Irving Shapiro was born in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville in the early 20th century, most likely in 1904. Along with his brothers Meyer and Willie, Irving Shapiro led a gang of Jewish mobsters that controlled the local loan sharking, gambling, and extortion operations. The neighborhood of Brownsville was contentious territory among many of the local mobsters. The Shapiro gang vied for power with rival gangs led by the Amberg brothers (Hyman, Louis, and Joseph) and Abraham “Kid Twist” Reles.
Early in their careers, both Abe Reles and Martin “Bugsy” Goldstein, a fellow Murder Inc., hit man, worked under the Shapiro brothers, but Reles and Goldstein had ambitions to move in on the Shapiro brothers’ criminal territory. When the Shapiro brothers found out about this, they set a trap for Reles and Goldstein. Unfortunately for the Shapiro brothers, the ambush failed and Reles escaped alive. One by one, Murder Inc., hit men eliminated the Shapiro brothers. Irving Shapiro was shot to death in the vestibule of the apartment building in which he lived in Brooklyn on July 11, 1931.
Irving Shapiro, 2008
Mixed Media Silkscreen on Paper
19″ x 29″