Research and content was collected from various sources online – newspapers and magazine articles as well as several internet sites.

Research & Written By Nolan Apostle
Research by Anthony Ansola

Contributing Editor
Event City Premier Magazine

Operation Underworld:

Strikes and labor disputes were stirring up in the Eastern US shipping ports. During the very early period of World War II, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence suspected that Italian and German agents were entering the United States through New York ports, and that these facilities were susceptible to sabotage. The loss of SS Normandie in February 1942 especially raised fears and suspicions in the Navy about possible sabotage in the Eastern ports. A Navy Intelligence Unit, B3, assigned more than a hundred agents to investigate possible Benito Mussolini’s supporters within the predominantly Italian-American fisherman and dockworker population on the waterfront. Their efforts were fruitless as the dockworkers and fishermen in the Italian Mafia-controlled waterfront were tight-lipped and distant to strangers.


Meyer Lansky was Jewish – Born on July 4, 1902 and died Jan 15, 1983. He became a major organized crime figure who was known as the “Mob’s Accountant” and was instrumental in developing the National Crime Syndicate in the United States. The first real step towards a legitimate Mob.

The Navy contacted Meyer Lansky, a known associate of Salvatore Charles Lucania (known as Lucky Luciano) and also one of the top non-Italian associates of the Mafia, Lucania is known for his association and organization of organizing the Five Families of the Mob in the USA during this period; the Nazy’s interest was to do a deal with the Mafia boss Lucania. Lucania, was one of the highest-ranking Mafia both in Italy and the US and was serving a 30 to 50 years sentence for compulsory prostitution in the Clinton Prison. To facilitate the negotiations, the State of New York moved Luciano from the Clinton prison to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, which is much closer to New York City.



Salvator Charles Lucania was Sicilian – Born Nov 24, 1897 and died Jan 26, 1962. He was considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States. He was also known as Lucky Luciano.



The State of New York, Luciano and the Navy struck a deal in which Luciano guaranteed full assistance of his organization in providing intelligence to the Navy. In addition, Luciano associate Albert Anastasia—who controlled the docks and ran Murder, Incorporated, allegedly guaranteed no dockworker strikes throughout the war. In return, the State of New York agreed to commute Luciano’s sentence. Historically, Luciano’s actual influence is uncertain, but various characters have shared information about the successes of Luciano and the Mafia in general when it came to helping the USA in this very important WWII effort. The authorities did note that the dockworker strikes stopped after the deal was reached with Luciano.


In the summer of 1945, Luciano petitioned the State of New York for executive clemency, citing his assistance to the Navy. Naval authorities, embarrassed that they had to recruit organized-crime to help in their war effort, declined to confirm Luciano’s claim. However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office validated the facts and the state parole board unanimously agreed to recommend to the governor that Luciano be released and deported immediately. On January 4, 1946, Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the former prosecutor who placed Luciano into prison, commuted Lucky Luciano’s sentence on the condition that he did not resist deportation to Italy. Dewey stated “Upon the entry of the United States into the war, Luciano’s aid was sought by the Armed Services in inducing others to provide information concerning possible enemy attack. It appears that he cooperated in such effort, although the actual value of the information procured is not clear.” Luciano was deported to his homeland Italy on February 9, 1946. There was a media hype of Luciano’s role after his deportation. The syndicated columnist and radio broadcaster Walter Winchell even reported in 1947 that Luciano would receive the Medal of Honor for his secret services.
No doubt Salvatore Charles Lucania is an Siciliano-American or Italian-American hero!


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