Cosa Nostra

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cosa Nostra ( Italian for "our cause"), or the Sicilian Mafia , is a criminal organization that originated in Sicily in the first half of the 19th century and today operates worldwide and maintains connections with other mafia-like groups. It is the most famous branch of the Italian Mafia , whose members call themselves "uomini d'onore" ( men of honor ). Many of the family clans work largely independently, with nationwide coordination by a commission made up of the heads of the most influential families. By the end of the twentieth century, the Cosa Nostra was classified as the most influential criminal organization in Europe. Its North American offshoot is the American Cosa Nostra .

Originally only the Cosa Nostra could claim the term Mafia , but today other criminal organizations such as the Neapolitan Camorra , the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta , the " Russian Mafia ", the " Albanian Mafia ", the "Japanese Mafia" ( Yakuza ) or the "Chinese Mafia" ( triads ) assigned to the mafia term.

The Sicilian Cosa Nostra

Origins of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra

The Sicilian Cosa Nostra probably emerged in the first decades of the 19th century from the structures of the Gabellotti , largely corrupt governors who had to protect the goods of the mostly noble landowners from rebellious farmers and brigands . In the course of the history of Sicily , however , the powerful families, most of them from northern Italy , lost control, influence and ultimately their property to the administrators originally appointed by themselves. Regionally there were also amalgamations of the Gabellotti with Sicilian brigantism. The presence of the Cosa Nostra is strongest in western Sicily. Palermo , the capital of Sicily, has the greatest "family density" and there is a family in almost all parts of the city .

The family is the basic organization of the Cosa Nostra, which controls a territory (a village, an area of ​​localities or a city district). The size of the individual families varies greatly. The 'Santa Maria di Gesù' family from Palermo had around 200 members at the beginning of the 1980s, while there are also families with fewer than 10 members. The Corleonese family, which had dominated for a long time, consisted of 38 full members in 1993.

One enters the Cosa Nostra through co-opting or calling. A candidate almost always joins the family in their place of birth. Before joining, the family (including ancestors) of the potential new member is strictly screened. If relatives are or were police officers, public prosecutors or pimps , admission is traditionally excluded. To qualify for membership, the candidate must pass an exam beforehand. This is usually a serious criminal act, often murder or armed robbery. The key witness Antonino Calderone , whose uncle and older brother ran the Catania family , had to drive a sought-after man of honor between two hiding places.

Mafia initiation ritual with St. Francis of Assisi saint (symbolic image)

Admission always takes place in the presence of other members. The new member joins the organization through a special initiation rite. The novice is stabbed in a finger or thumb, lets the blood drip onto an image of a saint, and then swears an oath on the family and the norms and laws of the Cosa Nostra. The icon is then burned. Membership is reserved for men only. However, women play an important role in the environment, as they pass the Cosa Nostra value system on to their children. Two members are not allowed to identify themselves to one another; a third member is required who knows both and introduces them to one another using the words cosa nostra (our cause) or la stessa cosa (the same thing as us). This form of secrecy is already part of the so-called omertà , which also requires confidentiality within the company and not only towards outside people.

The Cosa Nostra has a largely hierarchical structure with a so-called "military wing" and an economic one. It bases its cohesion essentially on an internal code with strict " value conservative " rules of conduct. What all “men of honor” have in common is their negative attitude towards the state . This attitude is so deeply rooted in the Cosa Nostra that a “man of honor”, ​​if he himself becomes a victim of a crime, will never file a complaint. According to several " Pentiti ", the worst offense for a "man of honor" is the word "sbirro" (for example, hunter or bull).

The headquarters of the Cosa Nostra are in Sicily with around 5500 clan members. In the 1970s, some powerful families also set up branches in Naples , Rome , Bologna , Turin and Milan . A regular family has operated in Naples since the 1930s. During the fascist era in Italy there was also a family in Tunis that consisted of exiles. In contrast to the American organization, the members of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra come from almost all walks of life, and it includes, for example, doctors, lawyers, bankers and successful entrepreneurs. As a result, it is far more anchored in society than its American offshoot. Here it exists largely on the fringes of society .

Today the Cosa Nostra is an international criminal organization. It was and is probably still commanded by a dome (see also the Sicilian Mafia Commission ), which is composed of the heads of the most important families and meets at irregular intervals, most recently in 2018. In the meantime, the organization is heavily centralized as a result of the second Mafia War. At least in the 1980s and early 1990s, the entire organization was under the control of a single boss.

For murders, which are often carried out by low-ranking young members, the “families” generally do not pay anyone any money. It is the consideration for membership and protection that the Mafia offers its member, and also serves as an opportunity to gain prestige and reputation . The Cosa Nostra generally carries out its murders independently and never recruits outsiders or contract killers. She is also usually very pragmatic in her choice of methods. In general, murder is the last option when all other means have failed. “Men of honor are neither devils nor madmen. It is not true that for one gram of cocaine they would kill their father or mother. They are people like us […] We have to acknowledge that they are similar to us. ”( Giovanni Falcone ) If a“ man of honor ”is arrested while carrying out a criminal act in the service of the family, he is entitled to financial support from the family. In this case, his blood family can also hope for the solidarity of the other "men of honor" and the boss of the family. It is different with the activities of the individual members. Men of honor who undertake illegal business on their own are not obliged to share the profits, but are then on their own in the event of arrest. After the Corleonese came to power in the early 1980s, this changed and the individual families have since had to pay a percentage fee from all their profits to the commission.

In Sicily, the Cosa Nostra has practically an illegal monopoly on the use of force, although a competing group, the Stidda , has formed in southeastern Sicily . Relationships with normal crime are mixed. On the one hand, the Cosa Nostra often recruits the most capable people from its ranks, on the other hand, the organization fought against “undesirable” crime for a long time. Pimps, thieves and sex offenders were fought hard; right up to murder. In the late 1970s , the powerful boss Stefano Bontade had the thieves eliminated in the territory he ruled .

After the Second Mafia War, however, this policy was abandoned for many years on the instructions of the Corleonesians. This was allegedly done in the hope that the police, prosecutors and courts would be so preoccupied with "normal" crime that the time and resources would not be available to combat the organization effectively.


The name was originally only used for the American branch of the Sicilian Mafia, since the end of the Second World War the original Sicilian Mafia has also been called that. The origin of the term “Cosa Nostra” as a proper name cannot be clearly clarified. There is a presumption that it originated among Italian immigrants in the United States, who were already part of the mafia in Sicily. Since there was actually no name for the members in the Mafia and the term Mafia was also not in use, the Sicilians are said to have only spoken of “our cause”, which initially excluded even non-Sicilian Italians. The mafiosi always called themselves “ uomo d'onore ”, meaning “man of honor”.

After the Second World War, the Cosa Nostra in Sicily was Americanized . So "Boss" as a name for the head became common. A structural change was exemplified here in the terms. At the beginning of the 20th century, the (often elected) head of a family was still referred to as “representative” or “capo-famiglia”. The newer term boss implies the changed role of the leader, who takes on an increasingly autocratic role in the family. Whereas in the past the representatives were elected by the members, the succession is now mostly undemocratic and the son often simply inherits his father as boss. In contrast to the term Mafia, which is now used in the broadest sense for any organized crime , the term Cosa Nostra actually only describes the original ethnic group of Sicilians who, as a criminal organization, engage in relevant gang crime .

The term first became known to the public in October 1963 through testimony of Mafioso Joe Valachi before the McClellan Committee , a committee of inquiry of the United States Congress . Valachi revealed to the committee that the American organization is commonly referred to as the American Cosa Nostra.

The use of the term Cosa Nostra by official institutions in Italy is documented in particular by its use in the indictment in the Maxi Trial of 1986 by public prosecutor Giovanni Falcone .

"This is the trial against the" Cosa Nostra "called Mafia organization [...]"

- Beginning of Giovanni Falcone's 8607-page indictment in the Maxi Trial on February 10, 1986.



The members of the organization are divided into so-called families or cosche, each of which is headed by a capo or boss. While at the beginning of the 19th century membership in the original Sicilian Mafia also qualified for membership in the American Cosa Nostra, this changed in the first half of the 20th century and both organizations increasingly went their separate ways. In Sicily, the origin of the members is very strictly observed, that is, they are basically Sicilians. In the USA this separation within the groups could not be maintained. So the Unione Siciliana finally opened up to the non-Sicilian Al Capone , and Lucky Luciano worked with both the Calabrese Frank Costello and Vito Genovese , who was a Neapolitan, and non-Italians. The Irish hit man Frank Sheeran was one of the few to whom the FBI attributed actual membership in the US Cosa Nostra.

In the 1930s, first in New York City , then also in the USA, a 'commission' was created which was formed from the bosses of the families and was intended to resolve disputes without internal wars. Corresponding agreements had already been made in Italy between the families there. After the Second World War, ever closer ties were made between the Italian-American and Italian mafia (see Pizza Connection ). In 1957, due to the necessity of the agreements regarding the heroin trade in the USA, a dome ("cupola") was initially formed from 12 members. However, this could not prevent the two great Sicilian Mafia wars 1962/63 and 1981-1983. Since the second Mafia war, the commission is no longer a “democratic” association, but an institution with which the dominant faction enforces its will throughout the organization.


The hierarchy in the Sicilian mafia, which has become Americanized, that is, the term "boss" is now also common, in a way resembles the structure of a Roman legion and is based on the army of the Roman Empire . A comparison is often made with the internal structure of the Catholic Church.

  1. Commissione Interprovinciale (all Capi Com., Formerly collegial body, since the Corleonesi + Capo dei capi )
  2. Commissione Provinciale + Capo Commissione (Provincial Commission with all Capi Mand. + Provincial Representative)
  3. Capo mandamento (representative of 3 cosche each, families)
  4. Capofamiglia / Rappresentante (representative of the family, boss)
  5. Consiglieri (several consultants)
  6. Capodecina ("boss of ten", direct boss of a single group of up to ten "men of honor"), Capo here stands for the boss (head) of a cosca (group).
  7. Soldati / Picciotti (normal members / "men of honor")

Membership in the Cosa Nostra is still a matter that is not easily ascertainable from the outside. Since the command of silence - the omertà - was increasingly broken by the members of the mafia themselves under the growing pressure of persecution since 1992, the information situation for outsiders has improved. Even if a non-“ Pentitoprepares written evidence about the Cosa Nostra, this is in principle assessed as a “mortal sin”. In 1969, the death of Michele Cavataio was decided among other things because he had recorded the clans of Palermo and their most important representatives on a site map.

“The Mafia would never think of writing, let alone lists of members; a bureaucracy like in the P2 also not; it would not only disturb the flexibility and changeability of the clan, it would destroy it completely. "

- Werner Raith

The families

Map of the activities of the Sicilian Mafia around 1900
Mafia families in Palermo and the surrounding area

The Cosa Nostra is native to almost all cities in Sicily. It is most strongly represented in western Sicily in the metropolitan city of Palermo , in the Free Municipal Consortium Trapani and in the Free Municipal Consortium Agrigento ; in eastern Sicily in the metropolitan city of Messina, however , their presence is very weak, as is the case in the Free Municipal Consortia of Ragusa and Syracuse . These three provinces are also not represented in the Interprovincial Commission, in which Cosa Nostra itself usually only refers to the 'region'. Until the end of the 1970s, the Cosa Nostra was almost non-existent in the three provinces mentioned. In the 1980s, however, the Catania family expanded into these regions. The Catania family was born in the 1920s and was also imported, apparently from the province of Palermo.

"On a scale from one to ten: Palermo 10, Agrigento 8, Trapani 8, Caltanissetta 6, Catania 4."

- Tommaso Buscetta on the weighting of the individual provincial groups.

In the early 1990s, examining magistrate Giovanni Falcone came to the conclusion that “In a certain sense, Central Sicily counts more than Palermo. In the geography of Mafia groups, Palermo is very important, but only up to a point. Palermo ratifies the decisions made in central Sicily and the surrounding areas of the city. I'm not only thinking of Corleone, of the Corleones Mafia. I think of the province of Caltanissetta, I think of Trapani, places where the mafia has complete control of the territory in every way ”. In the city of Palermo there is - which is otherwise unusual - not just one, but several families. A family operates in practically every district. The Sicilian families are always named after their location, usually the city in which they are based. In Palermo, the respective district is the namesake of the family. There are also many very small families under the rule of a larger one. An example of this is Uditore, which in the past was often associated with Passo di Rigano - from the mid-1970s to the second Mafia War in 1981, both families were even headed by members of the same blood family. The stronger Passo di Rigano family was led by Salvatore Inzerillo , that of Uditore by his father Giuseppe Inzerillo. Another example is the La Kalsa harbor district , which was and is closely linked to Santa Maria di Gesu. However, the areas of influence of the larger families in Palermo are also subject to change and change. “In the Palermos Mafia, the respective quarter plays an even bigger role than in Catania. […] The Palermitan Mafiosi […] do not leave their own quarter. They are born, live and die in the same place. The district is her life, her family has lived there for generations. "

There are a total of 181 families in all of Sicily with around 5500 members.

