Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nazi War Criminals are Executed (1946) & Luby's Massacre (1991)

On this date in 1946, ten high-ranking Nazi officials are executed for their crimes against humanity.

Two weeks earlier, the 10 were found guilty by the International War Crimes Tribunal and sentenced to death along with two other Nazi officials. Among those condemned to die by hanging were Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi minister of foreign affairs; Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force; and Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior. Seven others, including Rudolf Hess, were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life. Three others were acquitted. The trial, which had lasted nearly 10 months, was conducted by an international tribunal made up of representatives from the United States, the USSR, France, and Great Britain. It was the first trial of its kind in history, and the defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war and crimes against humanity. On October 16, 10 of the architects of Nazi policy were hanged one by one. Hermann Goering, who at sentencing was called the "leading war aggressor and creator of the oppressive program against the Jews," committed suicide by poison on the eve of his scheduled execution.  

On this date in 1991, George Hennard kills 23 and injures 20 in Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas.

The incident was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. The rampage at the Central Texas restaurant began at approximately 12:45 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes. Witnesses reported that the 35-year-old gunman moved methodically through the large crowd, shooting people randomly and reloading his weapon several times. Hennard, was shot several times by police before he committed suicide. No clear motive for the rampage was ever determined. In the aftermath of the massacre, Killeen residents urged officials at Luby’s corporate headquarters to let the restaurant re-open so people wouldn’t lose their jobs. Five months after the shootings, the cafeteria was back in business and stayed open for nine more years before permanently shutting its doors in September 2000.

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