People related to the guillotine

Here You may find a short description of people related to the guillotine.
The names are in alphabetic order. (Bourreau is the french word for executioner).
For a list of executions (people and places)between 1879 - 1977 click here.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Antoinette, Marie

French queen. Guillotined the 16th of October 1793.
At this execution the scaffold was errected at the Place de la Révolution (now place de la Concorde) in font of the gate leading to the Tuileries garden.


Beaurieux, Gabriel
A doctor who in 1905 made an experiment with the severed head of Henri Languille. Read his report

Berger, Leon
Assistant executioner and carpenter who in 1870-72 improved and developed the construction of the guillotine. All French guillotines manufactured after 1872 were based on his design. He was assistant to Heidenreich and Roch

Bontemps, Roger
Born September 20th 1936 in Aydoilles. Convicted for the killing of prison guard Guy Girardot and prison nurse Nicole Comte during the mutiny at the Clairvaux prison. Executed together with Claude Buffet on the 28th of November 1972 in the Santé prison, at 4.45 a.m.

Buffet, Claude
Born May 19th 1933 in Reims. Convicted for the killing of prison guard Guy Girardot and prison nurse Nicole Comte under the mutiny at the Clairvaux prison. Executed together with Roger Bontemps on the 28th of November 1972 in the Santé prison, at 4.45 a.m.


Chevalier, Marcel
(Bourreau) Born on the 28th of February 1921. The last executioner in France. Succeeded André Obrecht in 1976, and was on duty until abolition of the death penalty in 1981. He executed 42 people, but only 2 as chief executioner. They were Jerome Carrein, in Douai, on the 24th of June 1977, and Hamida Djandoubi, on the 10th of September 1977 in Marseilles. Marcel Chevalier died on October 8, 2008.

Corday d'Armont, Charlotte
She was executed on July 17,1793 for the murder of Jean-Paul Marat. At the execution the assistant executioner François le Gros, lifted up the served head and slapped the cheek, which reportedly made her cheeks blush. Le Gros was sentenced to three months prison for his breach of scaffold etiquette.


Danton George J.
Revolutionary leader. Executed April 5th 1794.

Deibler, Anatole
(Bourreau) Born on the 29th of November 1863. Son of Louis Deibler, whom he succeeded on the 2nd of January 1899. He executed 395 people (18 in Algiers, 78 as his father's "aide", 299 as chief. His last was Abdelkader Rakida in Lyon on the 24th of January 1939). On the 2nd of February 1939 he collapsed with a fatal heart attack on the platform of Métro Porte de St Cloud while setting off to execute the cut-throat Pilorges in Rennes.

Deibler, Joseph
(Bourreau) The first Deibler to work in France. He emigrated from Germany around 1816.

Deibler, Louis
(Bourreau) Born on the 12th of February 1823. In December 1898 he abdicated in favour of his son Anatole. Louis Deibler executed 154 people as chief executioner.

Desfourneaux, Jules-Henri
(Bourreau) He was born 17th December, 1877 at Bar - Le - Duc and died on 1st of October, 1951. Desfourneaux's debut as an aide was in January 1909. His introduction to the "profession" was by way of his granduncle, Edouard Mathieu Desfourneaux who had been an aide to Heidenreich. Another distant relative Leopold Desfourneaux was an aide to Anatole Deibler. Desfourneaux succeeded Anatole Deibler. In June 1939 he executed Weidmann. The last to be executed in public. It was his first official execution as chief, although he had executed two others between the death of Deibler in February and this appointment.

Desmoulin, Camille
Executed together with Georges J. Danton April 5th 1794.




Ferey, Charles-André
(Bourreau) Became executioner when Clément-Henri Sanson was dismissed in 1847.

Fesch, Jacques
Was condemned for the murder of a policeman, and guillotined the 1st of October 1957. 30 years later a cardinal made a statement about his innocence, and pleaded with President Mitterand to give him his honour back.


Gau, Lambert
(28 years old) was executed on the 22th of June 1965 for murder on the French island of Martinique.

Gorguloff, Paul
The assassin of President Doumer, was executed by Anatole Deibler outside the Santé prison on 13th September, 1932.

Guidon (or Guédon)
Carpenter who made scaffolds. He was authorized to build the first guillotine, but his price, which included the scaffold, was much too high, so the order was placed with Tobias Schmidt.

Guillotin, Joseph-Ignace
J. I. Guillotin was born at Saintes on the 28th of May 1738. He did not invent the guillotine, though his name has forever been associated with the machine. Dr Guillotin proposed the use of a mechanical device to carry out the death penalty. Guillotin died on the 26th of May in 1814, NOT on the guillotine, but of a anthrax in his shoulder. On October the 8th 1795 a warrant for an arrest was issued against Dr Guillotin. (This warrant is on display at Le Musée de la Préfecture de Police in Paris)

Photo of Dr Guillotin


Heidenreich, Jean-François
(Bourreau) He succeeded Charles Andre Ferey in 1849. In 1870 when the posts of regional executioners were abolished. He became the first national executioner for all of France. One of his assistants was Louis Deibler. When he died in 1872, he was replaced by Nicolas Roch.