Free community consortia and metropolitan cities in Sicily

The Sicilian families, as far as known:

  • Metropolitan city of Palermo:
    Alia, Altavilla, Altofonte, Bagheria, Belmonte Mezzagno, Bisacquino, Bolognetta, Borgetto, Baucina, Caccamo, Caltavuturo, Camporeale, Carini, Castelbuono, Casteldacccia, Castronuovo di Sicilia, Cefalù, Cefala Gangi, Cinisi, Collesano , Godrano, Lercara Friddi, Marineo, Mezzojuso, Misilmeri, Monreale, Montelepre, Montemaggiore Belsito, Partinico, Piana degli Albanesi, Petralia, Prizzi, Roccamena, San Cipirello, San Giuseppe Jato, San Mauro Castelverde, Sferracini Iavallo, Terracavallo , Trabia, Vicari, Villabate, Villafrati
  • City of Palermo (districts):
    Acquasanta, Altarello di Baida, Arenella, Boccadifalco, Borgo Molara, Borgo Vecchio, Brancaccio, Capaci, Ciaculli, Corso Calatafimi, Corso dei Mille, Cruillas, Guadagna, La Kalsa, Mezzo Monreale, Noce, Palermo Pagliarelli -Center (dissolved for a few years after the First Mafia War), Partanna Mondello, Passo di Rigano, Porta Nuova, Resuttana, Roccella, San Lorenzo, Santa Maria di Gesu, Tommaso Natale, Torretta, Uditore, Vergine Maria, Villagio S. Rosalia
  • Free municipal consortium of Agrigento:
    Agrigento, Alessandria della Rocca, Aragona, Burgio, Caltabellotta, Campobello di Licata, Canicatti, Cattolica Eraclea, Cianciana, Favara, Licata, Menfi, Palma di Montechiaro, Porto Empedocle, Racalmuto, Raffadali, Ribera, Sicbuca San Giovanni Gemini, Santa Elisabetta, Santa Margherita di Belice, Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sciacca, Siculiana
  • Free municipal consortium Caltanissetta:
    Caltanissetta, Campofranco, Gela, Mazzarino, Mussomeli, Riesi, San Cataldo, Vallelunga, Villalba
  • Metropolitan City of Catania:
    Bronte, Calatabiano, Catania, Giarre, Maniace, Palagonia, Ramacca, Scordia, Paternó, Adrano,
  • Free municipal
    consortium Enna: Barrafranca, Calascibetta, Catenanuova, Centúripe, Enna, Piazza Armerina, Nicosia, Valguarnera, Villarosa
  • Metropolitan city of Messina:
    Barcelona Pozzo di Giotto, Capo d'Orlando, Messina, Mistretta, Santo Stefano di Camastra, Tortorici
  • Ragusa Free Municipal Consortium:
    Modica, Pozzallo, Ragusa, Scicli;
  • Free community consortium Trapani:
    Alcamo, Campobello, Castelvetrano, Castellammare del Golfo, Custonaci, Gibellina, Marsala, Mazzara del Vallo, Paceco, Partanna, Salaparuta, Salemi, Santa Ninfa, Trapani, Valderice, Vita
  • Mainland
    Italy : Naples

Selected mandamenti, families and capomafia (orange: Palermitan fraction Bontade-Inzerillo-Badalamenti; yellow: Corleonesi). Significant cosces are shown in bold.

region Family / mandamento Capomafia
Palermo Boccadifalco- Passo di Rigano Inzerillo Family : Rosario Di Maggio
Salvatore Inzerillo
Salvatore Buscemi
Salvatore Manno
Calogero Di Maggio
Palermo Torretta Calogero Caruso
Salvatore Emanuele Di Maggio
Palermo Uditore Antonino Giammona
Pietro Toretta
Franco Bonura
Gaetano Sansone
Palermo Brancaccio Giuseppe Savoca
Pietro Vernengo
Filippo and Giuseppe Graviano
Giuseppe Guttaduro
Giuseppe Di Maggio
Palermo Ciaculli and Croceverde-Giardini Greco family : Giuseppe Greco
Salvatore "Ciaschiteddu" Greco
Salvatore "L'Ingegnere" Greco
Michele "Il Papa" Greco
Pino "Scarpuzzeda" Greco
Mario Prestifilippo
Vincenzo Puccio
Palermo Corso dei Mille Corso dei Mille family : Francsco di Noto
Filippo Marchese
Palermo La Noce Salvatore Di Pisa
Salvatore Scaglione
Luigi Caravelli
Raffaele Ganci
Fabio Chiovaro
Palermo Malaspina cruillas Gaetano Maranzano
Palermo Altarello Leonardo Vitale
Giovanni Motisi
Cosimo Vitale
Vincenzo Tumminia
Rosario Inzerillo
Palermo Pagliarelli Lorenzo Motisi
Ignazio Motisi
Nino Rotolo
Palermo Corso Calatafimi Mario Di Girolamo
Palermo Mezzo Monreale
Palermo San Giuseppe Jato Antonio "Il Furbo" Salamone
Baldassare Di Maggio
Francesco Di Carlo
Giovanni Brusca
Palermo Santa Maria di Gesù Santa Maria di Gesù family : Salvatore “Totuccio” Contorno
Girolamo “Mimmo” Teresi
Francesco Paolo Bontade
Stefano Bontade
Giovanni Bontate
Francesco Paolo Bontate
Pietro Aglieri
Palermo Borgo Molara Vincenzo Cascino
Palermo Porta Nuova Giuseppe Corvaia
Gaetano Fillipone St.
Tommaso Buscetta
Tommaso Spadaro
Gerlando Alberti
"Pippo" Caló
Gaetano Lo Presti
Giovanni Lipari
Palermo Palermo Centro Angelo La Barbera
Salvatore La Barbera
Palermo Borgo Vecchio Antonino Abbate
Palermo Resuttana Antonino Matranga
Francesco Madonia
Gaetano Carollo
Palermo Acquasanta-Arenella Gaetano Galatolo
Michele “La Belva” Cavataiao
Antonino Pipitone
Gaetano Fidanzati
Palermo Partanna-Mondello Rosario Riccobono
Palermo Castronovo di Sicilia Calogero Pizzuto
Palermo San Lorenzo Filippo Giacalone
Mariano Troia
Calogero Lo Piccolo
Giuseppe Gambino
Corleone Corleone Corleonesi : Michele "U Patri Nostru" Navarra
Vincenzo "Mr. Vincent " Collura
Luciano Liggio
Totó " 'U Curtu " Riina
Leoluca Bagarella
Bernardo Provenzano
Rosario Lo Bue
Prizzi Prizzi Tommaso Cannella
Cinisi Cinisi Cesare Manzella
Gaetano Badalamenti
Godrano Godrano Salvatore "Turiddu" Lorello
Bagheria Bagheria Antonio Mineo
Salvatore "L'Ingegnere" Greco
Leonardo Greco
Giovanni Scaduto
Giuseppe Scaduto
Villabate Villabate Salvatore Montalto
Casteldaccia Casteldaccia Giuseppe "Piddu" Panno
Belmonte Mezzagno Belmonte Mezzagno Antonino "Nino" Spera
Misilmeri Misilmeri Girolamo "Mommo" Grasso
Caccamo Caccamo Giuseppe Panzeca, Francesco Intile
Trabia Trabia Salvatore Rinella

Business areas

Both the Sicilian and the US Cosa Nostra conduct all kinds of illegal activities. The original focus, and still one of the main sources of income in Sicily today, is protection racket . Protection money is collected across the country and has practically the character of a tax, it underpins the state-like claim of the mafia as a universal organization that rejects the Italian state as an authority. Even if this source of income is less lucrative than, say, drug trafficking, it is still a central component of the Cosa Nostra. In Palermo , extortion has a very long tradition, in other cities such as Catania it has only been practiced since the 1980s.

The American Cosa Nostra grew up through alcohol prohibition from 1920 to 1932, but always had strong roots in legal and illegal gambling . After the Second World War , the Americans first got into the drug trade with heroin , which was in principle adopted by the Sicilians from 1957. Another mainstay, especially in the first half of the 20th century, was smuggling of various goods, for example cigarettes or coffee , and the control of the black market . For decades, the Cosa Nostra also organized kidnappings of mostly very rich people; this was finally banned in Sicily itself at the end of the 1960s and only allowed on the Italian mainland ; Tommaso Buscetta gave several reasons for this: “The 'Commission' had decided that kidnappings should no longer take place in Sicily, and not just for humanitarian but also practical reasons. The kidnappings create a generally hostile climate in the population towards the kidnappers, and this is counterproductive when it happens in areas like Sicily, where the Mafia has traditionally been established; kidnappings also provoke greater police awareness of organized crime. ”This general prohibition also applied to“ normal ”criminals; after the kidnapping of a woman from Palermo, the woman was freed and one of the two perpetrators was killed by boss Rosario Riccobono . The Corleonesians, however, repeatedly circumvented the ban in the 1970s. In addition to collecting money, it served as a show of power, as entrepreneurs were preferentially kidnapped under the protection of opposing families.

Antonino Calderone

The prostitution is not operated by the Cosa Nostra, and is banned as strict.

“We have always excluded prostitution from the business of Cosa Nostra and despised everyone who exploits prostitutes. In the 1930s, the Prefect Mori also sent pimps into exile on the islands. There the Uomini d'onore (men of honor) organized beatings against these 'Ricottari', as they were called at the time. "

- Pino Arlacchi : Mafia from within - The life of Don Antonino Calderone

While the American mafia regards illegal prostitution as an important business area, but prohibits its members from drug trafficking in principle (and not always successfully), the opposite is true in Sicily.

The Sicilian Cosa Nostra plays an important role in the illegal arms trade . In addition, the Cosa Nostra laundering large amounts of money and, through corruption , acquires public contracts in the construction, healthcare and waste disposal sectors . The Cosa Nostra has also been involved in large-scale subsidy fraud since the EU began subsidizing agriculture by destroying excess crops .

Since the 1960s, Cosa Nostra has been distributing the majority of heroin in America and Europe . However, after the heroin trade peaked in the early 1980s, sales have since declined sharply and heroin has since been superseded by cocaine. Part of the European cocaine market is also operated by the Cosa Nostra, although the 'Ndrangheta is the leader here with around 80% of the controlled European cocaine trade.

Through the international drug trade, an international division of labor has often developed in which the Cosa Nostra, the Neapolitan Camorra , the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta and gangs from other countries work together, as the entire organizational complex of harvesting the drugs, logistics , distribution and financing is handled by a single one Group is often extremely difficult. From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, the Cosa Nostra processed the opium supplied from Turkey and the Middle East itself. In 1985, however, the last drug laboratory was discovered by authorities in Alcamo and since then there has apparently been a move to direct the heroin into the countries of origin in the Middle East. The Sicilian organization, which specializes primarily in the heroin trade, has also been exchanging heroin with the Colombian cartels or their preferred business partners, the 'Ndrangheta, since the 1980s , who in return supply cocaine to Europe.

Cosa Nostra was and is very present in many legal business areas. Examples are especially health care, construction, the catering trade - and catering industry, the export of Italian food and general agriculture .

“There are many small entrepreneurs in Cosa Nostra. Even more: the majority in it consists of business people, men who run shops, companies and companies. You trade , you are inventive and you go from morning to night. Restless people who enjoy an active life, who like new things and who know an infinite number of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Entrepreneurs who are wide awake around the clock. […] Luciano Liggio , the head of the Corleonese, was a tenant farmer and knew agriculture like all Corleonese and like the Grecos, the bosses from the periphery of Palermo. The Bontades z. B. operated u. a. Tropical fruit trade. In the Cosa Nostra there were always many traders and exporters of tropical fruits, today also countless contractors and acquirers of public contracts under. Cavataio was a small builder, Rosario Spatola a big builder, one of the largest in Palermo. One of the Vernengos had an ice factory . Gaetano Badalamenti held a. a. Cows and cheese sold . Many others were hauliers, spare parts suppliers for motor vehicles, butchers, cattle , fish or fruit dealers . Nitto Santapaola started out as a traveling shoe retailer and eventually became a general agent for Renault in Catania. His brother Salvatore had a Rosticceria. The Ferreras sold mineral water and operated casinos . […] Even priests are there, such as Padre Agostino Coppola . He married the Corleonese boss Totò Riina with Antonietta Bagarella , while Totò lived underground. There are also many doctors and lawyers. "

- Antonino Calderone : Pentito ” and key witness in the maxi trials.

The state anti-mafia estimates the total proceeds in Italy at 100 billion euros . In comparison, this is twice the turnover of the Fiat car company and corresponds to about seven percent of the Italian gross national product .

Relationship to other mafia-like and criminal organizations

The Cosa Nostra traditionally maintains close ties to the Camorra and 'Ndrangheta , the other two established southern Italian mafia organizations. The relationship to the 'Ndrangheta has undergone a profound change in recent years. The members of the Cosa Nostra looked down on their "poor relative" until the early 1990s and clearly played a dominant role for a long time. Since the Sicilian Mafia came under massive state pressure to persecute it from 1992, the 'Ndrangheta has abandoned the role of a junior partner in favor of a dominant role in the slipstream of this development. In the 1970s, the 'Ndrangheta worked closely with the Cosa Nostra to carry out kidnappings (for the purpose of extorting ransom), and was occasionally used by them to commit murders for them. As a result of the weakening of the Cosa Nostra in the chaotic 1990s, the 'Ndrangheta gradually took over the drug trade with the South American cartels, which the Sicilians carried out on the European side until the 1990s. Cosa Nostra now has a junior role in this business area. The 'Ndrangheta now has a closer relationship with the Colombian cartels than it does and is seen as a more reliable partner to them.

