Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Pete26
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 23 May 2009 05:15

I verified from several sources that 67 Nazi criminals were guillotined by the Allies in Wolfenbuttel after the war. Did Wolfenbuttel execution room have any provisions for hanging? Did Allies behead war criminals anywhere else in Germany after the war? Most of the guillotines were either disposed of or they were badly damaged when Germans fled before the advance of the Allies. I thought that hanging was the method of execution of Nazis after the war. But the long drop method used required construction of a gallows and that was not always quick and easy, so if a perfectly functional guillotine was available, it seems logical that they would use it. But still, a firing squad would look like a better alternative in any case.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Piotr1 » 23 May 2009 06:40

The fallbeill( displayed in Ludwigsburg museum) was used for beheading nazi war criminals in French ocupation zone
( so called Rastatt trials)
http://www.hist-ver-rastatt.de/html/mil ... bunal.html
https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de/ofs21/o ... mit=suchen

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Gustav Volpell

Post by Pete26 » 23 May 2009 18:01

I came across a photo of the controversial German executioner Gustav Volpell on the web and here it is. He is shown in his extraordinary homemade mask which was supposedly made by his wife and which he wore to executions to hide his identity.
This same photo also appears in one of well known books on guillotines (Opie's book?)

Image

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Lübecker Hof in Dortmund

Post by Piotr1 » 24 May 2009 20:38

http://www.ns-gedenkstaetten.de/nrw/de/ ... d/thema_3/
http://www.ns-gedenkstaetten.de/nrw/de/ ... rauen.html

"The Dortmund court prison, Lübecker Hof, was occasionally one of the central execution places of the Third Reich. After 1943 a Guillotine had been set up there, in order to relieve the execution place in Cologne, to date responsible for Dortmund. Between 2 July 1943 and 5 January 1945 more than 300 women and men were executed there. It often concerned itself with foreign or German resistance fighters. "

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fredric
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Re: Gustav Volpell

Post by fredric » 25 May 2009 00:22

Pete26 wrote:I came across a photo of the controversial German executioner Gustav Volpell on the web and here it is. He is shown in his extraordinary homemade mask which was supposedly made by his wife and which he wore to executions to hide his identity.
This same photo also appears in one of well known books on guillotines (Opie's book?)

Image
The book is Gerould's "Guillotine - Its Legend and Lore." Gustav Volpel did not serve as a sharfrichter during the War but did serve time in a Wehrmacht punishment battalion. He is a most disreputable character, interesting because he exemplifies the kind of "low life characters" Johann Reichhart said were being recruited as executioners as the War was ending and by the post-War governments. I question whether Volpel actually served as an executioner in post-War Germany. He may have done so for the Russians if at all. Gustav Volpel was a small-time criminal as was his wife, the "mask maker." Gustav got some notariety for his involvement with the Gladow-Bande whose leader, Werner Gladow, did meet his end on the fallbeil. At the time the photo was taken, Volpel was being tried in court but had asked to be given a day off from the trial in order to carry out two executions with his axe. He then returned to court in the funny mask, carrying his richtbeil (in a green suitcase). The judge was not amused. Gustav got a few years at government expense in prison and died, impoverished, after serving his sentence. He does not look much better, by the way, without the mask.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 25 May 2009 01:22

Do you have a photo of him showing his face then? I did read Richard Evans's opinion on this character in the Rituals of Retribution book and Evans seriously doubts that this man served as a scharfrichter at all. He supposedly bragged about performing executions of people who were never sentenced and of whom no court records could be found, and also of executions performed while he was actually in prison.

This mask would actually look better on him than the one he wore. This is an actual medieval executioner's mask displayed in the Museum of Torture (Museo della tortura) in San Gimignano, Italy:

Image

Ridiculous as it is, this type of mask is more suitable for a guillotine executioner than a top Zylinder hat and white gloves that the Reich's ministry required. It matches the galvanzied sheet metal head basin and the blood chute on the fallbeil much better. And yes, the Italian executioner who wore this mask also guillotined people.

