JEWISH MAFIA “But He Was Good To His Mother”

Members of the SA in front of a Jewish shop du...

Members of the SA in front of a Jewish shop during the boycot of Jews in nazi-Germany on april 1, 1933. The sign says: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages. The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: World War I enlistment poster from Ca...

English: World War I enlistment poster from Canada. Poster shows a soldier cutting the bonds from a Jewish man, who strains to join a group of soldiers running in the distance and says, “You have cut my bonds and set me free – now let me help you set others free!” Above are portraits of Rt. Hon. Herbert Samuel, Viscount Reading, and Rt. Hon. Edwin S. Montagu, all Jewish members of the British parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the ea...

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. from 1881-1924. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Center for Jewish History is located on 15...

The Center for Jewish History is located on 15 West 16th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York, NY 10011. It is home of five preeminent Jewish institutions dedicated to history, culture, and art: The American Jewish Historical Society, The American Sephardi Federation, The Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bird's eye panorama of Manhattan & Ne...

English: Bird’s eye panorama of Manhattan & New York City in 1873 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A jew.

English: A jew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian ...

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian language, equating Stalinism with the Jews. The text reads “The Jew is our enemy forever”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meyer Lansky being led by detective for bookin...

Meyer Lansky being led by detective for booking on vagrancy charge at 54th Street police station, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wanted poster issued for Pelley in 1939.

The wanted poster issued for Pelley in 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The St. Paul Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (1880)

The St. Paul Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (1880) (Photo credit: Manitoba Historical Maps)

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Be...

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Benjamin “Bigsy” Siegel in the 1920s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“But He Was Good To His Mother”

A short and very interesting little article about why Jewish gangsters fascinate him and how Jewish gangsters differed from their Italian counterparts. In a nutshell, Jewish mobsters were a product of their times (1920s and 1930s) and did not continue their legacy after that one period, while Italian gangsters handed their “profession” to each succeeding generation.

What follows is a side of Jewish history you may have missed.

There are few excuses for the behavior of Jewish gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman, Moe Dalitz, David Berman were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drugdealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. They were not nice men.

During the rise of American Nazism in the 1930s and when Israel was being founded between 1945 and 1948, however, they proved staunch defenders of the Jewish people.

The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Like other newly arrived groups in American history, a few Jews who considered themselves blocked from respectable professions used crime as a means to “make good” economically. The market for vice flourished during Prohibition and Jews joined with others to exploit the artificial market created by the legal bans on alcohol, gambling, paid sex and narcotics.

Few of these men were religiously observant. They rarely attended services, although they did support congregations financially. They did not keep kosher or send their children to day schools. However, at crucial moments they protected other Jews, in America and around the world.

The 1930s were a period of rampant anti-Semitism in America , particularly in the Midwest . Father Charles Coughlin, the Radio Priest in Detroit , and William Pelley of Minneapolis , among others, openly called for Jews to be driven from positions of responsibility, if not from the country itself.

Organized Brown Shirts in New York and Silver Shirts in Minneapolis outraged and terrorized American Jewry. While the older and more respectable Jewish organizations pondered a response that would not alienate non-Jewish supporters, others–including a few rabbis–asked the gangsters to break up American Nazi rallies.

Historian Robert Rockaway writing in the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society, notes that German-American Bund rallies in the New York City area posed a dilemma for mainstream Jewish leaders. They wanted the rallies stopped, but had no legal grounds on which to do so. New York State Judge Nathan Perlman personally contacted Meyer Lansky to ask him to disrupt the Bund rallies, with the proviso that Lansky’s henchmen stop short of killing any Bundists.

Enthusiastic for the assignment, if disappointed by the restraints, Lansky accepted all of Perlman’s terms except one: he would take no money for the work. Lansky later observed, “I was a Jew and felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering. They were my brothers.”

For months, Lansky’s workmen effectively broke up one Nazi rally after another. As Rockaway notes, “Nazi arms, legs and ribs were broken and skulls were cracked, but no one died.”

Lansky recalled breaking up a Brown Shirt rally in the Yorkville section of Manhattan : “The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action. We threw some of them out the windows…. Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up…. We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”

In Minneapolis , William Dudley Pelley organized a Silver Shirt Legion to “rescue” America from an imaginary Jewish-Communist conspiracy. In Pelle’s own words, just as “Mussolini and his Black Shirts saved Italy and as Hitler and his Brown Shirts saved Germany ,” he would save America from Jewish communists. Minneapolis gambling czar David Berman confronted Pelley’s Silver Shirts on behalf of the Minneapolis Jewish community.

Berman learned that Silver Shirts were mounting a rally at Lodge. When the Nazi leader called for all the “Jew bastards” in the city to be expelled, or worse, Berman and his associates burst into the room and started cracking heads. After ten minutes, they had emptied the hall. His suit covered in blood, Berman took the microphone and announced, “This is a warning. Anybody who says anything against Jews gets the same treatment. Only next time it will be worse.” After Berman broke up two more rallies, there were no more public Silver Shirt meetings in Minneapolis .

Jewish gangsters also helped establish Israel after the war. One famous example is a meeting between Bugsy Siegel and Reuven Dafne, a Haganah emissary, in 1945. Dafne was seeking funds and guns to help liberate Palestine from British rule. A mutual friend arranged for the two men to meet.

“You mean to tell me Jews are fighting?” Siegel asked, “You mean fighting as in killing?” Dafne answered in the affirmative. Siegel replied, “I’m with you.”

