It was July 1916 in Czinkota, in the midst of WWI, and Béla Kiss’s landlord arrived at the property on Kossuth Street with a squad of soldiers. They were told by the village’s constable that the property had a stockpile of gasoline, which they desperately needed as Europe had a shortage.
The constable knew this because, before the war, people of the village had believed Kiss was stockpiling illicit alcohol so when the police came to question him, he told them that they were filled with gasoline because he expected it would be scarce.
Now there truly was a time when gasoline was scarce, and the property seemed like a goldmine. The landlord and soldiers found 7 large oil drums, but they had been soldered shut. They punctured one of the lids, and instead of smelling the sweet smell of gasoline, they were hit with a putrid odour. A neighbour, who was a chemist, confirmed that it was the scent of decomposition.
Béla Kiss’s landlord quickly informed the police, who sent the detective chief of police to investigate. When the chief arrived with 2 of his men, they immediately opened the first drum. What they found was horrific…
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