Friday, 27 March 2015

The shooting of Dutch Schultz

I think this is one of the greatest press photos of all time. It shows the shooting of Dutch Schultz, the New York gang leader. Note the blood (or possibly sauce?) on the table, the bullet-holes in the mirror, and the reflection of a cop gathering evidence.
Dutch Schultz's real name was Arthur Flegenheimer. He was a Jew from the Bronx, though he converted to Catholicism not long before his death. He led an exceptionally savage gang of Jewish gunmen: Bo Weinberg, Abe Landau, Lulu Rozenkrantz, and a mathematical genius known as "Abbadabba" Berman, who calculated betting odds. Schultz was considered a dangerous loose cannon by the other leading gangsters (Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello etc) who decided he had to be eliminated. Schultz and three members of his gang were gunned down in a restaurant in Newark, New Jersey, in October 1935; the hit being carried out by two Jewish professional killers, Charlie Workman and Mendy Weiss, who were later convicted of the crime. Schultz took several hours to die,during which time he gabbled incoherently while police stenographers took down every word in the hope of learning significant information about organized crime: the effect being distinctly surrealist.
    More details can be found in the splendid book, "Tough Jews" by Rich Cohen. There is a fictionalized account of the shooting in the novel "Billy Bathgate", by E. L. Doctorow.

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