For weeks, Dafne received suitcases filled with $5 and $10 bills – $50,000 in all – from Siegel.

No one should paint gangsters as heroes. They committed acts of great evil. But historian Rockaway has presented a textured version of Jewish gangster history in a book ironically titled But He Was Good to His Mother.

Some have observed that, despite their disreputable behavior, they could be good to their people, too. A little interesting bit of Jewish history.

Investment Banks in Israel ( this list may not be fully up to date)


Investment Banks in Israel ( this list may not be fully up to date)

 Stephen Darori

One Bridge Plaza, Fort Lee NJ 07024 Tel.: 1-2-1-346-9000 Fax: 1-201-346-9191 E-mail: D. Dattilo

Focus: M&A, private equity advisor and venture capital and late stage investor for IT, communications and media companies.

The Investment Bank of Bank Austria (CA~IB) 
Israeli Representative Office: Gaon Holdings 
Gibor Building, 6 Kaufman St., Tel Aviv 68012 Tel: 972-3-795-4110 Fax: 972-3-795-4112 E-mail: Dr. Ron Berger 

Focus: IPOs and secondary public offerings for Israeli companies on European stock exchanges, as well as financing for Israeli companies operating in Central and Eastern Europe.

CE Unterberg Towbin 
350 Madison Ave., New York NY 10017 Tel.: 1-212-389-8000 Fax: 1-212-389-8888 E-mail: J. Reines

Focus: Direct investment, private placement, public offerings and related services for technology companies.

CIBC World Markets 
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
200 Liberty St. New York NY Tel.: 1-212-667-8411 Fax: 1-212-667-5544 E-mail:

Focus: Securities, brokerage and asset management services, credit and capital market products.

De-Kalo Ben-Yeduda & Co. 
Europe House, 37 Shaul Hamelekh Blvd., POB 33573, Tel Aviv 64928 Tel.: 972-3-696-8668 Fax: 972-3-696-8697 E-mail: 

Focus: Capital raising of equity or debt for early-stage start-ups and consultancy M&A and minority investment services for IT companies.

Deutsche Bank (Israel)
Alrov Tower, 46 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv 66883 Tel.: 972-3-610-2000 Fax: 972-3-610-2030 E-mail:

Focus: Full banking services for companies at all stages.

Goldman Sachs
85 Broad St. New York, NY 10004 Tel.: 1-212-902-1000 Fax: 1-212-902-3000 E-mail:

Focus: Investment, advisory and financial services.

JP Morgan H&Q 
JP Morgan 
In Israel: Alrov Tower, 46 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv 66883 Tel.: 972-54-713-500 E-mail: Osi Sessler

Focus: Investment and financial services for private placements, public offerings, M&As and other transactions.

Lehman Brothers Israel
The Israeli branch of Lehman Brothers
Asia House, 4 Weizmann St., Tel Aviv 64239 Tel.: 972-3-696-6122 Fax: 972-3-696-6116 E-mail: 

Focus: M&As, research, trading and financial services.

Menorah Gaon 
29 Hayetzira St., Ramat Gan 52521 Tel.: 972-3-611-1500 Fax: 972-3-612-5588 E-mail:

Focus: Private and public offerings in Israel and overseas, M&As and related services for telecom, software, IT, biotechnology, agrotechnology and medical equipment companies.

Merrill Lynch 
Israel office: Round Tower, 1 Azrieli Center Tel Aviv 67021 Tel.: 972-3-607-2000 fax: 972-3-607-2050 E-mail: Jerry Mandel

Focus: Trade in securities, underwriting, research and other financial services.

Nessuah Zannex 
Affiliated with US Bancorp Piper Jaffray
Israel office: Harel House, 9th floor, 3 Abba Hillel St. Ramat Gan 52522 Tel: 972-3-753-2020 Fax: 972-3-753-2010 E-mail: 
Nessuah Zannex manages the AG-Tech Fund.

Focus: Venture capital and investments in telecom, software, IT, biotechnology, agrotechnology and healthcare companies.

Salomon Smith Barney (Israel)
The local branch of Salomon Smith Barney
Platinum House, 21 Ha’arba’ah St. Tel Aviv 64739 Tel.: 972-3-684-3500 Fax: 972-3-684-25-1 E-mail: Shimrit Hanegby or Itay Makov

Focus: Public and private investment, underwriting, M&A and other financial, research and advisory services.

SG Gowan Securities 
1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020 Tel.: 1-212-278-6000 Fax: 1-212-278-6789 E-mail: 
SG Cowan is the US investment banking arm of Societe Generale Group. 

Focus: Investment and financing services.

Silicon Valley Bank 
3003 Tasman Dr., Santa Clara, CA 95054 Tel.: 1-408-654-6355 Fax: 1-408-496-2567 E-mail: A. Kaufman

Focus: Credit management for technology and life science companies.

Tamir Fishman Ventures
Affiliated with RBC Dain Rauscher Wessels
Alrov Tower,46 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv 66883 Tel: 972-3-714-8333 Fax: 972-3-566-3389 E-mail:

Focus: Public and private placement, M&A, venture capital and other financial services.

See: Arena feature – Click Here for the Missing Ingredient

UBS Warburg Israel 
The Israel branch of UBS Warburg, and the only foreign investment bank with a seat on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
21 Shaul Hamelekh Blvd., Tel Aviv 64367 Tel.: 972-3-693-0930 Fax: 972-3-693-0926 E-mail: Tamar Gillad

Focus: Research and coverage of leading Israeli stocks.