Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Pete26
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Bruchsal prison execution room

Postby Pete26 » 23 Jun 2011 05:53

The execution room was 5.4 meters by 5.8 meters and tiled up to the height of 2.10 meters with white tiles on the walls. The floor was covered with red tiles and easily washable. The execution shed was divided into three rooms: anteroom where the condemned where brought in first, and where their identity was confirmed and the verdict read; the execution room; and the lounge for the executioner.

The executions were carried out in 3 minute intervals. It took exactly 20 seconds to read the verdict, strap the condemned to the hinged board and to perform the execution. The remaining 2.5 minutes was used for cleaning up and preparing for the next execution.

In the link you can see black and white photos of the Bruchsal execution shed built along the prison wall, interior of the execution room and the executioner's lounge. There is also a photo of the guillotine, which is a very unusual looking Mannhardt 1854 model machine with all steel legs and the bench, with a hinged board, and a blade shield. Comments?

http://www.bruchsal.org/story/geschicht ... sen-mordes

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fredric
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Re: Bruchsal prison execution room

Postby fredric » 23 Jun 2011 07:40

Pete26 wrote:The execution room was 5.4 meters by 5.8 meters and tiled up to the height of 2.10 meters with white tiles on the walls. The floor was covered with red tiles and easily washable. The execution shed was divided into three rooms: anteroom where the condemned where brought in first, and where their identity was confirmed and the verdict read; the execution room; and the lounge for the executioner.

The executions were carried out in 3 minute intervals. It took exactly 20 seconds to read the verdict, strap the condemned to the hinged board and to perform the execution. The remaining 2.5 minutes was used for cleaning up and preparing for the next execution.

In the link you can see black and white photos of the Bruchsal execution shed built along the prison wall, interior of the execution room and the executioner's lounge. There is also a photo of the guillotine, which is a very unusual looking Mannhardt 1854 model machine with all steel legs and the bench, with a hinged board, and a blade shield. Comments?

http://www.bruchsal.org/story/geschicht ... sen-mordes


Thanks for this interesting link. Bravo. Wish my German were better because I would like to read the article. These are the first images I have seen of the interior of Bruchsal's execution room. The guillotine photo is rare but known to some of us. Bruchsal's all-metal guillotine was brought from Strasburg to Bruchsal in May, 1944 and put into use on June 33 1944. The former guillotine at Bruchsal had of course been moved to Plotzensee in the 1930's. Thus Bruchsal must have been returned to its former status as an execution prison in 1944. 55 people were beheaded on it. The fallbeil does follow the Mannhardt design but my guess is that it was made later than 1854 and not by Mannhardt. I wonder where it is today? Any idea what the material on the table near the lunette is? Any idea what that is? I gather that the 1970 color photo shows the demolition of the execution room and the second photo shows the wall against which it stood.

Pete26
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Disposal of bodies of executed prisoners in Vienna

Postby Pete26 » 24 Jun 2011 04:18

Bodies of executed prisoners were commonly released to the Anatomical Institute in Vienna even before 1938, Anatomists usually had a shortage of corpses which were needed for research and teaching. 24 hours before an execution, the Anatomical Institute of Vienna was informed about how many bodies would be available to the Institute. In 1938 it was 1 corpse, in 1939 13 corpses, in 1940 35 corpses, in 1941 62 corpses, in 1942 308 corpses, in 1943 487 corpses, in 1944 372 corpses, and in 1945 81 corpses. With the ever increasing number of bodies, the capacity of the Institute was soon exceeded after 1941, and the remains of the executed prisoners were taken directly to the Vienna Central Cemetery and buried in common graves. There are records of direct shipment of to the the cemetery on various dates in 1943-1945. The cemetery administration, just like the Anatomical Institute, was also informed of any planned executions and number of bodies to be disposed of. the bodies were not released to the relatives, but buried in secrecy.

