Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Piotr1
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Piotr1 » 29 Oct 2011 09:02

Polish film about preist Jan Macha guillotined in Katowice and also about fallbeil from Katowice


http://katowice.naszemiasto.pl/artykul/ ... egoria=678

the poster from movie
Image

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 29 Oct 2011 11:33

Piotr,what does the text say?

Piotr1
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Piotr1 » 29 Oct 2011 14:30

shortly speaking the article is about life and death young polish priest Jan Macha guillotined in December 1942, there are also some informations about Katowice's fallbeil
you can use google translator
Polish-Dutch and Polish-English :)

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Paul53
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Paul53 » 29 Oct 2011 15:00

Google translator is rather funny but thanks anyway Piotr.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Pete26 » 31 Oct 2011 02:58

After reading the part of the article describing the actual execution, they mention "placing the condemned on the wooden guillotine bench, and tying him down with a string to the bench." (I understand enough Polish to be able to read the article untranslated).

Is this an accurate description? The guillotine obviously did not have a tipping board to which condemned were strapped with leather belts. Was strapping of prisoners to the guillotine bench with a piece of string or rope a common practice in Katowice?

Interestingly, an individual by name of Richard Macha was guillotined in Pankrac prison.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by vinnievega » 02 Nov 2011 16:36

The Guillotine pictured in the Polish article is much different from all the other fallbeil models shown on this forum. Specifically, it is much shorter than the others and appears to have been hastily built. Looks like a piece of junk.

Do you have any information on this particular model?

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to Pete and vinnievega

Post by Piotr1 » 02 Nov 2011 17:57

Is this an accurate description? The guillotine obviously did not have a tipping board to which condemned were strapped with leather belts. Was strapping of prisoners to the guillotine bench with a piece of string or rope a common practice in Katowice?

I don't think so.(rather journalist's " licentia poetica"
The fallbeil from Katowice is typical Tegel with fixed bench without straps. The photo in article isn't falbeill from Katowice.
I guess Dresden.But look at movie poster above.... this is machine from Katowice

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 03 Nov 2011 06:59

vinnievega wrote:The Guillotine pictured in the Polish article is much different from all the other fallbeil models shown on this forum. Specifically, it is much shorter than the others and appears to have been hastily built. Looks like a piece of junk.

Do you have any information on this particular model?
The fallbeil pictured in the Polish news article is a Tegel-style machine. I am familiar with this old photo and believe the article correctly identifies the fallbeil as being from Katowice. I believe I once heard that the Katowice fallbeil was buried by the Nazis to order to hide it from approaching Soviet troops and that it was later dug up by Polish partisans, reassembled. This photograph may have been taken to document it at that time. The fallbeil in the photograph has been incorrectly assembled so your thought that it was "hastily built" is correct. The blood chute is installed on the wrong side and the bench is not attached or on the wrong side and not visible. But components such as the winch, crank, spatter shield, level/rod release and blade shield are present. The photo shows the blade lowered so it would not be hidden by the blade shield. A spare blade resting on the right side of the base. The fallbeil only looks short is because its top piece is cropped out of the photo. Tegels did not have a tipping board or staps of any kind.

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fredric
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Re: to Pete and vinnievega

Post by fredric » 03 Nov 2011 07:18

Piotr1 wrote:Is this an accurate description? The guillotine obviously did not have a tipping board to which condemned were strapped with leather belts. Was strapping of prisoners to the guillotine bench with a piece of string or rope a common practice in Katowice?

I don't think so.(rather journalist's " licentia poetica"
The fallbeil from Katowice is typical Tegel with fixed bench without straps. The photo in article isn't falbeill from Katowice.
I guess Dresden.But look at movie poster above.... this is machine from Katowice
Yes the article gives some incorrect information. No "string" no straps on a Tegel...ever. This is a myth perpetuated in films. I think the article indicates the fallbeil in the film is the real one from Katowice. That is impressive. However the fallbeil on the poster is strange. The blade does not look like it is secured by bolts. Nice fresh paint job though. The old fallbeil must have undergone a lot of cosmetic fix-up. But the upright is too thin and does not match actual photos I have of the Tegels. The crosspiece at the top would not extend over the upright. It is a poster representation done more for drama than fact. What do others think?

