andreobrecht wrote:With all due respect the fallbeil currently displayed at the Strafvollzugsmuseum in Ludwigsburg is not the same guillotine that was/is displayed at the DHM in Berlin.
I have photos of both machines and there are significant differences between the two.
You can check my website. Note the type of handle on the lunette, the blade shield, the head bucket, the shape of the cut-out in the bench etc. They are definitely different fallbeils.
Per my information:
The one at Strafvollzugsmuseum in Ludwigsburg comes from Moabit (Post WW2 use)
The one at DHM comes from Brandenburg (WW2 use)
ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, ANDREOBRECHT.
The Tegel fallbeil at the Ludwigsburg Museum was "packed with all parts in oiled paper" and stored "in the basement" at Moabit after capital punishment was abolished in 1949. It stayed that way for years until it was obtained by Ludwigsburg, a real coup. Its provenance from the time it was built at at Tegel Prison in the late 1930's has yet to be fully revealed. I understand it was used after the War for executions at the Leherterstrasse Prison in Berlin. From photos of and comments from colleagues who have examined it, it is in excellent condition but is displayed without the blade. The blade and blade case are exhibited in a separate display at the Museum.
The DHM does have a fallbeil (in spite of any denials). It is the original from Brandenburg which the museum obtained shortly after the War. It too is a Tegel. It was put on display at the DHM and a photo of it can be found in the Bundesarchiv Bild 183-19136-0010 photo credit Gunter Weiss, 10 April 1953. Many other photos of it exist.
Thus when Brandenburg completed a reproduction execution chamber/memorial center they did not have their original fallbeil to put on display. The DHM would not return it. There are rumors the fallbeil at the Brandenburg is a reproduction like the execution room but that is not true. It is quite likely that it is the one from Plotzensee. Repaired areas on the fallbeil correspond to damage visible in Soviet photos of the Plotzensee fallbeil (e.g. the head tub and blood chute were both badly damaged and at Brandenburg have been replaced, the lunette replaced...etc.) Certainly the fallbeil at Brandenburg is not from Dresden. The first Dresden fallbeil was destroyed in the bombing and the second fallbeil at Dresden was a Tegel.
The fallbeil at Plotzensee originally was at Bruchsal prison. On February 17, 1937 the Bruchsal fallbeil was moved to Plotzensee, then designated as an execution center. (Prior to 1937, the infrequent executions at Plotzensee were carried out with the hand axe and on occasion, a transportable fallbeil)
Bruchsal's fallbeil was a classic late 1800's Mannhardt with a tip-board and a unique metal lunette. (An excellent photo of it was taken in the Bruchsal prison yard in 1923 and the photo caption says the picture shows the fallbeil when set up for the last execution held at Bruchsal) Once at Plotzensee, the tip-board was removed, the bench either replaced or reworked, the lunette replaced, a blade shield added and possibly other modifications made to expedite executions. In May, 1945 it was taken by Russian troops who liberated the prison possibly for display in a Russian museum but for the moment, put into storage at Moabit Prison. There is a report that the Soviets later traded the fallbeil with Western Zone authorities.
Bruchsal did get a replacement, by the way...in May, 1944. It was an all-metal fallbeil based the Mannhardt style and installed in their "neue Richtstatte". It previously had been in Strasburg and fomr June 22, 1944 through Jan 25, 1945, was used to behead 55 persons. I have reports that it was destroyed in an air raid. Fortunately a photo of this "black widow" was taken so we know how it looked.