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 25 May 2009 04:29

Pete26 wrote:Do you have a photo of him showing his face then? I did read Richard Evans's opinion on this character in the Rituals of Retribution book and Evans seriously doubts that this man served as a scharfrichter at all. He supposedly bragged about performing executions of people who were never sentenced and of whom no court records could be found, and also of executions performed while he was actually in prison.

This mask would actually look better on him than the one he wore. This is an actual medieval executioner's mask displayed in the Museum of Torture (Museo della tortura) in San Gimignano, Italy:

Image

Ridiculous as it is, this type of mask is more suitable for a guillotine executioner than a top Zylinder hat and white gloves that the Reich's ministry required. It matches the galvanzied sheet metal head basin and the blood chute on the fallbeil much better. And yes, the Italian executioner who wore this mask also guillotined people.
Yes I have his photos sans mask. They are police mugshots of him and he is wearing the same herringbone topcoat.

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 26 May 2009 18:47

In case it was the assignment for the Judicial system during the war, to see to it,that the criminals and unfit would not live through this time,during which the likeable sound citizen would put his life at risk, seeing this theme through in my opinion required the the enforcing authorethies (the Police) to be supplied with means , that is also with fuel,to bring this assignment to a succesfull end, a procedure which did not exist untill this day.

Dealing with a single convict,the Police uses a single lorry,consuming the small amount of 3 litres of fuel to a 100 km,while at the transport of 2 to 3 condemneds, a bigger lorry has to be employed, using for the same distance of 100 km.,14 litres of fuel.Regarding the distance between Mannheim and Stuttgart and back,at 250 km,the amount of fuel would be 20 to 30 litres each run.That means that during the war,in the year 1942,12 runs with a total consumption of 240 litres, and 3 runs with a total consumption of 105 litres took place, so that in total for the year 1942,about 350 litres of fuel was spend for the convict to be transferred to the execution site.
When you compare the size of the given assignment to the task at hand, namely to silence the criminals, than the allocation of the fuel allowances are justified in my opinion in order to contribute to the carefree dealing with these criminal minds.
It is to be considered also, that delaying to handle these cases is equally impossible to carry out as is the railroad transport,if only because the transport guarding personnell is in these times of shortage taken from their usual duties for much too long.

Official German Language.


Finally,at the present plan of usage of the Reichsbahn and the us e of speed trains,their use was already cancelled,as in those trains a seperated quarter-and in this case, the only that can be considered-could not be offered by the Reichsbahn in view of the already overcrowdedness of the Reichsbahn in normal day to day use.

That is why the officials were bound to use the time consuming transports in commercial wagons,in which teaming up the men to form the Special squads of guards, was always uncertain''''


To these immediate costs and labour intensive measurements,a whole row of costs where added..
It was begun by the guards,that were put to use as Judicial co workers,the responsable Prison Doctor,the Prison minister,ther Leader of the Execution and his Judicial Secretaries, the necerary maintenance crew,in short the the complete alertness of the complete personell- and infrastructure of an execution site,untill the costs of carriyng the body away and interring the corpse.
The execution of the Death Sentence is to be looked upon as an example of a very expensive procedure.
Last edited by Paul53 on 26 May 2009 18:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 26 May 2009 18:53

This concludes the Death Sentence as cost Procedure..

I will continue with Considerations

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fallbeil and morgue in Pankrac

Post by Piotr1 » 26 May 2009 19:19


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Plotzensee(rare photo)

Post by Piotr1 » 26 May 2009 19:37


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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 27 May 2009 01:12

Thanks for the interesting articles. This is the first time I saw this particular Plotzensee fallbeil photo. On the left you can see the door leading into the next room, into which dead bodies were carried from the execution room. Also, the entrance to the execution room is visible in the photo.

