Otto "Abbadabba" Berman

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Otto Berman (Biederman)

Also Known As: "Adolph", "Otto Biederman", "Otto Berman", "Dutch Otto", "Abba Dabba", "Avisack"
Birthplace: New York, New York, New York, United States
Death: October 24, 1935 (44)
Newark City Hospital, Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States (Homicide by shooting )
Place of Burial: New York, Queens, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Biederman and Matilda Biederman
Husband of Dorothy Berman
Brother of Frederick Biederman and Stella Biederman

Occupation: Accountant, salesman, race track handicapper
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Otto "Abbadabba" Berman

Otto Biederman, known as Otto "Abbadabba" Berman (1889? – October 23, 1935), was an accountant for American organized crime. He is known for coining the phrase "Nothing personal, it's just business."

Berman was born in a Jewish family in New York City. He was well known for his ability to figure complex mathematical equations and algebraic expressions in a matter of seconds, without the use of paper or pen. In the 1930s Berman became the accountant for, and advisor to, gangster Dutch Schultz.

Damon Runyon's best friend was mobster accountant Otto Berman, and he incorporated Berman into several of his stories under the alias "Regret, the horse player." When Berman was killed in a hit on Berman's boss, Dutch Schultz, Runyon quickly assumed the role of damage control for his deceased friend, correcting erroneous press releases, including one that stated Berman was one of Schultz's gunmen, to which Runyon replied,

  • "Otto would have been as effective a bodyguard as a two-year-old."

He was the developer of a betting system that to this day has not been figured out, but he died with a net worth of $7,000. (3)

In the novel Billy Bathgate, Berman appears as the mentor to the main character.


  1. Death Certificate Oct 24, 1935, Newark, New Jersey. Cause of death: "homicide by shooting."
  2. "The Dying Dutchman"
  3. "Nothing Personal"
  4. History of Mafia in United States: Otto Berman
  5. Wikipedia
  6. US Federal Census: 1900, 1910, 1930
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Otto "Abbadabba" Berman's Timeline

August 10, 1891
New York, New York, New York, United States
October 24, 1935
Age 44
Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Age 43
New York, Queens, New York, United States