The death of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.

pRINCE OF wALES

On October 3rd 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be tried for what later would become high treason against a king, hewas also the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

On Palm Sunday 1282 Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked Hawarden Castle, in so doing, thereby starting the final conflict with Plantagenet-ruled England,King Edward I(Edward the Longshanks), in the course of which Welsh independence was lost.

On 22 June, Dafydd and his younger son Owain ap Dafydd were captured at Nanhysglain, a secret hiding place in a bog by Bera Mountain to the south of Abergwyngregyn. Dafydd, who was seriously wounded in the struggle to arrest him, was conveyed that night to King Edward’s camp at Rhuddlan. Dafydd was taken from there to Chester. Dafydd’s wife Elizabeth de Ferrers, their seven daughters, and their infant niece, Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, were also taken prisoner at the same time.

On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for “his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion”, and then his body cut into four-quarters “for plotting the king’s death”. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.

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Sources

http://www.deeside.com/palm-sunday-736-years-ago-dafydd-ap-gruffydd-attacked-hawarden-castle/

http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/dafydd_grufydd.html

https://biography.wales/article/s-DAFY-APG-1283

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The brave words from a Mother to her Daughter.

olga

This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking because it is a story about a mother who knew she was going to die. Uplifting because her last words were so positive and courageous, despite the fate that awaited her.

Olga Bancic was born on May 10, 1912 to a large Jewish family living in the Bessarabia province when it was still part of the Russian Empire.

In 1936, she traveled to France, where she supported communist activists in transporting weapons to Spanish Republican forces fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Shortly before the outbreak of WWII she gave birth to her Daughter Dolores, the child’s father was Alexandru Jar. After the outbreak of the war Olga left Dolores in care with a French family. Olga joined a resistance group.

She was arrested on November 6, 1943 by the Gestapo, during the interrogation she was tortured.Despite the torture she refused  give information about her comrades.

On February 22,1944 Olga and 22 others were sentenced to death. All male defendants were executed later that day at Fort Mont-Valérien. Olga had been the only female defendant and due to a loophole in the French law which prevented women from being executed on French soil, Olga was deported to Stuttgart. She was executed in Stuttgart on May 10,1944 , her 32nd birthday. She was decapitated with an axe in the local prison’s courtyard.

One of her last deeds was throwing a letter out of a window during her transportation to her place of execution. The letter had a note attached to it saying.:

“Dear Madame: I ask you to please give this letter to my little girl Dolores Jacob after the war. This is the last wish of a mother who will only live twelve more hours.”

Miraculously the letter did reach Dolores, who had been given the name Dolores Jacob, the letter said the following:

“My dear little daughter, my darling little love

Your mother is writing the last letter, my dear little daughter; tomorrow at 6:00, on May 10, I will be no more.

Don’t cry, my love; your mother doesn’t cry any more either. I die with a peaceful conscience and with the firm conviction that tomorrow you will have a happier life and future than your mother’s. You will no longer have to suffer. Be proud of your mother, my little love. I always have your image before me.

I’m going to believe that you will see your father, and I have hope that he’ll meet a fate different from mine. Tell him that I always thought of him, as I always thought of you. I love you both with all my heart. Both of you are dear to me. My darling child, your father is, for you, also a mother. He loves you a lot. You won’t feel the loss of your mother. My darling child, I finish this letter with the hope that you will be happy all your life, with your father, with everyone.

I kiss you with all my heart, a lot a lot.

Farewell my love.

Your Mother”

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The execution of 9 Polish farmers.

notification

I would love to explain the exact reason why these 9 Polish men were executed on November 25,1941. But I can’t.

Looking at the text of the German announcement which was signed by the by the governor of Lublin district,all that the announcement indicates is that the men did not fulfill their quota and were therefor in breach of Article 1 of the  Kriegswirtschafts verordnung , War Economy Regulation. which states:

“Anyone who destroys, disposes of, or withholds raw materials or products that belong to the vital needs of the population, and thereby maliciously endangers the cover of this need, will be punished with a prison sentence or in particularly severe cases can be sentenced to death.”

This law was of course deliberately vague so that the Nazis could apply it in whatever way they wanted to.

These 9 men were likely executed for keeping some food for themselves or their family.

The law stayed in place until after the war. It was finally replaced in 1949 by the Economic Criminal Law

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Source

Bundesarchiv

 

The brutal execution of Robert-François Damiens.

damiens

Regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a person of royalty. Through the ages there have been a great number of regicides, the last one happened this century. In June 1,2001 the Nepalese Royal Family was allegedly massacred by Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal.

However this blog is about a failed regicide. On On 5 January 1757 French King Louis XV was stabbed by Robert-François Damiens. The king survived the attempt possible because of the layers of clothing he was wearing, in the midst of winter.

luois xv

Guards had captured Robert-François Damiens but the King ordered him not be harmed, well at least not yet.

Damiens was jailed and was tortured in jail in order to ascertain if there were any accomplices to the assassination attempt.

On March 28,1757  Damiens was fetched from jail. He supposedly said “The day will be hard” and how right he was.

He was initially  tortured in where his legs were painfully compressed by devices called “boots”. The tortured then continued with red-hot pincers; the hand with which he had used to hold the knife during the assassination attempt was burned using sulfur. Then molten wax, molten lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds.

He was sentenced to death by drawing and quartering and was subsequently  brought to the royal executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, who harnessed horses to Damiens’s  arms and legs to be dismembered. Damiens’ limbs however,did not separate easily: the officiants ordered Sanson to cut Damiens’ tendons, and once that was done the horses were able to perform the dismemberment.Once Damiens was dismembered, to the applause of the crowd, his reportedly still-living torso was burnt at the stake.

sentence

Damiens was the last person  to be executed in France by drawing and quartering,

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The executions of the German invaders.

pASTORIUS

Operation Pastorius will mean not much too most people. It is one of those forgotten WWII operations. Forgotten because it was a complete failure.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1942, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, and other materials to support a prolonged career of 2 years in sabotaging  American defense-related production.

u-202

On June 17, 1942, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption.

8 men

Two of them, Ernst Burger and Herbert Haupt, although born in Germany had obtained American citizenship as they had lived in the US, but both had returned to Germany.

 

The others, George John Dasch, Edward John Kerling, Richard Quirin, Heinrich Harm Heinck, Hermann Otto Neubauer, and Werner Thiel, had previously worked at various jobs in the United States.Their mission was to wreak havoc but it failed.

After they arrived they buried their explosives, primers and incendiaries,  along with their uniforms, and put on civilian clothes to begin an expected two-year campaign in the sabotage of American defense-related production.

Shortly after landing Dasch was discovered in the dunes by an unarmed Coast Guardsman John C. Cullen, Dasch seized Cullen by the collar, threatened him, and then gave Cullen $260 .Cullen reported the incident to his superiors after returning to his station. The area was searched and the Coast Guard then discovered German equipment buried in the beach and reported it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the FBI.

buried

A massive manhunt for the German agents was conducted; however, they did not know where exactly the Germans were going.

In the mean time Dasch had lost his nerve ,his resolution to be a saboteur for the Fatherland turned out to be too much for him,perhaps he figured the whole project so big as to be impractical and wanted to protect himself before some of his companions took action on similar doubts. He advised Burger his plansto confess everything.

On the evening of June 14, 1942, Dasch, giving the name “Pastorius” contacted the FBI office in New York claiming he had recently arrived from Germany, and he wanted to talk directly to the head of the FBI,  J. Edgar Hoover.

hoover

When the FBI agent was trying to figure out if he was talking to a nut case, Dasch hung up. Four days later, he took a train to Washington, D.C. and checked in at the Mayflower Hotel. Dasch walked into FBI headquarters, asked to speak with Director Hoover. He alluded to his prior call as “Pastorius” (of which Headquarters was aware) and furnished his location.He eventually spoke to Assistant Director D.M. Ladd and  was immediately taken into custody.

Besides Burger, none of the other German agents knew they were betrayed. Over the next two weeks, Burger and the other six were arrested.

Thinking that a civilian court would be too lenient on the men, President Roosevelt issued Executive Proclamation 2561 on 2 July 1942 creating a military tribunal to prosecute the Germans. Placed before a seven-member military commission, the Germans were charged with the following offenses:

1) Violating the law of war;
2) Violating Article 81 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of corresponding with or giving intelligence to the enemy;
3) Violating Article 82 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of spying; and
4) Conspiracy to commit the offenses alleged in the first three charges.

From July 8 to August 4, 1942. The trial was held in the Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C.

All were found guilty and sentenced to death. However Roosevelt commuted Burger’s sentence to life in prison and Dasch’s to 30 years because they had turned themselves in and provided information about the others.

The remaining 6 were executed by electric chair on August 8,1942.

transport

 

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Sources

History Net

FBI

 

Michael Kitzelmann, his conscience got the better of him.

Michael Kitzelmann

It would be absurd to say that every German soldier was bad. There were some who saw what was happening and protested against it and paid the ultimate price for it.

Michael Kitzelmann had been a loyal soldier of the Wehrmacht. He was company commander at the age of  24,  and was awarded the Iron Cross,Second Class for bravery in battle. He was also a devout Catholic.  In letters to his parents and in talks with his fellow soldiers he would be critical  of war and destruction of those responsible,during Operation Barbarossa.Russland, Halbkettenfahrzeug mit Geschütz

Between January and May 1942 he was assigned  to a unit combating  partisans in Russia, where he witnessed  atrocities committed by  the Einsatzgruppen  on the Russian population and against the Jews.

Traumatized and shocked by these experiences he started to re-examine his conscience. He to detest the Nazis and openly criticize commands.

His attitude resulting from a Christian rejection of war and the Nazi leaders responsible became  apparent in his letters home and discussions with fellow soldiers.

A  comrade betrayed  him in March 1942, whilst he  was being treated for an injury in a hospital. Kitzelmann was subsequently arrested in April 1942.  On Good Friday 1942,he was  sentenced to death for undermining military force.

He  was executed  by firing squad on 11 June 1942 in Oryol prison.Before his execution, he forgave the sergeant who had betrayed him.

Orel_Tsentral-Prison_in_old

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The day that evil and arrogance was hung.

Eichmann

On May 31st 1962 Adolf Eichmann was executed for his crimes by hanging.

I have read a lot about Eichmann and have seen a lot of documentaries. He was a particularly evil man, he never showed any remorse for all the crimes he committed or ordered to be carried out. Throughout his trial he remained arrogant.

Adolf Eichmann’s last words, before he was hanged  were “I hope that all of you will follow me,”

arrogance

Eichmann was one of the architects of the Holocaust. On January 20 1942, he  met with top Nazi officials at the Wansee Conference near Berlin.The conference marked a turning point in Nazi policy toward the Jews. Plans to transport Jews to Madagascar was abandoned, as were other plans for relocation. The focus was on the final solution, the eradication of the Jews.

The most disturbing aspect of the conference was the business like attitude adopted for the mass extermination of millions of people.

wannsee

During the Nuremberg Trials, Rudolf Höss the commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, testified that Heinrich Himmler had instructed Höss to receive all operational instructions for the implementation of the Final Solution from Eichmann.

After the war Eichmann escaped ,as so many other Nazi war criminals, to Argentina. He had used an alias ,Ricardo Klement, However on 11 May 1960, he was captured by Mossad agents. near his home on Garibaldi Street in San Fernando, Buenos Aires, and was shipped off to Israel.

800px-WP_Eichmann_Passport

On April 11, 1961, Eichmann’s  was put on trial  in Jerusalem. It would the first televised trial in history. He  faced 15 charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes. According to him he was just following orders, But the panel of Judges Benjamin Halevy, Moshe Landau, and Yitzhak Ravehthe judges disagreed, and found him guilty on all counts on December 15 and sentencing him to die. On May 31, 1962.

1024px-Eichman_Trial_judges

The hanging had been scheduled for midnight on 31 May, but was slightly delayed and thus took place a few minutes past 12:00 a.m.His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.

I was going to include a picture of the hanging, but decided against it, because there will always be some misguided fool who would have sympathy for his dangling body.

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The Pianist who spoke his mind and was killed for it.

663097073

Regardless how talented you were, or how much value you could add to the German culture, if you didn’t comply to the Nazi ideology or dared to criticize it, you stood a good chance of getting executed.

Karlrobert Kreiten born 26 June 1916,  in Bonn, Germany) was a Dutch-German pianist,  holding Dutch citizenship his short life because of his Dutch father. He was a promising pianist, described by conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler as the most talented young pianist in Germany.

concert announcement

He made his debut at the age of eleven with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major in a live broadcast. His father was a Dutch composer and pianist, and his mother was a classical singer who performed under the stage name Emmy Kreiten-Barido. Karlrobert studied with the Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau in Berlin, and at the Music Academy.

son & mother

In early 1943 Kreiten moved to Berlin and began practising for his upcoming concerts at the house of his mother’s friend Ellen Ott-Monecke, who had offered her salon and piano until he would  find suitable accommodation.

Ellen Ott-Monecke who was a fanatic Nazi supporter,unbeknownst to Kreiten, one day he relayed his views on Hitler to Ott-Monecke. He had told her that Hitler was ‘brutal, sick and insane,’ and was responsible for starting the war. He also continued saying  that there would be a revolution in which Hitler, Goering and Goebbels would be ‘made a head shorter.’

Ellen Ott-Monecke reported this to the Gestapo He was indicted at the Volksgerichtshof (the ‘People’s Court’) for being a ‘threat to victory,’ and sentenced to death.

Volksgerichtshof, Reinecke, Freisler, Lautz

Roland Freisler,, presided over the trial and stated that Kreiten’s crime was ‘public’ and he could therefore face the death sentence. Freisler wanted to make an example of Kreiten at the trial, commenting  that, “whoever acts as Kreiten did, is doing precisely as our enemies wish. He becomes the henchman in their war of nerves against the steadfastness of our people”

071712_4-1

Friends and family desperately tried to save his life, but alas to no avail. The Kreiten family  only accidentally learned, via an anonymous phone call.  that Karlrobert had been executed by hanging, with 185 other inmates, at Plötzensee prison, om September 7 1943.

1024px-Jsa_ploetzensee_torhaus

Press coverage of the trial painted the pianist as a traitor, including articles written by Nazi propagandist Werner Höfer.  When the false articles by Werner Höfer  about Kreiten became known to a wider public  in 1987 he had to retire.

in convert

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Sources

holocaustmusic.ort.org

 

 

 

 

 

The assassination of a British Prime Minister.

John Bellingham assassinating the Rt Hon Spencer Perceval in the Lobby of the House of Commons, 11 May 1812

British politics is probably the most intriguing politics in the world. With all its traditions and even the sometimes humorous debates in the house of commons are often fascinating.

However what many people don’t know that in 1812 on the 11th of May the only ever assassination of a British Prime minister took place.

assassination

 

Spencer Perceval, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, was shot and killed in the lobby of the House of Commons in London, around  17:15 pm  Hisassassint was John Bellingham, a  merchant from Liverpool who had a bone to pick  with the government. Bellingham was arrested and, four days after the murder, was put on , convicted and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Newgate Prison one week later on 18 May.

Newgate_West_View_of_Newgate_by_George_Shepherd_1784-1862_edited

As the Prime Minsiterl entered the lobby of the House of Commons a number of people were gathered around in conversation as was common practice. Many turned to look at him as he came through the doorway. No-one noticed as the quiet man stood up from beside the fire place, removing a pistol from his inner pocket . Nor did anyone notice as the man walked calmly towards the Prime Minister. When he was close enough, without saying a word, the man shot his gun directly at the Prime Minister’s chest. The Prime Minister staggered forward before falling to the ground, calling out as he did so words that witnesses later recalled in different ways as: “I am murdered!” or ‘Murder, Murder’ or ‘Oh God!’ or ‘Oh my God!”

Assassination_of_Spencer_Perceval

 

John Bellingham was a businessman in his forties, who in 1804 had been falsely imprisoned for debt in Russia. The British embassy would not help him and when he was released in 1809 he returned to England seeking compensation from the British government, which kept turning him down.

On Friday 15 May 1812  John Bellingham  got his day in court, but only to answer a charge of murder. The trial took place in a crowded court room at the Old Bailey, presided over by Sir James Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.

Old_Bailey_Microcosm_edited

Bellingham was denied to plead insanity and was found guilty of murder, executed by public hanging at Newgate .

The execution was fixed for the morning of Monday 18 May , his body was then  handed over to the anatomists to be dissected.Bellingham’s skull was preserved at Barts Pathology Museum

Hangin_outside_Newgate_Prison

Perceval, meanwhile, was brought in an impressive funeral procession from Downing Street to Charlton, to be buried in a family vault at St Luke’s.

