Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

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Peter
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Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Peter » 14 Apr 2009 11:17

Does anybody have a photo or any biographical information concerning Karl Gröpler who was a Prussian Scharfrichter 1906-1936.

Thanks

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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Pete26 » 15 Apr 2009 04:30

Peter wrote:Does anybody have a photo or any biographical information concerning Karl Gröpler who was a Prussian Scharfrichter 1906-1936.

Thanks
There is quite a bit of information on Karl Gropler in the "Beheadings in the Third Reich" thread. For reading material, I recommend the book by Richard Evans: Rituals of Retribution. Karl Gropler's most notable executions are those of the Altona Red Marines, and Benita von Falkenhayn and Renate von Natzmer. All these people were beheaded with an axe. It was the gruesome execution of these two women in Plotzensee prison in Berlin that convinced Hitler to adopt a guillotine as the standard beheading tool.
Last edited by Pete26 on 16 Apr 2009 06:29, edited 1 time in total.

Peter
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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Peter » 15 Apr 2009 06:49

Thank you Pete I have read the thread from start to finish but cannot find a photo of him or confirm any Reich Ministry of Justice appointments before 1906 or after 1936. I would like to confirm his fate post-war also, there seems to be varying information.

Pete26
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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Pete26 » 16 Apr 2009 04:23

According to Richard Evans, Gropler was arrested in the autumn of 1945 at his home in Magdeburg and imprisoned in Halle. He had been retired since 1936. He was not brought to trial, but died in prison on 30 January 1949.

Photographs of some scharfrichters are rare and hard to find. This is understandable as some of them did not want any publicity and wished to remain anonymous if at all possible. Of course, there would be photos of every scharfrichter in the RMJ official archives. Some photos are also in private archives, but people are reluctant to post them on the web.

Karl Gropler guillotined Fritz Haarmann (the butcher of Hannover) and Peter Kurten (the Dusseldorf vampire). In both of these cases the heads have been preserved, the head of Haarman in a jar to this day at Gootingen medical school, and the head of Peter Kurten was split in two and is presently on display in one of Ripley's "Believe it or not" museums here in the US.

Carl Gropler was the chief assistant of the executioner Alvin Engelhardt. Like many executioners, Gropler had experience in the knacking trade, but by the time of his appointment as an executioner he had abandoned his career as a horse butcher and was earning his main living from running the Edelweiss Laundry in Magdeburg. After passing the executioner's examination set by the Royal State Prosecution Service in Magdeburg, Gropler offered his services to the state prosecution authorities and thus became and official scharfrichter. From the beginning it was evident that he was in it for the money.

While Gropler enjoyed the regular income from his laundry, he quickly became irritated with the low pay he received form his services as an executioner. In 1906 he earned 1075 marks, in 1907, 1800 marks, and in 1908, 2550 marks. In 1909 he earned a lot more money from eleven executions, 5350 marks, and the following year 4950 marks from ten executions that year.

Like most executioners, Gropler was a heavy drinker. At 56 years of age, Gropler was still physically fit and the only sign of advancing age was the fact that he was by now completely bald. In April 1924 Gropler signed a new contract. It gave him a monopoly over all executions carried out in Prussia, and in practice through the whole of North Germany. He demanded to be paid a fixed salary plus a bonus for each execution, and he asked to be paid in gold. The Ministry agreed to give him a retainer of 136 gold marks a month, plus a fee of 60 gold marks for himself and 50 for each of his assistants each time they carried out an execution. However, there were few executions to perform and by 1930 Gropler was complaining again that he was making less money than an unemployed man.

At the time of the Nazi seizure of power, the Magdeburg laundry owner Karl Gropler was the leading executioner in Germany. He had been in the office for more than a quarter of the century and had carried out executions in Prussia, Meckenburg, Oldenburg, Brunswick,and the Hanseatic cities. Gropler's laundry had long since gone out of business, and he was in practice entirely dependent on his income from his activities as an executioner. He had been seriously underemployed in the last years of the Weimar Republic, and so welcomed the coming of the Third Reich, which granted him a renewal of his contact on 19 February 1933. In addition to his annual retainer of 1500 Reichsmarks from the Prussian state, he was also due by contract 50 marks per execution in Prussia and 450 or 500 marks per execution in the other states. Gropler was not slow to demonstrate his enthusiasm for the new regime. He started giving the Nazi salute at executions and punctuating his activities with loud cries of "Heil Hitler".The Ministry officials were not amused and Gropler was instructed to restrain his enthusiasm.

Due to his advanced age, Gropler was finally forced into retirement in 1936.

Source of info: Richard Evans, The Rituals of Retribution.

Peter
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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Peter » 16 Apr 2009 09:29

Thanks Pete, excellent.

Is there a pic of Gropler in the book ?

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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Pete26 » 16 Apr 2009 13:48

Peter wrote:Thanks Pete, excellent.

Is there a pic of Gropler in the book ?
No. I have been trying to locate one myself.

Peter
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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Peter » 18 May 2023 17:45

Death certificate - original held by the Standesamt Halle -Saale
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Peter
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Re: Official Executioner Karl Gröpler (1868- ?)

Post by Peter » 18 May 2023 17:47

Marriage certificate 1891 Standesamt Magdeburg
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