Archive for Assassination

31 January 1923 – Eligiusz Niewiadomski

Posted in Firing squad with tags , , , on January 31 by Old Sparky

Eligiusz Niewiadomski

Polish right-winger Eligiusz Niewiadomski was executed in 1923 for assassinating Poland’s first President.

He was sentenced to death for shooting Gabriel Narutowicz at an art exhibition in Warsaw.

Known for his modernist paintings, art critic Niewiadomski was a member of the right-wing National Democratic Party in the early 1900s. But he became disaffected after they lost the first election.

No chance

Poland was a young nation and went on to elect its first President in the shape of Narutowicz. Indeed he was inaugurated on 16 December 1922. But a mere five days later, he was dead.

Niewiadomski was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by a firing squad. His execution took place at the Citadel in Warsaw and he was buried at the city’s Powązki Cemetery.

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19 December 1932 – Yoon Bong-Gil

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , on December 19 by Old Sparky

Yoon Bong Gil

Yoon Bong Gil

Yoon Bong-Gil, a 24-year-old Korean, was sentenced to death for attempting to kill the Japanese Emperor Hirohito.

His attempt to blow up the emperor may have failed, but he killed a number of other dignitaries in the fallout.

He was executed in Japan and buried there in 1932, but his body has since been exhumed and reburied in Korean after he was given a posthumous order of merit for his actions.

Also on this day

19 December 2000 – David Dewayne Johnson
19 December 1904 – Edmund Hall

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14 November 1949 – Nathuram Godse

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , , , on November 14 by Old Sparky

Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Godse gained notoriety for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948.

He along with other activists believed that Gandhi’s actions played to the minorities rather than defending the majority Hindu interests when India and Pakistan were split.

So ultimately, they felt he was partly responsible for the violent Indian Partition that killed hundreds of thousands of Indian people. He was hanged at Ambala Prison for the close-range shooting of the peace-loving Indian icon in 1949.

In the Attenborough epic Gandhi the part of Godse was played by Harsh Nayyar.

Also on this day

14 November 1226 – Count Frederick of Isenberg
14 November 2002 – Mir Aimal Kansi

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29 October 1901 – Leon Frank Czolgosz

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair with tags , , , , , on October 29 by Last Writes
Leon Czolgosz

Leon Czolgosz

The electric chair in Auburn was the final destination for today’s date with death.

A frisson (or three) of electricity was reserved for the demise of an American assassin.

Leon Frank Czolgosz was thrust into the arms of Old Sparky after he bumped off President McKinley in the 1890s.

Two shots found their mark, but neither was fatal in itself. Instead McKinley had one bullet removed and the gangrene set in. It was complications like this that led to the death of what was proving to be a strong leader.

Such was his steer that the president was able to bring America out of a troubled economic spell and even had time to turn his hand to foreign affairs – annexing the Philippines and Hawaii among others and preventing Spain from riding roughshod over Cuba by setting up a protectorate.

Sounds impressive huh? Of course, that renders Czolgosz’s actions nonsensical, until you find out that his motive was anarchy.

But where he differed from most anarchists was that he achieved it via violence. He was a prime example of disaffected youth. Having been bullied at school, he turned into a loner. Czolgosz was one of seven children born to Polish parents and he and his brothers were laid off work prompting his actions to be fuelled by resentment.

He fell in with the anarchists, but even they acknowledged he was a trigger-happy extremist.

Czolgosz was captured after the killing and sent to trial. Bizarrely, he refused to engage in dialogue with his own lawyers making any defence impossible. So, according to a report in Wikipedia, the whole episode took just eight and a half hours.

The sentence was death and the method, the chair.

As Czolgosz took his seat, his last words reflected how unrepentant he was, stating simply that McKinley ‘was the enemy of the good people – the good working people’.

But little did he know that it was same good people who may well have torn his corpse limb from limb through sheer animosity. That’s why his brother was apparently denied his request to bury Czolgosz.

Instead, once executed, his fried body was dumped in a coffin along with sulphuric acid to speed up decomposition. It worked a treat – he was mush within 12 hours apparently.

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31 August 1593 – Pierre Barrière

Posted in Breaking wheel, Death penalty, Dismemberment with tags , , , on August 31 by Last Writes

Pierre Barrière failed in his attempt to kill King Henry IV of France, but he lost his life nevertheless.

Despite having the love and respect of his people for his humour and kindness as well as his work towards a religiously tolerant society, Henry was subject to a few assassination attempts.

