Alt-hug, Inc.
February 27, 2017 9:25 PM   Subscribe

 
Of course, as a Jew, I am here to tell you why the Jewish gangsters were, in fact, the most badass motherfuckers in organized crime during the first half of the twentieth century. And I feel like I have the facts on my side here, because holy shit did they whale on some Nazis.

This is a wonderful story.
posted by Artw at 9:52 PM on February 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


So much for the tolerant left hook.
posted by Merus at 9:55 PM on February 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


Enjoyed that immensely.
posted by BinGregory at 10:10 PM on February 27, 2017


That right there is a folk hero. A flawed, terrible, and yet in many ways incredibly likeable guy, who used his power to fight fascism in the streets. And throw it out the window.

Really lovely story.
posted by not_the_water at 10:31 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


OMG this is the greatest ever.
Judge Perlman, who was — no shit — Jewish, did not care for Nazis. This led him to reach out to one of the most powerful Jewish guys around: Meyer Lansky. Judge Perlman, as you might expect, hadn’t done Meyer any favors in the past. He had for example helped to end Prohibition, the repeal of which, while generally extremely popular, wasn’t great for the Meyer Lanskys of the world, who had been making bank off illegal booze. But when Perlman met with Meyer after the rise of the German American Bund, they ended up getting along pretty well. Perlman was like “I want you to disrupt meetings of Nazis” and Meyer was like “excellent, on it,” and Perlman was like “hang on I’m not finished” and Meyer was like “sorry” and Perlman was like “I will pay you and give you legal assistance, should anyone get arrested. The only condition is, don’t kill anyone.” With what I can only imagine to be the world’s greatest eye roll, Meyer said “Ugh fine, I won’t kill anyone. Also, I don’t want your money.”
And then he went to work.

posted by Bella Donna at 10:32 PM on February 27, 2017 [34 favorites]


This seems like an appropriate place to link:

Vidal Sassoon: Hairdresser's Secret Life as Jewish Anti-Fascist Streetfighter

Because how can you resist a lede like that?
posted by alexei at 10:53 PM on February 27, 2017 [28 favorites]


This evening on the blue, round three of our ever popular 'non violent pacifism' vs. 'contextual utility of violence in rejecting fascism' slugmatch!

It was 1936. Hardcore antifascists joined the International Brigades and started shooting fascists.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:55 PM on February 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


So probably we're a couple of months away from that.
posted by Artw at 10:57 PM on February 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


This is fantastic.
posted by rtha at 11:01 PM on February 27, 2017


Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.
-- Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca(1942)
posted by lazycomputerkids at 11:18 PM on February 27, 2017 [7 favorites]




Props for the title :-)
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:31 PM on February 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


Go Out The Window
They All Go Out The Window
Go Out The Window
They All
Go Out The Window

Oh Nazis, They Are, Fall-in'
posted by mannequito at 11:53 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]




Paging Mr Tarantino, the world needs a movie based on this story, stat.
posted by threecheesetrees at 2:53 AM on February 28, 2017


In the meantime, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel also TRAINED other people to fight Nazis, which, come on, can you just imagine Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel training young antifa in the early 30s? I love it. I’m picturing a lot of newsboy caps and comments like “no no not like that, my bubbe (ofblessedmemory) punches better than that, you grip the brass knuckles like this.”

heeheh
posted by sio42 at 4:02 AM on February 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


I love this story. Nazis getting their heads busted just warms the heart.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:25 AM on February 28, 2017


Paging Mr Tarantino

I think you missed the no dead Nazis part of the story.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:42 AM on February 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Meyer Lansky, for all the power he had amassed, was 5’ 4”. He had a reputation as being a pretty decent guy. I once talked to an elderly New Yorker who assured me that Meyer Lansky would push him around in a pram while his mother was running numbers, and there’s a book about him and other Jewish mobsters that is literally called But He Was Good to His Mother.

My family has a Meyer Lansky story: my great-grandfather Harry ran a laundry on the Lower East Side in Lansky's heyday. One day he was working the front, with his daughter (my grandmother) and her brother, both young kids, playing on the floor, when Meyer Lansky walks in and hands my great-grandfather a coat to be washed. Now, he recognized Lansky - everyone in the neighborhood did - but he had never come in before, so Harry starts to panic a little bit. He takes the coat and starts bringing it to the back when a gun falls out of one of the pockets.

My great-grandfather - a tiny Jewish man, who had immigrated from the old country less than a decade ago - looks at Meyer Lansky, looks at the gun, looks at his children, and proceeds to lose his shit.

"HOW DARE YOU COME IN HERE WITH SOMETHING LIKE THAT! MY CHILDREN ARE IN HERE! YOU COULD HAVE HURT SOMEONE! I DONT WANT YOU OR YOUR KIND IN HERE! YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!" and so on, and so forth. Full-blown scorched earth on the scariest fucking dude on the east coast.

Lansky apologizes, gathers his coat, takes his gun, and leaves. My great-grandfather never saw him again.
posted by Itaxpica at 5:54 AM on February 28, 2017 [138 favorites]


My family has a Meyer Lansky story

Flagged as fantastic.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:12 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


He also used the mob’s corrupt control of the waterfront to help the Allies stave off Nazi attacks, but that’s a story for another time

Don't leave us all hanging, who's got a link for this story?
posted by tinkletown at 6:15 AM on February 28, 2017


who's got a link for this story?

Operation Underworld was the code name.

The Devil Himself is a novel about this:

This is the theme of my new historical novel, The Devil Himself, which is about the very real collaboration between Jewish mob boss Meyer Lansky and U.S. Naval Intelligence.

