It’s by no means a very good factor when a femme fatale is known as the “The Kiss of Death.” Yet by no means has this moniker been extra applicable than within the case of Evelyn Mittelman, somewhat lass from the Williamsburg part of Brooklyn.
Little is understood about Mittelman’s adolescence besides that on the tender age of 16, she was already one of probably the most sought-after broads in your complete borough of Brooklyn. In 1941, after Mittelman had been thrust into the highlight as a cloth witness within the trial of her boyfriend, Murder Incorporated’s Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss, veteran New York Daily Mirror columnist Eddie Zeltner stated, “I knew Evelyn ten years ago, when she was barely sixteen. She was a gorgeous blond who used to come from Williamsburg to Coney Island to swim, and dance in the cellar clubs which are grammar schools for gangsters.”
Two years later, Evelyn surfaced in California with a beau named Hy Miller. Hy was loopy about Evelyn, however Evelyn was not so loopy about Hy. One night time, Hy took Evelyn to a dance and she or he met one other younger chap who thought she was the best factor since sliced bread. Because she was clearly flirting with the newcomer, whose identify is unknown, Hy stated one thing to this fellow, and one thing even worse to Evelyn. The nameless chap took umbrage at Hy insulting Evelyn, and the ultimate end result was that Hy turned very lifeless. It just isn’t recognized if Evelyn took up with the victor for any interval of time, or not. Still, Hy was the primary notch on the “Kiss of Death’s” garter belt.
A number of years later, Evelyn confirmed up in Brooklyn together with her new love: Robert Feurer. It was at a dance she attended with Feurer that she met up with a nasty piece of work named Sol Goldstein, recognized within the rackets as “Jack.” Goldstein was well-known on the docks of New York City as one of the most important fish wholesalers within the enterprise. Of course, to be able to maintain being affluent on the docks, Goldstein went up towards, and aligned himself with, individuals as nasty as he was; some even nastier. But we’ll get to that later.
As Goldstein cozied as much as Evelyn on the dance, smoke started to blast from Feurer’s ears. One phrase led to a different, and shortly Feurer stated a number of issues to Evelyn that weren’t fairly so good. Goldstein burst to Evelyn’s rescue, and when the mud settled, Feurer was now fairly lifeless too (see a sample right here?).
This is getting a bit of tiresome, however one night time Goldstein introduced Evelyn to a different dance, the place she met Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss (referred to as “Pep” by his pals). Strauss, thought-about a tall, darkish and good-looking lug by the other intercourse, was the highest killer in a comfortable little group referred to as Murder Incorporated, run by Louis “Lepke Buchalter and Albert “The Lord High Executioner” Anastasia. It was said, that although Strauss was paid tidy sums for killing people, whom his bosses said needed to be killed throughout America, he was so good at what he did because, as Brooklyn District Attorney William O’Dwyer once said, “Strauss killed individuals only for the lust to kill.”
When an out-of-city killing was assigned to Lepke, it was often Strauss whom Lepke entrusted to do the job. When these events arose, Strauss packed a bag with a shirt, change of socks, underwear, a gun, size of rope, and an ice decide, simply in case. Most occasions, Strauss did not even know the identify of his goal, and he did not care both. As lengthy because the dude wound up lifeless, that was sufficient for Strauss.
On the night time Strauss met Evelyn on the dance, he informed each Evelyn and Goldstein that he thought-about Evelyn to be his new girlfriend. Evelyn did not protest an excessive amount of, however Goldstein did. Strauss informed Goldstein they should not struggle in entrance of a lady, and would Goldstein comply with go together with Strauss to a close-by poolroom to settle the dispute of who must be the highest man in Evelyn’s life. Goldstein agreed, and the subsequent factor he knew, Strauss was re-arranging the options on Goldstein’s face with a imply pool stick. The end result was — Goldstein was out, and Evelyn was the girlfriend of one of probably the most sadistic killers in America. For some cause, Strauss let Goldstein reside on that event, however he would rectify that state of affairs afterward, as half of his every day duties for Murder Inc.
Goldstein’s mom was fairly comfortable her son was away from the likes of Evelyn Mittelman. Mom Goldstein was plain giddy, when quickly after the mud-up with Strauss, Goldstein met a pleasant younger woman named Helen, who was the daughter of a Cleveland used-automotive vendor.
