Beheadings in the Third Reich

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

Post by tomh » 22 May 2023 09:28

Pete26 wrote:
20 May 2023 03:53

Here is the list of fallbeil execution sites in the third Reich and number of people executed at each site:

Berlin Plotzensee: at least 2500 (1933-1945)

Brandenburg Gorden: 2743 (1940-1945)

Breslau(Wroclaw): at least 775 (1939-1944)

Bruchsal: 64 (1944-1945)

Butzbach: 7 (1933-1937)

Danzig: at least 4 (1944-1945)

Dortmund: 305 (1934-36) and (1943-1945)

Dreibergen-Butzow: 53 (1942 and 1945)

Dresden: 1356 (1934-1945)

Frankfurt-Preungesheim: at least 345 (1938-1945)

Graz: at least 156 (1943-1945)

Halle: 546 (1942-1945)

Hamburg: 468 (1933-1944)

Hannover: 3 (1933-1937)

Kattowitz (Katowice): 552 (1941-1945)

Koln: at least 1000 (1933-1945)

Konigsberg: no data (1936-1945)

Munchen Stadelheim: 1381 (1934-1945)

Posen (Poznan): at least 1680 (1939-1945)

Prague Pankrac: 1079 (1943-1945)

Stuttgart: 454 (1933-1944)

Weimar: 197 (1933-1945)

Wien: 1187 (1938-1945)

Wolfenbuttel: at least 516 (1937-1945)

Total executions for all 24 Central Execution Sites: at least 17336 (1933-1945)

Source: Hinrichtungen in Hamburg und Altona 1933-1944 by Andreas Seeger and Fritz Treichel

It is, however, noteable that not all these executions were by Fallbeil. At least in Plötzensee all executions up to the early months of 1937 were carried out by Handbeil.
Also, the 16 executions in Dreibergen-Bützow in 1942 were carried out with hand axe.

Plötzensee memorial
Wagner A. 2003. Die Hinrichtung der "Rostocker Plünderer" 1942 in Bützow. Zeitgeschichte Regional 7 Heft 2: 24-29

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Dresden fallbeil photos

Post by Pete26 » 24 Dec 2023 06:05

I have posted these photos individually some time ago. Here is an URL that has all of these photos grouped together. Individual photos can be enlarged to better see the details of this Tegel type fallbeil which beheaded more than 1000 people. Many of the victims were Czechs who were sent to Dresden to be executed before the Pankrac fallbeil was put into operation in Prague in April 1943. Slide 21 shows that 1069 people were executed in Dresden during the Third Reich era. Of those 732 were from Czechoslovakia. The Dresden fallbeil continued to be used even after WWII ended. One notable victim of this fallbeil was Johann Burianek who was beheaded in Dresden on 2 August 1952 at the age of 38. ... t/fallbeil

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by svenga » 15 Feb 2024 11:23

Belated Happy new year all..

It has been several years since i last posted, though i have been watching from the shadows.

An interesting image below, Mannhardt tables/bases in storage at the Bavarian national archive, five in total!

The same archive which happened to 're-discover' the Scholl fallbeil.

Any further information would be great!


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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by svenga » 17 Feb 2024 02:13

Over the past few years, videos on this subject became more popular from amateur historians etc on YouTube. Much of the information and material is generic and follows the same narratives and facts, with the usual incorrect information and myths being shared.

One particular myth/suggestion got me thinking. Somewhere along the line it has been suggested that Reichhart 'invented' a restraining device, known as the double detective pliers or double criminent tongs. No source or evidence has been found for this claim and certainly no photographic evidence or physical artifacts. However, I wonder if this claim was spun from something pre existent within the prison and criminal justice service.. Say a pair of handcuffs/hand restraints

Please see below, these one handed, quick release handcuffs could be a possibility. The first set has german origins, the second set US.. Though something similar could have been used. Perhaps the assistants or atleast gaurds could have used similar handcuffs to provide quick restraint and avoid fumbling with keys.

Something to consider.



