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Beheadings in the Third Reich

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby fredric on 24 May 2012 23:04

Paul53 wrote:The First State attourny with the Royal County Court in Flensburg testified to Engelhardts skills on july 5th 1901 with the following phrases:"I attest to the fact that the officially installed executioner, Alwin Engelhardt from Magdeburg was assistant of the the executioner Wilhelm Reindel ,also from Magdeburg,also his stepfather,in the execution of worker Johann Deppe from Hamburg on december 8th who was sentenced to death from murder by the Flensburg court.Executioner Engelhardt showed skill and cleverness , with the construction of the execution block(clearly a Handbeil execution) and the bench and behaved in a most serious and stately way during the following execution"


Yes, he presented a most elegant appearance, wearing a winged collar and looking every bit a diplomat...of death.
He also was given to drink, heavily, which eventually ended his short career and began his long conflict with the RMJ.
Good to have these bits and pieces from Blazek's book back again. Danke.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 25 May 2012 09:53

Thanks Fredrick,long time no see!The chapters on the various Scharfrichtern are rather long.Do you have the book?
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 25 May 2012 16:51

Alwin Engelhardt was able to succesfully compete with Lorenz Schwietz and was regularly ordered to execute in Prussia instead of the retired Wilhelm Reindel.
On august 28th 1902,Engelhardt had to fulfill his commision in the County Jail in Altenburg on three individuals sentenced to death for murder, respectively assistance to murderous acts,convicted by the Landesgericht(county court)The newspaper "Altenburger Landeszeitung"reported on august 29th on the executions of the previous day: This morning the execution in the yard of the local county prisonwas carried out on the three perpetrators of the Kostitz murders,the widow Emma Seifert, born 1855 in Ehrenberg,the mason Bruno Tänzler, born 1882 in Jonaswalde,and the workman Johann Niedermayer ,born 1868 in Thürnthenning,by the executioner Alwin Engelhardt from Magdeburg.The execution took place before a select audience of witnesses."
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby fredric on 26 May 2012 05:48

Paul53 wrote:Thanks Fredrick,long time no see!The chapters on the various Scharfrichtern are rather long.Do you have the book?

Yes I do have Sharfrichter in Pruessen un im Deuthschen Reich and Die Bruder Wilhelm und Friedrich Riendel, both thanks to a fellow Forum member...a wonderful, valuable gift. Blazek really did a great deal of research and I continue to learn from his books...although your translations are far better than mine, hence much more info. One of the most interesting bits of information is the background on the only two photos of an axe execution known...this info in the Reindel book. Blazek does not give information on many scharfrichters however, just the "big names" which is understandable. I wish he had photos of Gropler, Rottger, Hehr..which have to exist. It is interesting to put a face to a name. Looking forward to your excellent translations which add so much to this forum topic.

Also...to all participants in this topic, I recently discovered a detailed architectural rendering of Plotzensee Prison done in 1874 by Paul Speiker. Plotzensee would have been under construction at this time (built during 1867-1879). The drawing is the earliest representation of the prison I have ever found. Haus III is shown but the execution building (storage building) is not, hence the was a later addition. Of course when the prison opened, executions were done outside in Hof 4 and with the axe. This area is shown. It is interesting to compare this 1874 drawing with the one from the 1930's avaiable on the web and from the memorial Center. If interested you can find Speiker's drawing on http://architekturmuseum.ub.tu-berlin.d ... 06,013.jpg.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 26 May 2012 20:04

I fully agree, photos MUST exist,but I have never been able to see one.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 27 May 2012 15:48

In november 1902 the executioner travelled to Aachen.The 38year old musician Ludwig Frank, who was already convicted a number of times before ,was sentenced to death 0n june 25th 1902 by the Aachen county court for murder.The protocoll of the execution said:"In the morning of the same day, the Fallbeil that was kept in Kölln, was transported to Aachen. In its blade a Jacobine hat and the year 1792 were engraved(??).The machine was build up by inmates.On the following day.november 15th at 8 in the morning,the executioner, clad in a tail coat and a high hat,carried out the sentence"
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 27 May 2012 16:07

