Leon Czolgosz

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Leon Czolgosz

Leon Frank Czolgosz (born January 1, 1873 in Alpena , Michigan , † October 29, 1901 in Auburn , New York ) was an American worker and anarchist activist of Polish origin. On September 6, 1901, he fired two revolver shells at American President William McKinley , who died eight days later from the injuries suffered as a result.


Leon F. Czolgosz was born in Alpena in 1873 as the son of Polish immigrants . He had seven siblings. The family moved to Detroit and later to Ohio, where Leon separated from her at the age of ten to work with two of his brothers at the American Steel and Wire Company . Strikes often broke out there , after which the brothers were fired. At the age of 16, Leon worked in a glass factory. After experiencing multiple clashes between striking workers and the police, he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1898 and returned to his family. However, he rejected their Catholic views. He often got into quarrels with his stepmother about this and became increasingly estranged from his family. He became a supporter of the anarchist Emma Goldman and attended many of her public speeches. Under their influence, he became enthusiastic about the idea of anarchism . When the Italian anarchist Gaetano Bresci murdered the Italian King Umberto I on July 29, 1900 , Czolgosz was so impressed that he decided to kill the American President in turn.

The assassination

Leon Czolgosz shoots President McKinley at the Pan-American exhibition.

After learning that President McKinley was going to attend the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo , New York , he traveled there and rented a boarding house. He bought a revolver on September 2, 1901, and witnessed McKinley's speech on September 5 at the exhibition grounds. The following day he joined the parade of visitors to the exhibition that the President received at the Temple of Music . The hand in which he held the revolver was bandaged with a handkerchief to simulate an injury. When it was his turn to shake the president's hand at 4:07 pm, he fired two shots at him. When the bodyguards pounced on him, the President turned to them: “Go easy with him, boys!”.

Of the two bullets, one had ricocheted off a rib, but the other had penetrated so deeply into the abdomen that doctors could not find it and remove it. A prototype of an X-ray machine shown at the exhibition was not used for unknown reasons. At first McKinley seemed to be steadily recovering so he could have some broth on September 11th and some toast and egg the following day. After that, however, his condition deteriorated rapidly. He finally died on September 14, 1901 at 2:15 a.m.

The judgment

After a relatively brief trial, Leon Czolgosz was sentenced to death on the electric chair and executed on October 29, 1901 in Auburn Prison. His last words were:

I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people - the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime.
(I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people - the good, working people. I'm not sorry for my crime.)

After an autopsy, the body was buried on the prison grounds. In the coffin, the prison guards doused them with sulfuric acid to completely destroy the body after the original plan of dissolving it with quicklime in animal experiments had not shown the desired result.

Web links

Commons : Leon Czolgosz  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Assassin Czolgosz is executed at Auburn in New York Times on October 30, 1901
  2. Assassin Czolgosz Is Executed At Auburn. He Declared that He Felt No Regret for His Crime. Autopsy Disclosed No. Mental Abnormalities. Body Buried in Acid in the Prison Cemetery . In: The New York Times , October 30, 1901. Retrieved April 30, 2011. "At 7:12:30 o'clock this morning, Leon Frans Czolgosz, murderer of ... the formal finding in his case was composed as follows: Foreman, John P. Jaeckel. ... "