100 Years Ago
1912 Morris Lustig, who in 1910 poisoned his wife in order to collect $3,000 in insurance money, has been freed from Sing Sing prison’s death row. Lustig was freed after it was determined that his attorney wasn’t given enough time to cross-examine a key witness, a drug store owner who testified that Lustig purchased poison from him — the same poison that was found in the stomach of Lustig’s dead wife. In an interview, Lustig said that he hadn’t seen the sun, the stars or the moon in two years. He described the conditions as terrible, explaining that there is one weak light bulb outside each cell. Prisoners are shaved on Tuesdays and Fridays and are allowed one bath per week in a communal tub. Lustig is happy to be out, and plans on proving his innocence.
75 Years Ago
1937 It was dead silent as 60-year-old Sheikh Farhan el Saudi was led to the gallows and executed at Acre’s prison on charges of terrorism. The sheikh was the first Arab to be executed on these charges since the British took control of Palestine. After doctors determined that he was dead, his body was removed from the gallows. Huge masses of Arabs arrived in Haifa the following day to observe an official funeral for the sheikh, but British officials refused to give them the body and brought it instead to the Arab village of Nudis for burial. That the British-hanged Farhan was meant to be a clear indication that they will no longer sit back and observe as Arab gangs terrorize Palestine.
50 Years Ago
1962 A former Nazi-SS soldier living in Koblenz, Germany, who testified at the trial of 12 other former Nazis currently on trial for the murder of 35,000 Jews in the Minsk ghetto, said that “the screams of the victims still ring” in his ears. Johan Wasenburg was at the trial, giving testimony as to Nazi methods of mass murder. “Ten minutes before they were pushed into the gas wagons,” he said, the Jews were already dead. Their faces were blue and red. He added that it was easier and faster to shoot the Jews than to gas them. Another witness, Karl Goebel, who worked with the gas wagons, cried as he explained how they had to shoot the Jews in pits when the gas wagons didn’t have enough gas to kill them.