Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 19 May 2009 18:08

As only a few of the cities with a local judicial court were also equipped with a central execution site,those sentenced to death there had to be transported first to the place of execution.These transported condemned were designated there as ""from abroad""The difficulties encountered with the transport were considerable and transport was expensive , time consuming and labour intensive.As was already indicated in several comments,the condemned were brought to the execution site by the (ordinary)police or Judicial Transport Police either individually or in groups.For individual transport,a lorry was used as a rule,for group transport ,apart from a lorry, the railroad-later,also barges through the canals and rivers when possible.The gasoline,that became in short supply from the beginning of the war onwards, was only allowed on very serious grounds(note)

The problem of transport was often,as was already mentioned,crucial in chosing the site for a newly erected execution centre.

Note: I should expect execution to be of the highest class of nazi urgency but this does not seem to have been the case always.Curious.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 19 May 2009 19:29

I viewed the post that Piotr indicated-- it is a Belgian site(same language) where the story is told about a resistance group from Lichtervelde,of which 18 members were beheaded in Wolffenbuettel, the Major of the town among them.


The text below the Fallbeil picture reads that the condemned were placed on their backs on the Fallbeil bench, so to be able to see the blade coming down on them.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 19 May 2009 19:42

BTW I still consider it the lowest form of life so to say,that lowered the age on which to be decapitated from 21 to 14 during the war.This is beyond comprehension.As the case of Erna Wazinsky and many others illustrates.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 20 May 2009 02:29

Paul53 wrote:
The text below the Fallbeil picture reads that the condemned were placed on their backs on the Fallbeil bench, so to be able to see the blade coming down on them.
How sadistic. Apparently this was done to cause additional suffering to the victim. Not a widespread practice though, although there were other executions carried out in this manner. Fredric mentioned some time ago that executing face up was done deliberately to some agitated victims, so they could be backed to the fallbeil bench without seeing the blade. But then they saw it at the wrong moment. The very idea of the victim watching the blade descend and then the blade cutting throughthe larynx and trachea first is revolting.
Edgar Alan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" story must have been an inspiration to these killers. You know, it numbs one's senses to realize that all this was happening only 65 - 70 years ago.

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Wolfenbuttel execution room

Post by Pete26 » 20 May 2009 02:44

If you click on the first picture, it will appear enlarged and where the spolight shines on the floor is where the fallbeil once stood. This execution room was converted from a locksmith's or a machine shop I believe. The second picture shows the back of the execution room and tablets on the rear wall list the names of the guillotined victims. To the left you can see the doorway through which the prisoners were brought in and their dead bodies bodies carried out.
There was undoubtedly a black transverse curtain dividing the room into two halves, the front half hiding the guillotine. The rear half served as the anteroom for the execution team to assemble, for the prisoner to be brought in, and for the verdicts to be read. This is my opinion only, of course, as I do not know what the exact arrangement was.

http://www.geschichtsatlas.de/~ge3/hinr ... taette.php

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 20 May 2009 02:59

Paul53 wrote:The difficulties encountered with the transport were considerable and transport was expensive , time consuming and labour intensive.
Poor Nazis. Something tells me that it was the condemned prisoners who had the most difficult time of all. :roll:

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 20 May 2009 03:09

fredric wrote: Also, the blade has been put in the "ready" position, hook removed, further supporting the idea the photo is staged.
It is a weighted hook and once the sledge locks into position and the release claw engages the slot in the blade, the tension on the hook is removed, and the counterweight automatically disconnects the hook from the sledge frame eye bolt. So no human intervention is needed there. But you are right, it seems silly to raise and lock the blade if the machine is to be disassembled and put in storage.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 20 May 2009 05:35

Pete26 wrote:
fredric wrote: Frederich Hehr executed war criminals for the Allies with this fallbeil.
That's an interesting revelation. Do you know approximately how many were beheaded?
I do not have an exact number for Wolfenbuettel. An unofficial "obituary" document for Scharfrichter Hehr, provided by my friend Gordon Anderson, states that after the War, Hehr carried out 57 beheadings for the Allies in Hamburg and Wolfenbuttel and 47 more in Dortmund between 1946 and 1948. Hehr died in Hannover in 1952. He was not the subject of publicity or prosecution as was Reichhart.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by gordon anderson » 20 May 2009 09:53

This is for Piotr thanks for your great research. This is a much clearer shot.

