Pax Vobiscum Goes Missing!


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November 7, 1956 (Vol. I, No 49)

Statue Disappears from Village Art Center

Despite a house-to-house check-up in the vicinity, a 5-foot statue stolen from outside the Village Art Center last week was still missing yesterday.

Police have shown photographs of the 300-pound wooden statue, known as “pax Vobiscum,” to storekeepers and householders all over the Village, but not a single clue has come to light. Bolted to a pedestal in the courtyard of the Center at 39 Grove Street, the statue was last seen late on Tuesday last week by students leaving an art class. It had disappeared the following morning — carried off, police believe, in a truck.

“Pax Vobiscum” was the work of Village sculptor Alfred Van Loen, who presented it to the Center with the suggestion that it eventually be auctioned for the joint benefit of the Center and St. Vincent’s hospital. In the past it had been damaged by vandals throwing mud.

USSR Suicides Increase

Morris Ernst, 59, a renowned lawyer and fighter for civil liberties, will tell a Village audience next week about “the four very important urges” he found on his recent trip to Russia. Ernst, a Villager for 30 years who lives at 2 Fifth Avenue, is one of four speakers scheduled to address a New School class on the quartet’s experiences in Moscow.

His three-week visit, undertaken at his own expense, was partly to discuss with Russian publishers the subject of exchanging books — and paying long-due royalties to American authors.

The four urges, Ernst told The Voice on Friday, were for more privacy, for a a cost-accounting system in factories (“at present there is no price structure”), for voluntary travel without the need of a permit, and “for suicide.”

About suicide, he explained: “The suicide rate, growing in Russia, is a sign that people are tending to blame themselves more than Lenin for their shortcomings. It’s good for people to live in a world where there are frustrations.”

Asked about prices in Russia, he added, inconsequentially: “The cost of a permanent for a woman is about one-tenth of the price of a pair of shoes; here it’s about the same price as a paid of shoes.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]