Author Reveals Polish Gangster History in Buffalo, NY

Eighty-one years ago the Buffalo, New York Police were battling a wave of Prohibition-era crime. A new book chronicles the lives of Polish gangsters and details their terrible crimes against complete strangers as well as their own gang members.
They Call Me Korney cover
They Call Me Korney cover
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Buffalo Ny

• History

Buffalo - New York - US

June 8, 2010 - PRLog -- Buffalo, New York native Michael F. Rizzo's latest book, “They Call Me Korney: The True Story of Buffalo's Korney Gang,” covers the crimes of one gang of thugs. But who was this Korney? He was John Kwiatkowski, the dapper, well-dressed leader of a gang of bandits. At this time in Buffalo's history the city's East Side residents were predominantly of Polish descent and Korney's gang came right from those neighborhoods. They led a rampage of murders and robberies between 1925 and 1929 that stunned the city and captured the headlines for months.

Why did Rizzo choose this particular time and gang? “As far as I can tell,” Rizzo said, “there are no books about Polish gangsters in America. So when I stumbled upon their story by accident, I felt it had to be told. They were ruthless thieves and killers trying to make a living through bootlegging and robbery, but in the end it would all come crashing down on them.”

Rizzo found there were actually many more Polish gangsters from that era, but felt the Korney gang deserved their story told first.

How has the Polish community felt about this dark side of their past? “Surprisingly positive,” Rizzo explains. “I have received calls from retired police officers and others who were excited that this story was being told. They aren't proud of the death and destruction the gang perpetrated, but they are glad that someone is telling another aspect of their history.”

Since it's release Rizzo has met many people who knew Korney, or are related to one of the other gang members. “It has been very interesting and the attendance at some of the book talks has been overwhelming. Descendants ask about their relatives or bring me articles they have been saving for years. It's really worth it when people come in with a copy of the book they've already read.”

The 208 page book is action packed and full of rare photos. It is available in book and gift shops as well as and as an ebook on, available for all readers.

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