The relationship with the Camorra is traditionally close, but not free of tension. In the early 1980s, the Cosa Nostra, which was then run by the Corleones, wanted to gain some control over Naples through its Neapolitan family and allies within the Camorra. However, she never succeeded. At the time, witnesses Antonino Calderone and Tommaso Buscetta looked down on the Camorra in their testimony and stated that experience shows that the Camorristi are always inclined to deceive their business partners in joint ventures such as cigarette smuggling. Buscetta went so far as to refer to the Camorra as “ clowns ” to Giovanni Falcone “who even manage to recruit city police officers.” Cosa Nostra and Camorra still work together to this day in the smuggling of drugs and cigarettes.

There are business connections with the younger Apulian mafia organization, the Sacra Corona Unita , but these are less close.

There is a close relationship with the American sister organization of the Cosa Nostra, albeit often at a medium to lower level. Both organizations act independently of each other and have developed serious differences in mentality, but are still very closely connected (especially in terms of relatives). (See also American Cosa Nostra )

In addition, the Cosa Nostra maintains close ties to other criminal organizations wherever it depends on their cooperation in smuggling and drug trafficking. In the Near and Middle East, these include above all Lebanese and Turkish gangs who, due to their geographical location, support the importation of heroin from Central Asia, as well as the South American drug cartels, which primarily supply cocaine, and Asian organizations that manufacture it in the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia control of heroin and its distribution channels.

Links to politics

The Cosa Nostra has maintained ties to politics since it was founded and has been closely connected with it. Until the Second World War , these connections (probably) existed primarily with regional politics. From 1943, shaped by the experience of fascism , the Cosa Nostra became increasingly involved in national politics. For its own benefit, it sought to prevent the extremes of fascism and communism and instead supported the Democrazia Cristiana reluctantly, then more and more closely . This was achieved through controlled votes and financial donations. In individual cases she supported moderate parties, while totalitarian parties were and are taboo for her. To a lesser extent the Republican Party and the Social Democrats. After the end of the first Italian republic, according to statements from many Pentiti, she increasingly turned to Forza Italia Silvio Berlusconis . The connection to many well-known politicians of the Christian Democratic Party, such as Salvatore Lima and Vito Ciancimino , is documented. Connections are also said to have existed with the seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti .

Through intermediaries such as Lima and Nino Salvo , the Cosa Nostra managed for decades that it remained legally unmolested and that decisions were made in its favor. At the local and regional level, it benefited particularly economically very strongly from its entanglement with Sicilian politics. The chairman of the 1st section of the Court of Cassation , Corrado Carnevale , repeatedly overturned judgments due to the smallest formal errors. Bruno Contrada , agent of the Italian secret service and deputy chief of the police in Palermo, informed the Cosa Nostra about police operations for years in advance. He was the one who informed the Cosa Nostra of Giovanni Falcone's arrival in Palermo and thus made the assassination possible.

The close connection with some politicians is said to be the reason for the murders of the Cosa Nostra in some cases. Piersanti Mattarella is said to have been murdered because he, like Aldo Moro or General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa before , "became dangerous to the Palazzo". According to statements by some Pentiti, Bernardo Provenzano is also said to have extradited his predecessor Salvatore Riina to the police authorities in the course of the trattativa (negotiations with the state after the assassination of Falcones) in order to reach a new agreement that not only saved himself from arrest , but the Cosa Nostra also secured a new phase of cooperation with politics.

The Cosa Nostra has also had close ties to Sicilian Freemasonry for decades, as the Anti-Mafia Commission found in 1993. “The fundamental terrain on which the relationships between Cosa Nostra, the public sector and freelancers such as lawyers and tax consultants develop is the Masonic lodges. The bond through the solidarity of the Masons serves to establish organic and lasting relationships. [...] The incorporation into Freemasonry offers the Mafia an excellent instrument to expand its power in order to obtain favors and privileges in all areas: be it to close big deals, be it for the regulation of processes, as do numerous collaborators of the judiciary have revealed. "

The Cosa Nostra in Germany

Today, the Cosa Nostra is not limited to Sicily (and Naples ), but is now active worldwide. It has been increasingly present in Germany since the 1970s . Initially only used as a retreat where wanted members could temporarily hide, many families, especially smaller ones from the southern part of Sicily, are now actively running their businesses in Germany. The development was described by the key witness Antonino Giuffrè in 2002: “You look for German acquaintances [...] especially those who work in the banking industry or as entrepreneurs [...] that was especially true when the new German capital was being built, Berlin - Millions have been invested there. How many Italian companies do you think were there? Hundreds [...] And everyone says: But it's only natural that people come where there is work. It is about something completely different ”. In addition, drug trafficking is organized and money is laundered under the legal guise of restaurant and pub operations.

The Cursoti family from Catania is active in Hamburg , a branch of the Gela family in Mannheim, a branch of the Syracuse family in Nuremberg, and a branch of the Niscemi family in Wuppertal . There are two branches of the families from Licata and Favara in Cologne . In Spiesen-Elversberg there is an offshoot of the family from Siculiana . In addition, the Corleonesians traditionally maintained close ties to the Camorra branch in Baden-Baden, especially under Salvatore Riina . This, from Giugliano in Campania , is said to have organized the cocaine trade in Germany under its leader Sabatino Ciccarelli .



The origin of the Cosa Nostra is controversial and can no longer be determined with certainty. There are many legends about its origin - the first Pentito , Tommaso Buscetta , gave a version that was very popular within the organization, according to which the Cosa Nostra emerged as an insurrection against French rule in the Middle Ages . The veracity of these folklore stories is, however, strongly doubted; this is even more true of speculations that maintain roots in ancient clientele .

Panoramic picture of Palermo

Rather, it can be assumed that the Cosa Nostra was formed in the first decades of the 19th century in western Sicily. In addition, it is very likely that many “families” formed simultaneously and independently of one another. Its probable place of origin is to be found in the province of Palermo , where today almost half of all families of the Cosa Nostra operate and the existence of some families can be traced back to the 19th century. Traditionally one assumes a connection with the large lemon plantations in this region. Recently, however, historians have argued that the organization rather rose in the context of early industrial sulfur production. In any case, the Cosa Nostra came into being in post-feudal Sicily, when a weak state was not fully able to enforce law. During these decades, this mysterious secret society was often glorified with romantic ideas and its deeds justified with the southern temperament of the Sicilians. This is probably the basis of the mistake that the Mafia and Cosa Nostra were initially completely “good” and righteous in a moral sense and only modernized into malicious, criminal organizations in the following decades. Reports from that time about the illegal activities of the Cosa Nostra show that this does not correspond to reality. From the beginning, protection rackets and murder were also part of their repertoire.

In 1838 the Chief Prosecutor of Palermo, Pietro Calá Ulloa, wrote that “the people have come to a tacit agreement with criminals”. In 1864, the Baron Niccolò Turrisi Colonna described a "sect of thieves" that enjoyed political protection in many regions of Sicily, that they could only recognize each other through special gestures, and that they maintained a code of honor called "Umilta". In 1865 the term “Mafia” was first mentioned publicly in a report by the Prefect of Palermo, although terms such as “ sect ” or “brotherhood” were still used. A state commission of inquiry into the social and economic situation in Sicily defined the Mafia in 1875 as an "instinctive, brutal and partisan community of solidarity."

In its early days, the organization's activities focused primarily on cattle theft, smuggling, kidnapping and the provision of protection for the widespread citrus orchards in the “Conca d'Oro” around Palermo. Through the electoral reform of 1882, the Cosa Nostra gained influence on Sicilian politics, whose representatives were now increasingly dependent on the electorate controlled by the Cosa Nostra. On February 1, 1893, the Cosa Nostra committed a murder for the first time, which caused a sensation far beyond Sicily and Italy. On the train from Termini Imerese to Palermo , Emanuele Notarbartolo was murdered with 27 stab wounds. Notarbartolo had been the landowner and mayor of Palermo for three years , and during this time he was one of the first to fight the Cosa Nostra. He then became President of the Bank of Sicily, and from 1890 he was a private citizen. He continued his fight against the "honorable organization", for example by refusing to employ men who belonged to the Cosa Nostra. When he threatened to expose the extensive corruption within the management of the Bank of Sicily, he was murdered. A trial in court did not take place until seven years later (in Milan). The investigation of the murder was delayed and repeatedly sabotaged - a first sign of the Cosa Nostra's ability to corrupt high public authorities.

The Cosa Nostra under Mussolini

In 1922, the fascist movement gained power in Italy. After the mafia had been transfigured in the 19th century as socially romantic, this attitude changed under the fascist regime. From 1926 until the end of the decade, the mafia was fought vigorously by all means. The "Duce" Benito Mussolini was primarily concerned with securing the unrestricted authority of the state and the fascist movement. Mussolini therefore sent the "iron prefect" Cesare Mori to Sicily, who took all possible means of dictatorship against the mafia. Thousands - often wrongly suspected - were banished to small Mediterranean islands , killed or thrown into prison . Often this happened without a trial . The mafia families did not disband under the pressure of persecution, but remained inactive. Many "men of honor" fled to the United States, others to Tunis , where there was a large Italian community at the time, and a "family" developed there that was active into the 1940s. The mafiosi who emigrated to the USA included illustrious names such as Joe Bonanno , Carlo Gambino , Joe Profaci and Joe Masseria , who rose to become leaders of the organization there.

However, Mori could not completely destroy the organization. Although he knew many of the most influential capos by name and tried to prosecute them, they were largely protected from conviction by political protection. In 1925, Mori, as the head of the Palermo Mafia, identified a man named Di Giorgio, the brother of the commander-in-chief of the Italian army in Sicily. He charged the secretary of the fascist party in Palermo, the ophthalmologist Alfredo Cucco, with being the head of one of the most powerful families in Palermo. In 1929, however, Mori was recalled to Rome; Cucco was acquitted. Di Giorgio was never prosecuted. Mussolini had sufficiently consolidated his rule over Sicily and therefore declared the Mafia defeated against better judgment.


After the Allies landed in Sicily in 1943 , which, according to some theses, took place with the help of the Cosa Nostra, since many Italian-Americans served in the US Army and there was also a common enemy in Mussolini, the organization was re-established. Italy - especially the poorly developed south of the country with Sicily - was economically completely down at the end of the Second World War . In 1945 Italy's gross national product was at the 1911 level and real wages had fallen to 26.7% of 1913 levels .

There was still no strong state power between Naples and Palermo, and there were even separatist efforts in Sicily to break away from the rest of the country and achieve independence. In these chaotic conditions, the Americans appointed many capos as mayors of small towns in the interior, including the alleged " Capo dei capi ", Calogero Vizzini . Americans were looking for opponents of fascism and communism and local authorities to work with to ensure calm and facilitate a smooth transition to democracy . They found help in major mafia giants who had been introduced to them on the spot as "influential and respectable men" and people of respect. The good relations of some “men of honor” to the Catholic Church also had a positive effect. The mafioso Vito Genovese , deported from the USA, managed to become the interpreter for the American governor of Sicily, Colonel Charles Poletti .

Many refugees returned now and all over Sicily the old families arose and were soon firmly anchored in society again. In the early years, the Cosa Nostra mainly organized the black market . The smuggling of various goods such as coffee and cigarettes flourished. The Cosa Nostra again took up their position as protector of the large landowners and guarantor of the existing order. As a result, the organization turned decisively against the communist movements and the trade unions . In the rural areas of Sicily, where these mainly sought to gain a foothold among the peasants, bloody clashes and murders occurred again and again in the post-war years. Between 1945 and 1965 a total of 41 representatives of the peasant movements were murdered in Sicily.

The Cosa Nostra was at that time a close alliance with the Christian Democrats , which itself as the dominant party in the political Italy until the end of the Cold War could be established. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Cosa Nostra benefited from these good connections when it came to the so-called "pillage of Palermo", in which the old listed buildings in the city center fell into disrepair or were completely demolished and, instead, often illegal, cheap residential areas were built in the area around Palermo . The Cosa Nostra , which controlled the land, earned both indirectly through the protection provided and directly through its own construction companies or those managed by straw men.

Since there was a state monopoly on the trade in cigarettes , several families organized the smuggling together with Corsican and French gangs. Soon heroin and other drugs were traded on a smaller scale alongside cigarettes. By trading in cigarettes, individual families created a distribution network that would later also serve the heroin trade.

Creation of the Commission

Already since the end of the war there had been close ties between the Sicilian and the American mafia, and after a few years efforts were made to systematize them. From October 10 to 14, 1957 , a meeting between Sicilian and American mafiosi took place in the Grand Hotel des Palmes and in the Spano restaurant in Palermo , probably organized by Joseph Bonanno . Participants were leading bosses from both the American and the Sicilian organizations. Allegedly, the American entertainer Frank Sinatra , who was said to have had ties to the Mafia throughout his life, was also present as a guest . Agreements were made to start the largest heroin drug trafficking in history. In order to effectively avoid disputes in the future and to resolve them through negotiations, a “commission”, also known as “cupola” (Italian: dome), has now been formed in Palermo, as in the USA, with twelve members being the first chairman of the Cosa Nostra took over the very respected Salvatore Greco and not one of the La Barbera brothers favored by Lucky Luciano (see also Sicilian Mafia Commission ). Tommaso Buscetta also described the commission as an instrument to “block the disputes between the members of the different families and their respective Capi; only later was their function expanded to regulate the activities of all families in a province ”. As a result of the meeting, the Sicilians were allowed to sell the drugs they had supplied themselves - against payment of a percentage fee - in the USA (see Pizza Connection ). The American mafiosi had been strictly forbidden from drug trafficking by their godparents in previous years in order to avoid too much attention from the criminal authorities. However, Vito Genovese, Carmine Galante, and others did not adhere to this agreement because the drug trade created huge profit margins. Sicily was increasingly becoming the central hub for heroin supplied from the Near and Middle East .

