Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Kalwejt
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Kalwejt » 08 Jun 2011 05:42

After I checked, a vast majority of the English-language sources claims Goerdeler was hanged.

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von thoma
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by von thoma » 08 Jun 2011 07:42

And what about Canaris and his execution method ?

I read this,but is unreliable :
"On April 9 1945,the SS guards entered on the cell of Canaris and forced him to undress,they put an iron clamp around her neck, and slowly suffocated to death".
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 08 Jun 2011 21:46

Many new names in this forum and with interesting info..hello to all!.

In my last post, made quite a while ago, I promised to translate the last remaining pages of the Waltenbacher book,the epiloque.
I will do a WBW if everybody insists,but I wonder if it is worth the effort,as these pages merely have a philosophical content and do not give much new info.
The epiloque is written by dr.Harald Poelchau,the priest in charge of moral support in Plötzensee.I may summerize it.

Poelchau states that in his experience, hardly a person is able to realize the fact of his upcoming death continually,not even those in potentially dangerous situations(soldiers etc).Therefor, it is so much harder for those condemned to realize that any hope is lost and that one is forced to leave existence(Poelchau witnessed some 1000 executions).
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Pete26
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 09 Jun 2011 02:50

von thoma wrote:And what about Canaris and his execution method ?

I read this,but is unreliable :
"On April 9 1945,the SS guards entered the cell of Canaris and forced him to undress,they put an iron clamp around his neck, and slowly suffocated him to death".
That story is a fabrication. Garroting was not used in Germany as an official execution method. Canaris was hanged from a hastily erected gallows, and to maximize his humiliation, he was supposedly hanged naked. His body was left hanging on the gallows for quite some time.

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 09 Jun 2011 09:47

Pete26 wrote:
von thoma wrote:And what about Canaris and his execution method ?

I read this,but is unreliable :
"On April 9 1945,the SS guards entered the cell of Canaris and forced him to undress,they put an iron clamp around his neck, and slowly suffocated him to death".
That story is a fabrication. Garroting was not used in Germany as an official execution method. Canaris was hanged from a hastily erected gallows, and to maximize his humiliation, he was supposedly hanged naked. His body was left hanging on the gallows for quite some time.
All this was done in Flossenbürg concentration camp.Canaris was executed with two other officers,one of them Generalmajor Hans Oster,a long-time antinazi,who was implicated in the july 20th plot.

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 09 Jun 2011 17:15

Epilogue 2.

The condemned who has neither an illness nor is subjected to any sedating drug, in other words is completely sober and consciouss, has a tough fate to deal with. However,there are other experts(Poelchau means collegues) who have quite a different opinion about the condemneds ordeal. On of them is my companion Schultz,who was active as clergyman in execution prison Breslau: " Within the remaining hours of his life"he wrote," the facial expresssion of the dying changes.It seems that such a change is less with youthful condemneds.It is remarkable that out of a purely mental and emotional situation,this change is similar to that observed with people dying of natural causes(!)""

I did not personally have this experience.I regard the observations made by Schultz as purely caused by exhaustion, similar to the effects of nightlong drinking etc.
..I do not know why it is that some condemneds are able to have a good night sleep previous to execution, while others....fear seems to me to be constitutionally determined...it seems to me that the time between the verdict and the actual execution is essential in whether or not a condemned can keep his or her mind together..I recall an execution by firing squad that took from 8 in the morning untill 11 in the evening, with all the necessary ceremony...all the time the convicts were able to hear the shooting of their comrades before it was their turn....with beheading with the Fallbeil, it was very different because the convict did not notice anything of the preparation,and the execution itself took only seconds...

I only tried to depict the circumstances of a person that had been convicted to experience his or her death at a certain predetermined time.Here, no pain mercyfully blurred consciousness,as with so many lethal ailments,here the physical degradation did not ease the farewell to this world.And here there was no help or assistance,because the only thing left to do was to judge the previous life ,which could not be changed anymore .""



This concludes the Waltenbacher book.


I am sorry not to have done the WBW from the beginning, but I hope I made it up .