According to Eric Nelson in the ‘Jesuits and the Monarchy’, E Pasquier – a writer of the day reckoned that the Jesuit preachers were instrumental in provoking such assassination attempts. After all, it was a Jesuit who was to stitch our man up.

Peter out

Barrière was one such opportunist and he tried to kill the king on 27 August 1593, yet failed. A former solider from the Orleanais, he would have walked away had he not gone to confession.

The unsuspecting Barrière revealed all to a Dominican priest – Father Varade – in a bid to get absolution.

According to E Pasquier in the snappily entitled book ‘Bref discours du process criminal fait à Pierre Barrière, dit la Barre, natif d’Orléans’ Varade encouraged him to confess. So he ‘revealed his bad will and intention, which the Jesuit praised, telling him that it was a good thing, among other similar things, and exhorting him to be courageous, to be steadfast, and to confess, go to Easter mass and take communion’.

Broken down

Yeah right… Barrière never made it as far as Easter 1594. Instead he was promptly shopped for his indiscretion and arrested on 27 August 1593. It took just four days to convict and execute the would-be assassin.

As a so-called regicide, Barrière’s death was painstakingly slow and torturous. First he was slung on the breaking wheel where his limbs were pulverised, then his broken body was cut down and he was dismembered.

And if you were wondering what happened to Henry IV, well, eventually an assassin plotted to kill him and was successful. His name was Francois Ravaillac – see what torturous fate befell him…

Also on this day

31 August 1995 – Barry Lee Fairchild

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25 August 1936 – Grigory Zinoviev

Posted in Death penalty, Shot with tags , , on August 25 by Last Writes



Whoever said you can’t be done for the same crimes twice? Try telling that to the between-world-war Russians.

Not content with doling out a 10-year sentence, the Russian government cooked up a whole new set of crimes to try an already convicted Grigory Zinoviev again.

The supposed criminal was already in jail for allegedly killing Sergei Kirov thanks to his being stitched up by the Stalin-led Communist Party. But his guilt was questionable.

Wipe out

The Russian dictator was great at wiping out any sign of opposition. Indeed numerous sources state that it was Stalin who actually had had Kirov assassinated as he posed a threat to Stalin’s rule.

That’s how Zinoviev’s card became marked too. He was once an active member of the ‘Old’ Bolsheviks and had helped get Stalin to the position of power. Though they didn’t like Stalin’s activities, most of the hardliners bit their tongues while one lone voice stood out – Trotsky famously took a firm stance against the tyranny of the new dictatorship.

He was exiled for his pains and was eventually assassinated. Meanwhile Zinoviev towed the party line. He was expelled a couple of times and even publically ate humble pie so he could be readmitted into the party.


Litle did he known that Stalin was biding his time before Zinoviev and other key left-wing revolutionaries were fitted up with crimes implicating them as murderers. He stood accused of being a member of an organisation that had planned Kirov’s assassination.

A series of show trials took place known as the ‘Trial of the Sixteen’ (or the trial of the ‘Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre’) in Moscow and they became part of Stalin’s infamous great purges – a bid to wipe out the very revolutionaries who’d helped put him in power, following the overthrow of royalty in the shape of Tsar Nicholas II.

The Bolshevik supporters were had up on ridiculous charges, none of which would have held water in a kosher court of law. But there was nothing real about this scam. The 48-year-old along with 15 others like him were shot, including Lev Kamanev.

In a posthumous rethink, the Russian goverment made an about-turn and the men were cleared of all wrong-doings during the period in 1988 known as ‘Perestroika’. The problem was that it was way too late for those who’d senselessly lost their lives.

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20 August 1897 – Michele Angiolillo Lombardi

Posted in Death penalty, Garrotte with tags , , , on August 20 by Old Sparky

Michele Angiolillo

Michele Angiolillo

Italian assassin Michele Angiolillo Lombardi was executed for killing the Spanish Prime Minister at the end of the 19th century.

Angiolillo was sentenced to death for shooting Antonio Cánovas del Castillo in revenge for the PM’s harsh and swift reprisal against numerous Spanish activists. The Prime Minister’s wife ran in on the crime in Mondragón, Guipúzcoa and alerted everyone by branding him a murderer.


The Italian replied ‘Pardon, Madame. I respect you as a lady, but I regret that you were the wife of that man.’

The authorities caught up with him and wasted no time condemning him to death. He was garrotted in true Spanish style in Vergara. Angiolillo was just 26 years old.

Also on this day

20 August 1901 – John Joyce

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