Corleone 1958

View over Corleone

Corleone , in the interior of the island about 60 kilometers from Palermo, was a city with high levels of violence in the middle of the 20th century. Over 150 murders were recorded between 1944 and 1948. From 1953 to 1961 Corleone (fewer than 20,000 inhabitants) lost 1.5 percent of the population to gang murders. There were 52 murders and 22 attempted murders within Corleone, plus the victims of the " Lupara Bianca ". In post-war Sicily, an area north of Corleone was also notorious as the death triangle . The corners of this triangle are the cities of Casteldaccia , Altavilla Milicia and Bagheria , like Corleone, a notorious stronghold of the Cosa Nostra .

Michele Navarre

In 1958 it became clear that the Cosa Nostra was about to change and that it was constantly modernizing itself. On August 2, 1958, Luciano Liggio - actually Leggio - killed the head of the Corleones mafia, Doctor Michele Navarra , on the road from Lercara Friddi to Corleone . An uninvolved doctor who had accompanied him on the trip died with Navarre. The murder had been carried out with submachine guns following the American model, which had been unusual in Sicily until then. For the first time he showed the callousness and unscrupulousness of Liggio and his loyal followers. The murder was preceded by a conflict between the rising power-hungry Liggio and the established Patriarch Navarre, who had directed the fortunes of the Corleone family since 1943. Liggio had gathered a group of ambitious young men around him in previous years. These included his later right and left hand Salvatore Riina , called "u curtu" ("the short one" because of his small height of 1.58 meters) and Bernardo Provenzano , also known as "u tratturi" (it: the tractor ). Both later became known in the media as "the beasts". In addition, Calogero and Leoluca Bagarella , Giuseppe Ruffino, Giovanni Pasqua and Salvatore Riina's uncle Giacomo belonged to this circle.

Luciano Leggio

After the murder of Navarre, his followers were also liquidated in a year-long war, with a few exceptions who managed to flee Corleone. This approach was a new form within the Cosa Nostra. In previous minor wars within the Cosa Nostra, the conflict usually ended in the (violent) death of one of the leaders of the two parties. Liggio and his people, on the other hand, killed anyone who had not sided with them before the start of the fight. In the Second Great Mafia War, this was to be repeated again on an even larger scale. Corleone became known as the "Tombstone" as a result of the ongoing violence. The newspaper L'Ora , which published a report on Liggio and his supporters with the headline “Pericoloso” (it: dangerous), was bombed three days later, which devastated the editorial offices. The Corleone family was rebuilt under Liggio's leadership. He soon left Corleone behind and turned his attention to Palermo, where he steadily sought to expand his influence. The Corleonesians soon formed an alliance with the politician Vito Ciancimino , who was also originally from Corleone. The Corleonesi had many idiosyncrasies that set them apart from the established families. As the only family in the Cosa Nostra, they never disclosed the names of their 'soldati' (with a few exceptions, such as the names of their leaders) to the other families. Its members were unwilling to accept even minor prison sentences, as was the custom with the old school Mafia. Instead, they stayed underground all the time, moving regularly from one hiding place to another - invisible to both the judiciary and their opponents within the organization.

First Great Mafia War 1962–1963 and 1969


In 1962 the conflict - later referred to as the First Great Mafia War - broke out within the Palermos Mafia. The external trigger was a drug deal by a consortium that did not go according to plan, which included the powerful and very traditional Grecos from Ciaculli and Croceverde-Giardini as well as La Barberas. Apparently, less heroin had arrived in Brooklyn than the Italians had embarked, and the suspicion ultimately fell on the boss Calcedonio Di Pisa . He was acquitted of suspicion by the "Cupola", but was shot dead on December 26, 1962 in the Piazza Principe di Camporeale in Palermo. This murder was now blamed on the La Barbera brothers, as they were dissatisfied with the acquittal. Led by the Grecos, most of the Palermitan families united against the family from Palermo-Center, which was led by the Barberas. As a result, many soldiers from the Palermo-Zentrum family were killed, as were some soldiers from the opposing Palermo families. Several car bombs went off in Palermo. However, no one confessed to these attacks. In one of these attacks, the boss of the Cinisi family , Cesare Manzella, died . The deputy representative of the Santa Maria di Gesù family, Bernardo Diana , fell victim to another attack . There was chaos within the Cosa Nostra of Palermo as no one knew for sure who was responsible for the attacks.


The war broke out just weeks after the natural death of Lucky Luciano , who died of a heart attack on January 26, 1962 at Naples Airport. One theory is that Angelo La Barbera and Salvatore La Barbera have now started the war in order to provide evidence that they could do without American help. The real motives for the war were probably more complex than a simple conflict between the rising Barberas and the ancient Grecos mafia dynasty. According to Tommaso Buscetta and Antonino Calderone , the murder and subsequent bombings were ordered by Michele "The Cobra" Cavataio . Cavataio, Capo of the family from the Acquasanta district in Palermo, was an ally of the Grecos, but in the mid-1950s he lost the struggle for the Palermo wholesale market with them. According to Tommaso Buscetta, behind the La Barberas and later Cavataio was an alliance of bosses from northwest Palermo who opposed the growing power of the commission. This was mainly supported by the bosses from the southeast of Palermo. The real background to this war, however, remains unclear and has not yet been clearly clarified. As was later the case with the Second Mafia War, one can assume that some old accounts and disputes have now been resolved and that the ultimate background was the question of power.


During the war, Salvatore La Barbera was killed and his brother Angelo injured. He was later stabbed to death in prison. However, negotiations remained without result. In the "Massacre of Ciaculli" (1963) seven Carabinieri were killed by a car bomb. This was actually intended for Salvatore Greco , but exploded when Carabinieri tried to examine the car. As a result, the Italian state was heavily criticized in public for its inaction. As always when it was criticized in the mass media and public opinion, the state now became active; a pattern that was to be repeated in the following decades.

Numerous mafiosi were arrested, including Giuseppe Genco Russo , who still represented the old mafia and was now a marginal figure. Many fled abroad. Salvatore "the little bird" Greco , who was the target of the bomb, resigned the chairmanship of the commission and fled to Venezuela . Tommaso Buscetta, who later became the key witness, and Pentito , fled first via Switzerland to Canada and later to Brazil . The Capo of Corso Catalafimi's family, Mario Di Girolamo, emigrated permanently to Germany , where he set up an import-export business for tropical fruits . The war came to a standstill. The "Cupola" was temporarily dissolved and many "men of honor" initially settled on the mainland. The activity of the Palermo Mafia came to a complete standstill. According to Antonino Calderone, no protection money was even collected in Palermo in the following years. Among the refugees were Leonardo Cuntrera and his brothers as well as Pasquale Caruana and his relatives. These two clans were consolidated through several weddings and played an important role in the international drug trade in the 1980s. They formed the link between Sicily and the South American drug cartels .

Practically the entire "Cupola" settled on the mainland in the 1960s. That included

The mafia was involved in the flourishing construction business and received numerous public contracts through corruption , for example for the construction of settlements in Palermo.

As public opinion calmed down and issues such as left-wing terrorism became topical, the state's resolve also waned. The established system of corruption and favoritism prevailed again. In 1969 the first great trials against the Cosa Nostra ended with a triumph for them. Almost all of the defendants were acquitted. Salvatore Greco and Stefano Bontade , bosses of the largest and most powerful Palermitan mafia family from Santa Maria di Gesú , decided to take revenge on Cavataio. There was now general consensus within the Cosa Nostra that Cavataio was primarily responsible for the 1962/63 war. In addition, it was considered unpredictable by many, also because it carried written evidence of the existence of the Cosa Nostra with it. Cavataio had noted the families living there and their most important members on a map of Palermo. This serious violation of the requirement of silence was considered by the other bosses "as overwhelming evidence of Cavataio's madness." The plan was approved by other important bosses such as Gaetano Badalamenti, boss of Cinisi, Luciano Liggio and Giuseppe di Cristina from Riesi .

In the “Massacre in Viale Lazio” on December 10, 1969, Cavataio was finally murdered. The murder squad included some well-known mafiosi of the time: Bernardo Provenzano , who killed Cavataio, and Calogero Bagarella , who was shot by Cavataio, for the Corleonesians, for Bontade's family Emanuele D'Agostino and Gaetano Grado , for Di Cristina Damiano Caruso . The action was led by Salvatore Riina. As with all important actions undertaken by the Cosa Nostra, this composition was of symbolic importance. In addition to three of the most important families of the time (Cinisi, Santa Maria di Gesu, Corleone) from the province of Palermo , those from Riesi , a city in the heart of Sicily, were also represented. The families from Palermo wanted to demonstrate that it was not just an act of the Palermos families, but of the entire Cosa Nostra. The conflict ended with the death of Cavataio. The “Palermo-Zentrum” family, which had been controlled by the Barberas, was dissolved. The war marked a profound turning point for the Cosa Nostra. Many important members of the power syndicate (such as Tommaso Buscetta and Salvatore Greco or the Cuntreras) now switched to the trade syndicate. As exiles, they built new drug trafficking routes to South and North America . The rising Corleones succeeded in building a position of power in Palermo. The rule that a boss may not be a member of the commission at the same time has been abandoned.


Left to right: Leonardo Pandolfo, Cesare Manzella, Luigi and Masi Impastato, Sarino and Gaetano Badalamenti (1952)

After the assassination attempt on Cavataio, the Cosa Nostra was provisionally led by a triumvirate of the most powerful leaders at the time, which consisted of Gaetano Badalamenti , Stefano Bontade and Luciano Liggio . In the mid-1970s, on the initiative of Giuseppe Calderones , the boss of the family from Catania , an inter-provincial commission was founded. Although this was formally higher than the Palermitan "Cupola", it usually only confirmed decisions already made there. The strongest power within the Cosa Nostra was in the province of Palermo, where it probably originated and is most strongly present. In 1970 the Cosa Nostra was involved in the failed coup of right-wing Prince Junio ​​Valerio Borghese , the "black prince". According to several Pentiti, the Cosa Nostra was contacted by the coup plotters in order to obtain their help. The bosses agreed to take an active part, but without really wanting to comply. In return, the imprisoned men of honor should be able to count on a significant reduction in their sentences. However, a few hours before the coup was due to begin, it was called off.

Economically, the Cosa Nostra was down at the end of the 1960s and kept afloat by smuggling cigarettes from Naples to Sicily. The Corleonesians also organized kidnappings as a further source of income, which was largely rejected by many other families. The lucrative drug trade has been reorganized on a larger scale than before, and secret laboratories have been set up all over Sicily . At first, chemists from the former French Connection from Marseille were used to refine the morphine , but the Sicilians soon took on this task too. One of the most gifted among them was the future Pentito Francesco Marino Mannoia from Stefano Bontade's family.

As a result of the trade in drugs and cigarettes, the Cosa Nostra expanded to mainland Italy, particularly to Naples, where it worked closely with the Camorra . Stefano Bontade founded a 'Decina' of his family in Naples and Milan , Giuseppe "Pippo" Calò , boss of the family in the Palermo district of Porta Nuova, one in Rome . Luciano Liggio established his bases in Bologna, Rome, Naples and Milan, where he stayed undetected at the beginning of the 1970s. With the help of the Pizza Connection , the Cosa Nostra established itself in North America, where it soon exerted a not insignificant influence on the American Cosa Nostra there. The heroin trade then grossed hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the late 1970s . In order to be able to 'wash' these huge sums of money, Cosa Nostra entered the profitable money business on a massive scale; By 1982 the number of banks and bank branches in Sicily grew more than twice as fast as in the rest of Italy and Trapani soon had more bank counters than the financial metropolis of Zurich . In addition, the Cosa Nostra used international financiers such as Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi, among others . These were closely associated with the Sicilian Freemasons and the Propaganda Due Lodge and its boss Licio Gelli . When their banking empires collapsed, both died under mysterious circumstances. Sindona died of an espresso poisoned with cyanide , Calvi was found hanged in 1982 in London under Blackfriars Bridge . Vito Ciancimino later confessed that Calvi had been murdered because he had entered into financial operations with funds from the Corleonese and could not repay them later.