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Re: Victims younger than 20 beheaded in Hamburg

Post by Matthieu52 » 24 Mar 2024 04:52

Pete26 wrote:
25 Jun 2016 01:17
Ludwig Walter Bernitt, age 19, executed on 14 December 1939

Marcel Brothier, age 19, executed on 1 November 1943

Johannes Detlefsen, age 19, executed on 17 July 1944

Johann Ertner, age 19, executed on 14 December 1944

Felix Glowacki, age 17, executed on 5 February 1943

Heinz Gollnick, age 19, executed on 12 April 1943

Willi Walter Heinze, age 18, executed on 1 November 1943

Gunther Gustav Hofmann, age 19, executed on 10 March 1943

Czeslaw Jurytko, age 18, executed on 8 October 1943

Johann Klein, age 19, executed on 26 January 1943

Walter Helmuth Knota, age 19, executed on 10 March 1943

Arkadiusch Lipinski, age 17, executed on 4 September 1942

Max Johannes Lorenzen, age 18, executed on 29 July 1939

Konrad Lumm, age 19, executed on 17 May 1944

Alexander Ivanowitsch Mermenko, age 18, executed on 1 October 1942

Bronislaw Miskinis, age 19, executed on 5 August 1943

Tadeus Mrozinski, age 18, executed on 31 March 1943

Franciszek Sadowski, age 18, executed on 12 April 1943

Boleslaw Schmielewski, age 19, executed on 18 September 1941

Paul Huge Schulze, age 18, executed on 10 November 1944

Adalbert Stastny, age 19, executed on 20 December 1943

Czeslav Szymanski, age 19, executed 26 April 1941

Jan Wachowiak, age 18, executed on 31 March 1943

Arthur Karl Waller, age 19, executed on 26 January 1940

Robert Ward, age 19, executed on 16 July 1943

Heinz Kurt Wawrzyniak, age 18, executed on 10 October 1940

Senon Wojciechowski, age 18, executed on 16 July 1943

Walerian Wrobel, age 17, executed on 25 August 1942

Maximilan Zachoszcz, age 18, executed on 2 April 1942

Hans Heirich Ziems, age 17, executed on 23 April 1940

Julian Zyman, age 18, executed on 22 December 1942

Source: Hinrichtungen in Hamburg und Altona (1933-1944) by Andreas Seeger and Fritz Treichel

Note: Execution of Walerian Wrobel, age 17, is the one that is highly publicized, and some claim that he is the youngest person guillotined by Nazis. However, from the list you can see that he is not alone in his age group. Yet there is very little if any information about the other unfortunates who were executed in Hamburg at such an early age. Helmuth Hübener who was beheaded in Ploetzensee prison, was also 17 years old.
"Age" means the age at the date at offence, or at the date at trial, or at execution?

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 02 Apr 2024 17:43

To the best of my knowledge this was their age when executed.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 02 Apr 2024 17:50

Last edited by Pete26 on 02 Apr 2024 22:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 02 Apr 2024 22:04

Pete26 wrote:
02 Apr 2024 17:50
Belated Happy new year all..

It has been several years since i last posted, though i have been watching from the shadows.

An interesting image below, Mannhardt tables/bases in storage at the Bavarian national archive, five in total!

The same archive which happened to 're-discover' the Scholl fallbeil.

Any further information would be great!
The bench with the roller in the foreground of the photo appears to be a medieval rack for stretching offenders and forcing admission of guilt from them.

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Reconstruction of fallbeil execution room in Roter Ochse prison in Halle/Saale

Post by Pete26 » 06 Apr 2024 13:09 ... ungsraums/

Some interesting statements in the article:

There was a hanging beam installed on the left wall of the execution chamber. After each beheading, approximately 1.5 liters of blood were pumped out of the body by the heart which was still beating. Therefore the room was tiled to facilitate easy cleanups. The fallbeil was of the Tegel type.

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Karl Hladecek execution and search for his remains

Post by Pete26 » 06 Apr 2024 13:36 ... en,Tygw53r

Back in 2019 forum member "heraldika" asked about Karl Hladecek who was her great grandfather. Based on the article above, it looks like Helena Novotna is that person. According to the article the Stadelheim fallbeil has been taken apart in the depot and its bench is apparently one of the five shown in the photograph posted recently.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=35191&p=2213421&hil ... k#p2213421
Last edited by Pete26 on 06 Apr 2024 13:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Tegel type fallbeil in storage

Post by Pete26 » 06 Apr 2024 13:47

Tegel type fallbeil in storage.jpeg
Notice that the fallbeil is mounted on a wooden pallet so it can be easily moved with a pallet jack or a forklift.
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The invisible guillotine

