I thought of him too; he was an actual hero who really got screwed for his heroic work.
Millions of people caught up in Stalin’s purges: not just the Party high-ups (who would share complicity with various oppressive acts of the regime until they fell foul of someone’s paranoia), but all the ordinary people convicted on trumped-up charges they were forced to “confess” to, and of whom plenty would have been willing to say they must be guilty of something. Similarly in Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, or the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.
That was my first thought too.
Thomas Aikenhead, (1676 - 08-Jan-1697) Thomas was the last person in Great Britain to be executed for blasphemy. His indictment read
That … the prisoner had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that theology was a rhapsody of ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the moral doctrines of philosophers, and partly of poetical fictions and extravagant chimeras: That he ridiculed the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra’s fables, in profane allusion to Esop’s Fables; That he railed on Christ, saying, he had learned magick in Egypt, which enabled him to perform those pranks which were called miracles: That he called the New Testament the history of the imposter Christ; That he said Moses was the better artist and the better politician; and he preferred Muhammad to Christ: That the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them: That he rejected the mystery of the Trinity as unworthy of refutation; and scoffed at the incarnation of Christ.
Xu Xiaodong is, reportedly, not enjoying his life very much. He’s an MMA fighter in China who decided to prove that Wushu and traditional Chinese martial arts are not effective fighting systems. This at the same time as Xi Jinping decided to dump a bunch of propaganda money into pushing the amazingness of Chinese history and Chinese traditions over Western.
The Bizarre World of Fake Martial Arts - YouTube (the relevant part starts about 19 minutes in)
Alan Turing deserves a mention.
That’s who I was going to suggest.
My second choice of Alfred Dreyfus has also already been nominated.
I’ll back that one.
Alan Turing was definitely wronged, but I don’t think he really fits. He wasn’t persecuted for his work on computational science, he was persecuted for being a homosexual in the wrong time and place. As awful as it is, he wasn’t any more wronged than thousands of other gay men who were hounded from public life, had their security clearances revoked, were imprisoned, or were driven to suicide in his era.
But of all the gay men persecuted by the British at the time, did any do so much to save England?
I think that’s why Turing is brought up - he and his invention had a massive impact that gave the British a big leg up, and they repaid him by completely ruining his life and driving him to suicide.
That doesn’t make his persecution more wrong than the persecution of other gay guys who didn’t break the Enigma code, mind you, but it does make it more ironic.
He and his contributions were certainly more famous than other gay men who were persecuted by the British (and of course it wasn’t just the British - the U.S. was going through its own “Pink Scare” at the time). But quite a few dedicated, patriotic, even heroic British men who made sacrifices and contributions to the war effort were also persecuted because they happened to be gay.
Again, I’m definitely not saying Turing wasn’t wronged, or that his treatment by the British state which he had so ably served was anything but awful. But I just don’t think he was singularly wronged, above and beyond others caught up in the Pink Scare of the 1940s and 50s.
That’s fair, and you’re certainly right, there definitely were lots of gay men who were mistreated by the government and that’s obviously wrong regardless of exactly how much service they provided their country.
If we are removing how well known someone getting screwed over by history is as a criteria, then I’d say there are millions of people tied for first. I don’t see how history can wrong you much more than you being a humble peasant or farmer who is barely aware of the larger town nearby, much less the greater world, and never leaving your farm or bothering anybody until one day the Huns/Mongols/Romans/Aztecs/etc show up, butcher you and everyone you ever knew, and burn your village to the ground.
Honestly, at this point, I think Alan Turing’s case is becoming a derail, so I’m dropping it.
Ethel Rosenberg even if (as some Soviet documents allege) she did know her brother and husband were spies. She was executed by the US government simply because her husband wouldn’t name names.
This also has hijack potential, but aside from her sentence possibly being unduly harsh, Ethel Rosenberg was hardly “wronged”, much less being “the most wronged person in history”.
Like her husband, Ethel refused to name names.
Beyond that, she helped recruit her brother into the espionage ring and did more besides.
“The documents also indicate that Ethel concealed money and espionage equipment for her husband, facilitated contacts with Soviet intelligence personnel, and offered appraisals of potential recruits for the Rosenberg spy ring. She was an eager accomplice in Julius’s espionage.”
Obviously the most wronged person we won’t know about.
I don’t know if that necessarily follows.
e.g. A person might be wronged their whole life, and have no living family members at the point where they were exonerated. They have maximum wronged-ness; it’s besides the point that we now know it was unjustified.
Again, not “most in history”, but I think the McDonald’s coffee lady is now recognized as having been screwed over by people mocking her as the epitome of frivolous lawsuits.