The power of the organization grew, while many people in official bodies still doubted that it even existed. Since the newly acquired wealth was unevenly distributed, existing conflicts intensified in the long term and underlying tensions within the families developed. Many families outside Palermo were excluded from drug trafficking or participated only marginally. The families led by Gaetano Badalamenti and Salvatore Inzerillo , on the other hand, were very much involved. Tommaso Buscetta later explained to Giovanni Falcone : “All Palermo families are involved in the drug trade: the leader of each family controls him and to a certain extent the men of honor of the family can participate. When dividing the profits, those closest to the boss are given preference and they can keep more money for themselves. The older as well as the less enterprising men of honor take part to a lesser extent or are completely excluded. "

Outwardly, the organization worked, but in the 1970s the Cosa Nostra began to split into two wings that were in opposition. On the one hand there were the more moderate people around the Badalamenti-Bontade-Inzerillo alliance, on the other hand the Corleonesians, who were mainly with the traditional and powerful Grecos from Ciaculli, Croceverde-Giardini and Bagheria, the Madonias from Vallelunga Pratameno and the Bruscas from San Giuseppe Jato were allied. The Bruscas were among Liggio's oldest allies and, like the Corleones themselves, belonged to the mafia of the rural parts of Sicily. Although Corleone is not far from Palermo, it has a village character and the Corleoneese felt they belonged to the rural mafia and have always had a very strong affinity with it. They found their strongest supporters among the smaller families of the rural mafia. The long-established men of honor in Palermo have long underestimated the Corleonesians and called them I Viddani (the farmers).

While the other two members, Badalamenti and Bontade, were imprisoned or lived in exile on the mainland, Liggio's deputy, Riina, was the sole representative of the triumvirate. During this time he continuously collected information about the individual clans and their internal relationships, while he himself revealed very little about the Corleonesians. With many men of honor from other families he established relationships and created a network of sympathizers. Within the Cosa Nostra there was constant rivalry between the two opposing camps.

At the beginning of 1974, the commission was finally rebuilt and ruled again from Palermo. A chairman was appointed every two years. The first new chairman was Badalamenti. However, its power waned in the mid-1970s; At the end of 1975 he was voted out of office as chairman of the commission and replaced by "the Pope" Michele Greco from Ciaculli; he had entered into a close alliance with the Corleonesians. In the same year, the Corleonesians kidnapped and murdered the father-in-law Antonio Salvos , who was under the protection of Bontade and Badalamenti, in order to snub them. Within the commission, Riina denied having carried out the kidnapping. Nobody could prove him wrong, even though his involvement was evident. The Corleonesians, largely excluded from the drug trade, carried out further kidnappings during this period; The Corleonesians distributed the ransom for the kidnapping of the son of an industrialist among the most needy families in the province of Palermo, which gave them further sympathy. During the 1970s, the Corleonesians continued to build their alliance. They were able to find support especially in the poorer small towns in the province of Palermo, but also in the provinces of Trapani and Agrigento. Pippo Calò , formerly an ally of Bontade in Palermo, defected to the Corleonesi at this time. Other "men of honor" also noticed that the balance of power was slowly but surely shifting and also joined the Corleonesi. After Liggio's arrest in Milan in 1974, these were led by Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano , with Riina having the last word.

From the outset, the Corleonesians took a much more intransigent attitude towards the state than the representatives of the more moderate faction. They did not shy away from open conflict with the state, and from the second half of the 1970s committed investigators regularly fell victim to attacks carried out with military precision. In 1977 the Colonel of the Carabinieri Giuseppe Russo was murdered near Corleone. On January 26, 1979 the crime reporter of the Giornale di Sicilia , Mario Francese , was shot dead in Palermo, on March 9, 1979 the secretary of the Democrazia Cristiana of Palermo, Michele Reina , on July 21, 1979 the chief of the police of Palermo Giorgio Boris Giuliano and on September 25, the investigating judge Cesare Terranova . In 1980, the Corleonese Piersanti Mattarella , the President of the Sicily Region, and Giorgio Boris Giuliano's successor, Capitano Emanuele Basile, murdered . The Corleonesians committed all of these murders without informing the other families beforehand, and mostly in the territory of other families. Both were forbidden under the Cosa Nostra's own laws. As a show of force and to show that he could also have high-ranking representatives of the state murdered without consultation, Salvatore Inzerillo , boss of Passo di Rigano in Palermo, had the attorney general of Palermo, Gaetano Costa, murdered on August 6, 1980 . Nevertheless, the few committed investigators achieved initial success. The young investigating magistrate Giovanni Falcone , in collaboration with Belgian and French investigators, demonstrated that Sicily had meanwhile replaced southern France as the main hub for heroin. Towards the end of 1979 he was able to prepare a first major indictment against the organization's trade syndicate.

In 1977, at the request of important representatives of the Sicilian Masonic lodges, the most influential heads of families such as Stefano Bontade and Michele Greco joined a secret Masonic lodge. Two high-ranking mafiosi were admitted to the boxes in each province. In 1978 there were several preliminary internal trials of strength. When the Christian Democratic chairman and former prime minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades , several politicians turned to the Cosa Nostra unofficially to seek mediation. The goal should be the release of Aldo Moro. Alternatively, thanks to Pippo Calò's close contacts with the Roman Banda della Magliana, Aldo Moro's hiding place should be found. While Bontade in particular wanted to obtain the release of Aldo Moro, the Corleonesians opposed interference and were able to prevail in the commission. In the province of Caltanissetta , Giuseppe di Cristina from Riesi and Francesco Madonia from Vallelunga, supported by the Corleonesians, fought for supremacy. “Under normal circumstances, such an issue would have been dealt with locally without involving additional members from outside the province concerned. But the break between the Greco / Corleonesians and the rest of the Cosa Nostra had meanwhile reached a point where almost every problem became the cause of a competition-like argument between the two groups "

Di Cristina was shot dead by the Corleonesians in Salvatore Inzerillo's territory a few weeks after a first unsuccessful assassination attempt on him and the subsequent murder of Francesco Madonia. Shortly afterwards, Giuseppe Calderone from Catania was also murdered. Both Di Cristina and Calderone had been important allies of Bontade outside of Palermo. In their place came people who were closely allied with the Corleonesians, such as Nitto Santapaola , who reigned over the family of Catania, and Giuseppe Madonia , who, as Capo Provincia, took over the representation of the province of Caltanissetta. The year before, Badalamenti had been expelled from the Cosa Nostra at the instigation of the Corleonesians.

The Corleonesians also infiltrated the opposing families, as many of their members secretly joined them. “The big mistake […] Stefano Bontades was to trust too much in one's own strength. Stefano kept repeating that the Corleonesians would never make it against him, the Inzerillos and the others. He felt safe and kept saying that he had 200 followers. But while he was intoxicated with his power, opponents sowed discord in his family and those of his allies. The discord grew, the walls of his house continued to crumble day by day. The soldiers, the capidecina and the vice-representatives noticed that the Corleonesians were getting stronger. They did their calculations and soon marched in that direction themselves. Pullarà, for example, a man by Stefano Bontade, eventually defected to the Corleonesians. And other deputies, who had previously been loyal and loyal to their Capi, did the same. The norms of the Cosa Nostra, the ties to the heads of families, mean nothing in view of the very highest Mafia law: the law of the strongest. ”After the commission and almost all of Sicily were under their control and many of their most important opponents outside Palermo were eliminated, the Corleonesians stood ready to attack Palermo and their real rivals, Stefano Bontade and Salvatore Inzerillo.

Second Great Mafia War 1981–1983

Death triangle Altavilla Milicia, Bagheria and Casteldaccia

The Second Great Mafia War in Sicily is also known in Italy as ' mattanza ' (the 'bloody harvests' or blitzkrieg in Palermo. The alliance of the “ Corleonesi ” under Riina was involved in a bloody war that, according to Giovanni Falcone , probably more than 1000 people cost his life against the traditional Palermitan families (axis Bontade-Inzerillo-Badalamenti) and gained dominance.

As in Corleone in 1958, the military arm eliminated the organization's economically and politically far more powerful trade syndicate by being extremely aggressive and brutal. 150 official victims were counted in 1981, 120 in 1982, 130 in 1983. There are also over 500 abductees who disappeared without a trace. They were killed, their bodies hidden, dissolved in acid, or thrown into deep canyons inland. Lupara Bianca is called this in Mafia lingo. In 1982 and 1983, one mafia murder occurred in Palermo on average every three days. Palermo became the center of a power struggle between two factions, divided into 40 groups.

The Corleonesi proceeded extremely brutally for mafia conditions and waged a veritable extermination campaign. Whole clans were almost wiped out and bystanders and distant relatives were murdered in order to prevent possible acts of revenge from the outset. Anyone who opposed their claim to rule was systematically eliminated. They were also supported by traitors from the 'losing families' who had secretly joined the Corleonesi. From almost three years of bloody power struggles, the Corleonesi emerged victorious as the leading representatives of the dynamic rural mafia against the urban mafia of Palermo.


The "Mattanza" began on the evening of April 23, 1981 in Palermo with the murder of Stefano Bontade , who was also known as the "Prince of Villagrazia". Bontade was the capo of the largest and most powerful mafia family in Sicily, which had numerous allies, such as the Inzerillos, DiMaggios and Gambinos family from Passo di Rigano , to which the wealthy building contractor and drug dealer Rosario Spatola also belonged. One of the perpetrators' weapons was an AK-47 , the shooter was Pino "Scarpuzzedda" Greco , the same weapon, wielded by Greco, was used in other high-profile murders - it served as a kind of symbolic 'signature' of the new dominant alliance.

The second high-ranking victim of the war was Salvatore Inzerillo , boss of the Passo di Rigano family and a good friend and closest ally of Stefano Bontade. Inzerillo was shot dead on May 11, 1981 while he was about to get into his bulletproof car. Again the same AK-47 could be proven as a murder weapon. Since the opposing party was now leaderless and had lost its bearings, the members of the "losing families" were systematically murdered with unexpected ease. As their supporter Antonino Giuffrè confessed, the Corleonesians had prepared themselves well for their campaign and "carried out a detailed study to find out district by district who was close to Bontade [...] and then proceed with their systematic elimination." In addition, the Corleonesians had the names their men of honor were always kept secret and new young members were constantly being recruited who were completely unknown to their opponents.

“The real strength of the Corleonesians lies in their almost absolute control of the province of Palermo . They have men everywhere and we don't know them. This allows them to have a ghost army at their disposal at any time, which appears in the city, murders and then disappears again unmolested. "

- Giovanni Falcone in his indictment for the Maxi Trials

On June 9, 1981, the long-time boss of the Corso dei Mille family , Francesco Di Noto , was also killed. His immediate successor was Filippo Marchese , an ally of the Corleonesians. Since Michele Greco was chairman of the commission, he was able to choose the (initially provisional) successors of the murdered bosses himself and ensure that only loyal Corleonese supporters moved up to the top. These newly appointed heads, in turn, suppressed any coordinated resistance. Santo Inzerillo , Salvatore Inzerillo's brother, who unsuspectingly met to negotiate peace with the Corleonese faction, was strangled at this meeting and Pietro Inzerillo was also found strangled in New Jersey ; Giuseppe Inzerillo , the 16-year-old son of Salvatore, was kidnapped and then murdered. In Palermo the remaining members of the losing families were murdered. The families from Palermo-Zentrum, Uditore and Borgo were also affected. A few weeks later, Antonio Badalamenti , cousin of Gaetano Badalamenti and his successor as boss of the family, was eliminated in Cinisi . In the weeks that followed, many soldiers from the Badalamentis family, the influential Rimis in Alcamo and their supporters were murdered. In Trapani on the west coast of Sicily, the boss Salvatore Minore, traditionally closely allied with the Bontades, and his loyal soldiers were killed. He was succeeded by Vincenzo Virga , who would later become one of Bernardo Provenzano's closest allies .

In the province of Agrigento , too , the Corleonesians and their allies now systematically eliminated all adversaries. Giuseppe Settecasi , the 83-year-old most influential boss in the province of Agrigento, was murdered in mid-1981, as was Leonardo Caruana , boss of the Siculiana family and Calogero “Gigino” Pizzuto from San Giovanni Gemini . In Cattolica Eraclea the boss of the family was killed along with most of his subordinates. Carmelo Colletti , the boss of the Ribera family , tried unsuccessfully to negotiate. Most of his family's "men of honor" were murdered anyway, and in 1983 Colletti was also killed. A counterattack, probably organized by Gaetano Badalamenti , an attempted attack on Pino Greco, failed. The Corleonesians' retaliation came just a few days later: On December 25, 1981, the “Christmas Massacre of Bagheria” (Strage di Bagheria) occurred. In the old town of Bagheria , several high-ranking members of the Cosa Nostra, including Giovanni Di Peri , boss of the Villabate family , and an uninvolved passer-by were murdered. Just one day later, Badalamenti's son-in-law was shot dead in his pizzeria along with two employees. According to Antonino Giuffré , families that were previously aloof were asked to join the Corleonese alliance.