Post by Pete26 » 06 Apr 2024 23:27

"In 2014, Ulrich Trebbin was able to uncover for BR that the guillotine of Munich-Stadelheim, which had disappeared in 1945, had been hidden from the public for decades in the depot of the Bavarian National Museum. In the Kingdom of Bavaria, it was still used to execute people who had murdered out of greed, hatred or lust. The Nazi state then used them primarily to eliminate "pests of the people" and resistance fighters - often for minor offenses. At the end of the war, they were allowed to disappear from the scene. And this continues to this day: because the Free State of Bavaria has imposed an exhibition ban on them and is still hiding an inconvenient part of our past from the public. Many still know the members of the "White Rose" or the "Robber Kneißl", but the vast majority of the more than 1,300 victims of this guillotine have been forgotten. This book aims to commemorate some of them and at the same time tells a repressed chapter of our history: that of the death penalty.
Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.02.2023
Just in time for 22 February, the day on which the Nazi resistance fighters Sophie and Hans Scholl were executed in Munich 80 years ago, reviewer Hannes Hintermeier discusses Ulrich Trebbin's study. Stunned, Hintermeier reads the story of this guillotine, which was used to carry out sentences for ninety years and which was transported from a repair shop in Regensburg to the Bavarian National Museum in the 1970s. It is still there today, but may not be shown. The facts and hair-raising footnotes that Ulrich Trebbin has collected over decades and connect with the history of the guillotine since the French Revolution sometimes causes Hintermeier to gasp. The reviewer can absolutely understand that the journalist and trauma therapist argues "balanced and yet passionately" for the Munich murder instrument to be presented to the public, because taboos have never helped."

Munich, February 22, 1943, Munich-Stadelheim prison.

The Chief Reich Prosecutor at the People's Court of Berlin.

Subject: Execution of the death sentence of the Berlin People's Court of 22 February 1943 on Sofie Scholl

The execution room was fully secured against the view and access of innocent bystanders. The falling sword machine was set up - hidden by a black curtain - ready for use. At 5 p.m., the convict was brought before by two prison officers. (...) The executioner's assistants led her to the falling sword machine, on which she was pushed under the guillotine. Executioner Reichhart then triggered the guillotine, which immediately separated the head of the condemned woman from the torso. The prison doctor convinced himself of the occurrence of death. The condemned woman was calm and collected. 6 seconds elapsed from the time she was handed over to the executioner to the fall of the hatchet. The entire execution process, which took place without incident, lasted 48 seconds from the moment she left the cell.

With the guillotine of Munich-Stadelheim, not only the resistance fighters of the White Rose were beheaded: the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and Professor Kurt Huber. Between 1934 and 1945, 1,188 people sentenced to death died in Munich-Stadelheim prison – including 75 women. Many of them had been in the resistance or had allegedly belittled the prestige of the German people. With very few exceptions, they were all beheaded with the guillotine of Munich-Stadelheim.

By the end of the war, the guillotine had disappeared from the face of the earth. Supposedly, no one knew where she had gone.

"The official interpretation, which has been circulated again and again, is that in 1945, at the end of the war, the guillotine was sent to Straubing on a truck with 40 death row inmates still in prison and that the guillotine was sunk in the Danube there. However, the Danube has already been searched several times, nothing has been found, which is quite astonishing for objects of this size."

It can be assumed, however, that the Stadelheim guillotine was deliberately made to disappear. After the abolition of the death penalty in 1949, it stood in the attic of the Regensburg prison for 25 years. The public was not informed about this. Should the corpus delicti of the thousandfold judicial murder, this memorial of shame, be hidden from posterity? Did they want to protect the public from this horrific object, which had been stained with the blood of thousands?

There are probably no more answers to these questions. In 1974, at the request of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, the guillotine was moved to the depot of the Bavarian National Museum - again without the public's knowledge. It was not until 2014 that BR author Ulrich Trebbin revealed that the guillotine still exists and where it is kept.

"During one of my first walks through the depot, the custodian said, by the way: This is the guillotine that is said to be that of the Scholl siblings. That was quite a creep, because these are objects that get under your skin. And then I started researching what the pieces were all about."

In the depot, the remains of the Bavarian guillotines are kept in individual parts: among other things, two head baskets, two knives, three neckboards, five strap-on boards and five guillotine benches, which probably come from Augsburg, Straubing, Regensburg and Munich. The Munich bank bears the number M1. It lacks the tilting board to which the death row inmates were strapped down. The Stadelheim executioner Johann Reichhart had it dismantled in order to speed up the executions. Leaning against the wall is the main piece of the collection: the 2-metre-56-high iron frame belonging to the Munich guillotine, on which the guillotine is wound and which also bears the number M1.

"A crank is put on the side, the crank is here, and the knife is screwed into the small guided frame and is then held in place by a hook, which is then unhooked by a lever and then, of course, the knife falls down with a huge force, because that's a heavy, solid iron part in which the knife is held, the knife alone has a beautiful weight of perhaps 15 kilograms, and that is a drop height of 1 meter 50, which then does its fatal effect."

