Max "Puddy" Hinkes was a young
thug who spent most of his early like in Newark's old Third Ward
The only act of justification on the face of this earth was that
he participated in the melees with the Nazi Bunds during the 1930s
when Franz Kunze showed up at the door step of the Jewish neighborhood
in Newark for the purpose of stirring up anti-semitism amongst the
American-German communities in places like Irvington and Union.
Max took both pride and pleasure in cracking heads. He and the
others of the "Minute Men" -- the name that the Jews under
a former prize fighter, Nat Arno, called themselves, who were remarkably
effective in making the Jewish neighborhoods safe from Nazi harassment.
It was Max's one great act of redemption for what was otherwise
an early life dedicated to high jacking, burglary, breaking &
entry, stick ups, extortion, shake downs, and working both sides
of labor disputes as an enforcer. Max was loyal only to money.
Becomes Numbers Boss
"Puddy" as he was called, a name given to him by his
brothers for some reason Max couldn't remember but which stuck with
him for life, ended up being the Numbers Boss of Newark.
During the time that Abner "Longy" Zwillman controlled
the rackets, Puddy was the guy who collected from the numbers guys
to deliver the bag to City Hall to keep the Mayor and his cronies
Naturally, he took generously for himself out of the bag before
he delivered the package to the politicians and the cops.
For those of you who don't know what "Numbers" are,
it was the street name for today's lottery which is run by the State.
Before it was legal, it was illegal.
It was, as it is today, very popular with the masses. Government
went into the business of numbers because it was so lucrative.
Quincy: Local Power Broker
Max was the disciple of David "Quincy" Lieberman.
Quincy was a local power broker whose connections extended from
gangsters to the cops on the beat, to the local ladies of the night,
right up to the office of the Mayor.
There wasn't a soul that Quincy couldn't reach. He spent a lifetime
in Newark's barrooms, saloons, goulash houses, whore houses, police
precincts, and political clubs, expanding his network of contacts.
He was a night owl. He hardly went home before daybreak. Everybody
knew Quincy. His pockets of money were nothing less than a repository
for a hand out. He started the day with pockets full. He came home
When he died, you couldn't get near the Temple on Clinton Avenue
for the funeral.
For some reason or other, Quincy took a liking to Puddy. Puddy
had been an amateur boxer. He was a neighborhood beau vivant. Puddy
was slightly taller than average, thin built, and as he grew older,
there were still remains of what must have been a rather good looking
guy in his youth.
As he grew older, he wore horn-rimmed glasses, so with the remains
of hair which were combed straight back, he looked like a retired
But Puddy was far from being an accountant or coming close to
appreciating the value of money. For as quickly as Puddy made a
dollar, that's how fast Puddy spent it.
He did a couple of "bits" in his life. When he talked
about his life in jail, he claimed he was deprived of no earthly
pleasures when he did "time," that they, the Mob, had
the Warden on the "pad" and that Max was eating steaks,
drinking whiskey and even enjoying the pleasures of a warm body
that was sent down from the Fleshpots out of Newark.
Had Protected Rumrunners
Puddy had supplied protection to the trucks on the road for Longy,
Doc (Stacher) and Niggy Rutkin during Prohibition. He did have a
few run-ins with other mobs in his life. But he stood well not only
with Quincy, but with Longy as well.
Longy was his Man and he was loyal to perfection with Longy, that
when Longy allegedly hung himself, that Puddy was out with Longy
that night before in the Westwood Restaurant on Pleasant Valley
Way in West Orange.
Puddy's World Comes to End on February 26, 1959
The death of Longy brought Puddy's world to an end. Puddy operated
under the long arm of protection of Abe, as he was called by the
people that knew him, Abe for Abner, and that when Abe passed away
Puddy's 'umbrella of protection' was removed and he found himself
in a rainstorm without coverage.
The numbers business was taken away overnight. Puddy, together
with two others from Newark, were ducking a subpoena and ran to
New York City to hang out all night at the "shvitz," the
Luxor Steam Baths on 46th Street in Manhattan.
Puddy and his two compatriots were ducking a subpoena that the
numbers business, which heretofore had been his domain, was no longer
his upon his return -- that it had been cut up like a pumpkin pie
on the Thanksgiving dinner table. And there was no more pumpkin
pie for Puddy.
* * *
Max Hinkes died April 8, 1995 at the age of 84 in the Meridian
Nursing Home in Westfield.
Three years earlier, in 1992, Hinkes had been honored at a special
tribute by the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah in Livingston. It
was for his leadership participation, decades earlier, in the organized
attacks by Jewish "Minutemen" on Hitler-era pro-Nazi sympathizers
active in the Newark area.
The Star-Ledger carried a report of Hinkes death in the issue
of April 9, 1995.