Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by David Thompson » 29 Jun 2011 13:58

Michael -- Please try to stay on topic. The subject is beheadings in the Third Reich, not pedophilia prosecutions of priests. Jakob Gapp, the ostensible reason for your digression, was accused of and executed for anti-Nazi activities. Unless you have some examples of Nazi executions of priests for pedophilia, so what?

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by andreobrecht » 30 Jun 2011 14:31

michael mills wrote: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.


What you describe is the execution of Weidmann in June 1939. It was the last public execution in France and filmed from an apartment overlooking the street despite a law prohibiting filming and photographing of executions. There were no platform or steps on the French guillotine (Since 1871) so your memory fails you a bit here. Eugen Weidmann is pushed against the bascule plank, tipped down and forward, decapitated and his body is immediately pushed violently into the basket to the right of the machine as was the standard protocol in French executions.
The scene is otherwise as you describe and the voice-over is also from one of the versions of the clip I have.
Here is a scene from the film. I am pretty certain no film of executions after 1939 exist, although one person has claimed there is one but I have never been able to confirm.

Image

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 01 Jul 2011 05:23

htk wrote: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 ??


The interview appeared on 24 August 1946 in the Hannoverschen Neusesten Nachrichten and the title of the article is "Der Henker des 20 Juli" Rottger moved (fled?) from Berlin to Hannover probably in the face of occupying Soviet
troops (my supposition) and died in Hannover in September 1946, so this article was a "deathbed" interview. I have not found a copy of the complete interview but it is cited in a number of important books on the resistance so it must be accessible.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by von thoma » 02 Jul 2011 01:20

What you describe is the execution of Weidmann in June 1939. It was the last public execution in France and filmed from an apartment overlooking the street despite a law prohibiting filming and photographing of executions.

Weidmann could be executed only by be a German,because his accomplice,named Roger Million,was pardoned.
In the execution of Versailles,he public showed such rejection for the spectacle,that the authorities decided to continue running inside the prison until 1977 !!
A curious fact,Actor Christopher Lee witnessed this execution with 17.
By being filmed,has always been an execution of "Cult ".
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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shortly after the II WW

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by murx » 05 Jul 2011 15:02

I have a stupid question: if capital punishment was the law in the Reich, why is it in the section of war crimes? Other countries still have capital punishment today. Isn't this a bias effect? How ikt comes into effect: I have recently searched for a list of available medicaments during this time. "Google" after 250 pages of "T4", Euthanasia and "worst crimes ever committed" at least gave me the info that theactual official drug register for physicians "Rote Liste / Red List" existed since 1935, no word about the content. Other search engines didn't even show this info.
Isn't this section here better a part of "life in the 3rd Reich"?

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by David Thompson » 05 Jul 2011 16:19

murx -- You asked: (1)
I have a stupid question: if capital punishment was the law in the Reich, why is it in the section of war crimes?

and
Isn't this section here better a part of "life in the 3rd Reich"?

When the thread started 7 1/2 years ago, there wasn't a "Life in the 3rd Reich" section of the forum.

(2)
Other countries still have capital punishment today. Isn't this a bias effect? How ikt comes into effect: I have recently searched for a list of available medicaments during this time. "Google" after 250 pages of "T4", Euthanasia and "worst crimes ever committed" at least gave me the info that theactual official drug register for physicians "Rote Liste / Red List" existed since 1935, no word about the content. Other search engines didn't even show this info.

So what?

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 07 Jul 2011 04:48

In response to murx's question, I have this to add:

You could also say that systematic liquidation of Jews, gypsies, mentally retarded, homosexuals, etc, was also perfectly legal under the laws and Nazi vision of the Third Reich. That does not mean these actions are not war crimes or crimes against humanity. Similarly, a vast majority of people beheaded under the Nazi regime were political prisoners, mostly from occupied countries. When one country invades another without provocation of any kind and with the intention of forcibly annexing it to its own territory, occupies it and terrorizes and kills its citizens for resisting such an invasion, this certainly constitutes a war crime.

Beheading was of course one of the principal methods of judicial execution in the Third Reich. If those beheadings were limited only to German citizens for committing crimes, then I agree that placing such discussion in the "Holocaust and war crimes" forum would not be the best choice. But again, many German citizens were beheaded for opposing the Nazi regime, which was a criminal regime in itself, so killing someone for opposing such a regime can easily be construed as a crime.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Kalwejt » 07 Jul 2011 17:09

von thoma wrote:
What you describe is the execution of Weidmann in June 1939. It was the last public execution in France and filmed from an apartment overlooking the street despite a law prohibiting filming and photographing of executions.

Weidmann could be executed only by be a German,because his accomplice,named Roger Million,was pardoned.
In the execution of Versailles,he public showed such rejection for the spectacle,that the authorities decided to continue running inside the prison until 1977 !!
A curious fact,Actor Christopher Lee witnessed this execution with 17.
By being filmed,has always been an execution of "Cult ".


Weidmann's execution was a debut of the next chief executioner, Jules-Henri Desfourneaux, before an audience. From what I read, Desfourneaux was very nervous on this occasion and since he was also much slower than his fast predecessor, Deibler, execution was delayed. Instead at dawn, as originally planned, Weidmann was beheaded during full daylight, which allowed reporters to take their famous photos.

I wonder if Desfourneaux was less nervous and quicker, maybe public executions would continue for some more years.

As of laws prohibiting filming or photographing an actual executions, for a number of years French authorities were also successfull in removing many fictional execution sequences from movies.

Regarding lack of any authentic execution photos/films after 1939, I didn't find any either. The closest thing is a photo of cleaning and dismantling the guillotine after Petiot's execution in 1946.

Image

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Kalwejt » 07 Jul 2011 17:14

Pete26 wrote:In response to murx's question, I have this to add:
Beheading was of course one of the principal methods of judicial execution in the Third Reich. If those beheadings were limited only to German citizens for committing crimes, then I agree that placing such discussion in the "Holocaust and war crimes" forum would not be the best choice. But again, many German citizens were beheaded for opposing the Nazi regime, which was a criminal regime in itself, so killing someone for opposing such a regime can easily be construed as a crime.


I agree. First of all, if we're not talking about German citizens, a lot of foreign nationals were guillotined in Germany during Nazi period. Just to mention Abdulla Aliş, Musa Cälil, Krystyna Wituska, etc.

Also, Nazis introduced guillotine to a conquered, and then annexed to the Reich, lands (for example Austria, part of Poland).

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 12 Jul 2011 19:00

I will commence the WBW translation of the book of Matthias Blazek:Scharfrichter in Preußen und im Deutschen Reich 1866-1945.However in contrast to an earlier posting I will begin with the description of the personal circumstances and history of each individual Scharfrichter instead of giving a historical overview of the topic itself as I feel that could be dealt with, if desired, in a later chapter.


Christian Schwarz 1793-1867.

C.Schwarz was the last of the Scharfrichter that had to cover the Hannover area. He did not work for the Prussian authoreties anymore.In his place, gentlemen from abroad and their Guillotines executed.

The Kingdom of Hannover(1814-1866) seems to have been very influentional in matters concerning criminal courts.For example, the torture was abolished in Germany in one kingdom after another, but last of all in Hannover,where it was forbidden by a decree by King Georg IV on the 25th of march 1822.

The Carolina(law) that did not have any lawful means of opposing sentences handed out under the Hannover Legislature,was only abolished in 1840.In the same time, the County of Braunschweig together with the Kingdom of Hannover introduced in that year a new Penal Code.This code did retain medieval pnushments such as dragging the condemneds to the execution sites, whipping them off and exposition.With the decree of the Hannoverian Book of Law, dating from august 8th 1840,the act of breaking-up on the wheel was abolished(!)The last known example of this method of execution dating from october 10th 1828(!)

As a revenge for the crimes that he committed from sheer greed on his father and sister,Andreas Christoph Beinhorn from Grone was dragged on a cow"s skin to the execution place,and was there, at the Leineberg in GÖttingen,publicly executed on the wheel-as it was mentioned in a contemporarely made flyer-by crushing his bones with bludgeons from the bottom up,and after that was twisted onto the rack,if only for a day...The bludgeons,made of heavy cast iron, are displayed since 1895 in the Town Museum of Göttingen.

(I may add that this way of execution was for a quite long time(into the early 1800ths) the preferred way of dealing with quite petty criminals in the Netherlands,although I may attract a lot of Flak in saying so)

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 13 Jul 2011 18:00

Anyway, the sequence that I would like to follow is thus:Info on Christian Schwarz, Julius Krautz,Friedrich Reindel,Lorenz Schwietz,Paul Spaethe,Alwin Engelhardt,Carl Gröpler(28 pages of info on him),Johann Reichardt,Friedrich Hehr,Ernst Reindel,Wilhelm Röttger.

Rest of the book has only indirect connections with our topic.But I do believe that unveiling the history of the German Penal system and its executioners could tell us a lot about the way that the naziregime looked upon the death sentence.It is a well known fact that the vast majority of the nazitime executioners came from families that were involved in the business for decades, if not centuries(such as Reindel)The death by Beheading was considered in prenazi Germany,as well as during the Third Reich and some years after , as"selbstverständlich",as normal,goes-without-saying,punishment.By the way, it is remarkable that post war Germany abolished its death sentence law in a time (1949-1951)where in almost every country in Europe, including the Netherlands,that law was in full effect.(executed here by shooting that went on to well into 1952)There is room for speculation on this .A feeling of national guilt perhaps.
Also, I must point out that in this book, as well as in many others, the total number of executed in the nazi era is listed as"exceeding 12.000".

This is likely to be erroneous,as the Bundes Justice Ministry gives an official figure of 24.559 executed,of the 31.000 plus death sentences passed.....it surprises me that this figure is still open to debate,as the death sentences by Wehrmacht courts that were carried out using civilian procedures(Fallbeil instead of shooting) are apparently not taken into account.This essential bit of information seems to be quite elusive.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 13 Jul 2011 21:40

Paul53 wrote:Anyway, the sequence that I would like to follow is thus:Info on Christian Schwarz, Julius Krautz,Friedrich Reindel,Lorenz Schwietz,Paul Spaethe,Alwin Engelhardt,Carl Gröpler(28 pages of info on him),Johann Reichardt,Friedrich Hehr,Ernst Reindel,Wilhelm Röttger.

Rest of the book has only indirect connections with our topic.But I do believe that unveiling the history of the German Penal system and its executioners could tell us a lot about the way that the naziregime looked upon the death sentence.It is a well known fact that the vast majority of the nazitime executioners came from families that were involved in the business for decades, if not centuries(such as Reindel)The death by Beheading was considered in prenazi Germany,as well as during the Third Reich and some years after , as"selbstverständlich",as normal,goes-without-saying,punishment.By the way, it is remarkable that post war Germany abolished its death sentence law in a time (1949-1951)where in almost every country in Europe, including the Netherlands,that law was in full effect.(executed here by shooting that went on to well into 1952)There is room for speculation on this .A feeling of national guilt perhaps.
Also, I must point out that in this book, as well as in many others, the total number of executed in the nazi era is listed as"exceeding 12.000".

This is likely to be erroneous,as the Bundes Justice Ministry gives an official figure of 24.559 executed,of the 31.000 plus death sentences passed.....it surprises me that this figure is still open to debate,as the death sentences by Wehrmacht courts that were carried out using civilian procedures(Fallbeil instead of shooting) are apparently not taken into account.This essential bit of information seems to be quite elusive.


Great! 28 pages on Groppler is astounding! I agree with your thoughts on "national guilt" being the heart of abolition as well as the 12,000 figure. Wish the book had photos of the executioners. Look forward to your translations. This is valuable information which many could not access without your help.
Thanks

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 14 Jul 2011 00:59

Thank you Fredric.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 15 Jul 2011 18:42

Christian Schwarz 1793-1867


The "Eisenbergische Nachrichtsblatt" newspaper reported on november 4th 1828: " On october 10th the execution-on a yard that was surrounded by an amphitheater in Roman style(entry 6 Groschen),built by some entepreneurs-of the patricide- ans sisterkiller Beinhorn from Grone,was carried out in a most gruesome way.Sprawled on a crosslike wooden block, the criminal had his bones crushed by the wielding of iron bars,12 blows in total,and was subsequently threaded on a wheel that was app. 20 feet up from the ground."

The year 1850 saw as a consequence of the uprisings in 1848, the introduction of the Jury in the Judicial Court system in the Kingdom of Hannover.For assessment of serious or capitol crimes, and on basis of the Penal Code act of september 5th 1850,Hannover was the first German land to introduce the Jury.Not untill 1859 did Hannover abolished dragging the convict on a cow"s skin to the execution site.
The "in-wall execution",introduced 1859, was carried out until 1865 for seven times in various cities in the Kingdom of Hannover.

The code of behaviour for the executioners to carry out beheadings counted in 1845 some 15 instructions , detailing the way in which the convict was cuffed, the sort and size of the chair the convict was to sit in at execution,and even the way the executioner had to place his feet and how to deliver the blow in execution.
The executioners sword had to be 4 feet long and 4 inches wide and had to have a weight of 5 pounds.

The Hannoverian town-executioners were responsible fot the city of Hannover,and also for the surrounding areas Calenberg, Koldingen, Ricklingen and Langenhagen.Indeed, crimes that were commited much farther away, were punished here.

From 1650 till 1860, almost all executioners and their origins are known:Asmuth Smeth, M.Christopher the elderly executioner, from 1608 Dietrich Meißner, from 1628 David Fuchs, from1634 Martin Voigt,from 1663 Franz Martin Voigt,from 1684 David Henry Voigt,Franz Melchior Voigt, from 1728 Johann Andreas Voigt,from 1729 Johann Wilhelm Göpel, from 1738 Johann Andreas Pfeffer,from 1771 Johann Andreas Christoph Meisner,from 1789 Johann Andreas Rentzhausen from Hameln,from 1818 Johann Hartmann aus Neustadt a. Rbge,from 1831 Johann Voß from Celle, 1844 Christian Schwarz from Groß-Rhüden(now county Goslar)

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