In the course of his research, art historian Sybe Wartena quickly discovered that the history of the Bavarian guillotines goes far back into the time before National Socialism:
On May 18, 1854, the execution of the 19-year-old saddler's apprentice Christian Hussendörfer is scheduled in Munich. He is said to have murdered and robbed his teacher. At the place of execution on the former Field of Mars near the Hackerbrücke - roughly where the Augustinerkeller is located today - a lot of people have gathered to witness the spectacle. But this beheading becomes an exceedingly abominable spectacle, because the executioner Lorenz Scheller apparently sees himself up to his task only with a considerable alcohol level and is consequently so heavily drunk that he - as he later admits - sees two heads and does not know which one to cut off. In the end, it takes him seven strokes of the sword to complete the execution.

The onlookers are outraged, want to attack the executioner and can only be restrained with difficulty. King Maximilian II is nevertheless worried. After all, the Bavarian monarch doesn't want to risk an uproar, the revolutions of 1848 are still too much in his bones. His Ministry of Justice soon took the same view, writing:
"The death penalty is in and of itself the greatest of the earthly punishments for the crime committed. (...) Through death, the crime is atoned for, and satisfies the requirements of the state. If, however, it is not the mode of death, but the death itself that must be regarded as the punishment, then the obligation arises for the state to choose the mode of death which brings death most surely and quickly."

So they decided to introduce the guillotine in Bavaria for the purpose of humanization. This "achievement" of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, which was supposed to guarantee an equal and, above all, agony-free death for all convicts, had hitherto found few friends in monarchist Bavaria. Three previous attempts to introduce a "drop sword machine" had failed. Among other things, because the guillotine was a revolutionary instrument of murder and royal heads had also fallen under it in France.

Now the Munich inventor and royal Bavarian tower clock maker Johann Mannhardt was commissioned to construct a "falling sword machine" - the French term "guillotine" was wisely avoided. A year later, the instruments are ready.

Although from now on seven Bavarian cities were to be decapitated with the falling sword, not seven complete guillotines were ordered, but only two: one for Munich and one for Würzburg. For Augsburg, Straubing, Amberg, Bayreuth and Ansbach, only the benches on which the delinquents are placed will be purchased. The executioner is supposed to bring the vertical iron frame with the knife with him when he arrives from Munich or Würzburg. On site, it is screwed to the respective bench.

According to the ideas of the society of the time, the death penalty was a contemporary and legitimate means of punishing murderers, robbery murderers or sexual murderers and atoning for their deeds. Nevertheless, the death penalty was used comparatively rarely in the second half of the 19th century - a low single-digit number per year can be found in the archives. In some years, there are no executions at all or only one execution. In the 18 years between 1912 and 1929, which included the First World War, the revolution and the turbulent post-war period, 94 people were executed in Bavaria, an average of five per year.

An instrument of murder
Guillotine used to execute at least 1,180 people as well as the Scholl siblings | Image: Bavarian National Museum, Walter Haberland
The Munich "falling sword machine" (here in the depot of the Bavarian National Museum) brought thousands of deaths during National Socialism.

When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, the number of those executed rose rapidly. Especially during the war. Is it permissible to publicly exhibit a machine that was used to decapitate thousands of people during the lifetime of our parents and grandparents? Where DNA traces of her blood, bone marrow, neck muscles or esophagus may still be found? Would that be a tribute to the victims or a humiliation? Is it permissible to expect relatives and the public to endure this gruesome object? And would the exhibition of this guillotine help us to better understand Nazi injustice?

This discussion was only very brief in 2014 after the discovery of the guillotine: the then Bavarian Minister of Art convened a round table at which historians, museum experts, ethicists and relatives of the victims sat. Participants in the conversation said afterwards that, according to their impression, the result had already been determined beforehand. In any case, after the meeting, the minister decided that the guillotine should remain in the depot of the National Museum and not be exhibited. Arguments were the dignity of the victims and a feared voyeurism by visitors. However, there has been no in-depth debate in society. The guillotine has become a taboo.

Many people could contribute their thoughts to the question: experienced politicians, historians, educators, cultural workers, museum people, psychologists, the descendants of the victims, interested citizens and, above all, the rising generation.

