stunned to see that only one musician was on stage — and that the orchestra had remained in Philadelphia, with its music being carried over telephone lines.[39][76]
  • About 100 farmers in Le Mars, Iowa kidnapped Judge Charles C. Bradley from the Plymouth County Courthouse after he refused to promise not to sign any further mortgage foreclosures. A group of masked men then blindfolded him, took him outside, drove him out of town, and pulled him from the ground after putting a noose around his neck until he lost consciousness. After being told to pray, Bradley reportedly said "Lord, I pray thee do justice to all men", and the mob disbursed on its own. Iowa Governor Clyde L. Herring then proclaimed martial law in Plymouth County and sent 400 state National Guardsmen to enforce order.[77] After guardsmen arrested more than 100 suspects, a military court of inquiry heard testimony and referred 46 of the group to prosecution at various county courts. Most were given probation.[78]
  • Died: Albert Funk, 38, former member of the German Reichstag, was killed at the police station at Recklinghausen, after being thrown from an upstairs window.[79]

April 28, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Berlin edition of Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung published what would prove to be the last newspaper article in Germany that openly criticized the ruling Nazi government. Wolfgang Köhler, a well-respected psychologist and a professor at Humboldt University of Berlin, wrote "Gespräche in Deutschland" ("Conversations in Germany"), denouncing the injustice of the firing of Jewish professionals. Among his comments were that people who refused to join the Nazi Party "feel a moral imposition ... They believe that only the quality of a human being should determine his worth, that intellectual achievement, character, and obvious contributions to German culture retain their significance whether a person is Jewish or not." Köhler fully expected to be arrested for his defiance. Surprisingly, he was allowed to continue teaching, and was allowed to leave Germany in 1935.[80]
  • Genrikh Yagoda, a deputy director of the Soviet Union's secret police, expanded the scope of removing newcomers from cities in the USSR. Anyone who had not been issued a "propiska", the Soviet internal passport that became required beginning in January, was relocated. Relocations had started in the eight major Soviet cities on January 5, and Yagoda carried the deportation rule to "all urban and semi-urban areas".[81]
  • The drama film Zoo in Budapest starring Loretta Young and Gene Raymond was released.
  • Born: Horst Faas, German photojournalist and twice Pulitzer Prize winner, in Berlin

April 29, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

April 30, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Luis M. Sanchez Cerro, the President of Peru, was assassinated by Abelardo Mendoza Leywa at the Santa Beatriz horseracing track, after completing a review of 30,000 troops who were preparing to fight a war against Colombia. Sancho Cerro was struck by two bullets while getting into a car to leave, and died ten minutes later. Reportedly, he had survived so many previous attempts on his life that he had 14 bullets in his body besides the two which killed him.[84] Former President Óscar R. Benavides, who would conclude a peace treaty with Colombia, was selected to succeed Sanchez Cerro.[85]
  • Fritz Haber, Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physical Chemistry, resigned in protest over the order to dismiss Jewish faculty from the Institute. Although he was Jewish, he was exempt from the order because he was a veteran of World War I.[86]
  • The Parliament of Austria held its last session until after World War II. The legislators assembled at 10:35 a.m. in Vienna, voted to enact a new constitution allowing rule by decree, and adjourned at 10:50.[87]


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