In 1902, Herman Amberg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Herman, nicknamed “Hyman,” was the youngest of three criminally-inclined Amberg brothers. Joseph was the eldest, while Louis, nicknamed “Pretty,” was the middle brother. The Amberg brothers were among the most feared mobsters in Jewish Brooklyn throughout the 1920s and 1930s. They were involved in labor racketeering, gambling, and bootlegging. The Amberg brothers often found themselves in conflict with rivals like Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, and Abe “Kid Twist” Reles.
Hyman Amberg often acted as the enforcer for the Amberg brothers. In 1926, Hyman was arrested and jailed for the murder of a Brooklyn jeweler. On November 3, 1926, he tried to make an armed escape from the infamous “Tombs” jail in New York City with another inmate, but they were cornered by guards. Rather than face certain capture, Hyman Amberg and the other prisoner turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide. He is buried along with his brothers at Montefiore Cemetery in New York City.
Hyman Amberg, 2008
Mixed Media Silkscreen on Paper
19″ x 29″