“So They Killed My Brother”

Salvatore Anastasio
(1967)

The lifeless body of Albert Anastasia is removed from the Sheraton Hotel.At ten and a quarter of the October 25, 1957 my brother Albert was killed. He had long hair and was gone in the “barber” at the Sheraton Hotel, on Fifty-fifth Street in New York.
< < Pierino, make me something quick. Do you see it? I tail, the tail. Soon .. hair. >>
Pierino was the man at number four on the chair “barber” of the Sheraton. Alberto deposed overcoat and hat, sat in the chair and loosened his tie. The shop boy sat him the towel around his neck. Among the thick hair and blacks Alberto sprouted the first white threads. Peter went to work. Suddenly, the “barber” of the Sheraton Hotel came two men stocky, of medium height. They wore scarves dark turn several times around the neck; glasses and impenetrable. In heavy traffic the Fiftieth Street, on which the skyscraper of the Sheraton looming, no one had noticed them. Apart from the windows of the “barber”, people kept passing indifferent.
The two gave a shove to Pierino, who fell to the ground. Fired. My brother raised an arm, as for shelter; then fell forward, and in the fall dragged a shelf full of brushes, combs, bottles, razors, cans.
The men came from scarves in Fiftieth Street. A florist called the police. He arrived a doctor from a nearby hospital. He spread his arms. My brother was dead.
Tony Anastasia follows the coffin of his brother Albert.I, that morning, I had an appointment with Alberto. I was driving along the Hudson Avenue with my Buick, when I noticed with surprise that the program of light music (I turned on the radio) is interrupted. < < A few minutes ago, said the speaker >> < < in the "barber" at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, was shot to death by unknown Albert Anastasia, the notorious leader of the Assassins anomina >>.
I arrived in time to bless the body no life of my brother. Around me there were people screaming, that taking photographs, laughing. I stood for a long time kneeling beside the corpse of the man who had loved much, and still in my heart.
Even television immediately gave the “great news”. A journalist phoned to Antonio, to the port. He told him: < < They killed your brother and broke the connection. Antonio came in a few minutes. He was very pale; she cried. It fell to him to recognize Alberto. It caressed him, remember, stroked long calling loudly. They were friends (people of the port, realized at the Sheraton Hotel with "Tony hard") to remove him from that place of tragedy. The death of Alberto Antonio Fiacco. More than in body, in spirit. I can see him among the grandchildren, in the evening, when he came home. Thoughtful, with a slight stoop, prematurely graying. Sprangava double-locked the door, made ​​sure that the gas meter was closed, made ​​the rounds of the rooms ... He wanted to be sure that the tragedy, or America, could not raggiumgere again his loved ones. It fell to Rosanna , the favorite niece, realizing that "Tony hard" breathed with difficulty. It was the evening of January 2, 1963. It was called an ambulance. Grandfather Antonio was hospitalized; and slowly began to die. For three hours, the men of the port accompanied the coffin of Antonio that dated from the first to the sixty-ninth pier. In the church of Santo Stefano, where the funeral took place, were placed only stevedores who had made ​​up his mind to march. Among their modest clothing, uniforms stood out of a general and a colonel. The episode of the strike interrupted the military base of Brooklyn had not been forgotten. The testimony of affection and esteem was impressive. During a television program dedicated to Antonio, Archbishop Episcopalian Brooklyn said verbatim: << Tony was a battegliero, and no one can control a group of men as workers of the port if not behaving as he did. No guys, stevedores, nor timid girls attached to the mother's skirt >>.
< < When it came to help a man or a needy family, a famous journalist added >> < < Tony was unusual never drew back . As long as he was alive there was no family in Brooklyn, who had asked for his help has been hungry. Let us hope that it can be so in the future. >>
Tropea: the railway station where the brothers were born Anastasio.Suddenly, the death of Antonio, I was a stranger in America that well – despite all the pain that had given me – I loved. The desire to shed light on the personality of Alberto had not abandoned me, but as I looked things changed!
The streets, houses, cities have a different appearance depending on the state of mind of the beholder. New York, for the first time from the now distant days of my landing on the docks of Brooklyn, I looked sullen and hostile. Some sirens of his autombulanze I tore the soul, certain crowds gray among whom I happened to walk filled me with dismay. Life went on, majestic and bustling as the current of a river, even without my brothers. My pain became a private matter, to be kept in silence and even better to take away. Alberto and Tony, my whole unfortunate family I had left that this lump of despair. < < Turuzzo, >> it seemed that a voice to recommend < < I get out of here before they get you too. >>
I decided to leave; but before you put the word “end” to these memoirs I want to add a few words about the murder of Alberto. Not long ago, in America, a “medium-sized” mafioso named Joseph Valachi pointed at Vito Genovese the “boss of bosses” of the underworld that still has strong roots in all the states of the Union. Among other allegations made ​​by Valachi to Genovese, was to have ordered the killing of my brother.
Albert AnastasiaWell, I can say that the accusation is false. Alberto was not killed by the assassins of Vito Genovese, but by people who still live, free and undisturbed, in New York. I say this in full consciousness, and are also able to explain the reasons for my certainty.
Antonio, shortly before his death, he revealed the names of the killers of Alberto. He had learned from a speech at the conference of Appalachin held as everyone knows in November 1957. On that occasion, not only Genovese showed saddened by the death of Alberto, but he said verbatim: < < You killed a generous man, who had helped many. Do you think you deserve a medal for what you have done? >>
Valachi himself, moreover, in the first version of his accusations, had mentioned to the real killers of my brother Alberto without involving Genovese. Then changed his mind and became the killers “assassins of Vito Genovese.”
I understand the need to respond, at this point, a question: why, if you know the names of the murderers of my brother, I have not denounced? The answer is that acting within the harbor, and I would say the place I have chosen to continue my mission as a priest.
Albert AnastasiaThe names, those names that are full of blood, I will have learned in confession. The priest, who went from New York to a remote village in the mountains of Calabria, does not want revenge nor satisfaction. Only pray God to men who deprived him of his brother adored can repent and receive forgiveness before appearing before the court of heaven.
That’s why I did not talk.
Sometimes I have doubts, crisis of conscience? I, naturally, as it has every man and priest, but not because I have been silent revelation made ​​to me by Antonio. Anyone browsing the newspapers who dealt with the investigation into the killing of Alberto, has in fact led to ask a disturbing question: can ever, justice, get your hands on the two masked men as the Sheraton Hotel?
Read them, those newspapers. You will find a brave man who says: < < not tolerate that my equal can be killed in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses, and that his murderers escape justice >>. You will find the same man, two months after his courageous statement, with family guarded day and night by a patrol agents. You will see it, finally retiring in the shadows for “health reasons.”
For what, then? Even before the commitment of justice of men, too many times I’ve seen fail, burn me names that I buried deep in my heart.