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andreobrecht
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by andreobrecht » 03 Nov 2011 13:01

I had the same first reaction, but I think the steep angle of the light makes the overhangs on the crossbar and sledge top look more pronounced.
This is a photo of the actual Katowice fallbeil. The two top blade bolts were missing when the picture was taken. It matches exactly other modern photos of this fallbeil in the smallest details.

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 03 Nov 2011 22:58

andreobrecht wrote:I had the same first reaction, but I think the steep angle of the light makes the overhangs on the crossbar and sledge top look more pronounced.
This is a photo of the actual Katowice fallbeil. The two top blade bolts were missing when the picture was taken. It matches exactly other modern photos of this fallbeil in the smallest details.
C'est la vrai Tegel/Katowice guillotine mon ami! (pardon bad French m. bois de justice)
A matching detail that immediately caught my eye is the discoloration on the blade. Same mark in other photos I have of the Katowice machine. Glad the film promoters did not polish or resharpen the blade as I think was done to the Breslau and Vienna blades now displayed in museums. I think the film was made under tech supervision by an expert who cares about authenticity and I hope some day to see how the execution scene is depicted. The film promoters of course want to heighten the shock value of their poster so placing the fallbeil outdoors (wonder if it was used outdoors?) against leafless trees in a night sky only lacks a crow in the tree. It is probably a computer-tweaked image. I believe the Polish text says the machine is stored in Auschwitz. It should be authentically restored and displayed in a museum.

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Reindel book axe execution photos

Post by Pete26 » 04 Nov 2011 00:35

fredric wrote:
The new Reindel book by Blazek is really good. He provides excellent documentation and bibliography and some photos including the two rare pictures of an axe execution (authentic photos) and the "Petit Parisean" cover illustration of "Vater Reindel" at work. If you have the book, what do you think of the way the artist shows Reindel holding the richtbeil?
I just got this book and the two photos of an actual axe execution are interesting. In the first one on p. 75 you can clearly see the condemned, his hands clasped in prayer standing in front of an official apparently reading the verdict to him. One can see the bench or table and the execution block which is higher than the table itself . An assistant is standing in front of the block, so only part of the block is visible in the photo. Two assistants are standing to the left of the table and the block. I cannot say for sure which person in the photo is the executioner Reindel, but I would guess the third from the right in the front of the picture?

The second photo on p.76 seems to have been snapped at the moment the executioner raises the richtbeil and brings it down on the neck of the condemned. It looks like the photographer left the camera shutter open too long, as the entire axe swing arc is captured as a fuzzy silhouette in the picture. It however gives us some clarification on how high the executioner raises the axe before bringing it down. From the photo which captures the arc of the axe, it is evident that the axe was raised about 45 degrees above the horizontal plane, then brought down. This makes more sense than previous assertions that the executioner would merely raise the axe to a horizontal position and let it fall by its own weight. Clearly, the executioner puts some force into the axe swing in this photo. You can see three assistants holding the condemned: two are on the other side of the executioner holding the body on the table, and one assistant is standing directly in front of the block, possibly holding the head still by pulling on the hair. The executioner is on the right side swinging the axe. He has taken off his jacket and white sleeves of his shirt are visible as he swings the axe. The photo captures the moment of actual execution from the time the axe is raised to the time it cleaves through the neck, as it is visible in practically horizontal position at the end of the stroke.

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Re: Reindel book axe execution photos

Post by fredric » 04 Nov 2011 08:48

Pete26 wrote:
fredric wrote:
The new Reindel book by Blazek is really good. He provides excellent documentation and bibliography and some photos including the two rare pictures of an axe execution (authentic photos) and the "Petit Parisean" cover illustration of "Vater Reindel" at work. If you have the book, what do you think of the way the artist shows Reindel holding the richtbeil?
I just got this book and the two photos of an actual axe execution are interesting. In the first one on p. 75 you can clearly see the condemned, his hands clasped in prayer standing in front of an official apparently reading the verdict to him. One can see the bench or table and the execution block which is higher than the table itself . An assistant is standing in front of the block, so only part of the block is visible in the photo. Two assistants are standing to the left of the table and the block. I cannot say for sure which person in the photo is the executioner Reindel, but I would guess the third from the right in the front of the picture?

