Categotry Archives: Criminals

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Karl Hass

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Categories: Criminals, Military

Karl Hass, an SS officer and spy who was convicted for his participation in one of Italy’s worst World War II massacres, died on April 21 from a heart attack. He was 92.

Born in Kiel, Germany, Hass joined the Sicherheitsdienst, the Nazi Party’s intelligence service, in 1934. He was sent to Rome to set up a network of Italian radio operators and saboteurs behind enemy lines.

While stationed in Italy, Hass invited Princess Mafalda of Savoy, the daughter of King Victor Emanuel III, to the Germany embassy with claims that she could telephone her husband, who was in Berlin. The princess was arrested when she arrived, and later died in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Italian resistance fighters killed 33 German soldiers during a 1944 bomb attack. The Nazis retaliated by rounding up 335 Italian men and boys and transporting them to the Ardeatine caves outside of Rome. There Hass and his fellow officers executed them.

Three years later, Hass was captured by the Allies and recruited by the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps to spy on the Russians and train other German agents for espionage missions in eastern Europe.

In 1996, Hass returned to Italy to testify against SS Captain Erich Priebke, the German officer who led the Ardeatine massacre. Although Hass was originally offered immunity for his testimony, he allegedly experienced second thoughts about speaking out against his former comrade. On the night before his testimony, the 84-year-old was in the process of escaping from his hotel room when he fell from his balcony onto a row of flowerpots, breaking his pelvis and damaging his spine.

Testifying from his hospital bed, Hass admitted to shooting two civilians in the back of the head. But he also argued he was simply following orders. The military court didn’t buy it, and Hass was sentenced in 1998 to life in prison.

Because he was in poor health, Hass was detained in a retirement home instead of a prison. Priebke was also convicted for the wartime killings, and is currently serving a life sentence under house arrest in Rome.

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Abdel Aziz Rantisi

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Categories: Criminals, Medicine

arantisi.jpgDr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the interim leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, was assassinated on April 17. He was 56.
Less than a month after Israeli forces killed top Hamas official, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a missile strike was launched against his successor. Rantisi’s car was about a block from his Gaza City home when two Israeli helicopters opened fire. Rantisi died from massive head wounds. Two of his bodyguards were killed and five pedestrians were also wounded.
Rantisi was born in the town of Yebna, just south of Tel Aviv. His family fled to the Gaza Strip in 1948 when the establishment of the state of Israel sparked the first Arab-Israeli war. He grew up in a refugee camp and attended American schools in Khan Younis, where he learned to speak fluent English.
After graduating from a medical school in Alexandria, Egypt, and earning a master’s degree in infants’ therapy, Rantisi became a physician at Nasser Hospital. He taught at the Islamic University of Gaza, and was a member of the Gaza Islamic society Al Mujama’a, the Arab Doctors Association and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
In 1987, Rantisi helped found Hamas as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, which provides education and health care to impoverished Palestinians, is also responsible for scores of suicide bombings and other deadly attacks on Israelis. The militant group rejects the existence of Israel and seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Known as a vocal hardliner, Rantisi was deported to Lebanon in 1992. Upon his return in 1993, he was locked up for four years in an Israeli jail. Palestinian Authority security forces also incarcerated Rantisi for 21 months.
Israel decided to kill Rantisi after he rejected the U.S.-backed road map to peace. Last June, an assassination attempt failed when an Israeli helicopter fired a missile into his car. Rantisi and his teenage son were wounded; his driver and two innocent civilians died in the attack.

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Joshua Eilberg

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Categories: Criminals, Law, Politicians

Joshua Eilberg, a former Democratic congressman from Philadelphia, died on March 24 of Parkinson’s disease. He was 83.
Eilberg graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple Law School, and served in the Naval Reserve during World War II. He spent two years working as an assistant district attorney before entering politics as a state representative.
In 1966, Eilberg was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As House Immigration subcommittee chairman, he aided Asian refugees and Soviet Jews emigrating to the U.S. and Israel. Eilberg also sat on the House Judiciary Committee during President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment hearings.
Three months after he lost his congressional seat to Republican Charles Dougherty in 1979, Eilberg pleaded guilty to conflict of interest charges in connection with money he received to obtain a federal grant for Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to five years probation and a $10,000 fine.
When he regained the right to practice law in 1985, Eilberg opened offices in Philadelphia and Jenkintown, Pa. He later became the executive director of Brith Sholom, a Jewish fraternal organization.

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Frances Schreuder

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Categories: Criminals

In 1978, Frances Bernice Schreuder was a New York socialite. She sat on the board of directors of the New York City Ballet, lived in a luxury apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and was known to buy $40,000 earrings at Tiffany’s.

Her father, Franklin Bradshaw, preferred to live frugally in Utah. Although the Salt Lake City oil and auto-parts magnate was worth at least $10 million, he drove a rusty pickup truck and bought his clothes at thrift stores. When he tired of his daughter’s extravagant spending habits and threatened to cut her out of his will, Frances decided to kill him.

At the high-profile trial, her 17-year-old son Marc Schreuder testified that Frances ordered he and his brother Larry to steal $200,000 in cash, checks and stock certificates from their 76-year-old grandfather. Marc also said his mother gave him drugs to poison Bradshaw’s oatmeal, but he refused to carry out the plan.

Frances then hired a hit man for $5,000, who also backed out of the deal and disappeared. So she threatened to kick Marc out of the house if he didn’t murder Bradshaw. The teen acquiesced, and on July 23, 1978, he shot and killed his grandfather with a .357 Magnum handgun.

The case was chronicled in two true crime books, two TV miniseries and a documentary on Court TV. In 1982, Marc Schreuder was convicted of second-degree murder. He was paroled 12 years later and reconciled with his mother.

Although she denied any involvement in the crime, Frances Schreuder was convicted of first-degree murder in 1983. She was a model inmate at the Utah State Prison and earned two degrees while incarcerated. She was paroled in 1996. Prior to the murder, Schreuder attended Bryn Mawr College, but was suspended in 1958 for stealing and forging checks.

Schreuder died on March 30 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 65.

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Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

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Categories: Criminals, Religious Leaders

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic group Hamas, died on March 20. He was killed when an Israeli helicopter fired three missiles at him as he left a Gaza City mosque. He was in his mid-60s.
Born in what is now known as the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Yassin was paralyzed in childhood in a sporting accident. He grew up in Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, then became a teacher and spiritual leader.
The quadriplegic preacher founded Hamas in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, which provides education and health care to impoverished Palestinians, is also responsible for scores of suicide bombings and other deadly attacks on Israelis. The militant group rejects the existence of Israel and seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
When Hamas was formally outlawed by Israel in 1989, Yassin and 200 others were jailed in a mass raid. He was convicted of organizing attacks on civilians and ordering the kidnappings of two Israeli soldiers. Although he was sentenced to life in prison, Yassin was released in 1997 when a botched assassination attempt in Jordan forced Israel to release dozens of Palestinian prisoners.
In Sept. 2003, the Israeli military dropped a bomb on a building where he was meeting with top Hamas leaders. Everyone inside escaped and Yassin received a slight wound on his hand.

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