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Eugen Weidmann execution...

Item # 561632

June 17, 1939

THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York, June 17, 1939 

* Eugen Weidmann execution 
* Last public guillotine use in France

This 34 page newspaper has small, somewhat discrete one column headlines on page 5; "FRANCE GUILLOTINES HEAD OF MURDER RING" "Weidmann Dies in Silence for Slaying Brooklyn Dancer"

Tells of of the execution of Eugen Weidmann who was the last person to be publicly executed by guillotine in France

Other news of the day throughout. with much on Pre world War II tensions in Europe.

Rag edition in very nice condition.

wikipedia notes: Eugen Weidmann (February 5, 1908 – June 17, 1939) was the last person to be publicly executed in France. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until September 10, 1977, when Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed.

Weidmann was born in Frankfurt am Main to the family of an export businessman, and went to school there. He was sent to live with his grandparents at the outbreak of World War I; during this time he started stealing. Later in his twenties he served five years in jail for robbery.

During his time in jail Weidmann met three men who would later become his partners in crime: Roger Million, Blanc and Fritz Frommer. After their release from jail, they decided to work together to kidnap rich tourists visiting France and steal their money. They rented a villa in Saint Cloud, near Paris, for this purpose.

Their first kidnap attempt ended in failure because their victim struggled too hard, forcing them to let him go. Their second attempt of a New York dancer visiting France, Jean de Koven, was more successful, and Weidmann killed and buried her in the villa's garden in July 1937. The group then sent Million's mistress, Collette Tricot, to cash Koven's traveller's cheques.

On September 1 of the same year, Weidmann hired a chauffeur named Joseph Couffy to drive him to the French Riviera where he then shot Couffy in the back of the head and stole his car. On October 17, 1937, Million and Weidmann arranged a meeting with a young theatrical producer named Roger LeBlond, promising to invest money in one of his shows. Instead, Weidmann shot him in the back of his head and took his wallet.

Weidmann next shot Raymond Lesobre, a real estate agent who was showing him around a house, in the back of the head and stole his car and wallet. On September 3, 1937, he and Million lured Janine Keller, a private nurse who would be his fifth and final victim, into a cave with a job offer. There he killed her and stole her belongings.

The police eventually tracked Weidmann to the villa from a business card left at Lesobre's office and, after a shootout, arrested him. He then confessed to all his murders. Weidmann, Million, Blanc and Tricot were tried in March 1939. Weidmann and Million received the death sentence while Blanc received a jail sentence of 20 months and Tricot was acquitted. Million's sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded with the guillotine in Versailles, outside the prison Saint-Pierre. The "hysterical behaviour" by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee, who was 17 at the time, witnessed this execution.

Category: The 20th Century