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Sholom Schwartzbard
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Assassin
    (August 8, 1886-March 3, 1938)
    Born in Izmail, Ukraine
    Watchmaker
    Anarchist
    Served in the French Foreign Legion and French army during World War I
    Served in the Petrograd Red Guards and International Brigade during the Russian Civil War
    Assassinated Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petliura in Paris (May 25, 1926)
    Acquitted of murder following an eight-day trial
    He was arrested in Austria for ‘anarchist expropriation’ – in other words, robbing a restaurant in Vienna (1908).
    He shot Petliura five times, then twice more after he fell to the pavement.
    He later recalled, ‘When the policeman told me Petliura was dead I could not hide my Joy. I leaped forward and threw my arms about his neck.’
    He claimed at his trial to have been avenging the victims of anti-semitic pogroms, but there was no evidence that Petliura had been responsible for them.
    For his closing argument, his attorney glossed over the evidence while making an emotional appeal to the jury.
    Ukrainian exiles accused him of being an agent for the KGB, who had killed Petliura to eliminate a prominent anti-Communist leader.
    He reenacted the assassination for an American film (1933).
    He was jailed for carrying books by Nietzsche and identifying himself to police as an anarchist (1909).
    He was wounded during the Battle of the Somme, leaving his left arm virtually useless.
    He won the Croix de Guerre for bravery in World War I.
    During the Russian Civil War, fourteen of his relatives were killed in anti-semitic pogroms.
    Unlike some attorneys, at least his did not make the case for his client in rhyming couplets. (Perhaps he could have gone for ‘If the victim committed genocide/Let the charges slide.’)

Credit: C. Fishel


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