1904 was Engelhardts best year.But in 1905 only 9 delinquents came under the Beil Resp. the Guillotine in the whole of Prussia.
On november 12th 1904,at 7.45 in the morning,Engelhardt and his three assistants performed their duty in Preungesheim(now Frankfurt-Preungesheim) in front of a dozen mandatorely black-clad witnesses.In a short time, the robber/murderer Fritz Staffhorst from Goslar and Bruno Groß from Sachsen were tied onto the bench and were beheaded with the Richtbeil in the yard of the local prison.The whole thing took only seven minutes.The convicts were interred in the at that time independant city of Preungesheim.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 27 May 2012 17:10

What follows next is a newspaper article which I have no intention to translate.It is about the execution by Engelhardt of the quarry worker Eduard Krause,born 24 may 1872, for murder of his wife Wilhelmine, dd.january 16th 1903
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby fredric on 28 May 2012 06:53

Paul53 wrote:What follows next is a newspaper article which I have no intention to translate.It is about the execution by Engelhardt of the quarry worker Eduard Krause,born 24 may 1872, for murder of his wife Wilhelmine, dd.january 16th 1903

To others who follow this topic, please know that Blazek's books contain many, many repetitive news artices with similar "boiler-plate" descriptions of executions. So it is understandible that translation of each and every such article is not worthwhile. What we seek is new information and new insights into the protocols and personalitites. It is interesting to discover the name of the firm that manufactured the beil used by Krautz...and probably made other richtbeils too. And I think there is a reference to an inn which has Gropler's axe...on display! The engraving on the Koln fallbeil may give us an idea of its age...sounds like a French Revolutionary guillotine? This may we the same guillotine, described in the press (NY Times in fact) as "ancient, rusty" and having to be repaired by the executioner (Gropler) before being used to behead Peter Kurten?
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 30 May 2012 19:36

Fredric is right,is is no use to us to translate each and every bit of info in the Blazek book, merely descriptions of crimes perpetrated by the convicts ,family situations and so on.This chapter deals with the history of Alwin Engelhardt alone, one of the fewer-known executioners of the Nazi era.

And again, Fredric hits the nail: It would be very interesting to know the firm that was responsable for manufacturing the Handbeil used to carry out the executions with in the early years of the 20th century.We know a few names from the Fallbeil manufacturers.It could be that the Handbeil was just made by a local(Berlin) blacksmith.

On february 2ndt 1905, the 50 year old midwife and 5 fold child murderess Elisabeth Wiese from the Hamburg district St. Pauli was executed in the yard of the Investigation Prison Hamburg on the Holstenglacis in the old Hanzestadt.A pastor accompagnied the delinquent on her last walk.The judgement of the Justice Court of october 15th 1904 was read out.The representative for the State prosecution ordered: "Executioner, perform your profession"The executioner pulled the black curtains hiding the Guillotine aside, his two assistands seized the convict, tied her to the bench with belts and backed away.A few seconds later her head was severed from her trunk and fell in a wicker basket.The body was placed in a already prepared coffin.The prison physician confirmed the death,the time of execution was noted in the protocoll. The execution took 3 minutes. The coffin was delivered to the Harbour Hospital.There an assistant took the deaths mask from the skull of the deceased.

(Nothing new here, we have read dozens of descriptions like that in the past.Nazi era just speeded things up in an incredible way.Remember the condemneds standing in line to be executed in Brandenburg-Görden in wartime as posted a long time ago, each execution taking only a minute or so.No strapping on the bench and as little ado as possible.Like buying stamps in your local post office)
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 30 May 2012 19:43

Carl Gröpler passed an exam before the Royal State Attourny Committee Magdeburg as executioner and replaced Alwin Engelhardt,his tutor,as executioner In Prussia and immediately popped up as Executioner in the Magdeburg Address Book.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 30 May 2012 20:12

As a young man,Engelhardt ran an overnight hotel called " Zum Prälaten" where the local executioner Wilhelm Reindel was often guest.Reportedly, Engelhardt married his daughter Maria Martha and took over the profession of executioner.He proudly hung his executioners certificate over his bar.In 1910, the Prussian Ministery of Justice gave him a knackers yard.It was situated outside the city of Schmölln(Thüringen) am Kemnitzgrund. There,Engelhardt found a home with his many-headed(no pun) family.The Schmöllner Adress Book mentiones Wilhelm Reindel as owner and Alwin Engelhardt as working manager of the knackers yard.Engelhardts executions assistants Willi Zörner and Alfred Gläser were employed there as stokers, as Christian Vollmer reported in the " Bild am Sonntag" newspaper of july 22th ans 29th 1990.