Pros and Cons 1
The guillotine has a special suggestive power because it inevitably confronts us with the situation, where the head is fastened and the hatchet whizzes down and life is cruelly brought to an end by state terrorists. The people who talk more and more abstractly and shamelessly about the crimes of the Third Reich and compare them with today's mask requirement or the Jewish star that people pin on themselves to behave as martyrs should have this effect. The brutality of reality must be shown with all clarity.
Christian Ude, former mayor of the state capital of Munich
Ude has cancelled an exhibition at the Munich City Museum
objects that were not sufficiently embedded in their context threatened to create an uncritical image of National Socialism.

In principle, I consider it highly problematic to exhibit testimonies from the National Socialist era that serve as objects of the perpetrators in connection with the National Socialist violent crimes. With a guillotine, however, the danger is even greater that the voyeuristic predominates, that the creepy effect predominates, and it is no longer enlightening ... What does it tell us if I have a knife, if I have a Zyklon B rifle, if I issue a guillotine? What added value do I gain by exhibiting these instruments that have been used to kill, that have been used to kill? From my point of view, none at all.
Johannes Tuchel, political scientist,
director of the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin,
which also includes the Plötzensee Memorial.

I have a very clear opinion that something like this should be shown to the students and the audience. There is a contemporary witness in this device. It's an incentive to deal with it. And I think such proof of the cruelty of the Nazi regime is good, and when a contentious discussion arises, it feels doubly good.
Michael Verhoeven, director of films such as "The White Rose" (1982)

We are stuck here with historical truth insofar as we depict not only the injustice as such, but also the means by which the injustice was manifested. Therefore, I would rather go to the side of those who advocate a depiction with the guillotine.
Joachim Baez, nephew of White Rose member Willi Graf

The fact that this has now been linked above all to the execution of the members of the White Rose through media coverage stands in the way of an examination of the object, which would have to aim to take this cross-temporal aspect into account. It was not a mechanism specially procured for executions in the Third Reich, but had already been purchased in the middle of the kingdom and was then used seamlessly until after the Second World War.
Bernhard Grau, Director of the Bavarian State Archives
In 2007 he published the original blueprint
of the Bavarian falling sword machine from 1854

You are confronted with such a murder tool, it's not easy, it's not emotional simply, and one is always confronted with the deeds that have been committed with it. And that's actually what's particularly important to me about it. We should not make it too easy for ourselves and say: We are just putting this in the depot, but we have a responsibility to deal with such things publicly and to deal with them.
Sven Keller, Historian,
Institute for Contemporary History Munich,

The reality is that the executed White Rose and many others were executed on this device. And you don't have to hide that. So, if I think about it for a while, this device is certainly an important object to get an idea of the cruelty of the penitentiary system of that time. And that's why I think that if you exhibit it, you should have the opportunity to look at it.

The question of whether this can be expected of people is almost paternalistic, because if the answer is no, then you deprive people of the chance to deal with it. And I think people can decide for themselves.
Mario Gollwitzer, Professor of Social Psychology at LMU Munich.

The White Rose should not be turned into a chamber of horrors. Then you could also put the guillotine at the Oktoberfest. That it doesn't get too sentimentalized, that's the danger I imagine.
Wolfgang Huber, son of White Rose member Professor Kurt Huber

Fundamentally, I think that objects are becoming more important. 254 I believe that, especially now, for younger people, a time gap of 70-90 years is not easy to classify. If I can say that my grandmother lived there, I can put it into perspective better than if I say that it was two generations ago. 409 And an object has the opportunity to connect us with it through its authenticity, through the fact that it comes from this time, that it has experienced this time, and it is the case in most exhibitions about National Socialism and also in the new ones that are now being created, that objects are used. That's exactly why.

Conceivable locations for an exhibition of the Munich guillotine would be a memorial in or near the Munich-Stadelheim prison, the House of Bavarian History in Regensburg or the National Socialist Documentation Center in Munich, provided that objects are also integrated into the exhibition one day. Munich's Palace of Justice could also be suitable as a perpetrator site for a permanent exhibition on judicial murders in National Socialist Bavaria. In other federal states such as Brandenburg or Baden-Württemberg, guillotines from the Nazi era are on public display.

In Bavaria, as elsewhere in the Reich, the death penalty was generally reserved for capital crimes. Between 1882 and 1918, 1,721 people were sentenced to death in Germany - four for high treason, the rest for murder. During the Weimar Republic, official statistics list 1,141 death sentences, of which only 184 were carried out. Until 1933, the death penalty was a means of punishing crimes that was perceived as just by society at the time. In the Third Reich, however, it was rarely proportionate to the crimes and reached unprecedented proportions.