Pete26
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Plotzensee fallbeil floor drain

Postby Pete26 » 25 Jun 2011 04:42

This is a closeup of the Plotzensee execution room floor drain in front of the fallbeil.
Also, different color concrete patches on the floor indicate where the main vertical frame of the fallbeil once stood.


http://jpgmag.com/photos/2103470

Pete26
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Fr. Jakob Gapp

Postby Pete26 » 26 Jun 2011 05:50

Jakob Gapp, a German Catholic priest, was guillotined in Plotzensee prison on 13 August 1943 for his activities against the Nazis.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... e0260.html

Here is his photograph after he was imprisoned:

Image

Kalwejt
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Re: Jens Nielsen

Postby Kalwejt » 26 Jun 2011 22:35

Pete26 wrote: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


ExecutedToday is usually a very realiable source.

Pete26
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No Nazi salute at the place of execution

Postby Pete26 » 27 Jun 2011 02:25

An interesting article from Spiegel on Plotzensee executions:

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-40351220.html

Some highlights of the article:

The severed head fell into the basket, eyes wide open. Because the body was not strapped to the guillotine bench, the body could move freely after decapitation. The torso reared up, the legs twitched and threw off the wooden clogs. The blood spurted out of the severed neck in a high arc into the drain.

In this place of execution, everything represented the power and glory of the Nazi state. The executioner and his three assistants in black suits, the prosecutor and pastor in back robes, the clerks in green uniforms, the prison doctor in a white coat, the guests in uniform. On the table were two candles in tall candle holders.
At this place of death ruled law and order, and each step was determined by the protocol. For the guests there were tickets and a note: "At the execution site the German greeting (= Hitler's salute) is to be avoided." The condemned were expected to behave according to the protocol too : "Calm and composed." Only rarely did the condemned fight back. Says protestant pastor Hermann Schrader:"I remember no one who has cried, screamed, or resisted."

From the command "Executioner, do you duty" to " Mr Prosecutor, the verdict is enforced", it took only 20 to 25 seconds in peacetime, and during the war only 7 or even 4 seconds, to carry out the execution. For every execution, a form A5 has been filled out.

Of many of over 3,000 who died in this place there is not even a photograph. The oldest victim was a worker 83 years old, the youngest just 17. Forty one couples were executed here and they were not even allowed to say last words to each other. Mothers, who gave birth while in prison, were not spared. A total of 250 women were beheaded.

An old shoemaker cut the hair of the condemned short the night before the execution to expose the neck for the blade. The old man did his duty without emotion and with some kind of satisfaction. For each police sergeant who led the condemned from the cell block to the execution shed, there was a reward of eight cigarettes per person.

The executioner's assistants (one was a blacksmith by former profession) always throw two corpses into one coffin. Because a person without the head takes up less space, the coffins were 20 centimeters shorter than usual and sprinkled with sawdust to soak up the blood.

And what happened to the guillotine? It was dismantled and delivered to the administration of the Soviet occupation zone shortly after the war.
Last edited by Pete26 on 27 Jun 2011 23:10, edited 1 time in total.

htk
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby htk » 27 Jun 2011 15:59

also from Die Spiegel articel

Scharfrichter Wilhelm Friedrich Röttger "arbeitete" bei ihnen nach dem "österreichischen System" -- auf ausdrücklichen Wunsch Ritters. In einem Interview hat der Henker. der den Krieg und die Flucht Richtung Westzone heil überstand, später erläutert, was das hieß: "Den Verurteilten wurde die Schlinge um den Hals gelegt, dann wurden sie hochgehohen. Dann habe ich die Schlinge, wie man einen Rock aufhängt, an einem Haken befestigt."

Executioner Wilhelm Friedrich Rottger, worked accordingly to the Austrian System - by explict demand from Ritters (?). In a intervieuw (!!) had the executioner, who survived the war and the escape to the Westzone, explained what this mend.
The sling (or rope) was put around the neck of The condemned , then they were lifted up. Then i fixed , like putting up a jacked, the sling on a hook.

I thought the Rottger disappeared after the war .. but it seems that he even gave a intervieuw. Question then is does anybody knows this intervieuw ??

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Kalwejt » 28 Jun 2011 01:05

fredric wrote:
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).


Strange execution procedure. I can imagine it was pretty diffucult for an executioner, even experienced one, to make a correct stroke from that position.

Pete26
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Pete26 » 28 Jun 2011 03:06

Kalwejt wrote:Strange execution procedure. I can imagine it was pretty diffucult for an executioner, even experienced one, to make a correct stroke from that position.