Goldstein’s mother advised his sister, “Sol is away from the robust boys eventually.”
Well, not fairly mother.
In the summer time of 1936, Mom Goldstein acquired the fantastic information that her son and Helen had tied the knot and have been honeymooning at Glen Wild, a small, romantic place within the Catskill mountains in upstate New York. Weeks glided by with out listening to from the newlyweds once more, and after three months, Mom Goldstein started to worry a bit. After a lot sleuthing, Mom Goldstein lastly discovered Helen.
“What occurred, I have never heard from Sol in months,” she stated to Helen.
Helen began dripping crocodile tears. “I do not know,” she said. “We have been in our room getting dressed for a Saturday night time dance, when the telephone rang and he answered it. A short while later some males drove up. Sol stated he’d be again in a couple of minutes. I have never seen him since.”
Mom Goldstein determined to make a visit to the Catskills to see if she might discover any hint of her son. When she arrived within the Catskills, Mom Goldstein couldn’t discover a hint of her son, however she did discover Helen internet hosting a homosexual get together not removed from Glen Wild the place she had honeymooned with Sol. Mom Goldstein advised Helen that Helen was not behaving like an aggrieved spouse ought to behave.
Helen coldly advised Mom Goldstein, “Sol is lifeless. He was thrown in a lake.”
It wasn’t till 4 years later that Mom Goldstein and the federal government came upon precisely what occurred to Sol “Jack” Goldstein.
It all began with Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, one of the higher-ups in Murder Incorporated, becoming a government informer. Abe knew who killed who and how, and with his photographic memory, he told the government about scores of murders, including the untimely demise of Sol Goldstein. Two other Murder Incorporated killers, Allie “Tick Tock” Tannenbaum and Pretty Levine corroborated the whole lot Reles stated concerning the Goldstein hit.
It appeared that the contract on Goldstein was put out by Joe “Zocks” Lanza, the big boss on the Manhattan docks, and the highly-profitable Fulton Fish Market. Lanza had been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for the “monopolistic management of fish despatched to New York City from Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Canada.” Lanza was tried and located responsible, however he gained an attraction to have a second trial on the identical expenses. While planning his protection, Lanza realized that Goldstein, who had some pull on the docks himself, knew sufficient details about Lanza’s waterfront rackets to place Lanza away for a really very long time, if not land Lanza proper into the electrical chair. Lanza contacted Louis Capone, one other Murder Incorporated huge shot, to place the method in movement of eliminating Goldstein from the potential witness record at Lanza’s second trial.
At this time limit, Goldstein and Helen have been experiencing their first few days of married bliss within the Catskills. Capone (no relation to Al Capone) contacted Pretty Levine and advised him, “Go as much as Loch Sheldrake within the mountains, the place Pep is staying to do some work. Pep will inform you.”
Levine jumped right into a automotive with one other Murder Inc. operative named Dukey Maffetore, and drove to the Catskills, the place they situated Strauss and two extra Murder Inc. killers — Mikey Syckoff and Jack Cutler. Strauss knew since his face and fame have been well-known to Goldstein, he couldn’t be in on the snatch. But Goldstein had by no means met Levine, Syckoff, and Cutler, so Strauss advised them what to do.
“Just snatch the bum and convey him right here,” Strauss told them. “Don’t knock him off.”
It was roughly 9 p.m. on August three, 1936, when Goldstein acquired a telephone name within the honeymoon cottage he was sharing with spouse Helen. Even although Goldstein was dressed to the nines, as was Helen for that night time’s dance, regardless of the caller informed Goldstein was sufficient for him to go away the aspect of his pretty bride, for what he thought would solely be an jiffy at most. At least, that is what Goldstein advised Helen. Helen noticed a automotive driving as much as the cottage with three males sitting inside. She watched as her husband received into the again seat subsequent to Levine.
Within a number of seconds, Levine had laid Goldstein out chilly with a hammer. Soon, the three males deposited Goldstein at Strauss’ lakeside cottage, the place Strauss personally killed Goldstein, tied him up with rope, and wrapped him in a blanket. The males then dragged Goldstein’s lifeless physique to the lake’s shore, the place Tannenbaum and Jack Drucker, one other Murder Inc. operative, have been ready in a rowboat. The two males rowed out to the deepest half of the lake and dropped Goldstein’s physique into the drink.
