Stabbed in the Heart

Stabbed in the Heart

June 14, 1800 - Jean Baptiste Kleber was one of the greatest generals from the French Revolutionary Wars. He died on this day when an assassin plunged a knife into his heart.

Kleber's military career began after he came to the aid of two German nobles in a bar fight. The Germans thanked him by getting him into a prestigious military school. Despite his working class background, Kleber quickly rose through the ranks of the French military with a stellar record on the battlefield. One of his greatest moments was at Heliopolis, where he commanded 10,000 French troops to victory against 60,000 Turks. The battle paved the way for Napoleon Bonaparte to retake control of Cairo.

Kleber was on the verge of negotiating a ceasefire when a Syrian disguised as a beggar shook  his hand then stabbed him repeatedly. The assassin's name was Suleiman al-Halabi. He was quickly apprehended and tortured by the French who burned his arm down to the bone.

Sentenced to death by impalement, al-Halabi lingered for a few hours before finally dying. His skull was sent back to Paris so that medical students could study its supposed "bump" of fanaticism.

The skull is still on display in Paris.

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