I think that trying to behead someone with an axe while the neck is largely unsupported on a very low block such as this one, will result in the neck vertebra being crushed and broken by the force of the blow, causing the head to hang downward. This helps explain why the axe cleaved through the woman's mouth, leaving the lower jaw attached to the neck. A sword would have been a better instrument to use in this particular case in my opinion. A sword blade cuts through the neck without crushing the tissue. There is something particularly hideous about an execution by axe, and especially in this case.

michael mills
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby michael mills » 28 Jun 2011 12:55

The severed head fell into the basket, eyes wide open. Because the body was not strapped to the guillotine bench, the body could move freely after decapitation. The torso reared up, the legs twitched and threw off the wooden clogs. The blood spurted out of the severed neck in a high arc into the drain.



I have seen the secretly recorded footage of the last execution by guillotine in France.

As soon as the descending blade reached the bottom of the frame, the body of the condemned man literally flew off to the side, right off the platform and landing on the ground. The observers appeared shocked out of their minds.

A rather infantile and crude attempt at humour was removed by the Moderator-Andy H

Pete26
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The case of Caroline Redler

Postby Pete26 » 29 Jun 2011 02:20

Caroline Redler was 60 years old when she was arrested by Gestapo on 5 October 1943 in Bergenz. On 24 August 1943 she waited with several other people in a doctor's waiting room. Two women bitterly complained about barbaric bombing by the Allies. Caroline Redler remarked that this bombing was merely a response to German war mongering. The women reported her to the Gestapo as someone with treasonous attitude. She was interrogated by the Gestapo and later released after she had a nervous breakdown as a result of her son being killed in Crimea. She was declared incompetent to stand trial.

In the wake of arrests following the assassination attempt on Hitler on 20 July 1944, she was arrested again, tried and this time sentenced to death for "undermining military morale and aiding the enemy"'. The sentence was carried out on 8 November 1944. She was beheaded by guillotine at the Vienna Regional Court. Because the Vienna Anatomical Institute was overflowing with bodies of the executed, her body, along with others executed that day was taken directly to the Vienna's Central Cemetery and buried there in secrecy.

http://raetischerbote.blogspot.com/2007 ... edler.html

Pete26
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby Pete26 » 29 Jun 2011 03:11

michael mills wrote:I have seen the secretly recorded footage of the last execution by guillotine in France.

As soon as the descending blade reached the bottom of the frame, the body of the condemned man literally flew off to the side, right off the platform and landing on the ground. The observers appeared shocked out of their minds.



Are you talking about the execution of Hamida Djandoubi in 1977, or the last public guillotining of Eugen Weidmann in Versailles in 1939? French guillotines have a hinged extension attached to one side of the bench and the body of the executed person is rolled into the body basket by the executioner's assistants immediately after the beheading.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby michael mills » 29 Jun 2011 12:58

It was definitely post-war, and stated to be the last execution in France.

The secret filming was made from a point to the rear of and higher than the platform on which the guillotine was placed, presumably from a window in a building.

The condemned man could be seen walking toward the guillotine platform from the bottom of the screen, accompanied by guards. He could be seen mounting the steps to the platform, and then being placed in a lying position on the bench. Since the view was from the rear, once he was lying on the bench his head could not be seen.

Almost immediately the blade could be seen descending. As soon as the blade reached the bottom, the body of the condemned man was seen to fly off to the side in a spasmodic way, falling to the ground at the side of the platform.

It was definitely not a matter of the body being tipped to the side. It definitely flew a fair distance.

This BW footage has been shown on television, and I have seen it more than once. The voice-over stated that the footage had been filmed in secret, and was not officially authorised.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Postby michael mills » 29 Jun 2011 13:04

Jakob Gapp, a German Catholic priest, was guillotined in Plotzensee prison on 13 August 1943 for his activities against the Nazis.



Quite a lot of German Catholic priests were tried and condemned in the National Socialist period for sexual offences. There was in fact a Government-orchestrated campaign against alleged pedophile priests.

Revelations of sexual abuse by priests in Germany in our own day suggests that the prosecution of priests for sexual offences by the Hitler regime was not inevitably a perversion of justice.


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