Benjamin “Dopey Benny” Fein (c. 1889–1962) was an early Jewish American gangster who dominated New York labor racketeering in the 1910s. With a criminal record dating back to 1900, Fein’s arrest record included thirty charges from petty theft and assault to grand larceny and murder (of which he was acquitted twice due to lack of evidence). Fein was nicknamed “Dopey Benny” because of his eyes always being halfway-closed due to a medical condition.
Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik (March 20, 1886 – February 21, 1956) was the trusted advisor, and later political “greaser,” for the Chicago Outfit.Guzik was born near Kraków, Poland on May 20, 1886, and emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. His parents were Jews from Katowice, Poland. Guzik later became involved in prostitution, and allegedly white slavery, in the South Side of Chicago’s Levee vice district with his brother Harry, eventually driving rival Jack Zuta out of business.His big break came in the early 1920s, when Guzik, supposedly overhearing a plan to murder Al Capone, informed him and later allied with the Chicago Outfit. Starting under Capone, Guzik was the trusted treasurer and financial wizard of the Outfit.He died peacefully of a heart attack
Hyman “Curly” Holtz (c. 1896–1939?), also known as Hyman “Little Hymie” Holtz, was a New York labor racketeer who began working as a labor slugger for Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen during the early 1920s.However, as many of the younger members within the organization, Hyman grew disenchanted serving under Orgen, left the organization with Buchalter and later aligning himself with Buchalter after his split from Orgen.A protégé of Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, he is suspected to have been with Buchalter and Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro when Organ was gunned down in a drive by shooting on October 15, 1927. He was eventually murdered in 1939 reportedly by Buchalter who suspected Holtz of skimming off from him
TV Interview in Israel 1971
Meyer Lansky (born Meyer Suchowljansky;July 4, 1902 – January 15, 1983), known as the “Mob’s Accountant”, was a major organized crime figure who, along with his associate Charles “Lucky” Luciano, was instrumental in the development of the “National Crime Syndicate” in the United States. For decades he was thought to be one of the most powerful individuals in the country.
Lansky was born Meyer Suchowlansky in Grodno Belarus, to a Jewish family who experienced pogroms. In 1911, he immigrated to the United States through the port of Odessa and settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.Lansky met Bugsy Siegel when they were teenagers. They became lifelong friends, as well as partners in the bootlegging trade, and together with Lucky Luciano, formed a lasting partnership. Lansky was instrumental in Luciano’s rise to power by organizing the 1931 murders of Mafia bosses Joe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. Their gang had the reputation as one of the most violent Prohibition gangs.
By 1936, Lansky had established gambling operations in Florida, New Orleans, and Cuba. These gambling operations were successful and he later moved to Las Vegas On June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot and killed in Beverly Hills, California. Twenty minutes after the Siegel hit, Lansky’s associates, including Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway, walked into the Flamingo Hotel and took control of the property. This also marked a power transfer in Vegas from the New York crime families to the Chicago Outfit.
In 1970, Lansky fled to Herzliya Pituah, Israel, to escape federal tax evasion charges. Two years after Lansky fled to Israel, Israeli authorities deported him back to the U.S. The U.S. government brought Lansky to trial but he was acquitted in 1974.Lansky’s last years were spent quietly at his home in Miami Beach. He died of lung cancer on January 15, 1983, age 80, leaving behind a widow and three children
Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen (January 1893 – October 16, 1927) was a New York gangster involved in bootlegging and labor racketeeringduring Prohibition.Born to a middle class Orthodox Jewish family, Orgen became a well known labor slugger for Benjamin ” Fein by the early 1910s. Being ambitious, he had formed his own gang, “The Little Augies” c. 1911.On October 16, 1927, while walking on Norfolk Street in a Manhattan neighborhood on the Lower East Side, Orgen was killed by Buchalter and Shapiro in a drive-by shooting.
Abe “Kid Twist” Reles (May 10, 1906 – November 12, 1941) was a New York mobster who was widely considered the most feared hit man for Murder, Inc., the enforcement contractor for the National Crime Syndicate. Reles later turned government witness and sent several members of Murder, Inc. to the electric chair.
