Salvatore Maranzano

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Salvatore Maranzano (born July 31, 1886 in Castellammare del Golfo , Sicily , † September 10, 1931 in New York City ) was a mobster and mustache Pete of La Cosa Nostra in New York City. He was head of one of the city's Five Families , which was later classified as the Bonanno Family .

In the so-called War of Castellammare he tried to assert himself as Capo di tutti i capi (German: "Boss of all bosses"), which ultimately failed and led to his death.



At a young age he wanted to become a priest and studied theology . However, he soon gave up on this project and was associated with the Mafia in his home country, Italy. It remains unclear when exactly Maranzano emigrated. It is possible that he came to New York as early as 1918 and settled in Brooklyn , where he set up a large-scale alcohol smuggling operation during the US alcohol prohibition .

Another theory is that it was his mission to reorganize the American mafia to bring it under Don Vito Cascio Ferros' control, and he became the leader of the immigrants from Castellammare in New York.

To this end, the Don had sent other men to New York, including Joseph Profaci and Stefano Magaddino , with whom Maranzano allied. His first step was to win the support of the local people from Castellammare. Instead of commuting between the USA and Italy as a contact person, however, he allegedly received an order from the Don in 1927 to take over the other five families in New York.

It seems more likely, however, that in the course of the struggle of the Italian fascist government against the mafia in Sicily, Maranzano, like many other local mafia members, decided to flee from Cesare Mori's attacks and to emigrate to the United States (probably between 1925 and 1927).

War of Castellammare

In New York City essentially the Five Families in La Cosa Nostra operated , which, however, in contrast to their homeland, were in competition with other groups.

“In addition to the Masseria group, the Al Mineo gang operated in Manhattan and Brooklyn, closely following Masseria . The Bronx was controlled by Gaetano Reina , the son of Giacomo Reina from Corleone (...). Staten Island was Joseph Profaci's field of work . The fifth group was special as it recruited its members exclusively from immigrants from Castellammare del Golfo . The nominal boss of this formation was Cola Schiro , but Salvatore Maranzano was in charge. The Castellammarese had also chosen Manhattan and Brooklyn as their area of ​​operation ... "

- Hannelore Gude Hohensinner

Maranzano began in New York (unclear whether due to his own ambitions or on behalf of Cascio Ferro) during the alcohol prohibition to penetrate into Joe Masseria's territory in particular by appropriating his alcohol deliveries and starting to take over his illegal bars (" speakeasy "). The latter fought against this de facto hostile takeover, and a bloody struggle ensued within the families, known as the " War of Castellammare ". While Maranzano and his allies were still in the minority at the beginning of the conflict, they were finally able to prevail. The conflict ended with the murder of Joe Masseria.

Two weeks after Masseria's death , a secret meeting of all New York mafia giants took place near the metropolis. Maranzano announced his ideas of the (new) order and the rules there. He planned the formation of a commission , banned senseless murders and renewed the Omertà , which forbade any member or associate to speak about the organization or activities, including the respective wives.

In particular, bosses such as Lucky Luciano , Joseph Bonanno , Joseph Profaci , Vincent Mangano and Gaetano Gagliano should commit themselves to loyalty, which would have made him the capo di tutti i capi according to classic ideas . This aspired position as the dominant leader was not well received by the other high-ranking members, although his arrogant treatment of subordinates and the preference for comparing his organization with the Roman Empire fueled further fears.

The Young Turks (dt .: Young Turks ) by Lucky Luciano had to the cooperative work division of Seven Group used was worked in with ethnically different groups. Working with non-Sicilians like Frank Costello and Al Capone was considered suspect by many Mustache Petes , including Maranzano , and Lucky Luciano was therefore almost killed on Masseria's orders .

Maranzano apparently recognized the resistance, which is why he planned the murder of Luciano , Genovese , Frank Costello and others, but the other side was faster. At the time when Maranzano wanted to hire "Mad Dog" Coll , Luciano had already found out  about the murder plan with the help of Meyer Lansky or Gaetano Lucchese - who had previously been close to Maranzano .

The end

Another clue from Lucchese brought Luciano the information that Maranzano expected a raid by tax investigators on September 10, 1931 . In particular through his contacts with his childhood friends Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel , Luciano organized four assassins who broke into Maranzano's office that day and pretended to be the suspected investigators to camouflage themselves.

These were "Red" Levine , Bo Weinberg , a criminal close to Dutch Schultz , and two other killers provided by Lansky. Lucchese was also present that day for a meeting with Maranzano and actively supported the attackers.

They disarmed the guards and positioned all suspects facing the wall. On a hidden tip from Lucchese, they brought Maranzano into his office and shot him. As they fled down the stairs, they met Coll, who had already received a deposit of $ 25,000 and was about to meet with Maranzano about the details of his murder assignment. He was warned of the raid by the fugitives, so he also fled immediately.


After his death, the leaders of the Five Families reorganized the cooperation in New York and banned the position of Capo di tutti i capi . An alleged subsequent murder of 40 American Mafiosi in the same week is now considered a legend. Luciano now set up a federal system, the National Crime Syndicate , in which neither he nor others claimed the title of boss of the bosses for themselves.

Maranzano's wife Elisabetta died in 1964. Both were buried in St. John's Cemetery, which is located in the New York City borough of Queens , just a few meters from the graves of Lucianos and Genoveses.

Films and documentaries

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Salvatore Maranzano. In: Find a Grave. Accessed March 29, 2019 .
  2. ^ Hannelore Gude Hohensinner: Die Genoveses , Europa Verlag, Munich / Vienna, 1998 ISBN 3-203-77533-6
predecessor Office successor
Cola Schiro Head of the " Bonanno crime family " of the Mafia
1930 -1931
Joseph Bonanno