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Robert Friedman   Another Ukrainian Jew makes good   10-Apr-2000

Ludwig Fainberg
In the conning toward of a Soviet submarine

Ludwig Fainberg
As seen by the U.S. DEA
Ludwig Fainbergxx
1997

Ludwig Fainberg
Canada 2003
"I swear, I can't believe John Gotti got life in jail.  How can you kill your own history?"

Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg


The first Ukrainian Jew in recent times that was documented on the Ukrainian Archive for making it into into the big time was Semion Mogilevich, described by Robert I. Friedman in his Village Voice article as The World's Most Dangerous Gangster.  In the excerpts below from the New Yorker of 10-Apr-2000 (still on sale at newsstands as the present excerpts are being posted), Robert I. Friedman describes another Ukrainian Jew who made it into the big time Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg, until recently the ringleader of the "Russian" Mafiya in South Florida.

These two success stories reveal shared characteristics that one has to wonder about the origins of.  Consider for example, whether this pair does not have something in common:

MOGILEVICH:

The mob's young enforcers, trained by veterans of the Afghanistan war, are infamous for their extreme brutality.  Their quarry, usually businessmen who have balked at extortion demands, are repeatedly stabbed and tortured, then mutilated before they are butchered.  The carnage is so hideous that it has scared the daylights out of competing crime groups in the area.

FAINBERG:

On another occasion, he allegedly beat a girlfriend's head against the door of his Mercedes until the car was covered with blood....



Ludwig Fainberg grants an interview:

On a September day last year, at the tail end of Hurricane Floyd, I took a taxi ride to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami to interview a man known as Tarzan.  His real name is Ludwig Fainberg, and until recently he was the ringleader of the Russian mob in South Florida.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 40.


"Russian" mob vies for first place:

Since the collapse of Communism, the Mafiya, as it is known to outsiders (Russian gangsters affect disdain for the term), has become bigger, more brutal, and better armed; it is widely believed to be richer than any other criminal cartel richer, even, than its counterpart in Colombia.  The Russian mob buys and swaps drugs, money, handguns, assault carbines, submachine guns, anti-aircraft missiles, helicopters, plutonium, enriched uranium, and submarines.  In 1996, James Moody, who was then the F.B.I.'s deputy assistant director in charge of organized crime, warned Congress that the Russian mob, which has thirty crime syndicates operating in more than seventeen North American cities, has "a very real chance" of becoming "the No. 1 crime group in the United States."  And, until recently, the No. 1 Russian crime figure in Miami was Ludwig Fainberg.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 40.


Ludwig Fainberg once forced a woman to eat gravel:

As we chatted in the prison cubicle, Tarzan spoke expansively about his disreputable past, but he also took pains to mention his eleemosynary activities, and described numerous fund-raisers that he had held for Jewish charities at a restaurant and night club he owned called Babushka.  Fainberg, who is Jewish, insists that he never stole from Jewish organizations.  "You've got to be kidding?"  But, according to statements that he made to undercover agents for the Drug Enforcement Agency, the operating costs for these events tended to run high eighty-five cents of every dollar.  He certainly had the qualities of a mobster: he was greedy (he allegedly stole tip money from the strippers at his club); he was ruthless (he once forced a woman to eat gravel); and he was ambitious (he brokered a complicated negotiation involving the transfer of a Russian military submarine to Columbian narcotraffickers).
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, pp. 40-41.


The Fainberg family moved from Ukraine to Israel to increase wealth:

Fainberg was born in 1958 in Odessa, a Black Sea port that was once the Marseilles of the Soviet Union.  His parents soon divorced, and when he was three he moved with his mother, who had remarried, and his stepfather to Czernowitz, a small city in Ukraine.  He sang in a boy's choir and participated in a boxing program set up by the Soviet military.  More to the point, his stepfather, who worked for a Soviet factory that made rugs and fur hats, was a prosperous dealer on the burgeoning black market.  He'd trade merchandise for choice cuts of meat, theatre tickets, and fresh vegetables.  "My mother had nice clothes and jewelry," Fainberg said.  "We took a vacation once a year to Odessa, a stunning city with a boardwalk and gorgeous beaches."  It was a city, he said, "filled with mobsters and entertainers."

One day in 1972, when Fainberg was fourteen, his mother and stepfather announced that they were moving the family to Israel, where they hoped to increase their already considerable wealth.  Ludwig, who had never known the family to identify itself with Judaism in any way, was confused.  "Jew" was just something stamped on their passports, he thought, signifying their ethnic group.  "I knew only that I was circumcised."