Reles’s small physical size did not deter him from committing ruthless acts of violence. When carrying out murders, his weapon of choice was an ice pick, which he would ram through his victim’s ear right into the brain. Reles became knownas a particularly cold-blooded and psychopathic murderer.During the Prohibition days of the 1920s, while still teenagers, Reles and friend Martin Goldstein went to work for the Shapiro brothers, who ran the Brooklyn rackets
In 1940, Reles was implicated in a number of killings. Realizing that he faced execution if convicted, Reles became a government witness. On 12, 1941, Abe Reles was thrown from a window at the Half-Moon Hotel on Coney Island
Arnold Rothstein (January 17, 1882 – November 6, 1928), nicknamed “the Brain,” was a Jewish-American racketeer, businessman and gambler who became a kingpin of the Jewish mob in New York. Rothstein was widely reputed to have organized corruption in professional athletics, conspiring in the fixing of the 1919 World Series.According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein “transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top.” According to Rich Cohen, Rothstein was the person who first realized that Prohibition was a business opportunity, a means to enormous wealth
Rothstein failed to pay a large debt resulting from a poker game and was murdered in 1928. His illegal empire was broken up and distributed among a number of other underworld organizations
Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer
Dutch Schultz (born Arthur Flegenheimer; August 6, 1901 – October 24, 1935) was a New York City-area German-Jewish American mobster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in organized crime-related activities such as bootlegging alcohol and the numbers racket. Weakened by two tax evasion trials led by prosecutor Thomas Dewey, Schultz’s rackets were threatened by fellow mobster Lucky Luciano. In an effort to avert his conviction, Schultz asked the Commission for permission to kill Dewey, which they declined. After Schultz disobeyed the Commission and attempted to carry out the hit, they ordered his murder in 1935.
Meyer (1908–1931), Irving (1904–1931) and William “Willie” Shapiro (1911–1934), collectively known as the Shapiro Brothers were the leaders of a group of Jewish-American mobsters from New York City and based in
Williamsburg. Well established in the local garment industry, long dominated by Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter since the 1927 death of Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen, the two began to move against them in the summer of 1931. As the two sides battled for the garment industry in Brooklyn, Irving and Meyer Shapiro were killed by Joseph and Louis Amberg;Three years later, on orders from Buchalter, Willie Shapiro was finally killed by Murder Inc. members Martin Goldstein and Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, supposedly being buried alive in a sandpit
Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro (May 5, 1899 – June 9, 1947) was a New York mobster who, with his partner Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, controlled industrial labor racketeering in New York for two decades and established the Murder, Inc. organization.
Shapiro was born in Odessa in 1899. While confined in protectory in Brooklyn, he became friends with Joe Valachi and Jimmy “The Shiv” DeStefano Shapiro and Buchalter soon become acquainted with future mobsters Meyer Lansky and Charles “Lucky” Luciano, both of whom were protégés of mobster Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein
Shapiro and Buchalter soon formed the infamous Murder, Inc., an organization that performed contract murders for organized crime. Their client was the “National Crime Syndicate“, a confederation of crime families created by Luciano and Lansky in 1929. The Syndicate was created to avoid the bloody gang wars of the 1920s by creating an organization with the power to mediate organized crime disputes and punish offenders. Murder, Inc. served as the enforcement arm for the Syndicate.
During the early 1930s, US Attorney Thomas E. Dewey started to prosecute organized crime members in New York City.Shortly after Schultz’s death, Shapiro and Buchalter became the focus of Dewey’s investigations.On May 5, 1944, Shapiro was convicted of conspiracy and extortion and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He died in 1947 of a heart attack
Benjamin Siegel (February 28, 1906 – June 20, 1947) was an American mobster with
the Luciano crime family.Nicknamed “Bugsy” Siegel was known as one of the most “infamous and feared gangsters of his day”. Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page-celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of theLas Vegas Strip.
Siegel was one of the founders and leaders of Murder, Incorporated and became a bootlegger during Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, he turned to gambling. In 1936, he left New York and moved to California. In 1939, Siegel was tried for the murder of fellow mobster Harry Greenberg. Siegel was acquitted in 1942.
Siegel traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada where he handled and financed some of the original casinos. He assisted developer William Wilkerson’s Flamingo Hotel after Wilkerson ran out of funds. Siegel took over the project and managed the final stages of construction. The Flamingo opened on December 26, 1946 to poor reception and soon closed. It reopened in March 1947 with a finished hotel. Three months later, on June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill.