November 27th, 2007 Headsman
On this date in 1987, according to the sentence read to him in the climactic scene of The Decalogue no. 5,* fictional Polish criminal Jacek Lazar was condemned to hang for the senseless murder of a taxi driver.
The movie, plainly reflecting the director’s opposition to the death penalty, is the most overtly political of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s ten-film cycle exploring the themes of the Ten Commandments. But it is far from tendentious.
The supposed date of the actual execution, depicted here, is not identified.
If one credits the dates, this hanging would be among the last performed in Poland. After April 1988, death sentences were no longer carried out, and Poland formally abolished the death penalty in the late 90’s — thanks in no small part to this film.
* Or Dekalog, per its Polish rendering. This particular installation of the series is also referred to as “A Short Film About Killing”.
Also on this date
- 602: Emperor Maurice and all his heirs
- 1835: John Smith and James Pratt, the last hanged for sodomy in Great Britain
- 1937: Eero Haapalainen, former Finnish Red Guard commander
- 1674: The Chevalier de Rohan and Franciscus van den Enden
- 1911: Ah Q
- 1871: Eight Cuban medical students