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    Mishka Yaponchik

    Jew Score:



    (Moisey-Yakov Vinnitsky)
    October 30, 1891 – July 29, 1919

    In the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish gangsters were all the rage. New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Odessa...

    Not Odessa, Texas. No Jew has ever stepped foot in Odessa, Texas. The original Odessa, in the Russian Empire. There were quite a few Jews in Odessa. We delved into that in the Isaak Babel profile.

    One of those Jews ran the city. Moisey-Yakov Vinnitsky, or as he was better known as, Mishka Yaponchik. That nickname translates to... Mikey the Little Jap? It was a different time.

    It's not clear where Mishka got that nickname. It might have come from his possibly Asian-slanted eyes. Another theory says that he tried to model his gang on the code of honor of Japanese thieves. In any case, he organized Odessa's criminals, burglarized, racketeered, coordinated a prison break...

    When the communists took over, Mishka changed his tune. He and his gang of criminals joined the Red Army. It didn't end too well: Mishka was killed by the very same Reds.

    Should have stuck to being a gangster... or moved to Texas?

    Verdict: Jew.

    September 18, 2014

    See Also

    Isaak Babel

    Yakov Blumkin

    Sonya Golden Hand

    The Japanese

    Iona Yakir
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