Jews, through the media, are invariably presented as the victims of history. The idea of the Jew always persecuted for no reason is as old as Judaism itself. Thus, it is almost axiomatic to consider that Jews are incapable of evil. Therefore, a Jew who was both a gangster and a murderer may seem a priori surprising.
Joseph Roth, a famous Austrian Jewish writer of the interwar period wrote, for example, about the delinquency of Eastern Jews: “There is hardly a single robber. And no murderer or robber who murders.” But the reality is nevertheless quite different when one becomes a little more informed.
The celebrated writer Elie Wiesel, a “survivor of the death camps,” had the opportunity to do some research on the gangsters who spread terror in American cities. This he wrote in his memoirs: “I am preparing an investigation of the American underworld, the Mafia, and most particularly the Murder Incorporated hit men. Rummaging through the archives of various newspapers and municipal libraries, I have discovered with astonishment Jewish names. That’s right, in the 1920s and 1930s, Jewish professional killers offered their services to that criminal society. They agreed to murder men and women who had done nothing to them and whom they did not even know. It is said that some of them boasted of being a practicing Jew, wore the kippah during their “work” and scrupulously respected the Sabbath rest.”