My first ET entry for May: 100-pound, 70-year-old Heinrich Fuhrmann, the oldest man even hanged in Montana. Fuhrmann’s daughter had died (of natural causes) and he blamed her husband for it, and shot the man to death in midday on Main Street in front of a bunch of witnesses.
Archive for the ‘historical’ Category
Today I commemorate Wilhelm Kusserow, a who was executed on this day in 1940 for refusing to serve in the army in Nazi Germany. He was a Jehovah’s Witness and his faith prohibited military service. His brother would later meet with the same fate, for the same reason.
This will be my last Executed Today entry for this month. I had quite a few, five I think, for April. And four upcoming for May: an embittered father, a doctor who was as kind to his patients as he was a terror to his wife, a freed slave with extensive knowledge of the Bible, and a rapist who went back and murdered his victim after he got out of prison. All of them murderers, with seven victims between them.
Another Executed Today post by me: Bill Brown, Sonny Crain and John Watson, who were hanged in McMinnville, Tennessee on this day in 1900.
And here is my post about him on Executed Today. Alaska doesn’t have many executions to write about and hasn’t had any at all since it became a state sixty years ago. But Mr. Segura committed quite an ordinary, forgettable murder which I wouldn’t have found worth writing about were it not for the fact that he was from Montenegro, a tiny Balkan kingdom 5,000 miles away, and I thought that was kind of unique.
Turns out there were quite a few Montenegrins in Alaska (relatively speaking) in the early 20th century, and there are about 80,000 people of Montenegrin descent living in America today, about a quarter of them in Anchorage. Now, 80,000 Montenegrin-Americans make a pretty small ethnic minority compared to, say, Irish-Americans or Chinese-Americans, but you have to consider that the present-day nation of Montenegro has only 300,000 citizens. Consider this your historigraphical lesson for the day.
…in a single post of mine on Executed Today. It’s another Holocaust one; you know that’s my specialty. All of them were Polish Jews, and hanged in pairs: two from the Sosnowiec Ghetto and two from the Bedzin Ghetto.
The father and son who died in Sosnowiec 71 years ago today have a cameo in Maus, Art Spiegelman’s famous graphic novel about the his father’s journey through the Holocaust. I read Maus for school over ten years ago, but I’ve just about forgotten it. I ought to pick it up again.
I wrote to the woman whose book was the principal source for the info in today’s entry. I told her about the entry, and also told her about an upcoming one that will cite her book as a source and quote from it. Speaking as the administrator as the Charley Project, thank-you notes mean a lot to me. I get them from family members, police officers, and sometimes even just random people who stumble across my site. I get two or three a week on average, I guess. (These communications far outnumber the critical emails I get or the emails from crazy people, but I don’t write about the thank-yous much because it sounds like I’m bragging or just out for my own glory or something, and I don’t think the thank yous are nearly as interesting to write about.) It boosts my spirits to know that my efforts are appreciated and I’m making a positive difference in the world. This isn’t the first time I’ve contacted a scholar to thank them for helping my Executed Today research; I figure they deserve to know they’re appreciated, too.
Also on executed on this day in 1942: Sergeant Anton Schmid, a German soldier who helped save Jews in Lithuania and was later honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. He saved hundreds of lives at the cost of his own. My Executed Today entry for him was posted two years ago.
On April 7, 1933, the grandparents, uncle and one cousin of a Russian boy named Pavel Morozov were shot for his murder. And that’s just about the only thing we know for sure about this case, which I think is a fascinating one, particularly for those interested in Stalin’s Russia. Not so much the murder itself, but what resulted from it.
I worked really hard on this Executed Today entry. I actually started writing it eighteen months ago, back in October/November 2011. You’ll recall that in this entry I talked about a “writing project” I’d been working on:
I discovered I’d apparently tried to work on it after I took the pills: there were pages and pages of complete gibberish. I couldn’t make any sense of it and wound up having to rewrite it all.
Well, this entry was the writing project I’d been working on when I had that crisis that left me with a scar on my hand and a story. I actually completely rewrote the entry twice. The first time was because I’d messed it all up as explained above. The second time was after I read Catriona Kelly’s book (I wrote my first draft of the Morozov entry having read only Druzhnikov’s book) and realized I had to do some serious re-thinking. It’s an unbelievably complicated story and Kelly had such different conclusions than Druzhnikov.
Anyway, I think the entry turned out very well. In addition to all the work I put into it, the Headsman (the guy who runs the Executed Today blog) made some minor edits of his own, mostly making the writing clearer and cleaner. I’m proud of the results here; I think I told Pavlik’s story as thoroughly and succinctly as I could.
This one from 1751 in England: Mary Blandy, who poisoned her father with arsenic at the behest of her boyfriend. She admitted having done this but claimed her boyfriend had told her the arsenic was a magical powder that would make her father like him and allow the couple to marry. One of those “truth is stranger than fiction” things. To this day, opinion remains divided as to whether Mary Blandy was really that much of an idiot, or whether she was a conniving murderess, or something in between.
Counting this one, I actually have six Executed Today entries running this month. I’ve got one tomorrow, and on the 13th, the 15th, the 25th and the 27th. What fun!
And I’ll repeat last year’s tale of my favorite historical “prank”: Hersh Smolar, Jewish-Communist resistance leader in the Minsk Ghetto, faked his own death on this day 71 years ago to escape the Nazis. This plan would not have worked had the Nazis not been complete morons. This “a bloodstained identity card is good enough for us, we don’t need to see the body” business would not pass muster in a movie or a novel, but it worked flawlessly in real life.
WTG, Master Aryan Race. Snort.
Another blog post by me: Emeline Meaker, the first woman (of two) hanged in Vermont. I like to point to cases like this when people try to say child abuse is a sign of the depravity of modern life. Alice Meaker’s murder was every bit as horrific as any child abuse homicide you’d find splashed across the headlines today. Also note the complicity of the neighbors, another factor in many such modern murders.
This time it’s a federal case: George Barrett, who was hanged in 1936 for shooting an FBI agent. He was the first to die for that particular offense. The agent was shot in Ohio, but Barrett fired his gun from 22 feet over the Indiana state line.
Barrett’s death was society’s gain. Before he murdered Agent Klein he was a car thief and, in all probability, a three-time killer, though the jury waffled at every homicide trial.