Before leaving, the Fainbergs converted their money into gold and diamonds, stashing some in shoes with hollow heels and hiding the rest in secret compartments in specially built tables and a piano, which they shipped to Israel.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 41.


Soviets shipped Jewish criminals to America:

From the middle of the late nineteen-seventies, the Soviet government was under intense diplomatic pressure from the West to let Jews emigrate freely.  In response, the authorities searched the Gulag for Jewish criminals some of them quite recent converts to the faith and shipped them to America.  [...]  More than forty thousand Russian Jews settled in Brighton Beach.  Most were decent, hardworking citizens, but the criminals among them resumed their careers as thieves and swindlers.  By the time Fainberg arrived, in 1984, Brighton Beach had already become the seat of the Organizatsiya, as the Russian Jewish mob was called.  "It was the Wild West," Fainberg told me.  "I took my gun everywhere."
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 42.


Ludwig Fainberg is a "Very nice, very kind Jewboy":

Seidle liked Fainberg from the moment they met.  "Tarzan was a boisterous, bigmouthed yiddel," he told me in Miami, speaking with obvious affection.  "He's a Jewboy, you know.  Just a bigmouthed kid, always bragging, boisterous but very nice, very kind."
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 43.


"Very nice, very kind" Ludwig Fainberg's treatment of women:

In addition to extortion, Fainberg had a habit of degrading women.  "This is cultural," he explained to me, in an effort to defend himself."  In Russia, it was normal for men to beat women.  In the stories Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, and Gorky wrote, to slap a woman is normal, it's part of life.  And to do something like that in America, something that you grew up with you're arrested, for domestic violence!"  In an incident observed by the F.B.I. and the D.E.A. from surveillance cars across the street from Porky's, Fainberg chased a girlfriend out of the club and decked her.  On another occasion, he allegedly beat a girlfriend's head against the door of his Mercedes until the car was covered with blood; and he regularly abused his common-law wife, a frail young woman named Faina Tannenbaum, whom he had brought with him from New York.  When the police arrived at their home in response to 911 calls, she would quiver in fear, and was sometimes found huddled inside a locked car with her daughter.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 44.


The "Russian" Mafiya threatens the USA:

Meanwhile in the United States, the activities of the Russian mob were alarming a great many law-enforcement agencies.  In 1994, Louis J. Freeh, the director of the F.B.I., said that the Russian Mafiya posed "a significant direct threat to the United States."  In a few years, the Russians had supplanted the Cubans as one of the top crime groups in South Florida.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 46.


Ludwig Fainberg's old friend, Grisha "Cannibal" Roizis:

Operation Odessa's agents had so far been unable to infiltrate Fainberg's close-knit world.  That assignment fell to Fainberg's old Brighton Beach friend Grisha Roizis, who had by this time acquired the nickname the Cannibal.  (A booking sergeant in Brooklyn had once called him "a fucking dirty Jew," and Roizis, although handcuffed, managed to bite off the tip of the sergeant's nose.)
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 46.


Jewish criminals have a sanctuary that other criminals don't:

The feds had a good idea what Fainberg would do if he obtained bail: informants reported that he was working with several powerful Israeli drug dealers in Miami who were going to help him flee to Israel; it is difficult to extradite Israeli nationals.
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 49.


Israel being the land of opportunity, Ludwig Fainberg will be rich again but using sex slaves from where?

The Russian mob in South Florida today is the hub of a sophisticated and ruthless operation.  But Ludwig Fainberg is no longer a member.  At the conclusion of my conversation with him in prison in September, he said ruefully, "America's built on Mafia!  All over the world, when you ask 'What do you know about America?' they say, 'Mafia, "Godfather," Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky!'  I swear, I can't believe John Gotti got life in jail.  How can you kill your own history?"

Then, in October, after living in America for fifteen years, Fainberg was deported to Israel, with fifteen hundred dollars in his pocket.  He had served a mere thirty-three months.  [...]  Even as he awaited deportation, Fainberg told me that, given what he knows about the sex industry, he'll soon be rich again.  [...]  But his enthusiasm for the land he was leaving was undimmed.  "I love this country!" Tarzan said.  "It's so easy to steal here!"
Robert I. Friedman, Land of the stupid: When you need a used Russian submarine, call Tarzan, The New Yorker, 10-Apr-2000, pp. 40-49, p. 49.


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