The American Mafia

Chronology - Section IV
1932-1949



National Syndicate is born with retooled Mafia at its head, seeks new rackets.

Jump to: Section III (1920-1931)  |   1935   |   1940   |   1945   | Section V (1950-1988)

Year
Month
Day
Location
Persons
Description of Event
1932




The Mafia officially closes its membership rolls. After huge membership leap during Castellamarese War, Mafia leadership feels smaller numbers would increase profits and reduce risks. Some sources indicate that the closed membership is an order from Charlie Luciano.
1932


Chicago, US
Al Capone,
Frank Nitti,
Tony Accardo
Nitti takes over day-to-day operations of Chicago underworld while Capone is in prison. Accardo serves as underboss. Chicago becames virtually united under the new regime and Chicago Family leadership becomes a cooperative group effort rather than the brutal dictatorship it was under Capone.
1932
Feb.
9
New York, US
Vincent Coll,
Owney Madden,
Dutch Schultz
"Mad Dog" Coll is gunned down in a telephone booth in a 23rd Street drugstore. Schultz is believed partly responsible. It is also believed that Owney Madden cooperated on the hit, as it was Madden who was on the other end of the phone conversation. The drugstore was just a short distance from Madden's home in the London Terrace apartments.
1932
Sept.
1
New York
James J. Walker
Mayor Walker resigns.
1932


New York
Carlo Gambino,
Paul Castellano
Gambino becomes a minor Mafia boss and brings relative Paul Castellano into the organization.
1932


Rome
Vito Cascio Ferro
Dies in prison.
1932


New York, US
Louis Buchalter,
Charlie Luciano
Luciano establishes formal relationship between Mafia and Lepke-run Murder, Inc., group. Buchalter's professional killers will be employed for Syndicate-ordered hits.
1933
March
7
Philadelphia, US
Salvatore Sabella,
John Avena,
A. Domenico Pollina
Philadelphia Mafia leadership comes to trial for May 1927 slayings of Cocozza and Zanghi. Defendants are found not guilty in one-day trial.
1933


Chicago, US
Sam Giancana,
Tony Accardo
Giancana, noticed for taking a recent prison stretch "with honor," is appointed to be Accardo's chauffer and bodyguard. Accardo is an important man in the post-Capone Chicago mob but not yet the boss.
1933


New York
Fiorello LaGuardia
Reformer LaGuardia is elected mayor of New York City.
Twenty-first Amendment ends Prohibition - Dec. 5, 1933.
1934


Chicago
Phil D'Andrea
D'Andrea is president of Chicago's Unione Siciliana.
1934
spring

New York, US
Meyer Lansky, Johnny Torrio
Torrio and Lansky believed to have taken leadership roles in an underworld conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel as the details of the nationwide criminal Syndicate are ironed out.
1934
July
2
Hartford, CT, US
Paul Castellano
Castellano robs a Hartford shop. Is identified and arrested for armed robbery upon his return to New York. Castellano serves just over three months of his one-year sentence before being released.
1934
Oct.

New York
Fiorello LaGuardia,
Frank Costello
LaGuardia takes on Costello by smashing 1,000 of Costello's slot machines. (Costello had permits for the machines.)
1934
Dec.

Brooklyn, US
Paul Castellano
Upon his release from the Hartford County Jail, Castellano is highly regarded by hometown Mafiosi.
1935
March

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, US
Salvatore Sabella
Sabella is arrested, convicted and imprisoned for three months for illegally distilling alcohol.
1935


Hot Springs, Ark.
Owney Madden
Madden leaves New York and settles in Hot Springs, where he establishes gambling operations and forms political attachments.
1935
July
16
New York
Ignazio Lupo
Lupo is charged with extortion. He has been working to compel Italian bakers to join his "union."
1935


New Jersey
Arthur Flegenheimer (Dutch Schultz),
Charlie Luciano
Luciano-led syndicate commission authorizes the murder of Dutch Schultz. Schultz had been planning to assassinate New York State prosecutor Thomas Dewey.
1935
Oct.
23
Newark, NJ, US
Arthur Flegenheimer
Schultz is murdered, along with his gang leadership, at Palace Chophouse in Newark, NJ.
1935
Dec.
21
New York
Fiorello LaGuardia,
Ciro Terranova
LaGuardia temporarily prohibits the purchase or sale of artichokes within the city limits. Also authorizes the police to arrest Terranova as soon as he is seen crossing into Manhattan.
1936
Jan.
4
New York
Ciro Terranova Police arrest Terranova, charging him with vagrancy, as he attempts to enter Manhattan.
1936


