Bald Jack Rose

Jacob Rosenzweig (September 1876 – October 4, 1947) was an American gambler and underworld figure in New York City. Born in Poland as Jacob Rosenzweig, he grew up in Fairfield County, Connecticut and spent much of his early life living in Bridgeport, Waterbury, and South Norwalk, Connecticut. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldy_Jack_Rose  In Gatsby the character  “Rot-Gut” Ferret ” is probably a bootlegger (Long, 142) at Gatsby’s party. Ferret may be based on Jack Rose, the infamous bootlegger that supplied Westport with its’ booze.

At the end of the Becker trial, Broadway gamblers began laying odds that “the squealer” Jack Rose would be murdered within a matter of days or weeks for becoming an informant-instead, Rose was offered $1,000 a week to appear in vaudeville and received countless requests to lecture on crime. He eventually snuck out of the city disguised in a wig and  “Bald Jack” returned to southern Connecticut in his retirement and became a farmer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldy_Jack_Rose.

Rose was part of the ‘The Kosher Nostra’, Jewish organized crime that began in New York City at the turn of the century when Monk Eastman (aka Jacob Osterman) ended the reign of the Irish gangs in the Five Points area of the old Lower East Side.

(Mike La Sorte, Professor Emeritus Mike La Sorte is a professor emeritus (SUNY)).

In a 1903 clash between Jewish and Irish Gangs, scores of bandits- police estimated a hundred-shot at each other from behind the pillars of the Second Avenue El where three died and seven were wounded. (The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America, By Albert Fried, Ne).w York, Columbia University Press, 1980, 1993

-for two decades thereafter, the now dominant Jews engaged in tribal warfare. (Mike La Sorte, Professor Emeritus Mike La Sorte is a professor emeritus (SUNY)).

He was one of several star witnesses in the Becker-Rosenthal trial, others being fellow gamblers Bridgie Webber, Harry Vallon, and Sam Schepps. (http://ebook2.worldlibrary.net/article/WHEBN0021424750/Baldy%20Jack%20Rose)

Charles Becker (July 26, 1870 – July 30, 1915) was a New York police officer executed for allegedly ordering the murder of  Manhattan gambler, Herman Rosenthal and Becker used his position to extort substantial sums from Manhattan brothels and gambling houses in exchange for immunity from police action.  http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/becker-charles.htm http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/becker-charles.htm In 1911 and 1912, Rosenzweig was collecting $10,000 a month for Becker, or better than $2 million a year in today’s dollars. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122185941491258181

 In July 1912 he was named in the New York World as one of three corrupt policemen involved in the case of  Rosenthal, a failed gambler who alleged his illegal businesses had been badly damaged by the rapacity of the city’s corrupt police, and Rosenthal was murdered two days after his story appeared in the press. Becker was arrested on 29 July 1912, and tried and found guilty of murder that fall. http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/becker-charles.htm

Rose’s testimony was the most damaging because he directly implicated Becker in arranging the murder of Herman Rosenthal. As Becker’s debt collector, Rose confessed to hiring the Lenox Avenue Gang, providing the getaway car. (http://ebook2.worldlibrary.net/article/WHEBN0021424750/Baldy%20Jack%20Rose) And that might have been the abrupt end of the affair if it hadn’t been for a stray witness who memorized the license number of the departing Packard- the police, tellingly, weren’t interested in what the man had seen, but the ambitious D.A. was, tracing the plate to a car service that had rented the Packard to Bald Jack Rose. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122185941491258181He testified he did it all on the orders of Charles Becker. Three days after Rosenthal’s murder, Rose turned himself in at the NYPD Headquarters. He later confessed to hiring the gunmen whom he identified as Gyp the Blood, Lefty Louis Rosenberg, Jacob “Whitey Lewis” Seidenschner and Francesco “Dago Frank” Cirofisi, as well as hiring the getaway car and paying the men $1,500 on the orders of Becker. (http://ebook2.worldlibrary.net/article/WHEBN0021424750/Baldy%20Jack%20Rose)

 Rose agreed to testify against Becker at his murder trial. One of the star witnesses, his testimony at each of the three trials against Becker resulted in his conviction and eventual execution for murder in 1915 (http://ebook2.worldlibrary.net/article/WHEBN0021424750/Baldy%20Jack%20Rose)

In a nod to a very important turning point in early Jewish crime. It’s a complicated case, and Rose is just one, of an unbelievable cast of characters of criminals, politicians, city administrators, journalists, and shamed Jewish community members, that would do a Hollywood script proud. It continues to fascinate historians and writers alike as so many questions are left unanswered. http://sixforfive.blogspot.com/2008/07/bald-jack-rose.html

Rose remained in the news for many years afterward. The local Bridgeport Paper reported

Bishop Brewster and Jack Rose Had Conference

Rose is busy in the moving picture business in New York and the enthusiasm with which entered this business three years ago is still with him. “It’s the greatest Business in the world,” he says, “and its’s still in its’ infancy.”

Chauncey Bunce Brewster (September 5, 1848 – April 9, 1941) was the fifth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauncey_B._Brewster A year after the Becker case, Rose started speaking at churches preaching against gambling and other vices. He also agreed to appear in several motion picture shorts for this purpose and, in 1917, he lectured at U.S. Army training camps to warn troops about gambling. (New York Times. October 9, 1947.)

At the end of the Becker trial, Broadway gamblers began laying odds that “the squealer” Jack Rose would be murdered within a matter of days or weeks for becoming an informant-instead, Rose was offered $1,000 a week to appear in vaudeville and received countless requests to lecture on crime. He eventually snuck out of the city disguised in a wig and  “Bald Jack” returned to southern Connecticut in his retirement and became a farmer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldy_Jack_Rose.

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