In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island

By Edward Corsi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE CARAVAN'S MOST AMAZING CHARACTER

IGNATIUS TIMOTHY TREBITSCH-LINCOLN has the reputation at Ellis Island of being the most amazing character ever detained there.

Scotland Yard and the New York American both called him the "most elusive man in the world." United States Marshal James M. Power said in 1922 that he was "just an ordinary thief." Among other things he himself claimed to be a Buddhist monk and a former member of the English Parliament; and he revelled in the appellation, as applied to himself, of "international spy." He was called other things--"one of the striking features of the war's aftermath, a picturesque relic of the great struggle . . . a Jew who became a Presbyterian minister . . . a curate in London . . . an Anglican rector."

His first official recognition in the United States is recorded in the 1915 police files. He was arrested on a charge of forgery and was demanded by the British Government. He effected a melodramatic escape from a deputy marshal in a Brooklyn restaurant in 1916, but was soon captured again and sent to England where he served a sentence. Since it was assumed by most of the Allied governments that the prisoner was accepting pay from Germany, and that he was serving in the capacity of spy, it was hoped that the British action against him would effectively remove him from the international stage.

Trebitsch-Lincoln was a Jew, but I do not know of what nationality. No epithet could better fit him than the out-worn one of

-268-

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