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February 14: Abe Bernstein and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
February 14, 2014
The “hit” on Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang in Chicago on this date in 1929, ordered by Al Capone and infamously known as the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, is thought to have been abetted by Abe Bernstein, a Detroit bootlegger who, with three brothers, headed the Purple Gang, a mostly Jewish crime syndicate. Capone had a business accommodation with the Purple Gang: He stayed out of Detroit while they supplied him with bootleg liquor from Canada. Bernstein supposedly set up Moran for a murder attempt by Capone by selling him a recently hijacked liquor shipment, which he promised to deliver to a North Side warehouse. It was while waiting for that shipment that seven of Moran’s mobsters were machine-gunned by Capone’s men (dressed as police), but Moran himself never showed up. Bernstein eventually became a Meyer Lansky associate and a partner in several casinos in Miami. He managed to evade prison and died at 76 in 1968. “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.” —Al Capone