Gangsters > Benjamin Siegel

Benjamin Siegel

Background

Birth: February, 28th, 1906 - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City

Death: June 20th, 1947 - Beverly Hills, California

Early Life

Benjamin Siegel was a famous Jewish gangster who was born in 1906 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York City. He was was born the second second of five children and very poor to a family who had previously immigrated from Letychiv, in the Podolia Governorate of the Russian Empire, in modern Ukraine. However, some other records and documents suggest his family may have come from Austria instead. His mother was named Jennie and his father Max and they worked for little wages.

Despite his poverty he vowed to rise above this class and soon dropped out of school and joined a street gang that operated on Lafayette Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was involved in much petty crime as a kid until he met Moe Sedway who had developed a protection racket where pushchart merchants paid him a dollar or he torched it. Siegal was no good boy himself, had a lengthy criminal record that included armed robbery, rape and murder.

Bugs & Meyer Mob

See Bugs & Meyer Mob

During his youth Siegal became friends with Meyer Lansky who was another Jewish gangster who formed a small gang that was involved with gambling and auto theft. Lanksy had already had problems with Salvatore Lucania and needed Jewish boys to organize the same as the Italians and Irish gangs that operated in Brooklyn at the time.

During adolescence, Siegel befriended Meyer Lansky, who formed a small mob whose activities expanded to gambling and car theft. Lansky, who had already had a run-in with Salvatore Lucania, saw a need for the Jewish boys of his Brooklyn neighborhood to organize in the same manner as the Italians and Irish. The first person he recruited for his gang was Ben Siegel. Siegel became a bootlegger[17] and was involved in bootlegging within several major East Coast cities. He also worked as the mob's hitman, whom Lansky would hire out to other crime families.[18] The two formed the Bugs and Meyer Mob, which handled contracts for the various bootleg gangs operating in New York and New Jersey – doing so almost a decade before Murder, Inc. was formed. The gang kept themselves busy hijacking the liquor cargoes of rival outfits.[19] The Bugs and Meyer mob was known to be responsible for the killing and removal of several rival gangdom figures.[20] Siegel's gang mates included Abner "Longie" Zwillman, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and Lansky's brother, Jake; "Doc" Stacher, another member of the Bugs and Meyer Mob, recalled to Lansky biographers that Siegel was fearless and saved his friends' lives as the mob moved into bootlegging: He was also a boyhood friend to Al Capone; when there was a warrant for Capone's arrest on a murder charge, Siegel allowed him to hide out with an aunt.[22] Siegel first smoked opium during his youth and was involved in the drug trade.[23] By age 21, Siegel was making money and flaunted it. He was regarded as handsome with blue eyes[24] and was known to be charismatic and liked by everyone.[25] He bought an apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and a Tudor home in Scarsdale. He wore flashy clothes and participated in the night life of New York City.[11][26]

By the late 1920s, Lansky and Siegel had ties to Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Frank Costello, future bosses of the Genovese crime family.

Castellammarese War

See Murder Inc.

Siegel, along with Albert "Mad Hatter" Anastasia, Vito Genovese, and Joe Adonis, allegedly were the four gunmen who shot New York mob boss Joe Masseria to death on Luciano's orders on April 15, 1931, ending the Castellammarese War.[30][31] On September 10 of that year, Luciano hired four trigger men from the Lansky-Siegel gang (some sources identify Siegel being one of the hit men[32][33]), to murder Salvatore Maranzano, establishing Luciano's rise to the top of the U.S. Mafia and marking the beginning of modern American organized crime.[34]

National Crime Syndicate

See National Crime Syndicate

In 1931, following Maranzano's death, Luciano and Lansky formed the National Syndicate, an organization of crime families that brought power to the underworld.[5][35] The Commission was established for dividing Mafia territories and preventing future wars.[5]

Murder Inc.

See Murder Inc.

With his associates, Siegel formed Murder, Incorporated. After Siegel and Lansky moved on, control over Murder, Inc. was ceded to Buchalter and Anastasia.[19] Siegel continued working as a hitman[36] breaking the law eight times.[4] His only conviction was in Miami. On February 28, 1932, he was arrested for gambling and vagrancy, and, from a roll of bills, paid a $100 fine.[4] During this period, Siegel had a disagreement with associates of Waxey Gordon, the Fabrizzo brothers.[37] Gordon had hired the Fabrizzo brothers from prison after Lansky and Siegel gave the IRS information about Gordon's tax evasion. It led to Gordon's imprisonment in 1933.[20][38] Siegel hunted down the Fabrizzos, killing them after their assassination attempt on Lansky as well as Siegel himself.[38] After the deaths of his two brothers, Tony Fabrizzo began writing a memoir and gave it to an attorney. One of the longest chapters was to be a section on the nationwide kill-for-hire squad led by Siegel. The mob discovered Fabrizzo's plans before he could execute it.[39] In 1932, Siegel checked into a hospital and later that night snuck out. Siegel and two accomplices approached Fabrizzo's house and, posing as detectives to lure him outside, gunned him down.[38][40] According to hospital records, Siegel's alibi for that night was that he had checked into a hospital.[39] In 1935, Siegel assisted in Luciano's alliance with Dutch Schultz and killed rival loan sharks Louis "Pretty" Amberg and Joseph Amberg.[41][42]

Las Vegas

see Las Vegas

“Las Vegas turns women into men and men into idiots.”

Bugsy Siegal

Death

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources