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The Jewish Gangster in America

The Jewish gangster in America, rose to prominence during the Prohibition Era in the United States (1919-1933). In 1919, the United States government, passed a law that made it a crime to manufacture, distribute, or sell alcoholic beverages. As soon as the law passed. it seemed that every American over the age of twelve had to have a drink. This opened the door for tough, streetwise children of Italian and Jewish immigrants to provide the liquor to quench America's thirst and become wealthy doing so.

Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust

Adolf Hitler believed that so long as one Jew remained alive, Germany and the Aryan race were in mortal danger. The only way to save Germany and Aryan mankind was to exterminate every Jew in the world. To achieve this goal he fostered a plan to remove the Jews first from Germany, then from the world. The German nation went along with his plan, which led to the Holocaust and the murder of six
million Jews.

Hoodlum Hero: The Jewish Gangster as Defender of His People

We know that there were Jewish gangsters and they did terrible things. What is less well-known is that many of them protected and defended Jews from American Nazis and antisemites during the 1930s. The protection and defense of Jews occurred in Chicago, New York City, Newark, and other cities.
This lecture is based on interviews with former Jewish mobsters who took part in these actions.

Prof. Robert Rockaway

Jewish History

Location Mark



English, Hebrew

Robert Rockaway was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 1970. He taught at the University of Texas before moving to Israel in 1971. Since then, he has been a member of the Department of Jewish History at Tel-Aviv University, where he is a professor emeritus. Rockaway has authored But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters (2000); and other books in American history.
He has appeared on television in Israel and the United States and been a visiting professor and guest lecturer in American and Canadian cities.

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