I have known Meyer Lansky’s family for years and had access to his personal recollections and private papers. Meyer’s activities, sanctioned by the government as part of “Operation Underworld,” included a Tarantinian mobilization of Jewish American mobsters against Nazi sympathizers and saboteurs, a campaign as cloaked in secrecy as SEAL Team Six’s recent takedown of Osama bin Laden.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:26 AM on February 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


That Spectator article is great!!!
The deranged mob boss Albert Anastasia was said to have told Meyer, “Someday, my boy’s gonna run the Brooklyn waterfront.” Meyer responded, “That’s nice. My son works at NASA.”
posted by wenestvedt at 6:32 AM on February 28, 2017 [27 favorites]


“That’s nice. My son works at NASA.”

Burn!
posted by Dip Flash at 6:36 AM on February 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


came here to link the same passage as BellaDonna. This is a wonderful story...
posted by docpops at 6:37 AM on February 28, 2017


Meyer’s activities, sanctioned by the government as part of “Operation Underworld,” included a Tarantinian mobilization of Jewish American mobsters against Nazi sympathizers and saboteurs, a campaign as cloaked in secrecy as SEAL Team Six’s recent takedown of Osama bin Laden.

How is this not a movie yet?

Also, tarentinian is my new favorite adjective. St. Tarentinian's would be the best school ever.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Paging Mr Tarantino

I think you missed the no dead Nazis part of the story.


Everyone likes a good body hiding story.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on February 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


-------------------------
| Tote Nazi-Lagerung |
-------------------------
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:04 AM on February 28, 2017


OK, so my family has a Meyer Lansky story as well. Crazy right? It's also a Nazi punching story and a weird marriage story, so I guess I'm just going to put it all here.

So, my grandfather, originally named Istvan, was in Europe in the 1930s. He was from the Buda side of Budapest. Hungary was not a particularly friendly place for the Jews, but even unfriendlier was Germany, where my grandfather somehow ended up in 1938 trying to get on board a ship in Hamburg headed for Cuba. My grandfather was a boxer and he was going to fight in Cuba to make some money before heading to America but before he could make it onto the ship, apparently he was stopped by some Nazis wanting to see his papers. No shit, right. My grandfather, being a boxer and having a ticket for this ship and it saying his race was "Hebrew" on his papers, fucking punched out these Nazis and ran aboard the ship. Yes there are holes in this story. No, there is no one alive to clear up these holes, we just go with it at this point.

Anyway, Grandpa Steve (Istvan) makes it to Cuba and eventually makes his way to Chicago where his mother lives and is married to a man with 11 children whose first 4 wives have died of everything from the influenza epidemic to cancer. The eldest of those children he has been corresponding with, Taylor. Well, turns out Taylor is pretty hot stuff and also a really good cook and he decides to marry his mother's stepdaughter. This did not go over well with the parents so Steve and Taylor get in a car on Route 66 and head for California. While in Los Angeles, Steve works odd jobs because his Hungarian accent is fucking impenetrable but he gets a job as a waiter in a Hungarian restaurant. This is where we run into Meyer Lansky who recognizes a fellow Jew, an immigrant and a bruiser when he sees one. The details are mostly unclear but my grandfather may have possibly done a little bit of work for Mr. Lansky in Los Angeles. We will never know the details, but my grandfather ended up leaving the Hungarian restaurant, and getting a nice little job as a photographer in a factory (???) due to Mr. Lansky's help. We were not permitted to ask further questions. So that is what I know.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:16 AM on February 28, 2017 [64 favorites]


BTW, great post and even better title.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:47 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Man, that's a great short read. Nicely done, BrotherCaine!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:21 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


[Couple comments removed; we've recently had a long thread about Nazi punching, let's not dig back in on those same arguments here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:33 AM on February 28, 2017


So these are great stories but like, how do we get this to happen now?

There are a lot of basement dwellers with frog pins who are phoning in threats to their local JCC because there are zero consequences.

Is there a kickstarter I can contribute to? Whose casino should I patronize?
posted by danny the boy at 10:54 AM on February 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


The author of this piece, Sadie the Goat, has several excellent articles on this website with a generally feminist bent, such as a piece on Ghostbusters Lady Version, and "FICTIONAL COPS I LOVE, RANKED BY HOW GUILTY I, AS AN ANARCHIST, FEEL FOR LOVING THEM" and my favorite, on Mad Max: Fury Road.
posted by msalt at 1:01 PM on February 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


This is fascinating! It looks like there are a few books out there about Lansky (and other Jewish gangsters)—does anyone have any specific recommendations?
posted by themadthinker at 2:01 PM on February 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love that fictional cops piece, msalt!
posted by tavella at 3:14 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I loved the Fury Road peice. Even if I dissagree with the author's far-too-lukewarm appreciation of the greatest movie ever made.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]



Joseph Greenstein: The Mighty Atom (and the time he beat up 20 Nazis)


Can this be part of the same tarantino movie, in a sort of MCU cameo sort of way?
posted by emptythought at 12:33 PM on March 1, 2017


Funny you should mention Marvel...

8 Ways Comic Book Legend Jack Kirby Fought Fascism

Kirby, who grew up in Manhattan’s rough Lower East Side, knew how to throw a fist and didn’t back down from anyone—especially a Nazi. As Mark Evanier describes in his biography Kirby: King of Comics, “…Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, ‘There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America’. To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.” Based on everything we know about Kirby, these Nazi crank-yankers got lucky.
posted by Artw at 12:43 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


« Older Every kiss begins with Kay, but maybe ends in...   |   The dog was created specially for children. He is... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments