1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

Born in Germany in 1908 Eugene Weidman started stealing from a young age and even as adults, have not abandoned their criminal habits.

Serving a term of five years in prison for robbery, he met future partners in crime Roger Million and Jean Blanc. After release, all three started to work together, kidnapping and robbing tourists around Paris.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

17 Jun 1938. Eugene Weidman shows police cave in the forest of Fontainebleau in France, where he killed a nurse Janine Keller.

They robbed and killed a young dancer from new York, chauffeur, nurse, theatre producer, anti-Nazi activist and real estate agent.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

21 Dec 1937. Weidmann being taken away in handcuffs after arrest by the police.

The staff of the office of national security eventually tracked Weidmann. One day, after returning home, he found the doors of two waiting police officers. Weidman shot at officers from a pistol, wounding them, but still managed to knock down a perp to the ground and disarm him with a hammer, which lay at the entrance.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

March 24, 1939.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

March 1939. Weidman during the trial.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

March 1939.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

March 1939. The installation of special telephone lines for the court.

The result is a sensational trial Weidman and a Million were sentenced to death, and Blanc, to 20 months in prison. On 16 June 1939 the French President albert Lebrun rejected a petition for clemency Weidmann and replaced the Million death sentence to life imprisonment.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

June 1939. Weidman on the court.

The morning of 17 June 1939, Weidman met in the square outside the prison St. Pierre in Versailles, where he was waiting for the guillotine and the whistle of the crowd.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

17 Jun 1939. The crowd gathers around the guillotine waiting for the execution of Weidmann outside the prison Saint-Pierre.

Among those wishing to watch the execution of the audience was the future famous British actor Christopher Lee, who at the time was 17 years old.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

17 Jun 1939. On the way to the guillotine Weidman passes by a box in which to transport his body.

Weidmann was placed in the guillotine, and the chief executioner of France Jules Henri Deporno without delay lowered the blade.

1939: the last public execution in France by guillotine

17 Jun 1939. Weidman in a guillotine for a second before the blade falls.

Present at the execution the crowd was very unruly and noisy, many of the audience broke through the cordon to wet handkerchiefs in Weidmann's blood as Souvenirs. The scene was so terrible that the French President albert Lebrun had banned public executions, arguing that instead of deterring crime, they contribute to the awakening instincts of the people.

The guillotine was originally invented as a quick and relatively humane killing method, continued to be used in non-public executions until 1977, when in Marseille behind closed doors performed a death sentence of Hamid Djandoubi. The death penalty in France was abolished in 1981.

Keywords: Penalty | France

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