Several comments on the "Moskyt article":

Alois Weiss did not perform any hangings in the Panrkatz execution room. Hangings were carried out only by members of the SS. No records of these hangings have been preserved, so nobody knows how many people perished in this room by hanging. Apparently many multiple hangings were carried out, as there were eight hooks available.

In the photo of the morgue showing the caskets and the floor drain: It was in this room where the headless bodies of the executed were laid out in a star pattern around the floor drain, with the necks near the drain to let the bodies bleed. The blood reacted chemically with the concrete and etched it so to this day you can see the blood flow patterns in concrete. Ghastly to say the least.

The wood pieces in one of the photographs are the remnants of the execution beam and the wood wedges used to secure the beam in the ground. These remnants were found in the Pankratz prison yard behind the prison hospital. The beam was used in the 1950's to execute political opponents of the communist regime of president Klement Gottwald.

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fredric
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Re: Plotzensee(rare photo)

Post by fredric » 27 May 2009 04:42

Thanks for bringing this photo to the attention of the Forum Piotr. It is a rarely seen image. I believe it is from documentation by the Soviets when the prison was seized by their 3rd Shock Army's 79 Rifle Corps on 25 April, 1945. The Soviet Army had documentary photographers and cinematographers assigned throughout military units involved in the taking of Berlin as they did throughout many campaigns. The fuzzy image may be a still from motion picture film because I have a close-up of the same image as well so the camera must have zoomed in on the machine. At least four different views of the fallbeil from the series exist. All show the fallbeil in the cluttered execution room with consistent debris. The fallbeil also has consistent (identifying) marks (damage scars) probably in each image. (A later photo of the fallbeil surrounded by Soviet soldier taken in Moabit prison where it was moved shows the same scars on the lunette but the damaged head basin has been removed.) The clearest image from the Soviet documentary series, probably a still photograph, can be found on the web in the Plotzensee Memorial Center's pamphlet. The pamphlet states that the photo was taken "after the liberation by Soviet troops, May 1945."

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Kobylisy firing range

Post by Pete26 » 27 May 2009 04:57

Here is an interesting article on the Kobylisy Firing Range in Prague, Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia). This army firing range is about 1,100 meters long and between May 1942 and May 1945, 546 people (470 men and 76 women) were shot here by the Nazis. Many victims were executed following the assassination of R. Heidrich. On 8 August 1943, four Czech soldiers were executed here publicly. Their heroic death without showing any fear dissuaded Nazis from conducting further public executions of military personnel. They even refused to be blindfolded and called out freedom slogans aloud until cut down in a volley of bullets. These are the four soldiers whose names are written in the Pankratz fallbeil execution book by Alois Weiss (Frantisek Rajmon, Frantisek Fanfulik, Josef Bojas, Jan Jirasek). On the same day 16 people were beheaded in Pankratz prison.

At the end of the article there are interesting photographs of the range as it looks today. There are memorial bronze plaques erected in front of the berm where the victims were tied to stakes and shot. The youngest victims were two boys barely 15 years old. The article also lists the names of all of the victims shot at this range. The range is now a national memorial.

http://www.lidice.cz/obec/historie/kobyliska/index.html
(use arrows to navigate)

Here is a short video of the Kobylisy firing range (At about 1.15 into the clip, there is an inscription that reads: "Stop for a moment. Our blood has seeped into this ground. But we have risen again."

http://video.aol.com/category/pamatnik/home-video/druha
Last edited by Pete26 on 27 May 2009 06:33, edited 2 times in total.

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Another photo of the Pankratz fallbeil today

Post by Pete26 » 27 May 2009 05:57

Image

To the right of the fallbeil is the entrance to the morgue, where bodies were taken immediately following the execution, placed around the floor drain to bleed, and then boxed up in wooden crates, and transported to Strasnice crematorium.

Here is a photo from another angle, this one showing the water hose on the wall:

Image
Last edited by Pete26 on 27 May 2009 06:22, edited 2 times in total.

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