Louis B. Brodsky

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Louis Bernard Brodsky
Magistrate in The Tombs court, NYC
In office
Personal details
Born (1883-12-25)December 25, 1883
Died April 29, 1970(1970-04-29) (aged 86)
Manhattan, New York City
Education New York University Law School

Louis Bernard Brodsky (December 25, 1883 - April 29, 1970) was a magistrate in The Tombs court in New York City known for the acquittal of the six men involved in the anti-Nazi SS Bremen riot in 1935 and for progressive ruling regarding dancers and nudity in April 1935.[1]


He was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1883 in Russia. Brodsky graduated from the New York University Law School in 1900. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1901. He was mostly involved in commercial cases as a trial lawyer. Brodsky was named a magistrate in 1924 by Mayor John F. Hylan. He filled an unexpired term and was reappointed to a 10-year-term by Mayor James J. Walker. He retired in 1939.[1]

He resided at 169 Ocean Drive West in Stamford, Connecticut in August 1952. On August 25, 1952 he was hit by a car outside the railroad station in Stamford. He sustained injuries to his head, left hand, and left leg but was reported to be in good condition.[2]

He was chairman of the National Hebrew Orphan Asylum, honorary president of the Hebrew Day and Night Nursery, director of the Home of Old Israel and Hebrew Orphan Home, and a trustee of the Israel Zion Hospital of Brooklyn, New York.

Brodsky died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York City on April 29, 1970 at the age of 86.[1] He resided at 465 Park Avenue at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Rose, a daughter, Mrs. Janet G. Frumberg, and a grandson.

Nudity case ruling[edit]

He dropped charges against Louise Wilson, 24, of 15 West 65th Street, Manhattan and Dorothy Sims, 22, of 450 West 150th Street, Manhattan. The two women were arrested by a policeman for indecency while performing before an audience of 101 men at a waiters' club at 80 Greenwich Street. Brodsky dismissed the women from court, saying "nudity is no longer considered indecent in uptown nightclubs and theaters." The women left the club without even a fan to cover them. Brodsky also released the 101 men who attended the performance who were detained at the police station overnight.[3]

SS Bremen verdict[edit]

Brodsky's most noteworthy decision came in a case involving six men arrested during a riot which occurred on July 26, 1935. He freed five of the six individuals who tore the Nazi swastika from the SS Bremen (1929). Brodsky compared the emblem to a pirate flag. He refused an apology even though German newspapers and government officials demanded one. United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull sent to Nazi Germany a note of "regret" for Brodsky's decision.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Louis B. Brodsky, 86, Former Magistrate". New York Times. May 1, 1970.
  2. ^ Judge Brodsky Hit By Auto, New York Times, August 26, 1952, pg. 22.
  3. ^ Court Upholds Nudity, New York Times, April 17, 1935, pg. 17.
  4. ^ Little Man, Big Doings, TIME Magazine, September 23, 1935