With John Kerry in the news again because of his nomination for Secretary of State, Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times has driven headlong into her archives and brought out a gem about Kerry’s Jewish grandfather. Amazingly, it was a story that Kerry himself only learned about in 2003. From the 2003 piece:

Kerry only learned last month from a Boston Globe reporter that his grandfather was Jewish and that he committed suicide in 1921 in a Boston hotel washroom.

Kerry learned about 15 years ago that his paternal grandmother, Ida Lowe, a Catholic convert, was born Jewish. Kerry did not know that his grandfather, from an Austrian town now in the Czech Republic, started his U.S. life in Chicago, spokesman David Wade said Sunday.

Frederick Kerry–who changed his name from Kohn while in Europe– probably came to Chicago shortly after landing in the United States on Dec. 21, 1905. The two witnesses on his naturalization petition, George Lytton, who said he was a merchant, and Frank Case, listed as a manager, swore he lived in Illinois since January 1906.

The whole story is worth a read. Check it out here.

John Kerry’s Chicago Jewish Roots
[Chicago Sun-Tribune]