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June 12: Executed at Sing-Sing

Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss and Martin “Buggsy” Goldstein, hit-men with Murder, Inc., were executed by electric chair at Sing Sing prison in Ossining, New York on this date in 1941. Strauss was a head assassin for the Brooklyn-based crime group, which ran its own rackets and also served as killing squad for gangsters Lepke Buchalter […]

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January 16: Jews and Prohibition

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the consumption, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol, was ratified on this date in 1919, to take effect a year later. Prohibition would advance the criminal careers of numerous Jewish gangsters, including Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Waxey Gordon, Dutch Schultz, Harry Rosen, and Detroit’s Purple Gang. Apart from underworld […]

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November 4: Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein

Gambler and mobster Arnold Rothstein was shot in a New York hotel in a dispute over gambling debts on this date in 1928. He died two days later, age 46. Rothstein was an early bootlegger during Prohibition and is believed to have been the gambler behind the “fixing” of the 1919 World Series, in which […]

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July 10: Sidney Hillman

Labor leader Sidney Hillman, head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and a key organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), died of a heart attack at 59 on this date in 1946. Hillman was born in Lithuania and groomed to be a rabbi, but became a Jewish Bundist by age 16 and, after coming […]

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May 21: A Record Industry Ganef

Morris Levy, the owner of Birdland and some ninety different record labels as well as the Strawberries chain of record stores, died on this date in 1990, two months before he was scheduled to begin serving a prison term for an extortion conviction that emerged from an FBI investigation into the role of organized crime […]

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October 24: Dutch Schultz

Arthur Flegenheimer, the New York mobster known as Dutch Schultz, age 33, was gunned down by Mafia hit men on this date in 1935, supposedly for his attempt to murder prosecutor Thomas Dewey against the wishes of his fellow criminals. Schultz was imprisoned only once, at age 18, for breaking and entering, but made a […]

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June 11: The 40-Hour Week

The 12,000-strong New York Furriers’ Union, a heavily Jewish union led by the hard-hitting Ben Gold, ended a half year of striking, lock-outs, police brutality, and red-baiting to win a contract on this date in 1926 that established the first guarantee in America of a five-day, 40-hour work-week, beyond which workers would be paid time-and-a-half. […]

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May 30: The Gunslinger

Jim Levy, a Jewish immigrant from Dublin who worked as a miner in Pioche, the second largest silver mining town in Nevada, witnessed a murder on this date in 1871 and became a gunslinger. Levy testified at the coroner’s inquest that Michael Casey had shot Ted Gasson in cold blood. Casey then came gunning for […]

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