“Leonardo Greco stood up and announced that the Corleonese rise to power had begun and that he and his family had chosen a leader. That is why he advised the assembled community that the individual mandamenti should ally themselves with Bernardo Provenzano. And that's what happened. "

Filippo Marchese disappeared at the end of 1982 . He was the new boss of the "Corso-dei-Mille" family in Palermo, who, together with the most notorious Palermitan killer Pino Greco "Scarpuzzedda", tortured hundreds of victims in the notorious "death room in Piazza Sant Erasmo", killing the corpses in acid disbanded and dumped the remains in the Palermo sewerage system . Unlike his boss Di Noto, who was murdered the year before, Marchese was allied with the Corleonesians and friends with his killer Pino Greco. After the looming victory, however, he was useless to the Corleonesians and - due to the psychopathic traits he had shown during his actions and his drug use - an unnecessary risk. Alfio Ferlito , an ally of Bontade and a rival of Nitto Santapaola in Catania, was murdered with his police escort in June 1982 when he was about to be transferred from prison to the Palace of Justice. The summer of 1982 turned into the bloodiest and most violent of the Second Mafia War. It is believed that around 200 people were killed. Many disappeared without their bodies reappearing. The center of the violence was the so-called death triangle (Triangolo della Morte). A region between the villages of Bagheria - Casteldaccia - Altavilla, in which a disproportionately high number of murders were committed. Bagheria alone was notorious for the so-called “concentration camp of Bagheria”, an old nail factory that had once been owned by the Greco family, but was used by Bernardo Provenzano for his tortures and executions. Similar torture practices took place in the “death room in Piazza Sant Erasmo”. The Corleonesi purges continued systematically. On October 19, 1982, Giuseppe Di Maggio, the representative of the Brancaccio family, was murdered.

Parallel to the war within the Cosa Nostra, the Corleonesians did not stop at the representatives of the state, who were committed to investigating the Cosa Nostra. Many carabinieri , officials and politicians were also victims of this conflict . Prominent Communist MP Pio La Torre , leader of the Sicilian faction of the Communist Party of Italy , was shot dead in the middle of the day in the middle of the day in the street in central Palermo. He had worked out the foundations of the "Rognoni La Torre Law", which was later named after him and which later became an important instrument for combating organized crime . On August 11, 1982, the coroner Paolo Giaccone was shot. The Corleonesians' radical, terrorist strategy testified to their claim to power over the state.

“(Vincenzo) Rabito said the Grecos-run family to which he belongs was responsible for carrying out these murders which were designed to take out those who worked against the mafia and those who would come after them To get the message across that they should hold back if they didn't want to run the risk of experiencing the same thing. "

- Testimony from Bou G Hebel Ghassan, a Lebanese drug trafficker and later key witness.
Assassination of Dalla Chiesa

Because of the ongoing bloodshed, the Italian state had to respond to public pressure. General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa , who had successfully led the fight against the terrorist Red Brigades and thereby became a national hero, was posted to Palermo in mid-1982. There he was shot dead together with his wife and a bodyguard after only four months. On November 14, 1982, Calogero Zucchetto , a member of the Squadra Mobile, was murdered . The public prosecutor Giangiacomo Montalto was murdered in Trapani at the beginning of 1983 , followed by Colonel Mario D'Aleo and two other Carabinieri who accompanied him in Mondello in June . The Chief Public Prosecutor of Sicily, Rocco Chinnici , was killed, along with his bodyguards and a local resident, on July 29, 1983, when a car bomb detonated in downtown Palermo. The "Mattanza" went on unstoppably. In order to demonstrate the helplessness of the state, the Corleonesi deposited many bodies of their victims in front of police stations and barracks .

The first Pentiti

Tommaso Buscetta (1960s)

The situation for the losing families was hopeless and increasingly desperate, and some of them saw no choice but to use the police as their last weapon against the victorious Corleonese and their allies. They sent anonymous letters with clues to the police. One of these unknown informants named as the reason for the war the "resistance of Stefano Bontade and Salvatore Inzerillo against the establishment of the Corleones in Palermo". The two men of honor, Tommaso Buscetta , a man with a great reputation and also known as the “boss of the two worlds”, and Salvatore Contorno came under increasing pressure. They were close friends with Bontade and were now downright hunted. Buscetta, highly respected within the Cosa Nostra, had been asked several times by Gaetano Badalamenti, the Salvos and other members of the losing families to return to Sicily and fight the Corleonesians. Several unsuccessful attacks were carried out on Contorno, one of Stefano Bontade's best and most loyal soldiers. When this failed, around 35 of his friends and relatives were murdered in order to withdraw their possible support. Several of Buscetta's relatives were also murdered as a result. After their arrests by the Brazilian and Roman police, both testified as key witnesses against the Mafia from 1984 onwards. In 1986 this led to the great mammoth trial that took place in a high-security bunker that was built especially for this process and guarded by tanks . There were over 500 defendants in the trial.

Final phase

In 1983, the "Second Great Mafia War" entered its final phase after the liquidation of Rosario Riccobono , who had changed sides immediately at the beginning of the war, as well as about 20 people from his clan. Riccobono had helped his new ally, the Corleonesi, lure loyal Bontade soldiers like Emanuele D'Agostino into the trap. Now he was considered an unreliable ally to Riina.

In July 1983 Carmelo Colletti was shot in Ribera, in November Leonardo Infranco, the previous boss of the Santa Margherita di Belice family . Both were among the last allies of the Bontade / Inzerillo faction who were still in power. At Colletti's funeral "ten thousand people took part, a good half of all residents in the city".

Those men of honor who betrayed their bosses survived and immediately took over the reins of their families as rewards for their betrayal. The influential Vice-Capo Pietro Lo Jacono , who had betrayed his own boss Stefano Bontade, took over the management of the family from Santa Maria di Gesú. Salvatore Montalto , formerly the Vice Salvatore Inzerillos in the family von Passo di Rigano, became the new boss of the family von Villabate . Salvatore Buscemi was awarded the leadership of the family by Passo di Rigano. After the murder of Giuseppe di Maggio, Giuseppe Savoca became the new boss of the Brancaccio family, and Francesco Bonura took over the management of the family in Uditore. From then on, the von Borgo family was led by Salvatore Cucuzza, while Giovanni Corallo, a close friend of Pippo Calòs, was given the family of Palermo-Zentrum.

The betrayal and the active help of important men from the "losing families" had enabled the Corleonese alliance to achieve a total victory without having to accept losses of its own. The eminent Pentito Gaspare Mutolo later commented on this as follows: “When one speaks of Mafia war, I can not imagine much about it; Mafia war is when two or more mafia families arm themselves and know that they are fighting a different group of people. In Palermo, on the other hand, in my opinion, in my personal sense, this war never took place; there has been a betrayal ”.


With its complete victory, the Corleonese alliance achieved a previously unknown total hegemony over the entire organization. From the mid-1980s, their former powerful allies were also eliminated by the Corleonesians. In particular, high-ranking representatives from the von Ciaculli family , dominated by the Grecos for almost a century, were eliminated. With Pino Greco, Mario Prestifilippo , Vincenzo Puccio and Giuseppe Lucchese, the von Ciaculli family provided the most prominent members of the killer squad. However, Riina soon encouraged disagreements, taking out his potential rivals one by one. “Riina didn't have much faith in the Greco family. Therefore, he soon transferred her mandamento, Ciaculli, to Brancaccio and his soldiers, the Graviano family, the responsibility for it. If a family had shown themselves to be particularly loyal to him, they received a mandament. "

Life within the Cosa Nostra was re-regulated. The borders of the Mandamenti were redrawn, from which the loyal members of the Corleonese alliance benefited. The heads of the individual families were often no longer elected democratically by their members, but from now on selected by the Corleonesians. Riina also appointed 'ambassadors' who controlled the activities of the other families for him. Possible disputes between the families were decided solely by the relevant Corleonese. In addition, all families were obliged to pay a percentage of their profits to the commission. The commission, originally conceived as an instrument to protect ordinary members from the omnipotence of the bosses, now became the means by which the dominant Corleonesians asserted their influence and steadily expanded it. There was now a strong centralization effect from the Commission. Thus the development, which was carefully initiated by Salvatore Greco before the first Mafia war, reached a climax.

Compliance with the omertà was interpreted more stringently. Individual men of honor were forbidden from maintaining contact with members from other families. This severely restricted contact between families. Exceptions were made only for particularly trustworthy men of honor who act as messengers and of course for the members of the commission. This was also done to keep the damage to the " Pentiti " as low as possible. From almost all larger families, one or two selected men of honor were assigned who were directly under Riina's command and exclusively obeyed his orders. This group of around 50 "Soldati" also committed the organization's most sensational murders in the following years. Michele "Il Papa" Greco retained the chairmanship of the Cupola / Commission until his arrest in 1986. However, he was increasingly more of a recipient of orders from Totò Riina and Bernardo Provenzano .

From the “Mattanza” the Cosa Nostra emerged, according to the words of Giovanni Falcone, “stronger, more compact, united, hierarchical, denser and even more opaque than ever.”

Corleonese hegemony

The anti-mafia

On December 23, 1984 , a bomb exploded in an express train connecting Naples and Milan, leaving 16 dead and more than 200 injured. This terrorist attack was planned by Pippo Calò to divert public attention from the mafia to terrorism. Caló had teamed up with people from right-wing extremist circles in carrying out the attack. In January 1984 the journalist and writer Giuseppe Fava was murdered by the Corleonesians . In 1985, the two senior police officers Beppe Montana and Ninni Cassarà were murdered in quick succession. Cassarà and his bodyguards died in the hail of bullets from a twelve-man killer squad, which also included several members of the commission. In the meantime, Pippo Calò, who had remained undiscovered there for years, was arrested in Rome. In 1986, in Pizzolungo, a district of Erice , an unsuccessful bomb attack was carried out on investigating magistrate Carlo Palermo , which cost the lives of a woman and her two children; the judge was then withdrawn from Trapani.

Through the investigations of Falcones and the statements of Tommaso Buscetta , Contorno, Mannoia, Calderone and later also other 'Pentiti', the large mammoth trials (Maxi Trials I-IV) began in February 1986 and in which hundreds of Mafiosi like Michele Greco, Pippo Calò and Mariano Agate were sentenced to long prison terms. For the first time, the existence of the Cosa Nostra was officially confirmed and, following the American example, mere membership of a criminal organization was made a criminal offense. As parts of the organization increasingly felt that they were no longer protected by the Christian Democratic Party, the Cosa Nostra boycotted the Christian Democrats as a warning during the 1987 elections and, on instructions from Riina, elected the Socialists in their place.

Riina, Provenzano, Bagarella and other important Corleonesians continued to flee. After the mammoth trials, many politicians in Palermo spread the opinion that the Cosa Nostra had largely been defeated after the 'Maxi Trials' and was dying. Falcone and other investigators vehemently denied this, an assessment that was confirmed by a new wave of attacks. On January 12, 1988, the former mayor of Palermo, Giuseppe Insalaco , was murdered. During his tenure, he fought corruption and advocated transparency in the award of public contracts. Just two days later, the police officer Natale Mondo was also shot dead in Palermo. He had been one of Ninni Cassarà's bodyguards and was the only one who survived the assassination attempt on his boss. On September 14, 1988, the now retired judge Alberto Giacomelli , who had participated in the Maxi trial, was shot in Trapani. On September 25, the judge Antonino Saetta was murdered together with his son. The left-wing activist and sociologist Mauro Rostagno was shot the following day . In September 1990 investigator Rosario Livatino was shot dead in Agrigento. According to statements made by some Pentiti, however, he was not murdered by the Cosa Nostra.

The stidda , which had formed in southern Sicily in the 1980s, was responsible for the murder . Mainly in and around the cities of Riesi , Agrigento , Barrafranca , Camastra and Gela are their strongholds. The Stidda was founded by surviving losers of the "Mattanza". The less tightly organized Stidda was bitterly opposed by the Cosa Nostra in the early 1990s. This war, which Bernardo Provenzano launched on the side of the Cosa Nostra, cost 300 deaths in the province of Agrigento over a period of three years. On August 9, 1991, judge Antonino Scopelliti , who was involved in the Maxi trial, was murdered while on vacation on the Calabrian coast . The 'Ndrangheta had carried out the murder as a personal favor for Salvatore Riina. Only a few weeks later, on August 29, 1991, the entrepreneur Libero Grassi was shot in Palermo , who had refused to pay protection money and had launched a public solidarity movement against the extortion of protection money.

At that time, the Corleonesians concluded extensive agreements with the Colombian drug cartels such as the Medellín cartel ; Orlando Cediel Ospina Vargas , described by investigators as the largest cocaine dealer in the world, subsequently delivered cocaine, which was shipped to Italy, Spain and the Netherlands . Within the Cosa Nostra, Salvatore Riina continued to lead a bloody autocratic rule . The Corleonese Leoluca Bagarella , also Riina's brother-in-law, explained to a later Pentito: “Not only those who openly oppose Riina risk being murdered, but also those who know something about plans against him or about men who are dissatisfied with Riina are experienced and do not inform him immediately. "

In the organization, however, a silent displeasure with Riina's methods spread and a movement emerged that wanted to split off from the Corleonesians, as Antonino Giuffre later admitted.

“We talked about quitting before 1990. That wasn't as unusual as it sounds. The Cosa Nostra had already dissolved once in the sixties and gone underground. Therefore, especially the older members thought it was a good idea to end the matter for now and start again when the situation had calmed down. That would have avoided a lot of trouble. But the Corleonesi didn't want it. "

Due to the excessive violence of the Corleonesians, the organization had lost popular support in recent years. The end of the Cold War had also brought about a profound change in the political landscape in Italy. The decades-long close alliance of the Cosa Nostra with the DC broke up increasingly. In the early 1990s, various Italian prosecutors began to investigate the widespread corruption from which the Cosa Nostra had also benefited. The Interprovincial Commission of Sicily, which met in 1992, according to the testimony of the key witness Leonardo Messina, consisted of Salvatore Riina as representative of the Province of Palermo , Nitto Santapaola for the Province of Catania , Mariano Agate for the Province of Trapani , Giuseppe Madonia for the Province of Caltanissetta , Antonio Ferro for the Province Agrigento and Salvatore Saitta for the province of Enna .