Next thing to do is to translate the book by Matthias Blazek: Scharfrichter in Preußen und im Deutschen Reich 1866-1925. It seems to me that for a clear understanding of the history of the death sentence in nazi Germany, and for an historical overview of the circumstances leading to the application of the death sentence in the Third Reich, a WBW translation of the whole book ( fortunately not as long as Waltenbacher but still 141 pages) is desired.
A new member of the forum (Crow) and I have made some arrangements to take turns in the translations.

I will if everybody agrees, commence the translation when I have time,hopefully in two weeks or so, if our moderator David agrees. The Blazek book is written in such way, that the history of the pre nazi era Scharfrichter leads automatically to the third Reich ,and I would like to follow this pattern.So first two chapters of 19th century executioners Schwarz and Krauz, with cross links to the nazi era,and then chapters on Friedrich Reindel,Lorenz Schwietz,Paul Spaethe,Alwin Engelhardt,Carl Gröpler,Johann Reichart,Friedrich Hehr,Ernst Reindel,Wilhelm Röttger.
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David Thompson
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by David Thompson » 09 Jun 2011 21:03

Paul53 -- That will be an excellent contribution for our readers here, and I'm sure they will appreciate it.

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 10 Jun 2011 22:57

Sorry, Scharfrichtern from 1866 till 1945.

lokman
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by lokman » 19 Jun 2011 14:53

I saw this clip from a 1966 Swedish movie depicting the execution of a woman with the hand-axe. It is black & white and rather graphic. May be of interest to those who research the Richtbeil method in the Third Reich.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crwYOJfn ... re=related

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 20 Jun 2011 05:14

lokman wrote:I saw this clip from a 1966 Swedish movie depicting the execution of a woman with the hand-axe. It is black & white and rather graphic. May be of interest to those who research the Richtbeil method in the Third Reich.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crwYOJfn ... re=related
Thank you. Until you posted this link, I had only seen a single frame of the film and did not know it was on youtube. It is an excellent depiction of the execution of Anna Mannsdotter by executioner Albert Gustav Dahlman. The distinctive Swedish low block and hand axe, the prone victim, the military costuming and the entire scene including the presence of a photographer are accurate details according to the records I have read. Dahlman beheaded Mannsdotter with a single blow which cut through right side of her jaw (I have seen the death mask).

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Piotr1 » 20 Jun 2011 18:24

Dahlman beheaded Mannsdotter with a single blow which cut through right side of her jaw (I have seen the death mask).[/quote]
Image

A propos but off/main/topic

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 21 Jun 2011 05:34

This death mask is a bit more realistic looking. It almost looks like an actual photograph of the head after it was placed on the severed neck following the execution:

http://www.utgangspunkten.se/kulturvast ... x?id=64010

In the clip, the cross section of the neck is wrong. There is no gaping hole in the vertebral column. Also, the blood would be spurting, not flowing, and simultaneously from severed carotid arteries, which are also located incorrectly. The appearance of the neck would be more consistent with a face up beheading which was not the case here.

Compare with a human neck cross section drawing:

http://www.doereport.com/imagescooked/2424W.jpg

I find the execution block too thin in cross section and unrealistic. It appears that the executioner chops the head off without hitting the block, as if he was using a sword. That would be unusual for an axe execution. The two assistants standing some distance away are wearing rubber aprons. This is interesting. Some time ago someone asked if sharfrichter's assitants in Nazi guillotine executions wore similar aprons to protect their clothing from spurting blood. Has anyone seen photographs confirming that?

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Jens Nielsen

Post by Pete26 » 22 Jun 2011 02:57

Jens Nielsen was the last civilian executed in Denmark. He was beheaded with an axe in 1892 in the courtyard of Horsens prison. The executioner was Jens Carl Theodore Seistrup. The last Danish executioner was Carl Peter Herman Christensen, but he did not perform any executions.

http://www.executedtoday.com/2008/11/08 ... in-denmark

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 5B8684F0D3

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Leipzig executions

Post by Pete26 » 22 Jun 2011 04:25

Until 1967 death sentences in DDR were carried out by beheading with a guillotine. Following an ammendment to the penal Code established in 1968, the method of execution was changed to "unexpected shot to the back of the head".

