January 5th, 2017 Headsman
A figure nearly forgotten outside of Poland and not well-known within, Jaros is mostly written about in Polish as the links in this post will attest. His affair was quietly handled at the time, and that has sufficed to consign him to obscurity even in the post-Communist Poland.
On December 3, 1961, with the First Secretary in the mining town of Zagorze for a St. Barbara’s Day coal mine ribbon-cutter, Jaros set off a homemade bomb concealed in a roadside pole or tree. Gomulka’s motorcade had already passed the spot, but the blast mortally injured one adult bystander, and wounded a child.
A rigorous police investigation captured him, and soon determined that Jaros had been bombing away in merry anonymity for many years — including a 1959 device placed to target Gomulka and visiting Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which had failed to detonate. (That incident had been discovered, but hushed up to avoid antagonizing Moscow.)
Jaros professed an inchoate ideological motivation in the form of bitterness against the state police after he’d been brutalized when caught stealing bullets from a factory in the postwar years, but it is difficult to tell where principled anticommunism ends and pyromania begins.
After his release from prison, he returned to live with his mother, never marrying or holding steady employment. His occasional hobby was sabotaging state economic assets with his home-brew explosives. No person was ever injured by one of his mines until the second Gomulka bomb, but he did acknowledge that he certainly was trying to kill the head of state — inspired, he said, by reading about the plots to kill Hitler.
On this day..
- 1945: Robert E. Folkes, the first condemned man to see the Oregon gas chamber - 2016
- 1900: Geronimo Parra and Antonio Flores, the last hanged in El Paso - 2015
- 1771: Captain David Ferguson, for the murder of his cabin-boy - 2014
- 1655: Jane Hopkins, Bermuda's last known witch execution - 2013
- 1638: Four Frenchmen in effigy - 2012
- 1917: Sub-Lt. Edwin Dyett, shot at dawn - 2011
- 1993: Westley Allan Dodd, child molester - 2010
- 1527: Felix Manz, the first Anabaptist martyr - 2009
- 1463: Not François Villon - 2008