Just where do you find an assassin monument? From Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr to Lincoln and Julius Ceasar, assassinations have been a tool of political violence throughout the centuries. Around the world, there is no shortage of monuments and memorials to those who have fallen to the assassin’s sword or bullet, but what about those who carried out such high profile killings? In this article, we’re going to delve into four examples of an assassin monument around the world.
Whilst you may be questioning who on earth would build or maintain a monument to an assassin, you might be surprised to know that there are many around the world today. See, whilst many may find the actions of an assassin abhorrent and evil, others may find their act something of a ”necessary evil” and of an overall heroic nature, depending on a person’s personal political viewpoint.
Brutus and Cassius Monuments
When covering the assassin monument around the world, it’s best to go back to basics and start at one of the earliest, but no less brutal, famous assassins in the form of Brutus and Cassius. These Roman senators were the leading instigators in the murder of Julius Ceasar. So much so, that Ceasar’s last words were said to have been: “Et Tu, Brute?” or “You too, Brutus?” in Latin
Acting upon their supposed fear that Julius Ceasar’s increasingly tyrannical reign threatened the integrity of the Roman Republic, Brutus and Cassius led a 60-man conspiracy to murder him. During a senate meeting in Rome in the year 44 BC, the senators turned on Ceasar and stabbed him 23 times. However, the assassination was a disaster and ultimately led to civil war in the Roman Empire.
Centuries later, Brutus and Cassius would be immortalized in their own individual assassin monument. Michaelangelo created a bust of Brutus in the mid-1500s as, during that era, there was a popular political stance against tyranny. Today it sits in the Italian city of Florence. Similarly, a monument to Cassius sits in Rome.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Apartment
Alongside Soviet architecture and USSR nostalgia, a highlight of our tours to Belarus is visiting Lee Harvey Oswald’s apartment. Yep, the same guy who is said to have assassinated JFK. Some of our clients are confused as to what on earth this guy was doing in Soviet-era Belarus and, well, so were we the first time we heard it. It’s a long story, but here’s the just of it!
A few years before he was accused of assassinating the U.S. president, Oswald previously defected to the Soviet Union following his discharge from the U.S. Marines. He had high hopes of enrolling at the prestigious Moscow State University, but the Soviets sent him to work in a factory in the Belorussian capital of Minsk.
He married one of the local girls in Belarus and was given a cushy apartment which, of course, was being spied on by the KGB. Needless to say, it didn’t work out and Oswald returned to the U.S. only to be one of the main figures in one of the most infamous assassinations in modern history. Today, the apartment remains largely unchanged since he was there and is available to visit on our Belarus tours.
The Assassin Monument to John Wilkes Booth
For over ten years, an (almost) assassin monument to John Wilkes Booth stood in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The rather sinister-looking figure seemed to stalk the Lincoln family until it was removed in 2017 after being viewed as rather distasteful. However, it wasn’t the only assassin monument to the man in the U.S. to have existed.
In the small town of Troy, Alabama, lived an embittered former confederate soldier named Pink Parker. He blamed Lincoln for the horrific treatment his family had received in a bitter civil war. Every year, on the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Pink would publicly commemorate the death. But in 1906, he took it a step further by erecting a stone assassin monument to John Wilkes Booth.
The monument wasn’t well received and, despite his ambitions for its own place on the town square, it remained in Pink’s yard for many years. In 1921, Pink passed away. The assassin monument was taken to a nearby stone yard by his sons, the writing was removed and replaced by Pink’s details. What began its life as an assassin monument eventually became Pink’s tombstone. Today, it still stands in Oakwood cemetery.
Interestingly, whilst John Wiles Booth and his actions went down in infamy, his brother was a very different character. In fact, in New York, there is a large non-assassin monument to Edwin Booth the brother of John Wilkes Booth.
1. Sarajevo is Home to the Ultimate Assassin Monument
On our many tours to Sarajevo, there is a moment everybody is waiting for and this is for their YPT guide to say: “This is where the 20th Century began”. This is one of the many phrases used to describe a specific spot in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. It’s the spot near the Latin bridge where Gavrilo Princip fired the fatal shot at Archduke Ferdinand, triggering a series of events that culminated in WW1 and the deaths of 14 million people.
Today, this spot is marked by a stone plaque that details the brief details that here was the spot that Gavrillo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. This is simply a historical monument today, but it was previously home to what is arguably the ultimate assassin monument anywhere in the world.
You see, until 1992, the spot where the fatal assassination that triggered WW1 took place was home to a very unique and morbid feature. In the ground below the information board was a bronze plate with two footsteps. These two feet moulds were the feet stance Gavrilo Princip took as he fired the fatal shots. Visitors could stand in the exact ghostly spot of the infamous assassin. During the carnage of the Bosnian War, the foot plate was either destroyed or stolen.
And there you have it, the ultimate guide to some of the most infamous assassin monuments. Of course, we don’t condone the actions of any of the men featured on this list nor do we encourage you to erect your own assassin monument to them. But it sure is a morbidly quirky aspect to the various monuments around the world!