War against the state

In 1992 the defendants of the Maxi Trials failed in the last instance with a possible appeal. The judgments were finally upheld and the imprisoned men of honor faced life sentences. The commission then met in Enna for a decisive meeting . This time both Totò Riina and Bernardo Provenzano were present, although according to an internal agreement they never appeared together. While Provenzano wanted to act with wait and see and have opponents like Falcone relocated with the help of political friends, only an open trial of strength with the state was possible for Riina. Under Riina's leadership, the Cosa Nostra now declared war on the Italian state: “The [final] judgment (of the Supreme Court) in the Maxi Trial was a real shock, not only because it made so many convictions final, but above all because it was one was a historic defeat for the Cosa Nostra, whose existence and internal structures were first identified, disclosed and punished. […] It was time for a new strategy, a strategy of frontal confrontation, ”said Gaspare Mutolo , explaining the Commission's decision initiated by Riina. Riina wanted to force the Italian state to give way through its terrorist strategy; Above all, the witness protection program for the 'Pentiti' should be canceled, the results of the mammoth trials and the confiscation of the assets of the Cosa Nostra reversed. On March 12, the Christian Democratic politician Salvatore Lima , who - from the perspective of the Cosa Nostra - was unwilling or unable to effectively protect the organization from state persecution, was murdered in the middle of Mondello . Lima, most recently a member of the European Union, had been the right-hand man of seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti for decades , who was also repeatedly said to have mafia ties.

On May 23, 1992 Giovanni Falcone was killed together with his wife and his escort by a 400- kilogram bomb. A few months earlier he had already speculated in a series of interviews that new attacks were to be expected shortly.

“There is such tension in the Cosa Nostra right now, a torment, to put it boldly, that a great, spectacular assassination attempt on a representative of the state could have, in a certain way, a satisfying effect on the two 'souls' that are facing each other argue about the Cosa Nostra, namely the Palermer soul who wants to take revenge, and the Corleoneser soul, which in 1982 wrested the helm of the organization from the capital. "

Protest poster after the murder of Falcone and Borsellino. "You didn't kill her: we carry your ideas on (literally: walk on our feet)"

In Palermo, there were expressions of solidarity from the general public for the first time with the anti-Mafia fighters. As Falcones successor Paolo Borsellino was chosen, the far-reaching powers in the fight against the Mafia were promised. He learned from a Pentito that an assassination attempt was already being made on him and confided to his bodyguards: "The Trotyl has arrived for me too." On July 19, 1992, Paolo Borsellino and five of his bodyguards were also killed in a bomb attack in the city center Palermos victim. Also Ignazio Salvo , who had just as Lima proved unable to shield the organization was founded in autumn shot 1,992th

Italy found itself in a state of shock after the murders of the two popular investigators and figureheads fighting the Mafia. The public outrage over the unscrupulous brutality that the Cosa Nostra was now displaying was unprecedented. The murders found widespread reception within Italy; the essayist Claudio Magris, for example, saw the assassination attempt on Falcone as a parable for the death of the Italian state itself. Within the European Union , too , clear concerns were voiced about the excessive violence of the Mafia in southern Italy and the threat it poses to the European community. As in 1962 and 1982, the Italian state was practically forced by public pressure to finally take up the fight against the Cosa Nostra. Now, for the first time in his history, he did this with all his might. As a first drastic measure, 7,000 soldiers were sent to Sicily, which was practically an admission that Italy had lost control of the island. In the following months the number was increased to 20,000 soldiers. Independent of the regular Sicilian Carabinieri, Roman elite units were relocated to Sicily in order to track down the 'boss of the bosses' Totò Riina, who had been on the run for decades. Moles like the deputy secret service chief Bruno Contrada were exposed within the public services. They not only protected important mafiosi from arrest, but also helped to facilitate the attacks on Falcone and Borsellino. New tougher anti-mafia laws have been passed. Among other things, the general conditions of detention for the imprisoned bosses were tightened in order to isolate them. So it should be impossible for them in the future to lead the families out of prison. An Italian FBI was also set up based on the American model .

Two of the Corleonese's most important allies, Mariano Agate and Giuseppe Madonia, were arrested again in late 1992. In addition, it finally succeeded in persuading the Venezuelan government to arrest and extradite Pasquale, Paolo and Gaspare Cuntrera. In January 1993, Totò Riina was finally arrested. The Corleonesians then expanded their terrorist strategy again. On the Italian mainland, several bombs went off in museums, churches, judicial buildings and in public places, which left dozens dead and injured. In addition, five people were killed in an attack in front of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence , several irreplaceable works of art were damaged and three paintings from the 17th century were destroyed. After Riina's arrest, his brother-in-law Leoluca Bagarella took command of the Cosa Nostra together with Bernardo Provenzano. Bernardo Provenzano was elected as the new boss of the Corleone family, while Bagarella led the organization's military arm together with Giovanni Brusca . There was increasing uncertainty within the organization, as Giovanni Brusca testified after his arrest: “All the bosses managed their mandamenti as they saw fit. There was no longer the same homogeneity as before when - well, you could call him the father of the family - all of us Capo was there. "

In May 1993 Pope John Paul II turned against the “Mafia culture, a culture of death” during a visit to Sicily in a public open-air mass in front of 100,000 people. In response to this, the Cosa Nostra exploded bombs in several Roman churches and in mid-September of the same year a Sicilian clergyman, Padre Giuseppe Puglisi , was shot in front of his house. Puglisi had campaigned against the Cosa Nostra for years in Brancaccio. On October 16, a major terrorist attack failed when the ignition mechanism of a bomb that was supposed to explode in front of the Stadio Olimpico in Rome after a football match between Lazio Rome and Udinese Calcio failed. On June 15, 1994, government agencies achieved a historic success with the arrest of more than 200 suspects in northern Italy. In the same year, the boss of the Catania family, Nitto Santapaola , was arrested. Riina's brother-in-law and short-term successor, Leoluca Bagarella, was arrested in 1995. In the same year, the police came across a weapon depot of the San Giuseppe Jato family hidden in a bunker . It contained several rocket launchers , grenade launchers , Kalashnikovs , rifles, pistols, hand grenades, anti-tank mines , silencers and bulletproof vests . Giovanni Brusca, who played a key role in the assassination attempt on Giovanni Falcone and the kidnapping of the 12-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo , was arrested in 1996 in the province of Agrigento. The aspiring leader of the Santa Maria di Gesù family, Pietro Aglieri , was arrested in June 1997. This was made possible, among other things, by a wave of new Pentiti such as Gaspare Mutolo and Salvatore Cancemi , who turned away from Riina's rule over the organization. Within a few years, more than 150 former members made themselves available to the criminal authorities.


Bernardo Provenzano took over the management of the organization . He led the Cosa Nostra back into anonymity . The attacks on representatives of the state and the bombings on public institutions were completely stopped. Other major attacks that were already planned, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the ancient temple complexes of Selinunte , were abandoned. Provenzano initiated a "Pax Mafiosa" and also successfully stopped the wave of dropouts. On the one hand, he increased the social benefits of the organization for its imprisoned members and family members and, on the other hand, prohibited the murders of the Pentiti members. He drove a much more moderate course within the organization than his two predecessors Riina and Bagarella and granted the individual families more independence again. He also sealed off the organization even more from the outside. The common Corleonese practice of not introducing their members to other families was carried over to the entire organization. New applicants were scrutinized even more closely and their admission was often kept secret within the own family. The common soldiers now mostly only know their direct superiors, but not the boss of their family or the Capo-Mandamento. Provenzano largely withdrew from the lucrative and dangerous drug trade. In order to improve the battered reputation in the Sicilian population again, he changed the type of protection money payments across the board. Instead of increasing the demands on the profits, he lowered the contributions to moderate sums. In addition, he again offered services in return, as was customary at the beginning of the Cosa Nostra. He also acted as an intermediary and service provider for all those who sought his help. With this restructuring, Provenzano was able to consolidate the badly ailing organization.

In contrast to Riina, who promoted a number of young men and quickly made them rise in the hierarchy, Provenzano again gathered older, more experienced members to lead the organization. Compared to his predecessors Riina and Bagarella, he returned to a much more authoritative style of management and led the organization together with an unofficial management committee consisting of up to eight men:

This provisional governing body replaced the commission because almost all of its members were in custody. On Provenzano's order, the committee met at irregular intervals and only when important decisions that affected the entire Cosa Nostra had to be made. In January and February 2001, Benedetto Spera and Vincenzo Virga were arrested. In April 2002 Antonino Giuffre, one of Bernardo Provenzano's most important confidants, was arrested. Giuffre had helped Provenzano with the reorganization of the Cosa Nostra. Giuffre soon began collaborating with the authorities. He was the first high-ranking key witness in years and - until the beginning of 2009 - also the last really significant dropout for the time being. At the beginning of December 2004, Marcello Dell'Utri , longtime confidante and campaign manager of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi , was convicted of collaboration with the Cosa Nostra.

On April 11, 2006, Bernardo Provenzano, who had been on the run since 1963, was arrested in a farmhouse near Corleone. This happened just one day after the parliamentary elections , which gave the incumbent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi a narrow defeat and immediately gave rise to speculation in the media.

Recent developments

A larger anti-mafia movement has emerged in Sicily since the early 1990s, some of which also enjoys broad support within the population, and a cultural war has broken out. The anti-mafia movement relies on public movements that oppose the practice of paying protection money, such as AddioPizzo, and, for example, on public collectives that manage and manage the facilities and estates of imprisoned mafiosi. For the first time within Sicilian society, the organization has to deal not only with committed individuals as opponents, but also with an entire movement.

Although Bernardo Provenzano was able to consolidate the position of Cosa Nostra, the pressure from the authorities has only diminished slightly in recent years. The main focus of the Italian state in the fight against organized crime remains with the Cosa Nostra, less so with the Camorra or the 'Ndrangheta . The 'Ndrangheta has clearly overtaken the Cosa Nostra in the drug trade and has been importing the majority of cocaine from Colombia to Italy and Europe since the late 1990s . Triggered by the wave of Pentiti, the Colombian cartels prefer the more discreet 'Ndrangheta, which also has the greater financial resources to finance drug deals. That is why Cosa Nostra has entered into close business relationships with 'Ndrangheta in recent years. In addition, Cosa Nostra has begun to work with the Mexican drug cartels, which now have a dominant role in cocaine distribution in Latin America.

Shortly before Provenzano's arrest, tensions were evident again within the Cosa Nostra. These were again due to the opposition between the Corleonese faction and the Cosa Nostra Palermos. After Provenzano was arrested, 44-year-old Matteo Messina Denaro, 61-year-old Antonio Rotolo and 65-year-old Salvatore Lo Piccolo were considered the most influential figures in the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Lo Piccolo and Rotolo, Provenzano's two governors in Palermo, were increasingly hostile to each other. The occasion was the return of the surviving Inzerillos from the USA after 25 years in exile . This had been negotiated with the US families. In return for the Cosa Nostra, lucrative business rights were again granted , for example in the real estate market in the USA. Lo Piccolo was apparently also planning a revival of the " Pizza Connection ", which had already been significantly built up in the 1970s by the Inzerillos and Gambinos. Lo Piccolo, Rosario Riccobono's successor in northwestern Palermo, gave his permission to return the Inzerillos. Rotolo, on the other hand, feared a possible campaign of revenge by the Inzerillos against the alliance of the Corleonesians. Shortly before his arrest, Rotolo had made a formal application to Bernardo Provenzano, in which he asked for his permission to kill Lo Piccolo. Rotolo, Capo Mandamento von Pagliarelli and leading representative of the Corleonese alliance, had allied himself with Antonio Cinà (a former confidante and bodyguard of Riina) to secure the alliance's power over Palermo. However, on June 20, 2006, the authorities hit the organization again, arresting more than 40 people, including 13 bosses. Among those arrested was Rotolo, who, according to the anti-mafia investigator Piero Grasso, had apparently already taken precautions to kill Lo Piccolo, his son and deputy Sandro and their close confidante and thus "to become the undisputed boss in the city of Palermo".

In August 2006, his confidante Giuseppe D'Angelo was shot by two killers in broad daylight in Tommaso Natale, Salvatore Lo Piccolo's direct territory . The media interpreted this as a direct attack on Lo Piccolo's authority and as a warning. In September 2006, 72-year-old Bartolomeo Spatola disappeared . This had been an ally of the Corleonesians and Rotolos. In June 2007 the boss of Porta Nuova, Nicola Ingarao , who was also a close ally of Rotolo and the Corleonese, was shot dead by two killers. Only a few weeks later, on July 13, 2007, Giuseppe Lo Baido was murdered with a sawed-off shotgun. He was the fourth member of the Corleonese faction to be murdered in a short time. The commissioner of these murders was most likely Lo Piccolo, who sought to succeed Provenzano as "boss of the bosses" and who is said to have wanted to break the dominance of the Corleonese alliance. However, Lo Piccolo was betrayed and arrested along with his son Sandro in November 2007. This created a power vacuum and left Messina Denaro, Domenico Raccuglia , boss of Altofonte and Partinico, and Rotolo's successor, Gianni Nicchi , as the most important leaders. Since there have been no high-ranking Pentiti for a few years , the current situation within the organization is very unclear and it is speculation. In addition, around 2010 it seemed increasingly unlikely that the organization would in the future even be directed by a “boss of the bosses”, as it was no longer as centralized after Provenzano's reign as it was during Riina's dictatorial rule.

