“I don’t know whether I’m American or Hungarian,” declared Alexander Ondi, 21, as he mounted the scaffold on Monday, October 19th, 1931, in Budapest. Born in Texas, where he lived for 11 years before moving to Hungary, he had fallen foul of an emergency law aimed at curbing Communist outrages.

Ondi and an accomplice had robbed a Budapest bank at gunpoint. Although no one was hurt in the robbery and the two men were quickly caught, their crime was one of the “outrages” for which the punishment was death. Ondi’s accomplice, who at 18 was under-age, was sentenced to 15 years’ penal servitude.