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Solving a Winnipeg Murder Mystery, 100 Years Later

An August 19, 1913, inquest into a young Jewish mother’s murder came up empty. The victim’s great-grandson shares how he cracked the century-old cold case.

by
Tablet Podcasts
August 19, 2022
TABLET MAGAZINE; ORIGINAL PHOTOS COURTESY WAYNE HOFFMAN
TABLET MAGAZINE; ORIGINAL PHOTOS COURTESY WAYNE HOFFMAN
TABLET MAGAZINE; ORIGINAL PHOTOS COURTESY WAYNE HOFFMAN
TABLET MAGAZINE; ORIGINAL PHOTOS COURTESY WAYNE HOFFMAN

Tablet Executive Editor Wayne Hoffman grew up hearing a strange family story. His mother’s grandmother, the story went, was killed in a drive-by sniper shooting while nursing her baby on her front porch in Winnipeg in the early 1900s. Wayne never actually believed the story, but never challenged it either.

In 2010, after his mother was diagnosed with dementia, Wayne brought a video camera home with him for Passover to record her sharing her family history before her memory deteriorated. And this time, he decided to push back on the 1900s front-porch-sniper story.

“If that’s not what happened,” his mother replied, “then what did happen?”

Wayne spent the next 10 years trying to figure out exactly that, tracking down relatives and searching Canadian archives to piece together the real story of what happened.

What Wayne discovered was that his great-grandmother, Sarah Feinstein, was in fact murdered at home, in Winnipeg’s so-called Hebrew Colony, on Aug. 1, 1913. The inquest into the murder began on Aug. 19, 1913, but investigators came up empty, leaving the case unsolved for a century. Until Wayne started digging.

In 2022, Wayne published The End of Her: Racing Against Alzheimer’s to Solve a Family Mystery. Here he is on Ep. 306 of Unorthodox, telling the hosts about solving this strange murder mystery, and doing so alongside his mother’s continued cognitive decline:

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Ep. 306: Wayne Hoffman on ‘The End of Her’
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Ep. 306: Wayne Hoffman on ‘The End of Her’

Find out more about all of Tablet’s podcasts at tabletmag.com/podcasts.

Tablet Studios is the premier destination for smart and entertaining Jewish audio content. Our podcasts include Unorthodox, Take One, Hebrew School, and the limited-run series Gatecrashers, Adventures with Dead Jews, Radioactive: The Father Coughlin Story, and 49 Days to Stretch My Soul.

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