The executions were intially conducted at 3 AM in the morning, and later at 10AM. If the condemned was transferred to Leipzig from another prison for execution, he was first brought into a preparation cell, where he was informed of the impending execution. There he was allowed to write his last letters (which were never sent to family members, but placed in prison files) and receive his last meal. 15 minutes before the execution the condemned was brought to the execution chamber with his hands tied behind his back. There, the death sentence was read again. Present were the director of the prison, prosecutor, doctor, executioner and his two assistants, and usually an officer of the Stasi.

For guillotine executions, the condemned was seized by the two executioner's assistants, led to the guillotine and strapped to the hinged board (bascule), which was then swung into the horizontal position and the neck of the condemned was clamped in the lunette under the raised guillotine blade. The blade was then released by the executioner and it separated the head from the body. The body was left on the bench for some time to bleed and two assistants raised the legs to hasten the bleeding. Then the body was removed from the guillotine bench, and placed along with the head in a coffin.

For shot in the head executions, the executioner was hiding behind the door of the execution chamber when two guards brought the prisoner in. The executioner quietly approached the prisoner from behind and fired a single shot into the back of his head with an army pistol. The body was again placed in a coffin.

After the body was in the coffin, two assistants nailed the coffin lid on and took the coffin in a Barkas B1000 delivery van to the crematorium in Southern Cemetery of Leipzig. The coffin was never opened again, but cremated with its contents in secrecy. Care was taken that crematorium employees not aware of what was going on would be kept out of the cremation area. The names of the executed are recorded in the cremation book only under their first names. Later they were simply referred to only as "anatomy", or "waste". The entire execution process and its steps was subjected to a strict confidentiality. The cause of death was falsified on the death certificates, and so was the place of death. Family members were not notified of the executions and often believed for years that the prisoner was still alive.

Source:

http://www.runde-ecke-leipzig.de/hinric ... ipzig.html

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 22 Jun 2011 06:14

Pete26 wrote:This death mask is a bit more realistic looking. It almost looks like an actual photograph of the head after it was placed on the severed neck following the execution:

http://www.utgangspunkten.se/kulturvast ... x?id=64010

In the clip, the cross section of the neck is wrong. There is no gaping hole in the vertebral column. Also, the blood would be spurting, not flowing, and simultaneously from severed carotid arteries, which are also located incorrectly. The appearance of the neck would be more consistent with a face up beheading which was not the case here.

Compare with a human neck cross section drawing:

http://www.doereport.com/imagescooked/2424W.jpg

I find the execution block too thin in cross section and unrealistic. It appears that the executioner chops the head off without hitting the block, as if he was using a sword. That would be unusual for an axe execution. The two assistants standing some distance away are wearing rubber aprons. This is interesting. Some time ago someone asked if sharfrichter's assitants in Nazi guillotine executions wore similar aprons to protect their clothing from spurting blood. Has anyone seen photographs confirming that?
My interpretation of the two individuals in aprons (canvas?) is that they are "corpse-handlers", not Dahlman's assistants.

I have seen one description of an execution during the Hitler years claiming the assistants wore aprons. It was in a book about Nazi executions of gay men in concentration camps. The author claimed the executioners came to the camp, used a"spring-powered" guillotine and sometimes a hand axe and wore what he described as "leather aprons" as worn in slaughterhouses. I think these details were for shock value like the rubber raincoats in the film Klic.

The Swedish axe technique, if accurately depicted in the film, is awkard compared to the German. Germany used a high block. Sweden used a low block with the victim laying prone. A notch in the block (not much more than a beam) held the neck like a "lunette". The axe did not strike the neck held by block but passed in front of the block like a guillotine blade. The axe had to precisely hit the neck at the base of the skull. Records show that beheadings sometimes took 2-3 blows. Hence Sweden eliminated the axe, purchased a fine guillotine from France and used it only once before abolishing capital punishment.

The German high block was much better. It stood about 73cm high and 23 cm wide and offered a striking surface about 18cmx24cm, with a notch for the victims chin while the stretched neck was supported by the block. The heavy richtbeil was dropped on the neck, passed through it and struck the block. My guess is the richtbeil may have been heavier than the Swedish "bila" too.

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