New images of the wedding of Albert Anastasia celebrated by his brother Salvatore (private collection)

Bartholomew Dad, Mom Mariannina, Joseph, Albert. And Antonio, on 1 March 1963. Cruel America; poor family Anastasio. How much better it would have been that Alberto had never moved from Tropea. He had collected salt for life in the quarries of Parghelia. Perhaps nothing of what I have told would happen. Maybe I should not say, as I do now at the conclusion of my memories: I do not claim to have proved the innocence of my brother, I just hope to have you invited to meditate on what you read before meeting me.
Maybe … Who knows. The pain was, and remains, great. Sometimes I fear that I felt most sharply the day of the killing of Alberto, that my shoulders are not enough – even made ​​strong by the robe that port – to hold it all.
But other times I go down by the sea that so fascinated Alberto child. I look over the sparkling waters that I crossed to reach my brothers and I went back to cross to start to live here, in Calabria. I think, maybe dream; and I say that, after all, not all of the odyssey of my brothers was useless.
I remember the words that, in the aftermath of the death of Antonio, pronounced Jo Nack the Boston Traveler :
< < Workers of moles of Brooklyn honor Antonio Anastasia, their leader, with a funeral for President ... An immigrant ascended to the command of his own fellow workers. Guided them firmly and got them for higher wages, pensions, privileges that no one would ever dream ... A tree grew up in Brooklyn, and died. That strip of land will never be so green >>.
I see Alberto, which was a few days before he died. I’ll be back to hear his deep voice, which invariably grew friendly when the speech was addressed to me.
< < Turuzzo, how much I've been through ... If you knew how tired I am. If I have one consolation, it is this: the port now things are going well, and make them go the right way is one of our family. The fate, or whoever, wanted so. Antonio succeeded in the work that I was dreaming, and that at some point I had to stop, >>
Farewell, my brothers. Rest in peace.

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