The Story Behind: A Member of the French Resistance, Smiling at a German Firing Squad, 1944
By | August 5, 2016
This was a mock execution as an attempt to get Georges Blind, a French resistance fighter, to talk. Notice how they’ve placed Georges Blind at the corner of the building rather than against the stereotypical flat wall.
The strategy didn't work. Georges didn't talk. He was later sent to a concentration camp, where he was selected for termination on arrival, and died in later November 1944.
In a mock execution, the victim is deliberately but falsely made to believe that his execution of that of another person is about to take place. The staging may involve blindfolding the subjects, asking them about their last wishes, making them dig their own grave, holding an unloaded gun to their head and pulling the trigger, firing blanks or shooting near (but not at) the victim.
Mock execution is categorized as psychological torture.
Psychological harm is caused because the victim’s suspense level increases while awaiting their death or someone else’s, which is considered torture. The psychological trauma begins to occur when the victim realizes that they are about to be executed, resulting in permanent damage equivalent to the aftermath of physical torture. The buildup of anxiety due to mock execution could influence the end result of the staged death.