In instances like this, it was fairly uncommon for a person like Strauss to order the homicide sufferer be delivered to him alive, in order that Strauss might end him off personally. But this was private to Strauss, not simply enterprise. Goldstein had been Evelyn’s boyfriend, and Strauss appreciated it higher when Evelyn’s ex-boyfriends have been rendered fairly lifeless. Not that Strauss feared Evelyn would ever return to Goldstein, however why not remove the likelihood anyway?
Chalk up Goldstein as Evelyn Mittelman’s lifeless boyfriend quantity three.
The subsequent 5 years handed by with none extra lifeless boyfriends. Evelyn was fairly dedicated to Strauss, a lot so, to please Strauss, she dyed her blond hair to raven brunette.
In 1940, Strauss was arrested on info given to the feds by Abe “Kid Twist” Reles. District Attorney Burton Turkus had sufficient proof to implicate Strauss in at the very least six murders, however probably the most strong case Turkus had on Strauss was the homicide of a no one named George Ruddick, who was rumored to have been speaking to the law.
While Strauss stewed in jail, he acquired repeated visits by a lady described by Turkus as “a hanging brunette,” who signed herself in as Strauss’ sister “Eve.” Turkus as his crew noticed absolutely no family resemblance between Strauss and “Eve,” so on her next visit, they picked her up and found out that “Eve” was none aside from Evelyn Mittelman. At the time of her arrest, Evelyn was sporting three diamond rings and a diamond bracelet.
“Pep (Strauss) gave them to me,” Evelyn told Turkus. Then she said something so remarkably stupid, Turkus couldn’t believe his ears. “And I’ve a number of extra trinkets like this in a financial institution vault.”
Turkus checked, and positive sufficient, there was sufficient jewellery within the security deposit field to open up a small jewellery retailer. Turkus instantly held Evelyn as a cloth witness, with bail set at $50,000, and he commenced getting as a lot info out of her as he might. However, Evelyn instantly lawyered up, and subsequently clammed up. Turkus figured, with all she knew about Strauss and his buddies at Murder Incorporated, she was nearly as good as lifeless if she have been let loose on the imply streets of Brooklyn.
At her bail haring, her lawyer argued fiercely for a bail discount.
“She’s an excellent respectable woman,” her lawyer stated.
Turkus advised the decide, “She is aware of all there’s to find out about how the syndicate works.”
Her lawyer countered with, “Can’t your honor conceive that this younger woman, although she stands out as the sweetheart of this man, could be the one individual in the entire world who would know nothing in any respect of what he’s doing?”
The decide stated he might conceive of no such factor, so Evelyn’s bail stood at $50,000. No one rushed to place up the cash to get her out, so Evelyn stood in jail a full six weeks whereas Turkus cemented his case towards Strauss.
As Strauss’ trial neared, Evelyn realized that the one method she might save her man was to persuade Strauss to do what Reles had accomplished: grow to be an informant. Evelyn requested Turkus for permission to talk to Strauss to attempt to persuade him to show canary. Amazingly, Strauss agreed to do precisely that, on one situation: “I acquired to stroll out clear.”
Turkus knew it was unimaginable to set a person free after he had dedicated as many as 50–100 murders himself, so Strauss’ supply to sing was rejected.
During Strauss’ trial, he acted like a lunatic. Strauss refused to shave and got here into courtroom with an extended, scraggly beard, wanting like a bum on the Bowery.
Strauss even went as far as to chew on his lawyer’s briefcase straps. But it was to no avail. Strauss was discovered responsible of the homicide of George Ruddick (Turkus stated he might have tried Strauss and have him discovered responsible of a minimum of six different murders). And in consequence, Strauss was sentenced to take a seat within the electrical chair at Sing Sing Prison.
On June 12, 1941, the day of his execution, Strauss’ final customer was Evelyn Mittelman. Evelyn kissed Strauss goodbye, and shortly he was lifeless too.
And so far as we will decide, Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss was the fourth and last sufferer of “The Kiss of Death.”