April 28, 1945
Giulino di Mezzegra, Kingdom of Italy
Italian fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, is executed with a group of his followers and put on public display
Mussolini, knowing the end of his reign was at hand, attempted to flee Italy into Switzerland. With him were his mistress and 3 other male followers. Their vehicle was examined on April 26 and Mussolini’s attempt to disguise himself failed. The group was held for 2 days until the order was given for their executions.
The group was brought to a stone wall to face their deaths. Mussolini’s mistress, Clara Petacci, reportedly threw her arms around Mussolini declaring “no! He mustn’t die!” before being shot. According to one of the witnesses to the execution, Mussolini’s last words were “aim at my heart.” The executioner complied, shooting him twice in the chest.
The bodies of Mussolini, Petacci, and the other followers were brought to the public for proof of their deaths. The bodies were urinated upon, beaten, spit on, and hung upside down on a rusty beam. Though the public delighted in the humiliation of the acts, a group of old women ensured Petacci’s skirt be arranged so as to protect her modesty as she was hanging upside down.