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Dutch Schultz

AKA Arthur Flegenheimer

Born: 6-Aug-1902 [1]
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Died: 24-Oct-1935
Location of death: Newark, NJ
Cause of death: Murder
Remains: Buried, Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Criminal

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Bootlegger, murderer, numbers racketeer

Arthur Flegenheimer dropped out of school at 14, after his father abandoned the family. He took honest work as a paper boy, an office worker, a printer's apprentice, and a roofer, but within a few years he found more lucrative work as an enforcer, pickpocket, and robber of illegal gambling operations. In his late teens he served more than a year in the penitentiary for breaking and entering, which was the only crime of which he was ever convicted. In prison he made valuable criminal contacts, and when he was released from jail he told his gangland cohorts to call him "Dutch Schultz", the name of an especially brutal gangster from the Bronx's Frog Hollow Gang of the late 1890s. Little is known about that first Dutch Schultz, but his namesake became one of the most ruthless and violent gangsters of his era.

He was among New York's leading bootleggers during the Eighteenth Amendment's prohibition of alcohol, opening several clandestine bars in the Bronx, which were stocked with hard liquor smuggled in from Canada and a gang-brewed beer that tasted awful but sold briskly in the absence of any other choices. He was among the leaders of Lucky Luciano's Murder, Inc., and used these connections to expand his chain of speakeasies into Manhattan, which led to a bloody gang war. At least two of his high-level associates, gangsters Vincent Coll and Legs Diamond, were murdered after disputes with Schultz. He was the first big-time gangster to see the small-change numbers racket as a worthwhile venture, using violence and threats to muscle into control of Harlem's gambling operations, then expanding the business by installing illegal slot machines, often outfitted with stepladders so that young children could play.

Schultz covered his acts and investments well, and paid off local police and prosecutors, so despite common knowledge of his crimes he was for many years safe from prosecution. He was finally indicted in January 1933 on charges of income tax evasion, and the evidence was clear and overwhelming, but Schultz's trial ended with a hung jury, and a second trial ended in acquittal. In 1935 New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman appointed former US Attorney Thomas E. Dewey as special prosecutor, tasked with bringing down Schultz. Weary of legal battles and concerned about Dewey's dogged and determined reputation, Schultz had his men begin watching Dewey's daily routine, planning his assassination. When word of this scheme reached Luciano's syndicate, however, it was decided that killing Dewey would bring too much response from law enforcement, so Schultz's plan was effectively countermanded. With three of his bodyguards, Schultz was gunned down on 23 October 1935 at the Palace Chop House, a New Jersey restaurant that had been headquarters for his operations.

Despite being shot in the colon, liver, spleen, and stomach, Schultz lingered for almost 24 hours at a local hospital, where he drifted between consciousness and delirium while a police stenographer took down every word he spoke. He spoke plenty, but it was mostly nonsense, including repeated references to French Canadian bean soup. Even as Schultz was dying he refused to name his associates or the men who killed him, or reveal the whereabouts of his fortune. He was undoubtedly a multi-millionaire, but his assets were not in bank accounts or known properties, and the bulk of his presumed cash hoard (often wistfully described as "Schultz's buried treasure") has never been found.

[1] Though virtually all records cite 1902, the year 1901 is engraved on his tombstone.

Father: Herman Flegenheimer
Mother: Emma Neu Flegenheimer
Girlfriend: Frances Geis Maxwell (a.k.a. Frances Flegenheimer, b. 1914, cohabited 1932-35, two children)
Daughter: Anne Davis Flegenheimer (b. 26-Jun-1934)
Son: John David Flegenheimer (b. 25-Jul-1935)

    Breaking and Entering Bronx, NY (1919)
    Inmate Blackwell's Island Penitentiary, New York City (1919-20)
    Converted to Catholicism
    Shot 22-Oct-1934 (shot four times; fatal)
    German Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

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