At the beginning of 2008, the Christian Democratic President of the Sicily Region, Salvatore Cuffaro , was sentenced in the first instance to five years in prison for favoring the Cosa Nostra. On February 7, 2008, in a joint operation by the Italian and American authorities, a newly formed drug trafficking ring was broken up and 77 people were arrested. 13 other people are fleeing. Those arrested belonged to the Gambino family on the US side. About 35 members of the families of Passo Di Rigano, Boccadifalco, Cruillas and Toretta were arrested in Sicily, including some of the Inzerillos who had returned from exile. The groups were apparently trying to revive the old pizza connection. On July 11, 2008, the Monreale authorities arrested Salvatore Parisi , one of the leading men in the Porta Nuova family.

On December 16, 2008, the Italian police struck another blow against the Cosa Nostra. According to the Carabinieri, a total of 89 suspects were arrested in several large raids in Palermo, other Sicilian cities and Tuscany . These apparently planned to strategically realign the Cosa Nostra and rebuild the Cupola . The split of the Cosa Nostra into a moderate faction, represented by Provenzano, and the faction of hardliners around Riina and Bagarella, which had already suggested itself in the early 1990s, became evident again. Among those arrested was the boss of the Villagrazia family, Benedetto Capizzi. Capizzi should be nominated as the new secretary of the commission.

The boss of the Porta Nuova family, Gaetano Lo Presti , who also claimed a leading role in the new commission, was also arrested. Lo Presti hanged himself in his cell just hours later when he realized that his phone calls had been tapped for months. During these conversations, Lo Presti had openly indicated that he was enjoying the support of the imprisoned Salvatore Riina and his second son Giuseppe Salvatore Riina (or Salvo for short), who, like his older brother Giovanni, is also one of the aspiring men in the Cosa Nostra. It also became clear that there would be no single leader as long as the imprisoned Riina lived; Matteo Messina Denaro was denied access to the management position.

On November 15, 2009 Domenico Raccuglia, who was involved in the kidnapping of 13-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo - the son of Pentito Santo Di Matteo - and his murder a few years later and by the authorities to date as the number two of the Mafia was viewed arrested in Sicily. On December 5, 2009, Gianni Nicchi were arrested in Palermo and Gaetano Fidanzati in Milan. In June 2010, Giuseppe Falsone , another high-ranking boss, was arrested in Marseille . Falsone has been considered the Capo Provincia of the Province of Agrigento since he was nominated for this office by Bernardo Provenzano in 2002.

After almost 20 years, the police succeeded on October 26, 2011 in arresting the fugitive Giovanni Arena in Catania. The 56-year-old had been in hiding since 1993, the police said. In absentia, he had been sentenced to life imprisonment for a 1989 murder. At that time he had killed an opponent of a rival clan. He had been wanted internationally for belonging to the Mafia and for drug and arms trafficking.

In May 2018, according to the Italian security forces, the Cupola met for the first time since 1993 and elected the 79-year-old Settimo Mineo as the new boss of the bosses of the Cosa Nostra. He succeeded Riina, who died in November 2017, and who also had great influence from prison. According to the police, the power center of the Sicilian Mafia moved from Corleone back to Palermo after decades.

See also


  • Pino Arlacchi : Mafiosis Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism. The Mafia companies . Cooperative Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-88442-019-4 .
  • Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from within - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-596-12477-8 . - Illustrative autobiography of Antonino Calderone, who was vice-boss of the Cosa Nostra of Catania; some chapters are devoted to the origin and structure of the mafia
  • John Dickie : Cosa Nostra. The history of the mafia. Fischer, Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 3-10-013906-2 . - Book about the Cosa Nostra from the beginning until 2006
  • John Dickie: Omerta. The whole story of the mafia. Fischer, Frankfurt 2015, ISBN 978-3-596-18227-5 . - Book on Cosa Nostra, Camorra and 'Ndrangheta
  • Giovanni Falcone & Marcelle Padovani: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-7766-1765-9 . - Book on the Cosa Nostra; no coherent representation
  • John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, ISBN 978-0-340-97919-8 .
    • German: The last godparents: rise and fall of the Corleones . Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-18370-8 .
  • Diego Gambetta : The company of the godparents: The Sicilian Mafia and their business practices , dtv, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-423-30417-0 - Analytical representation of the Cosa Nostra and its structure
  • Clare Longrigg: The godfather of the godparents. Herbig, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-7766-2591-2 .
  • Clare Longrigg: Mafia Women Chatto & Windus, London 1997, ISBN 0-7011-6509-X .
  • Salvatore Lupo: The History of the Mafia. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96152-1 - The history of the Cosa Nostra
  • Jens Petersen : The past and present of the mafia as a research problem. In: Sources and research from Italian archives and libraries . Volume 74 (1994), pp. 605-645 (PDF) .
  • Werner Raith : Parasites and Patrone , Gutenberg Book Guild , 1990, ISBN 3-7632-3737-2 - Book about the Sicilian Cosa Nostra with some interviews from sociologists and investigators; partly with minor errors
  • Alexander Stille : The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. Translation Karl-Heinz Silber. CH Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42303-5 - Representation of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra from approx. 1979 to 1994 with special attention to the judges Falcone and Borsellino

Web links

Commons : Cosa Nostra  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rolf Uesseler : Keyword Mafia. Heyne Verlag, 1994, p. 38
  2. ^ A b Diego Gambetta: The company of the godparents: The Sicilian Mafia and their business practices. dtv, Munich 1994.
  3. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 125.
  4. Deadly Hands . In: Focus. December 16, 1996.
  5. John Dickie: Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006.
  6. "Their Thing" at (English)
  7. ^ John Follain: The last Godfathers , Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 170
  8. Werner Raith: Parasites and cartridge. Book Guild Gutenberg, 1990, p. 111.
  9. ^ Salvatore Lupo: The History of the Mafia. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2002, p. 294
  10. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 152; Quotation from La Repubblica , March 1, 1991
  11. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p. 159
  12. Letizia Paoli : Mafia Brotherhoods. Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 26
  13. Fernando Bermejo Marcos: Breve historia de Cosa Nostra. Ediciones Nowtilus. 2015. ISBN 978-8-499-67744-6 .
  14. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 240.
  15. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 241.
  16. ^ Giovanni Falcone: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, p. 117.
  17. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 234.
  18. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p. 155.
  19. ^ Move over, Cosa Nostra . In: The Guardian . June 8, 2006.
  20. ^ Giovanni Falcone: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, p. 128
  21. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Frankfurt a. M. 1995, Fischer Verlag, p. 40.
  22. ^ "Italy's largest company: Die Mafia GmbH" ( memento from September 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) on
  23. Mafia is the top-selling company in Italy on
  24. ^ Giovanni Falcone: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, p. 103.
  25. ^ Massimo Ciancimino and Francesco La Licata: Don Vito. Piper Verlag, Munich 2010.
  26. ^ A b Friederike Hausmann: Brief history of Italy. Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 2006, p. 150.
  27. ^ Massimo Ciancimino and Francesco La Licata: Don Vito. Piper Verlag, Munich 2010, p. 138.
  28. ^ Regine Igel: Years of Terror. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, p. 398.
  29. ^ Francesco Forgione: Mafia Export. Riemann Verlag, Munich 2010, p. 126.
  30. ^ Francesco Forgione: Mafia Export. Riemann Verlag, Munich 2010.
  31. David Klaubert: Origin of the Cosa Nostra: Scurvy, Lemons and the Mafia . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed August 10, 2020]).
  32. Henning Klüver : The Godfather - last act. C. Bertelsmann, 2007, p. 58.
  33. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 74.
  34. ^ Salvatore Lupo: The History of the Mafia. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2002, p. 63.
  35. ^ Rolf Uesseler : Keyword Mafia. Heyne Verlag, 1994, p. 39ff.
  36. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, pp. 27f.
  37. ^ Salvatore Lupo: The History of the Mafia. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2002, p. 226.
  38. ^ Rolf Uesseler : Keyword Mafia. Heyne, 1994, p. 47f.
  39. Sergio Ricossa: Italy 1920-1970. Fontana Verlag, 1973.
  40. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 25.
  41. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 357ff.
  42. John Dickie: Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 360f.
  43. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 158f.
  44. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 379.
  45. Leoluca Orlando: I should be next. 2002.
  46. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p. 88.
  47. ^ Rolf Uesseler : Keyword Mafia. Heyne, 1994, p. 60
  48. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p.
  49. ^ Regine Igel: Andreotti. Politics between the secret service and the mafia. Herbig Verlag, Munich 1997.
  50. ^ Massimo Ciancimino and Francesco La Licata: Don Vito. Piper Verlag, Munich 2010, p. 127.
  51. ^ Tim Shawcross and Martin Young: Mafia Wars. The Confessions of Tommaso Buscetta. Fontana / Collins, London 1988, pp. 133f.
  52. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p. 216.
  53. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 434f.
  54. ^ Regine Igel: Years of Terror. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, p. 398f.
  55. ^ Massimo Ciancimino and Francesco La Licata: Don Vito. Piper Verlag, Munich 2010, p. 131.
  56. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, pp. 272f.
  57. ^ Pino Arlacchi: Mafia from the inside - The life of Don Antonino Calderone. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, p. 278.
  58. allusion to tuna fishing off the western Sicilian coast)
  59. Fernando Bermejo Marcos: Breve historia de Cosa Nostra. Ediciones Nowtilus. 2015. ISBN 978-8-499-67744-6 .
  60. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 123.
  61. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 127f.
  62. ^ Road that leads from the east to Palermo. There were many Mafia drug laboratories on this axis, and they were fiercely contested
  63. Bagheria. La strage del 25 December 1981, è diventato un libro. Ecco uno stralcio. Lavoce di Bagheria (ital.)
  64. ^ Tim Shawcross and Martin Young: Mafia Wars. The Confessions of Tommaso Buscetta. Fontana / Collins, London 1988, p. 169.
  65. Clare Longrigg: The godfather of godparents. Herbig, Munich 2009, p. 76.
  66. Honorable corpses. The mafia behind bars . In: Die Zeit , No. 15/1986
  67. the little shoe
  68. There are 3 rooms in an old building that were partially covered by a narrow alley. The old Piazza Sant Erasmo was in the port district of Palermo
  69. Mafia: "We are facing a blood orgy" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 37 , 1982 ( online ).
  70. ^ Estate 1982. Triangolo della morte Bagheria Casteldaccia Altavilla - Il dossier. Casteldaccia Punto Doc (Italian)
  71. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, ISBN 978-3-596-17106-4 , p. 455
  72. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 89.
  73. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 68.
  74. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, pp. 146f.
  75. Diego Gambetta: The Godfather's Company: The Sicilian Mafia and their Business Practices. dtv, Munich 1994, p. 265.
  76. Lucio Galluzzo: The broken silence. Tommaso Buscetta - Mafia capo and traitor. Jugend und Volk, Vienna / Munich 1994, p. 136.
  77. ^ Salvatore Lupo: The History of the Mafia. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2002, p. 308.
  78. Clare Longrigg: The godfather of godparents. Herbig, Munich 2009, p. 59.
  79. ^ Giovanni Falcone: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, p. 102.
  80. ^ Friederike Hausmann: Brief history of Italy. Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 2006, p. 148.
  81. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 190.
  82. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 189.
  83. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, pp. 213f.
  84. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, p. 128.
  85. Clare Longrigg: The godfather of godparents. Herbig, Munich 2009, p. 111.
  86. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 390
  87. ^ Giovanni Falcone: Inside Mafia. Herbig Actuell, Munich 1992, p. 114.
  88. Vincenzo Delle Donne: Falcone: The biography - life and death in the fight against the Mafia :. Ullstein, Frankfurt a. M. / Berlin 1993, p. 170.
  89. Alexander Stille: The Judges: Death, the Mafia and the Italian Republic. CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 366
  90. ^ Regine Igel: Years of Terror. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, p. 400f.
  91. Henning Klüver : The Godfather - last act. C. Bertelsmann, 2007, p. 106.
  92. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 489.
  93. John Dickie : Cosa nostra: The history of the mafia. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 490.
  94. ^ June 15, 1994: A "preliminary" blow against the Mafia
  95. John Follain: The last Godfathers. Hodder & Stoughton, London 2008, pp. 269f.
  96. Adiopizzo , official website to AddioPizzo
  97. ^ Mexican Drug Cartels Join Forces with Italian Mafia to Supply Cocaine to Europe . Archived from the original on December 1, 2016 Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved May 4, 2013. In: Fox News Latino. June 21, 2012 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / 
  98. ^ Mafia 'on its knees' as suspected bosses held In: The Independent. June 21, 2006
  99. ( Memento from January 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  100. Dozens Arrested in Italy and US in Major Mafia-busting Operation
  101. Article on, 16. December 2008
  103. Mafia boss hangs himself in his cell . In: The world
  104. Italian mafia boss arrested in France