Sunday, September 26, 2021

Shoppers Drug Mart Founders The Bronfmans: rags to rackets to riches to respectability


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The family history of Edgar Bronfman, honorary national vice chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, sheds light on the process of how organized crime networks were absorbed wholesale by the ADL, and covered with a veneer of respectability.

Edgar Bronfman's grandfather Yechiel emigrated to Canada from the Bessarabia region of Romania in 1889. He came as a virtual indentured servant to the Baron de Hirsch Fund, by then already closely allied with the B'nai Brith. At this time, top British Zionists, including Moses Montefiore, Baron Alfred de Rothschild and Maurice de Hirsch, had struck a deal with the Hudson Bay Company, the British Colonial Office corporate front in charge of the administration of Canada, to finance a wave of Eastern European Jewish colonization in the barren provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It was here that Yechiel Bronfman settled.

The first generation Bronfman (the name in Yiddish literally means "liquorman") to land on the shores of North America immediately got himself involved in the rackets, eventually opening up a string of whorehouses. When Canada adopted Prohibition in 1915, Yechiel Bronfman's whorehouses became illegal nightclubs, where bootlegged whiskey, smuggled across the border from the United States, was served. 

Canada's experiment with Prohibition ended just as American Prohibition was beginning. Yechiel Bronfman and his sons, Abe and Sam, were already in a position to shift from purchasers to suppliers of illegal whiskey-and narcotics. In 1916, Abe and Sam Bronfman had parlayed the family's bootleg and prostitution revenues into the ownership of the Pure Drug Company. The company, according to some accounts, began importing narcotics from the Far East into Canada. It is certain that the production facilities of the Pure Drug Company began churning out cheap whiskey to flood the American markets once Prohibition began in the United States.

The Bronfmans were the principal suppliers of bootleg liquor to the Meyer Lansky ational Crime Syndicate throughout the Prohibition period. The family amassed a fortune selling "chickencock" -tbe name given to their whiskey. According to U.S. government records, between 1920 and 1930, over 34,000 Americans died of alcohol poisoning as a result of drinking the Bronfman brew, making the Bronfman family the biggest murderers in the history of North American crime.

When Canadian police moved against the "Bronfman Gang" in 1926, Yechiel's four soqs set up the Atlas Shipping Company to ship their whiskey t:p the Caribbean, where it was transferred to boats owned by the Reinfeld Syndicate, the Cleveland-based "Jewish Navy" and other Lansky syndicate rum runners.

At the close of Prohibition, Sam Bronfman negotiated a deal with the U.S. Treasury Department to pay several million dollars in back taxes, a miniscule portion of the illegal profits the family derived from the Prohibition whiskey sales and drug-running. The purpose of the payment was to clear the decks for the Bronfman famiJy's overnight transformation into leading lights of the Canadian Zionist establishment.  (more...)

The Bronfmans: rags to rackets to riches to respectability


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