Between 1933 and 1945, more than 16,000 people were sentenced to death in Germany, and about 12,000 of these sentences were carried out. In addition, there were about 20,000 executions by military courts during the Second World War. In almost four decades until 1933, 14 people were executed in the Munich-Stadelheim prison. In the following 12 years, there will be almost 1,200. Especially during the war, the inhibition threshold of German judges to hand over civilians to the executioner decreases. For example, while 10 death sentences were carried out in Stadelheim in the pre-war year of 1938, in 1943 - only 5 years later - there were 377: more than 30 times as many.

Anna Guttenberger, born March 3, 1902
As members of the Roma, Anna Guttenberger and her husband Anton flee from Rosenheim to Bregenz, Austria. When the local residents find out about her origins, Anna - as well as her husband - loses her job and has to go peddling. One of her clients - an NDSAP district manager - asks her if she collects for the Winter Relief Organization, to which she says yes in a white lie. He denounces her, and a special court sentences her to death. On February 27, 1942, Anna Guttenberger was beheaded in Munich-Stadelheim.

Rudolf Fritsche, born on 14.4.1898
The employee of the Deggendorf district office steals food stamps and petrol stamps in order to distribute them among his circle of acquaintances. He doesn't want to enrich himself with it. The Special Court of Munich sentences him to death - quote - "because of the particular reprehensible nature of the crime" - and with reference to the so-called "healthy popular feeling". Rudolf Fritsche was executed on 18 September 1942.

Leo Katzenberger, born 1873
Leo Katzenberger runs a shoe wholesaler in Nuremberg with numerous branches in southern Germany and is the first chairman of the Jewish community in Nuremberg. He is denounced for having had a relationship with the photographer Irene Seiler, which both deny. The Nuremberg Special Court had him beheaded with a guillotine on 2 June 1942 in Stadelheim for "racial defilement" and as a so-called "pest of the people".

Under the Nazis, the death penalty was no longer limited to homicide. The "Ordinance against Pests of the People" of 5 September 1939 now also allows the death penalty for minor offences such as theft, arson or even just listening to foreign radio stations. Due to the Nuremberg Laws, cases of so-called "racial defilement" are occasionally punishable by death. Of the 24 executions in Munich in 1940, only a quarter are still for homicide. The National Socialist judiciary was no longer concerned with punishment and atonement, but with the "eradication" of "pests of the people".

Another group of those sentenced to death are women and men who oppose the Nazi regime. Many engage in tangible resistance, others only express criticism of the system or tell political jokes. Especially after the start of the war, they were mercilessly condemned and sometimes placed under the guillotine in lightning trials. The vast majority of them are largely unknown today.

Josef Bollwein, born on 29.6.1904 in Burgweinting near Regensburg
The carpenter Josef Bollwein belongs to a group of citizens who listen to foreign radio stations and then meet regularly at Regensburg's Neupfarrplatz to exchange information about the course of the war. Bollwein was arrested by the Gestapo in October 1942 along with other members of the Neupfarrplatz group, sentenced to death by the People's Court on 9 June 1943 and executed two months later in Munich-Stadelheim. He is survived by his wife and three young daughters.

Maria Ehrlich, born January 9, 1863
The Viennese art dealer Maria Ehrlich has been living in northern Italy since the beginning of 1939 due to a lung disease. She was critical of the National Socialists at every opportunity and was therefore executed by the German occupiers in Stadelheim on 10 February 1944 for "subversion of the armed forces" and probably also because of her Jewish origins. She is 81 years old.

Bebo Wager, born December 29, 1905
Bebo Wager works as a lathe operator and electrician at MAN in Augsburg, is involved in the SPD and is a member of the resistance group "Revolutionary Socialists". The People's Court sentences him to death for high treason. He died on 12 August 1943 in Munich-Stadelheim. In addition to his wife Lina, he is survived by three children. In his farewell letter he writes: "My beloved children, Heinz, Hanna, Helmut! Children! I must inflict the deepest pain on you. I carry infinite love within me on the last walk. I need not say that I am not dying a criminal. That I was striving only for good. Always be faithful to your incomparable Mother; (...) become good, useful, brave people. (...) My death shall not cloud your future. (...) Good luck on your journey through life. Keep me in good memory and be greeted and kissed a thousand times by your father, who is now dying for his idea. A thousand kisses and infinite happiness to all of you. It'll be over in four hours."

From 1937 onwards, death row inmates in Germany were beheaded in central execution sites. One of them will be Munich-Stadelheim. Its domain is all of Bavaria, the west of Austria and the western Sudetenland. The second complete Bavarian guillotine, which King Maximilian II had made for Würzburg, is brought to Breslau, Poland. After 1945 it landed in Kiev and can now be seen there in the "National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War".