Spencer_Perceval_(1762-1812)_Prime_Minister_lived_here

 

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Sources

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The Guardian

Pádraig Pearse’s letter to his Mother.

Patrick_PearseBorn in Dublin on Great Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street), he was educated by the Christian Brothers at Westland Row, before taking a scholarship to the Royal University (University College Dublin) to study law.

1024px-Birthplace_of_Patrick_and_William_Pearse

He was one of only 30 people to know that the Rising would take place in the days building up to Easter 1916. Pearse, who had been secretly planning the insurrection for two years beforehand, even kept his plans hidden from the highest leaders in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, including Eoin MacNeill, the Chief of Staff of the IRB.

When the Easter Rising eventually began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, it was Pearse who read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from outside the General Post Office, the headquarters of the Rising. Pearse was the person most responsible for drafting the Proclamation, and he was chosen as President of the Republic.10411373_10204883272621713_7276958758852942451_n

After six days of fighting, heavy civilian casualties and great destruction of property, Pearse issued the order to surrender.

Pearse and fourteen other leaders, including his brother Willie, were court-martialled and executed by firing squad. Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh and Pearse himself were the first of the rebels to be executed, on the morning of 3 May 1916. Pearse was 36 years old at the time of his death. Roger Casement, who had tried unsuccessfully to recruit an insurgent force among Irish-born prisoners of war from the Irish Brigade in Germany, was hanged in London the following August.

On May 1st, 2 days before his execution Pearse wrote the following letter to his Mother.

“My dear Mother, You will I know have been longing to hear from me. I do not know how much you have heard since the last note I sent you from the G.P.O.

GPO
On Friday evening the Post Office was set on fire and we had to abandon it. We dashed into Moore Street and remained in the houses in Moore St. on Saturday evening? We then found that we were surrounded by troops and that we had practically no food.
We decided in order to prevent further slaughter of the civilian population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, to ask the General Commanding the British Forces to discuss terms. He replied that he would receive me only if I surrendered unconditionally and this I did. I was taken to the Headquarters of the British Command in Ireland and there I wrote and signed an order to our men to lay down their arms.surrender

All this I did in accordance with the decision of our Provisional Government who were with us in Moore St. My own opinion was in favour of one more desperate sally before opening negotiations, but I yielded to the majority, and I think now the majority was right, as the sally would have resulted only in losing the lives of perhaps 50 or 100 of our men, and we should have had to surrender in the long run as we were without food.
I was brought in here on Saturday evening and later all the men with us in Moore St. were brought here. Those in the other parts of the City have, I understand, been taken to other barracks and prisons. All here are safe and well. Willie and all the St. Enda’s boys are here. I have not seen them since Saturday, but I believe they are all well and that they are not now in any danger. Our hope and belief is that the Government will spare the lives of all our followers, but we do not expect that they will spare the lives of the leaders. We are ready to die and we shall die cheerfully and proudly. Personally I do not hope or even desire to live, but I do hope and desire and believe that the lives of all our followers will be saved including the lives dear to you and me (my own excepted) and this will be a great consolation to me when dying.
You must not grieve for all this. We have preserved Ireland’s honour and our own. Our deeds of last week are the most splendid in Ireland’s history. People will say hard things of us now, but we shall be remembered by posterity and blessed by unborn generations. You too will be blessed because you were my mother.
If you feel you would like to see me, I think you will be allowed to visit me by applying to the Headquarters, Irish Command, near the Park. I shall I hope have another opportunity of writing to you.
Love to W.W., MB., Miss Byrne, . . . and your own dear self. P.
P.S. I understand that the German expedition which I was counting on actually set sail but was defeated by the British.”expedition

The letter to his Mother weren’t his last written words. On the day of his execution he wrote a poem called the Wayfarer.

It reads:

The beauty of the world hath made me sad, 
This beauty that will pass; 
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy 
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree 
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk, 
Or little rabbits in a field at evening, 
Lit by a slanting sun, 
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by 
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown 
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven; 
Or children with bare feet upon the sands 
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets 
Of little towns in Connacht, 
Things young and happy. 
And then my heart hath told me: 
These will pass, 
Will pass and change, will die and be no more, 
Things bright and green, things young and happy; 
And I have gone upon my way 
Sorrowful.

The executioner claimed that Pearse whistled as he came out of the cell.

800px-Statue_padraig_pearse

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