/ The history of Polish mafia in Chicago, Illinois
I had relatives who were mafia cohorts. They were Polish-Americans, however, they grew up in the Italian section of Chicago Heights, Illinois. One of my uncles was a full-blown mafia man. He not only dressed the part, he lived the life too. He had two brothers that were also involved in crime with the mafia, one to a much greater degree than the other. Their other brother was a police officer, ironically enough. Their lives make for great stories, some are very entertaining. The parts about my cousins not seeing their dad because he was in prison are not very fun. My uncle that was really involved was a real thug in his mafia life, although he was very nice otherwise. His mother, my grandmother's sister, lived with my family when I was a kid. We had a basement apartment, and my aunt lived there until she passed away. My uncles visited her all the time. My uncles were involved in collections, either "insurance" or gambling money, as well as robbery. My cousins were paid a few bucks to have holes dug in the yard...for safes, not bodies. I recall once, in 1971 or 1972, I was real little, my uncle came by to visit my grandfather. He lived right across the street from us. My uncle drove a Cadillac, and he was towing a big U-Haul trailer. It was filled with fireworks. My uncle wanted my grandfather to sell the fireworks at the local bars. They would split the proceeds. My uncle "found" the fireworks. Grandpa declined. My uncle owed my grandfather a lifetime of favors. Grandpa, along with his brother-in-law, once bribed a prosecutor a huge sum of money so that my uncle's felony robbery charges would be dropped. He had been in hiding for a couple of years but wanted to attend his father's funeral. I cold ramble on and on about stories. The Chicago Crime Commission has a website. Check it out.