New York
Charlie Luciano,
Thomas Dewey
Dewey focuses his attention on Luciano and wins a conviction, linking the crime boss with prostitution. Luciano is jailed at Dannemora.
1936


Philadelphia, US
John Avena,
Lanzetti Brothers,
Joe Bruno
The Lanzettis gun down Philly mob boss Avena at the corner of Washington and Passyunk Avenues. Joe Bruno steps to leadership of the local Mafia organization. Bruno (Joe Dovi) runs Philadelphia affairs from his headquarters in New Jersey.
1936
July
15
Washington, D.C.
Ignazio Lupo,
Franklin Roosevelt
FDR finds that Lupo has violated the terms of his conditional release, sends him back to prison to serve the remainder of his counterfeiting sentence.
1936
Aug.

New York
Ciro Terranova
Arrested again for vagrancy as he attempts to enter Manhattan. Terranova subjected to intense questioning and ridicule, wilts under the pressure.
1937


New York
Ciro Terranova
Arrested again as a vagrant. Without income, he loses his Pelham Manor home.
1937


New Orleans
Nicola Gentile
Arrested for drug trafficking in New Orleans. Mafia higher-ups order Gentile, who has been profoundly unhappy with the disrespect shown to him since 1931, to flee to Sicily and avoid trial.
1938


New York
Ciro Terranova
Quietly returns to live in the city.
1938
Feb.
19
New York
Ciro Terranova
Admitted to hospital after a stroke, Terranova dies the next day. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Brooklyn.
1939


Chicago. US
Sam Giancana
Giancana begins a three-year prison stay.
1939
Summer

Los Angeles, US
Jack Dragna,
Benjamin Siegel
Government pressure forces the shutdown of Dragna's offshore gambling ships, which had been doing good business since the 1920s. Siegel, who participated in the gambling racket in L.A. and became involved in the motion picture industry, turns his attention to Las Vegas. Dragna fails to see the possibilities and L.A. Family is among the last to stake a claim to the nearby desert.
1939
Aug.
24
New York, US
Louis Buchalter,
J. Edgar Hoover,
Walter Winchell
Law enforcement agencies and the public clamor for prosecution of Lepke. Through Winchell, Lepke turns himself in to Hoover to face flimsy federal charges. But, while in custody, New York City prepares capital case against the Murder, Inc., leader, which will later result in his execution.
World War II begins in Europe - Sept. 4, 1939.
1939


Sicily
Nicola Gentile

Out on bail, Gentile flees back to Sicily to escape prosecution.
1939


Philadelphia, US
Willie Lanzetti
War between Philly Mafia and Lanzetti brothers results in the death of William Lanzetti. His remains were found in a burlap bag. The remaining Lanzettis flee the city.
1939


Sicily
Vito Genovese
Genovese is wanted by police. Escapes to Sicily.
1939


Chicago
Alphonse Capone
Capone is released from Alcatraz, but he is mentally incompetent, the result of a lost battle with syphillis.
1940
Feb.
2
Brooklyn, US
Abe Reles
"Kid Twist" Reles is arrested for a 1933 murder. His legal predicament causes him to begin feeding authorities information about Murder Inc. and the national crime Syndicate.
1940
May
23
New York, US
Abe Reles,
Harry Maione,
Frank Abbandando
Thanks largely to Reles' information, the state wins a conviction against Harry Maione and Frank Abbandando for the May 25, 1937, killing of George Rudnick. While the conviction is overturned on appeal, a second trial results in another conviction and a death sentence for the hitmen.
1941
June
12
New York, US
Abe Reles,
Harry Strauss,
Bugsy Goldstein
Strauss and Goldstein are electrocuted. The two were found guilty of murder based on Reles testimony.
1941
Nov.
12
New York, US
Abe Reles,
Louis Buchalter,
Albert Anastasia,
Frank Costello
Abe "Kid Twist" Reles dies after plunge from his room window in the Half Moon Hotel. Hitman Reles was key witness in the case against Lepke Buchalter and Murder, Inc. By the time of Reles's unfortunate accident, Lepke was already on death row. Reles was about to begin testifying in state case against Anastasia. That would have brought law enforcement right into the underworld's ruling Commission. It is believed that Costello paid police officers guarding Reles to see to it that he did not testify.
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brings U.S. into World War II - Dec. 7, 1941.
1942
Feb.
19
New York, US
Harry Maione,
Frank Abbandando
Death sentence against Maione and Abbandando is carried out.
1942
May
12
Comstock, NY, US
Charlie Luciano
Luciano is moved to Great Meadow Prison in Comstock, NY, while he provides assistance (the precise nature of which is unknown) to military intelligence. Luciano had been doing his time in the isolated and dreary Clinton State Prison at Dannemora. The move to Comstock permitted greater visitation by attorney Moses Polakoff and friend/business associate Meyer Lansky.
1942


