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February 28, 1977|
Munich, West Germany
Joseph Stacher (c. 1902 – 1977) (alias Doc Stacher, Joseph Rosen, Doc Harris el al) was a Jewish syndicate leader who helped bring together the Jewish and Italian Mafia into a national organized crime syndicate.
Joseph Stacher was born Gdale Oistaczer (commonly pronounced Gedalia) in Letichev, Ukraine around 1902. He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1912. As a teenager living in Newark, New Jersey, he became friends with Meyer Lansky and Abner Zwillman. He attained United States citizenship in May 1930, but his naturalization was later revoked.
By the 1920s Stacher was running much of Zwillman's gambling operations. In 1931, Stacher helped Meyer Lansky organize a conference of Jewish organized crime leaders at the Franconia Hotel, which later would see the alleged merging of the Jewish and Italian Mafia into a national crime syndicate. Running West Coast and Caribbean gambling operations for Lansky during the 1930s, as well as becoming a silent partner of movie studio Columbia Pictures in the late 1930s, Stacher would later supervise gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada, particularly the Sands and Fremont Casinos.
Stacher continued running Mafia gambling operations until 1964, when Federal authorities arrested him for tax evasion. While the US government was in favor of deporting him to his native Poland, federal law prohibited deporting anyone to a communist-controlled country. However, because of the "Law of Return", Stacher was allowed citizenship in Israel and successfully immigrated there in 1965.
While living in Israel he served as the primary source of Israeli journalists Dennis Eisenberg, Uri Dan, and Eli Landau for a biography of Meyer Lansky. Stacher continued living in Israel until his death.
Stacher died, according to some reports in a Munich, West Germany, hotel room on February 28, 1977. His death was reported as a heart attack and his body shipped back to Israel. He was buried secretly and the nameplate of his grave was altered to hide his burial site. Only eight men were at the funeral, so the family had to ask a reporter and photographer to join the ceremony in order to attain a minyan.
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