Pros and Cons 2
The idea that you can keep emotions out of a learning process is not only psychologically unfounded, it is even absurd. Emotions are an inseparable part of motivational processes, memory processes, retrieval processes, i.e. emotions are necessarily part of the entire apparatus of human information processing. And we know from educational psychology that there are many examples of how the triggering of emotions does not disturb or hinder learning processes at all, but even promotes them. So for a really deep confrontation and for a connection of an object with myself - as the vernacular says that it does something to me - that is not possible without emotions.
Mario Gollwitzer, psychologist

I can well imagine that there are people who stand in front of it, take a selfie and then send it: "Me with the guillotine with which Sophie Scholl was beheaded" or something like that, and I imagine that to be relatively gruesome.
Jörg Hartnagel, nephew of Hans and Sophie Scholl

It is this authenticity of place, environment, living conditions, murder machines that at least bring us closer to the incomprehensible, let us feel the horrible, and that's why I don't understand at all why all the hooks on which men of July 20 were hung are shown as a matter of course, the terrible ovens in Auschwitz, but also the most personal legacies such as these mountains of suitcases or the mountains of hair, ... Frankly, I don't understand why a different rule should now apply to the guillotine, as little concrete and authentic as possible.
Christian Ude, former Lord Mayor of Munich

It (is) an exciting task to consider whether and how to show a guillotine with which National Socialist injustice was executed, as an instrument of law or injustice, to talk about the non-exhibiting, i.e. about the hiding of this guillotine. If you think of clever forms of rapprochement, contextualization, perhaps irritation, then I believe that it will also be possible to exhibit and also worth exhibiting.
Jörg Skriebeleit, Director of the Flossenbürg

Concentration Camp Memorial I think it makes sense to educate more people about the judiciary in the Third Reich. also related to the present day. Where does this lead when case law becomes a political instrument? And if you have a place where you can deal with this question and then you are shown such an instrument of murder. Then it makes sense somewhere. 824 If that is a coherent concept, I would be in favour of it. ... When I stand in front of the thing with which my aunt was put to death, then of course there is a very personal concern, which is not comparable to if I were to look at a guillotine that was used during the French Revolution. I just lack a bit of personal distance, but I can't make that the sole yardstick. The exhibition is not made for me.
Jörg Hartnagel, nephew of Hans and Sophie Scholl

I actually want you to be familiar with this device more. That it is then also made available to the public. In this respect, it would be helpful for me if an execution process, which can be succinctly described, could then also be associated with a device where one has to say that it has been squeezed into it and in the end the head remains.
Joachim Baez, nephew of Willi Graf

We learn about human rights, we learn about how judges were instrumentalized, how they allowed themselves to be co-opted by systems, we learn about how informants, namely those who had to carry out the execution, allowed themselves to be instrumentalized, we learn how repression took place, and we finally learn: One part of human rights is that someone can improve at any time.
Hermann Schäfer, founding president of the House of German History in Bonn
, author of the book "German History in One Hundred Objects",
in which he also included the Stadelheim guillotine.

The other day I had a school class in my exhibition, and they had discussed it, I think in ethics class, whether to go back to the death penalty. People say: Yes, they are all treated far too laxly and the courts only hand out suspended sentences and we should take much tougher action. When you are now faced with such a guillotine, these arguments quickly fall silent. Because that's easy to say, but when you're confronted with the fact that it can also be implemented and how it was implemented, I think you reflect again in a very special way. Well, I have never had anyone standing in front of the guillotine who would have said: "And yet I am in favour of reintroducing the death penalty".
Susanne Opfermann, director of the Ludwigsburg Penitentiary Museum,
which exhibits a guillotine from the Nazi era and one from 1946,
on which 11 people were executed before the death penalty was abolished in 1949.

The Executioner
In Nazi Germany, there were 10 executioners and 38 assistants for the central execution sites. In Munich-Stadelheim, executioner Johann Reichhart is used. Due to the mass of executions, however, he was no longer only active in Bavaria, but also in Württemberg, Baden, Vienna and Bohemia, in Saxony, Berlin-Plötzensee and Brandenburg-Görden.