Chicago, US
Sam Giancana,
Tony Accardo
Upon Giancana's release from prison, he becomes the top adviser and enforcer for Accardo.
1943
Jan.
25
Newark, NJ
Gaetano Lucchese
Lucchese is naturalized a citizen of US.
1943


Chicago, US
Frank Nitti,
Phil D'Andrea,
Paul Ricca,
Tony Accardo
A federal grand jury indicts Chicago Mafia leadership for extortion relating to the show business industry. Among the accused are Frank Nitti, Phil D'Andrea, Paul Ricca and John Roselli. Nitti is believed to have committed suicide upon learning of the indictment. Accardo becomes the leader of the Chicago Family.
1943
Oct.
28
Los Angeles, US
Carlo Matranga
Matranga dies of natural causes. He was an influential member of Mafia organizations in New Orleans and Los Angeles.
1944
March
4
New York, US
Louis Buchalter
Lepke is sent to the electric chair.
1944


Palisade, NJ, US
Joe Adonis
Longtime Brooklyn Mafia power Adonis leaves his Brooklyn empire and moves to Palisade, NJ.
1944


Sicily
Calogero Vizzini Vizzini, who survived the Mafia purges by siding with the Fascists, switches sides and embraces the invading Allies. He becomes overall Mafia head in Sicily and a political power.
 
1945


Sicily
Charlie Luciano
As payment for his perceived assistance with Allied landings in Sicily, Luciano is freed from prison but deported to Italy.
1945


New York
Vito Genovese.
Frank Costello,
Charlie Luciano
Genovese returns from Sicily, faces murder trial and is acquitted. In Luciano's absence, Genovese and Costello compete for dominance in the Luciano "Family" and on the Syndicate commission.
Japanese surrender ends World War II - Sept. 2, 1945
1946
Jan.

New York, US
Charlie Luciano,
Thomas Dewey
Gov. Dewey announces that Luciano will be freed and deported, reward for his service to military intelligence during the war.
1946
Feb.
2
Ellis Island, NY, US
Charlie Luciano
In preparation for his departure, Luciano is moved from Great Meadow Prison to Ellis Island.
1946
Feb.
9
Ellis Island, NY, US
Charlie Luciano
After a big underworld send-off, Luciano departs for Italy aboard the Laura Keene.
1946
July

Atlantic City

A small Mafia gathering is noted by federal agents in this city.
1946


Philadelphia, US
Joe Bruno,
Joe Ida
Joe Ida takes control of the Philadelphia Mafia organization.
1946


Palermo, Sicily
Charlie Luciano,
Calogero Vizzino
Luciano and Vizzini meet in Palermo, decide to increase cooperation between Sicily and U.S. Mafia groups. Luciano becomes a lieutenant to Vizzini.
1946
Oct.

Havana, Cuba
Charlie Luciano,
Meyer Lansky
Luciano travels to Havana to meet with Lansky and other business associates.
1946
Dec.
22
Havana, Cuba
Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Benjamin Siegel
A convention of the U.S. crime Syndicate is held at Havana's Hotel Nacional. At the meeting, it is believed that the Syndicate decides to eliminate Benjamin Siegel.
1947
Jan.
25
Miami, US
Al Capone
Capone dies in Miami of the physical and mental damage caused by a long bout with syphilis.
1947


Palisade, NJ
Albert Anastasia
Anastasia follows Adonis from Brooklyn to Palisade, NJ, moving into a home just a short distance from Adonis's. The two begin meeting regularly, along with the Moretti brothers and Tony "Bender" Strollo at Duke's Bar & Grill in Cliffside, NJ.
1947
May
30
New Orleans, US
Sam Carolla,
Carlos Marcello
Carolla is deported to Sicily. New boss of New Orleans Mafia is unknown. It may have been Marcello, who certainly had the attention of law enforcement, but another may have held the job behind the scenes until around 1950, when Marcello was certainly in command.
1947
June
20
Beverly Hills, CA, US
Benjamin Siegel
After losing financial control of a mob-sponsored Flamingo hotel construction project, Siegel is assassinated under orders from the commission. He is shot through a window at the home of girlfriend Virginia Hill.
1947
Sept.
20
New York, US
Fiorello LaGuardia
Former mayor LaGuardia, who battled organized crime in New York City for more than a decade, dies after a battle with cancer.
























See this website's bibliography page for a list of sources used in compiling this timeline.
Compiled and edited by Thomas Hunt, New Milford, CT
Copyright 2005-07