After the death of the last executioner of Sachsen,Moritz Brand(1844-1927) the Sächsische-and Thüringische Justiz Ministry decided , in cases of need to employ the Magdeburg executioners Alwin Engelhardt and Carl Gröpler for upcoming executions.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby fredric on 30 May 2012 20:18

Paul53 wrote:Fredric is right,is is no use to us to translate each and every bit of info in the Blazek book, merely descriptions of crimes perpetrated by the convicts ,family situations and so on.This chapter deals with the history of Alwin Engelhardt alone, one of the fewer-known executioners of the Nazi era.

And again, Fredric hits the nail: It would be very interesting to know the firm that was responsable for manufacturing the Handbeil used to carry out the executions with in the early years of the 20th century.We know a few names from the Fallbeil manufacturers.It could be that the Handbeil was just made by a local(Berlin) blacksmith.

On february 2ndt 1905, the 50 year old midwife and 5 fold child murderess Elisabeth Wiese from the Hamburg district St. Pauli was executed in the yard of the Investigation Prison Hamburg on the Holstenglacis in the old Hanzestadt.A pastor accompagnied the delinquent on her last walk.The judgement of the Justice Court of october 15th 1904 was read out.The representative for the State prosecution ordered: "Executioner, perform your profession"The executioner pulled the black curtains hiding the Guillotine aside, his two assistands seized the convict, tied her to the bench with belts and backed away.A few seconds later her head was severed from her trunk and fell in a wicker basket.The body was placed in a already prepared coffin.The prison physician confirmed the death,the time of execution was noted in the protocoll. The execution took 3 minutes. The coffin was delivered to the Harbour Hospital.There an assistant took the deaths mask from the skull of the deceased.

(Nothing new here, we have read dozens of descriptions like that in the past.Nazi era just speeded things up in an incredible way.Remember the condemneds standing in line to be executed in Brandenburg-Görden in wartime as posted a long time ago, each execution taking only a minute or so.No strapping on the bench and as little ado as possible.Like buying stamps in your local post office)



Regarding handbeil makers: Blazek, in his excellent book about the Reindel dynasty, says that that on 18 August, 1876 an authentic copy of the Reindel family's richtbeil was put on display in the Markische Provinzial Museum. He also states "the original had been wrought by the specialty metal fabricator Grossmann in Berlin for 33 Marks. A photo of the authentic copy is shown and the J. Grossman name is embossed on the blade of the copy. Therefore I feel that J. Grossman is one richtbeil maker. Also, we have some illustrations and a photo of Gropler's axe with what looks like the famous "Twins" logo of a cutlery maker still around today. Hope others on this topic can access or get Blazek's books...good info.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 30 May 2012 21:00

Grossmann,good info!!.The twins might refer to Henckels Zwillingswerk Solingen, the firm still exsists today, we already discussed this to some lenght in the past,manufacturers of all kind of first class cutlery ,very well known here, must be embarrasing for them to be associated with judicial execution.Never heared of this Grossmann.Common name though.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Paul53 on 31 May 2012 21:53

Already with a memo from the leading Saxonian Minister of Justice Otto Thierack(later to become Reichs minister of Justice) from july 31th 1933,the executioner Alwin Engelhardt, living in Schmölln,was appointed Scharfrichter for Sachsen.The execution of every death sentence was rewarded with 350 Reichsmark, in case of multiple executions each further execution with 150 Reichsmark.
Execution site would not be Bautzen Prison-the Special Judicial Prison Bautzen only served as an in -between-station for the condemned.

The most well-known execution performed by Engelhardt was the execution of Dutchman Marinus vander Lubbe.As alledged arsonist responsable for burning the Reichstag down he was sentenced to death on february 27th 1933, and was speedily beheaded on january 10th,three days before his 25th anniversary,in the yard of the Landsgericht Leipzig at 7.25 hours by executioner Engelhardt with the Guillotine.The Reichsgericht could not and would not name any accomplices or co conspirators.Vander Lubbe is regarded as the first victim of the Nazi Justice.
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