September 22nd, 2012 Headsman
On this date in 1944, Pietro Caruso was shot to death by a firing squad for his reign as the head of police in fascist Rome.
Subject of the first war crimes trial in Allied-occupied Italy, Caruso almost wasn’t around long enough to make this blog: an angry mob invaded the courtroom where he was tried just days earlier, attempting to lynch him.
Authorities managed to safeguard the war criminal, but the mob sated its bloodlust by grabbing another fascist who had turned state’s evidence and was all set to testify against Caruso until he was hauled out and drowned in the Tiber.
Apparently they didn’t need his evidence anyway.
The war, of course, was not yet over … and in northern Italy’s ongoing fascist enterprise, the blackshirts conducted retaliatory executions to retaliate for executing Caruso for retaliatory executions.
* Caruso’s defense: the Nazis had demanded 80 prisoners of him for this reprisal execution. Caruso moderated it to 50. David Broder would have approved.
Also on this date
- 1692: The Salem witch trials' last hangings
- 1909: Les Chauffeurs de la Drome
- 1675: Little John
- 1913: Ernest Austin, the last hanged in Queensland
- 2006: Three Sulawesi Christians
- 1776: Nathan Hale, with regrets