Jewish Mafia


[ Bugsy Segal ] [ Charles Polizzi ] [ Meyer Lansky ] [ Louis Buchalter ]

The Jewish Mafia (Allegedly referred to as the Kosher Mafia) was formed in North America in the late 1930s / Early 1940s. The architect of this formation was the infamous Meyer Lansky.
Meyer Lansky had the know how and influence to organise many powerful Jewish gangsters around the country under the umbrella of the emerging 'national crime syndicate'.

Lansky worked closely with the likes of Lucky Luciano and aided him in his fight against the old-line italian mafiosi then under the competing leaderships of Joe the Boss Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. These old-world Sicilians, especially Masseria, hated gangsters of other ethnic derivation, he worked with them only when absolutely necessary and looked forward to the day they could remove them from the equation. Luciano and Lansky realized there was no room in the underworld for such counter-productive bigotry, and they plotted to get rid of both Masseria and Maranzano.

After a very bloody war that ended in 1931, both Masseria and Maranzano had been removed. it then became necessary for Lansky and Luciano to "sell" their program of "brotherhood" to their Jewish and Italian followers.

Lansky set about the task of uniting the Jewish gangs across the country. His work brought in the Purple Gang from Detroit and the Moe Dalitz forces operating in Cleveland. He followed this up with a meeting of East Coast forces at the Franconia Hotel in New York City NY on November 11, 1931. Those attending included the likes of Bugsy Siegel, a longtime partner of Lansky and Luciano; Louis "Lepke" Buchalter; Joseph "Doc" Stacher; Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro; Hyman "Curly" Holtz; Louis "Shadows" Kravits; Harry Tietlebaum; Philip "Little Farvel" Kovalick; and Harry "Big Greenie" Greenberg.

Lansky explained to the attendees that Luciano had successfully united the Italian mafiosi, and that the Lansky-Luciano partnership or national crime syndicate was the only way forward. Everyone agreed, and the Franconia conference established a firm base, "The yids and dagos would no longer fight each other," the quotation attributed to Bugsy Siegel.

Various jewish gangsters who were thought to be unsuited to the new way of shared wares, such as Waxey Gordon, the bootleg king of Philadelphia, were eliminated.