Reichhart became a wealthy man: in 1942 alone, in addition to his annual fixed salary of 3,000 Reichsmarks, he received almost 6,000 marks in expense allowances and 35,790 marks in special allowances for 764 beheadings, because he was paid - in the truest sense of the word - per capita. However, this piecework was probably not easy money. In one photograph, two bitter eyes look out of Reichhart's furrowed and drawn face, suggesting a deeply shattered soul. His biographer, Roland Ernst, attests that he has a serious alcohol problem. And the Protestant pastor of Stadelheim, Karl Alt, who accompanied the death row inmates to the execution, also reports in his memoirs: "The executioner was astonishing, who incessantly carried out the hundreds and hundreds of executions (...), although he admittedly - understandably - provided himself with a lot of alcohol beforehand."

In the last years of the war, between 100 and 140 death row inmates were constantly on death row in Stadelheim. On each of the two execution days per week, sometimes more than 30 people come under the guillotine. In his professional life between 1924 and 1946, Johann Reichhart killed over 3,000 people - a considerable part with the Munich guillotine. The White Rose member Professor Kurt Huber, who was sentenced to death, is said to have said to him during his execution in Stadelheim: "Shame on you!"

With the war and the forced laborers deported to Germany, Poles, Czechs, French and Ukrainians also became victims of Nazi judicial murders. The reasons given for the verdict are "plundering", "receiving stolen goods" or even just "degradation of the reputation of the German people" - a very flexible term. Between 1943 and 1945, 377 of the 801 people executed in Stadelheim were non-Germans - almost half.

Pros and Cons 3
Pupils of the Willi-Graf-Gymnasium Munich

I would actually like to see it when it is exhibited, because it is such an important point in German and Bavarian history – as well as the history of justice. If you tell students that they were executed with a guillotine. Mei, a student can't imagine how people felt in this situation. When you see this guillotine now, you can also imagine how the people felt when they were lying on this guillotine, waiting the last few seconds for the executioner to drop this hatchet, is much more pictorial, and you can understand it much better and that, I think, better reappraisal.

It's such an intimidating object and I think it represents the Nazis quite well, and to see it as an object in real life is a bit different than in pictures, because it's just more tangible and not so euphemistic, so I think it's really important to see it that way in real life. You're always afraid of a certain fascination, but I think it's absolutely justified to be fascinated by something like that. Even in every single history lesson, we end up at the point where we don't understand how all this could have happened. It's just fascinating, (and that's why I think it's so important to actively remind yourself of how brutal these methods were and how inhumane it all happened.) 3450 And I think it's simply not an argument not to exhibit it because of this, because this enlightening factor that this object has predominates.

My first emotion was: Why haven't I seen this before, it just gave me this feeling of denial. I am of the opinion that a single person or just a group of people cannot decide how valuable this is for the population. In the end, I just couldn't have a say and that's frustrating for me, because I want to see it and - as we see here now - many would be in favor of seeing it.

I can imagine that they are trying to protect the population and that it is probably a bit too much work for them to think about something, that everyone can look at it without being totally disgusted by it and not being able to cope with it.

The guillotine from Munich-Stadelheim will remain in storage even years after its rediscovery and will not be allowed to be seen in any exhibition. This was confirmed by the Bavarian Minister of the Arts, Bernd Sibler, in a written statement to BR. Sibler agrees with his predecessor's argument from 2014 that the play could serve voyeurism and horror, violate relatives who are still alive and the dignity of the victims. A major public discussion about this is still pending." ... n-100.html

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Wooden tub in Pankrac prison

Post by Pete26 » 09 Apr 2024 14:30

This old post war photograph (probably taken around 1946) shows the wooden tub with handles which was used by the executioner's assistants to carry beheaded bodies from the guillotine room to the adjacent morgue room where they were arranged in a star pattern with the necks around the central drain(visible to the left of the tub in the photograph) to finish bleeding. The heads were placed on tops of beheaded bodies. Afterwards the bodies and heads were placed inside crude wooden coffins lined with saw dust and taken to Strasnice crematorium where they were cremated under supervision of Nazi officers. After cremation, the ashes were dumped into a pit next to the crematorium.

This tub is no longer shown in recent photographs of Pankrac execution rooms, so perhaps it was destroyed or locked up somewhere in storage.
Wooden tub for carrying guillotined bodies in Pankrac prison.jpg
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Charles bridge in Prague

Post by Pete26 » 09 Apr 2024 14:59

This is a photo of Charles bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Pankrac fallbeil metal frame and blade were thrown from this bridge into Vltava river during the last day of April 1945 by Nazis. The frame and blade were recovered from the river and the fallbeil reassembled and placed in its original execution room in Pankrac prison.

Charles bridge in Prague.jpg
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Roter Ochse prison execution room video

Post by Pete26 » 10 Apr 2024 00:35

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