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Articles about the Purple Gang in Albion from

Morning Star, December 8, 1996. Purple Gang, Part I
Morning Star, December 15, 1996. Purple Gang, Part II.

Albion Recorder, February 28, 2002. "Purple Gang Car Seized Here in 1936."
Morning Star, November, 3, 1996. "Payoffs in the Cloakroom," page 4.
Albion Recorder, March 28, 2002. "Parker Inn a Prominent Landmark."

"Purple Gang" 12-20-02 Movie incident information here.


Albion has become a clearinghouse for information about the Purple Gang. Read these entries from the guestbook .

Sam Bernstein -- San Francisco, California
guestbook entry # 189

I was conducting a search on Google about my grandfather, Sam bernstein, for whom I am named. My grandmother's name was Lillian Bernstein. My father, Bert Bernstein never spoke about my grandafather, only saying that he died of throat cancer in about 1943-44. My grandmother only commented that Sam Bernstein was a "generous man" and that they had met in her father's jewelry store in New York City. My father only commented that my grand father was a " chemist". My mother probably got closer to the truth when she said he was very wealthy, had lost a lot of money in the stockmarket crach and was involved in selling illegal alcohol.
I want to know if my grandparents are the ones mentioned on the Albion website who were arrested On June 3, 1936, as participants ofthe Purple Gang.
I may be reached at 415-421-3434 work number or by return email.
Wow! What a possible discovery!
Sam Bernstein
December 25, 2002 12:12 AM

reply from Albion Historian Frank Passic:

Hi, I saw your message on Sam Bernstein was part of the
Purple Gang in Detroit. The saga of the Purples is described in the book
"The Purple Gang, Organized Crim in Detroit 1910-1945" by Paul R. Kavieff.
ISBN I-56980-147-9. Baaarracade Books, New York. 2000. The book is still in
print and is available from Barnes and Noble. Bernsteins all over the book.
Raymond Bernstein (brother of Sam) was the leader of the Purple Gang.
The father of Sam, Abe, Harry, Isadore, and Joe was Harry Bernstein. Page
1 of the book states, "It all began in1902 when a young shoemaker named
Harry Bernstein arrived in Detroit with his wife and children. The fmaily
established a small shoe repair shop located at 401 Gratiot Avenue on the
city's lower east side, not far from Detroit's Jewish ghetto district.
Making a living was a challenging task for immigrants in those years.
Bernstein, a Polish Jew, moved with his family from Russia to the tenement
section of Manhattan's Lower East side. The firs tyears in America were the
most difficult, one had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture."
The person arrested here as part of the raid was according to our local
paper Sam STONE alias "Bernstein," However, the book calls him Sam "Fatty"
Bernstein, indicating that it was indeed the brother of the Bernsteins.
Apparently the name Stone could have been a alias. The book doesn't say what
happened to him other than he was taken back to Detroit as a suspect for a
drug truck hijacking.
I hope this information has been of help. While in Albion in 1936, Sam
Bernstein lived at 803 E. Cass St. with his wife, whose name is listed as
Lillian Stone, age 29. Sam was age 30 at the time of the raid/arrrest.
--Frank Passic, Albion Historian.



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Read about another Albion mystery!

1944 Hooper election poster
In Albion’s history, we have had several persons who have rose to prominence in not only local, but also in state and national politics. None however, gained such dubious notoriety as State Senator Warren G. Hooper (1905-1945).

Albion Recorder,
October 19, 1998


Other links about the Purple Gang

Purple Gang's bloody legacy
Fading memories of Jewish gangsters' short reign during Prohibition still exist

(be sure to see all the article, click on the box at the bottom for the next link)
The Purple Gang

image ©2002

Purple Gang Arrested During Cleaners & Dryers War

image ©2002

The Purple Gang:
bootleggers paradise by Mark Gribben
Detroit News article by Paul R. Kavieff

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