April 21st, 2011 Headsman
On this date in 1988, in its last full year of Communist rule, Poland carried out its last hanging.
In Poland, courts of regular jurisdiction rendered altogether 318 final death sentences between 1956 and 1988 (the last full year of communist rule), that is, on average, 10 death sentences per year … Seven death penalty sentences were passed on average each year in the 1960s; this number almost doubled in the 1970s. The decade of the 1980s was marked by the emergence of Solidarity, the first independent civic body ever in existence in a communist country, by the imposition of Martial Law in December of 1981, and by the repressive political climate in the subsequent years. However, one notices a pronounced decrease in the number of death sentences compared to the previous decade. Altogether sixty such sentences were passed between 1980 and 1988, an average of 7.7 per year … Jaruzelski‘s military regime used more carrots than sticks when dealing with the political opposition.
Though Poland continued to hand out death sentences until the mid-Nineties, a moratorium on actual executions took hold.
One can, of course, never say what shall be for all time; while death penalty abolition was a condition for Poland’s European Union membership, the conservative-nationalist Kaczynski brothers have openly mooted reintroducing capital punishment.
Also on this date
- 1897: William Haas and William Wiley
- 1975: Sisowath Sirik Matak, Cambodian prince
- 1913: Bonnot Gang members, anarchist illegalists
- 1945: The women of the Endphaseverbrechen at Neuengamme
- Themed Set: The Death Rattle of the Third Reich
- 1597: Severyn Nalyvaiko
- 1868: Henry James O'Farrell, would-be assassin
- 1792: Tiradentes, for a Brazilian republic