Harry Strauss was born in a Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on July 28, 1909. By the 1930s, Harry was a member of the gang of assassins that came to be known as Murder, Inc. Off the job, he was a well-dressed man who took good care of his family. On the job, Harry, known as “Pittsburgh Phil” or “Pep,” murdered at least 30 men, and probably closer to 100, at the behest of organized crime figures across the nation. He was adept with a variety of weapons including guns, knives, rope, and ice picks. He had even buried one of his victims alive.
Pittsburgh Phil had been arrested 29 times in 13 years, but was never convicted for a crime until Murder, Inc., hit man Abraham “Kid Twist” Reles talked to the authorities. Fearing the electric chair, Reles fingered Harry Strauss for six murders. Despite his attempts to appear insane, Strauss was convicted of the crime and sentenced to execution. In 1941, after more unsuccessful attempts to be deemed mentally unfit, Harry Strauss was electrocuted at Sing Sing Prison.
Harry Strauss, 2009
Mixed Media Silkscreen on Paper
19″ x 29″a