The Fall of The Amberg Brothers: Prohibition Days in Brooklyn

The Amberg brothers L-R Joseph, Louis, Herman.


During the dangerous prohibition days of the 1920’s, a tough, treacherous gang out of the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the Amberg brothers, began a push hard for territory in the Garment District of Manhattan, against Little Augie, Jack Diamond, Lepke, Jacob Shapiro and the powerhouse association of Charlie and Meyer.

Joseph, Louis and Herman, known as the Amberg gang, were involved in labour racketeering, murder, bootlegging and robbery just to name a few, also working as enforcers for whoever needed it. During this time, on November 3, 1926, the youngest brother, Herman aka Hyman, got arrested for the murder of a local jeweller and was held in custody at the Tombs. While awaiting trial in the Tombs, he and another prisoner attempted to escape after acquiring guns on November 3, 1926. However, they made it only as far as the prison wall before being trapped by prison guards. A shootout in the prison yard erupted with bullets ricocheting off walls and wizzing past guards heads. Rather than surrender to prison authorities, Amberg and the other prisoner shot themselves, committing suicide.

For nine long years, Joseph and Louis battled hard and brutally with everyone that crossed their path. September 30, 1935, Joseph Amberg, along with his chauffeur Morris Kessler, were ambushed in a Brownsville auto repair garage and gunned down by members of the Combination aka Murder Inc.

One month later, October 23, 1935. Louis “Pretty” Amberg was finally lured to his death by and old friend waving the white flag. Like his brother before him, his death was by the hands of the Combine aka Murder Inc, and betrayed by his old pal Mendy Weiss.

Mendy said “Pretty won’t go with nobody but me, he likes me, I’ll steer him, he’ll never get wise”.

Mendy asked Pretty to meet him for dinner at Yiddel Lorber’s restaurant. Yiddel asked Mendy and Pretty to the kitchen for a drink. The Murder Inc boys beat him, tied him up and using small knives they cut him to pieces. What was left of his body was loaded into a car and taken out to North Elliot Place, near the Brooklyn Naval Yards, facing City Park. The car was doused in gasoline and set alight.

What was left of the Amberg gang, gave up the territory they held in Brooklyn and dissolved into obscurity.