February 18th, 2010 Headsman
On this date in 1960, Romanian anti-communist Oliviu Beldeanu was executed at Jilava prison for a headline-grabbing protest he’d orchestrated in Switzerland five years before.
Beldeanu (here‘s his Romanian Wikipedia page) was the ringleader of a group of Romanian exiles who’d commandeered the Romanian embassy in Bern(e) in February 1955.
The aptly-named Berne Incident was meant to be a symbolic protest — Communist symbols smashed, damaging secret correspondence released, that sort of thing — but it did also result in an embassy driver being shot to death.
These “legionary fascist groups”* and “traitors abroad,” (pdf) (in the official lexicology of Bucharest) were handled fairly gently by Switzerland, predictably keen to stay clear of diplomatic incidents.
Beldeanu et al drew lenient prison sentences from which they were released early.
And that would have been the end of it … but a Communist cloak-and-dagger operation after the ex-cons were freed lured Beldeanu to Berlin. He was kidnapped by the East German Stasi and flown to Romania, there to be subject to a perfunctory trial and speedy execution.
* “Legionary fascist” denunciations — associating the Switzerland activists with Romania’s notorious Iron Guard — cited by Paul Nistor, “The five who scared … America, too. The immediate effects of the attempt in Bern (1955) over the Romanian diplomacy”, Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, Dec. 2009.
On this day..
- 1836: Felipe Santiago Salaverry, President of Peru - 2017
- 1719: Collmore, Hang'd, Quarter'd and his Intrals burn'd - 2016
- Corpses Strewn: Collmore and his gang - 2016
- 1813: W. Clements, War of 1812 deserter - 2015
- 1478: The Duke of Clarence, in a butt of malmsey - 2014
- 1862: Margaret Coghlan, the last woman hanged in Tasmania - 2013
- 1799: Constantine Hangerli, tax man - 2012
- 1957: Walter James Bolton, the last hanged in New Zealand - 2011
- 1957: Dedan Kimathi, Mau Mau commander - 2009
- 1873: Vasil Levski, for Bulgarian independence - 2008