Kershaw, Alister
English author who wrote the book "A History of the Guillotine" first published in 1958.


Landru, Henri-Desiré
A serial killer who was guillotined by Anatole Deibler on the 22th of February 1922.

Leclerc, Anne
The first female victim of the guillotine. She was executed on the 3rd of July 1792 in Paris.

Louis, Antoine
Member of Académie Chirurgical. Was involved in the first steps towards the creation of the guillotine. He was leading the tests of the first machine, and he was the one that proposed the oblique blade. The guillotine was first called "Louison" or "Louisette", but the press preferred Guillotine as it had a nicer ring to it. Antoine Louis was born in Metz 13th of February 1723, and he died in Paris 20th of May 1792. Less than a month after the first official use of the guillotine.

Louis, XVI
King of France. Executed on the 21st of January 1793 at the place de la Révolution (now place de la Concorde). His executioner was Charles-Henri Sanson


Maurice, Philippe
On the 2nd of September 1981, Philippe Maurice was granted clemency from François Mitterand. Maurice would have been the last person to be guillotined, if the sentence had been executed.




Obrecht, André
(Bourreau) Born on the 9th of August 1899 and died on the 30th of July 1985. In 1939 he was an assistant to Henri Desfourneaux at the execution of Eugene Weidmann. Obrecht was chosen from more than four hundred applicants when the post of Bourreau fell vacant in 1951. André Obrecht was a nephew of Anatole Deibler.


Pelletier, Nicolas-Jacques
The first official victim of the guillotine. He was executed on the 25th of April 1792, on the place de Greve. (now place de l'Hotel de Ville)

Petiot, Marcel
One of the busiest mass-murderers in French history (27 victims), was executed inside the Santé prison on the 25th of May, 1946. Executed by Henri Desfourneaux. (picture taken after the execution)




Ranucci, Christian
Executed on 28/7/1976 at age 22 at “La prison des Baumettes” in Marseilles.

Robespierre, Maximilien de
Revolutionary despot during “the Terror” of 1793/1794. Was responsible for sending many to the guillotine. He himself was executed on the 28th July 1794 (10 THERMIDOR year 2). Robespierre was born in Arras on the 6th of May 1758

Roch, Nicolas
(Bourreau) Grandson of Antoine Roch. In 1843 he replaced François Desmorets as executioner at Lons-le-Saulnier. In 1853, he was promoted to executioner at Amiens in succession to Henri Ganier. In 1872, he then occupied the post of executioner at Paris itself. His five assistants included Berger, Ganier and Desfourneaux. Nicolas Roch died in 1879.


Sanson, Charles-Henri
(Bourreau) Born in 1739 and dies in 1806. Son of Charles-Jean-Baptiste Sanson.
From 1778 and during the revolution he was the executioner in Paris. He executed King Louis XVI. He executed a total of 2918 people.

Sanson, Clément-Henri
(Bourreau) Born 1799 and died in 1889. In 1840, on the 1st of December, he succeeded his father Henry Sanson who died earlier the same year. In 1847 Clément-Henri was dismissed because he pawned the guillotine to pay off his debts. He was the last in a long line of executioners in the Sanson family.

Sanson, Gabriel
Born in 1769. He worked as an assistent to his father in Paris until an accident on the 27 of August 1792 where after an execution he slipped in the blood and fell from the scaffold. He died only 23 years old.

Sanson, Henry
Born at the 24th of December 1767. The eldest son of Charles-Henri Sanson. He worked as an executioner in Paris from 1795, but succeeded his father officially in 1806. Some sources claim that he was the responsible executioner at the execution of Marie Antoinette in 1793.
Died on the 18th of August 1840.

Schmidt, Tobias
German hapsicord-builder who was involved in the building of the first guillotine. He was the craftsman and maybe the designer together with Charles-Henri Sanson and Antoine Louis.


Troppmann, Jean Baptiste
He killed a whole family (father, a pregnant mother and six children, from 17 to 2 years old) in 1869. Nobody knows why. He was executed on the 19th of January 1870 in Paris. He was 20. During the execution, he managed to bite the fingers of assistant Nicolas Roch.




Weidmann, Eugene
Convicted for six murders. He was the last person to be guillotined in public in France. On the 17th of June 1939 at 04:32 he was executed outside the prison Saint Pierre rue Georges Clémenceau 5 in Versailles. The building is still there, but it is not a prison anymore, it's the Palais de Justice.