A spate of political crimes by Communists in 1931 caused the Hungarian Government to pass a law allowing violent political crimes to be dealt with summarily and punished with the death penalty. Under the new law it was the fate of Arpad Dichy to be tried and hanged on the same day – Friday, March 4th, 1932.

Dichy had burgled a village house near Budapest, surprising the owner, who he killed with an axe before dismembering the body. Having ransacked the house, he started a fire to cover his tracks. The flames alerted the police, who quickly arrested him.

Murder was only punishable by death if the killer was using firearms or explosives in the course of political terrorism. But arson, the prosecution decided, was “a political act,” regardless of the motive, and Dichy was hanged for it at Budapest Central Prison.