Harry Greenberg

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Harry Schachter or Harry "Big Greenie" Greenberg (1909 – November 22, 1939) was an associate and childhood friend of Bugsy Siegel, and an employee of both Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky.

Early years[edit]

He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1909. Greenberg and his parents were Jewish.[1] On the streets of New York is where he met Siegel and 1930s Murder, Inc. leader Louis Buchalter.

Alleged tie to organized crime[edit]

His first known arrest was in September 1927 for drowning Benjamin Goldstein, he was arrested with two other low-level criminals named Joseph Lefkowitz and Irving Rubinzahl; Greenberg was acquitted and only Lefkowitz was convicted for the crime and sentenced to the electric chair although he was later acquitted.[2] On 11 November, 1928, police raided a home and arrested Greenberg and Siegel, Harry Teitelbaum, Louis Kravitz, Philip Kovolick, Hyman Holtz, Joseph Stacher and Jacob Shapiro. Most of these men were the assassins and backbone of Murder Inc. The men met together to discuss their rival Waxey Gordon. In 1934, dynamite was dropped through the chimney of an office owned by Siegel on Grand Street, Manhattan as retribution for Siegel murdering rival bootleggers; luckily it had exploded too early before Siegel walked into the room although he and others were wounded. Three days later, Louis and Andy Fabrizzo who were members of Gordon's crew, were murdered and found near a distillery owned by Gordon. Shapiro, Stacher, Greenberg himself and Siegel were involved but it is alleged that only Siegel pulled the trigger.[3] In 1936, he was ordered by Buchalter and Louis Lepke to lead a raid into the office of Needle Trades Workers Industrial Union, who were having a meeting at the time.


On November 22, 1939, Greenberg was murdered by Bugsy Siegel, Whitey Krakow and Lucchese crime family soldier Frankie Carbo. Prosecutors claimed that Siegel had brought them to his house and drove the getaway car, and that Carbo shot Greenberg in the head 5 times. His wife Ida Greenberg found him murdered at his driveway. Greenberg allegedly ordered $5,000 from Buchalter to keep his silence from law enforcement, however Buchalter subsequently ordered his murder.[4] Siegel was sent to trial in 1940 but not convicted.[5] The second trial began in 1942 and Carbo was the main defendant. Krakow was murdered in 1941. Abe Reles, a notorious hitman for Murder Inc, agreed to testify however his death occurred in 1941 in an apparent-suicide and the case was dismissed; his death is highly debated. Another Murder Inc hitman Albert Tannenbaum also became an informant, said he brought the murder weapons to Los Angeles from New York and gave them to Carbo and Siegel.[6]


Greenberg was portrayed by Academy Award nominee Elliott Gould in the 1991 film Bugsy.[7]


  1. ^ "'Bugsy' Siegel - The mob's man in Vegas". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  2. ^ Not Guilty - The Story Of Samuel S. Leibowitz.
  3. ^ The History of the Mafia.
  4. ^ "Harry Greenberg". lacndb. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  5. ^ "The world's most dangerous hitmen killed for cold cash". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Mob Slaying of 'Big Greenie' Greenberg Retold in Bugsy Siegel Trial". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Elliott Gould: 'I didn't have a drug problem. I had a problem with reality'". The Independent. Retrieved 3 November 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Block, Alan A. East Side-West Side: Organizing Crime in New York, 1930-1950. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1983. ISBN 0-87855-931-0
  • Cohen, Rich. Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. ISBN 0-684-83115-5
  • Turkus, Burton B. and Sid Feder. Murder, Inc: The Story of "the Syndicate". New York: Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81288-6
  • Wallace, David. Hollywoodland. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002. ISBN 0-312-31614-3