Note the floor in the Wolfenbuettel execution room . It looks like they had to break the great old tiles running straight to the drain , when they adapted this room and laid the water line / pipes for the removal of the gore.

I don't believe the tales of being beheaded looking up. It ranks along with the electic motor operated fallbeils and spring loaded ones. Having the arms and hands underneath the back would be a distinct disadvantage for the Henker , and having the head upward would cause a real problem ---- the victim biting and thrashing around. Also there would be much less control than if the victim were face down. Somewhere it is even written that the eyelids of the victims were held open by matchsticks.
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 20 May 2009 18:07

gordon anderson wrote:This is for Piotr thanks for your great research. This is a much clearer shot.

Note the floor in the Wolfenbuettel execution room . It looks like they had to break the great old tiles running straight to the drain , when they adapted this room and laid the water line / pipes for the removal of the gore.

I don't believe the tales of being beheaded looking up. It ranks along with the electic motor operated fallbeils and spring loaded ones. Having the arms and hands underneath the back would be a distinct disadvantage for the Henker , and having the head upward would cause a real problem ---- the victim biting and thrashing around. Also there would be much less control than if the victim were face down. Somewhere it is even written that the eyelids of the victims were held open by matchsticks.
Well Gordon, I am not so sure about that..After all,there were 3 assistant executioners to restrain the convict,who was also cuffed.And like concentration camps, prisons offered wonderful oppertunities for acting out sadistic impulses.That is even true today.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 20 May 2009 18:28

The example of convicts from Mannheim, that were transported to Stuttgart extermination centre illustrates the difficulty to balance between the costs and the needs of the Judicial Penal system:"" February 1943, regulations imposed on basis of Death warrants-The Police president here told me, that in an inquiry made into the consumption of fuel by the police HQ Mannheim,among other things the transports are assessed that were made for death candidates to the execution centre.Mr Police president disclosed to me that he considered himself unable to allow these transports of condemned to the execution site Stuttgart by lorry in the future.Mr. police president disallowed in this interview all the objections referring to the transport of the condemned by rail.On the other hand,the transport of condemned is still a special case(?).Intransporting individuals with a lorry,so far there were no difficulties in my judicial area,but it can be imagined,that those individuals, who have nothing to loose anyway,can behave themselves with transports by rail in such a way,that they will cause unrest among the civilians.Considering this, such an unrest at railway stations can not allways be silenced by final measures""(he means shooting)

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 21 May 2009 02:37

gordon anderson wrote:Note the floor in the Wolfenbuettel execution room . It looks like they had to break the great old tiles running straight to the drain , when they adapted this room and laid the water line / pipes for the removal of the gore.
It seems that they had a water faucet for the hose at the floor level, right next to the floor drain, as there is no indication of any water plumbing on the walls. Therefore it appears that there was no sink.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 21 May 2009 05:01

Paul53 wrote:
gordon anderson wrote:This is for Piotr thanks for your great research. This is a much clearer shot.

Note the floor in the Wolfenbuettel execution room . It looks like they had to break the great old tiles running straight to the drain , when they adapted this room and laid the water line / pipes for the removal of the gore.

I don't believe the tales of being beheaded looking up. It ranks along with the electic motor operated fallbeils and spring loaded ones. Having the arms and hands underneath the back would be a distinct disadvantage for the Henker , and having the head upward would cause a real problem ---- the victim biting and thrashing around. Also there would be much less control than if the victim were face down. Somewhere it is even written that the eyelids of the victims were held open by matchsticks.
Well Gordon, I am not so sure about that..After all,there were 3 assistant executioners to restrain the convict,who was also cuffed.And like concentration camps, prisons offered wonderful oppertunities for acting out sadistic impulses.That is even true today.
It is a myth that the standard practice in Nazi Germany was to guillotine victims face-up but it is possible this was done on occasion. The practice is referred to in some books but that does not mean it actually occurred. It certainly is possible to do. The matchsticks story is familiar. I have also read that Nazi executioners taped and even glued the victim's eyes open when guillotining victims face-up. The only documented account of a face-up guillotining I have seen is that of a terrorist guillotined in Indochina.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 21 May 2009 09:25

If it was done in Indochina,why not in naziland?

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 23 May 2009 00:17

There is also possibility of guillotining someone lying on their side with the guillotine blade falling on the side of their neck. Not as easy, but certainly doable. Anyone knows of any beheadings done this way? If the person was lying on the bench on their right side, they would be able to see the executioner pull the lever and release the blade, which would also be quite disturbing.

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