The second photo on p.76 seems to have been snapped at the moment the executioner raises the richtbeil and brings it down on the neck of the condemned. It looks like the photographer left the camera shutter open too long, as the entire axe swing arc is captured as a fuzzy silhouette in the picture. It however gives us some clarification on how high the executioner raises the axe before bringing it down. From the photo which captures the arc of the axe, it is evident that the axe was raised about 45 degrees above the horizontal plane, then brought down. This makes more sense than previous assertions that the executioner would merely raise the axe to a horizontal position and let it fall by its own weight. Clearly, the executioner puts some force into the axe swing in this photo. You can see three assistants holding the condemned: two are on the other side of the executioner holding the body on the table, and one assistant is standing directly in front of the block, possibly holding the head still by pulling on the hair. The executioner is on the right side swinging the axe. He has taken off his jacket and white sleeves of his shirt are visible as he swings the axe. The photo captures the moment of actual execution from the time the axe is raised to the time it cleaves through the neck, as it is visible in practically horizontal position at the end of the stroke.
Yes, these are remarkable photos. I agree that in the first photo, the third man from the right at the front of the scaffold is the scharfrichter. He is the only one who wears a top hat (indicating his position as scharfrichter). Also, he stands in the most prominent position in front of his team of six assistants. The photos document the ritual followed at richtbeil executions up to and even into the Hitler era until the fallbeil became the standard throughout Germany.

Mr. Blazek says the photos are the only known images of an axe execution and that they were given to (?) or discovered (?) in the Braunschweig Museum archives in 1924. They show the execution of 27 year old Polish worker Anton Giepsz on 17 April 1885 in the Braunschweig Prison yard as the sentence is read and at the moment the axe falls in a blur.

In the first picture seven formally attired individuals are on the scaffold. Two stand to the left of the bench with their hands clasped behind their backs. One stands in front of the block, hands clasped. Four more stand to the right of the block. In the second picture the two assistants on the left have moved close to the bench and one is pulling on a strap that holds the condemned to the bench and the other is bent over, holding the legs. The assistant in front of the block is bent over, positioning the head (possibly turning it away from the sharfrichter and stretching the neck). To the right side of the bench, I three of the four persons in the first photo have moved up to the bench. TWO hold the condemned on the right just as two do on the left. (The blurry image of Scharfrichter Reindel bringing down the richtbeil conceals one of these assistants) The man who stood closest to the scharfrichter in photo one remains back from the bench and holds the sharfrichter's hat and coat. Thus Reindel is using five assistants plus a "valet"...six people...quite a large team.

It is possible that among the assistants shown in the photos may be such noted executioners as Julius Krautz, Alwin Englehardt and Karl Groppler but of course this is conjecture. If so, some would serve as Scharfrichters during the early days of the Third Reich.

A curious figure in the photos is the man with the long white beard. He resembles "Vater Friedrich Reindel" the renowned member of the Reindel dynasty recognizable for his waist-long white beard, hence the "Vater" name. I have seen claims that the bearded man in the photos is the executioner (on close examination, the bearded man is holding down the condemned, not swinging the axe). Still, the bearded man does look like an illustration of the long-bearded, thin, rather elegant "Vater" Friedrich Reindel that appeared on an 1891 cover of "Petite Parisian" magazine and is also in Blazek's book. So could the sharfrichter described in the photos only as "Reindel" be Wilhelm Reindel, Friedrich's brother, or even someone else? Whoever he is, the scharfrichter in the photos does not yet have the long beard and looks a lot younger and heavier than the person shown on the magazine cover six years later. Yet I have to acknowledge that the list of beheadings attributed to "Vater" Friedrich Reindel (and published in Blazek's book) does include Anton Giepsz.

Some clear, interesting details in the photo include how the condemned is dressed (wears a strange apron or pants that look like chaps), how he is bound (loosely and hands not tied), the leather case concealing the richtbeil (closed in the first photo and open in the second), the richtblock and richtbench with folding (?) legs, the expression of the faces in the large audience, the judges and prison officials and even how the sand by the richtblock was formed into a bucket shape (not too clear in the printed photos).

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by vinnievega » 04 Nov 2011 17:17

Thanks Frederic,

Now I understand, the photo didn't show the entire fallbeil leading me to confuse the blade shield for the cross beam from which the blade assembly is suspended. Falling from that heigh,t it didn't look like the blade could gather sufficient momentum to successfully cut through the victim's neck.

What was the difference in height between the GermanfFallbeils and the French models? The German guillotines look considerable smaller and therefore must have had a heavier blade assembly. Do you have any idea of the respective weights of the blade assembly of the fallbeil and the French model?

Vinnie

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by Piotr1 » 04 Nov 2011 18:13

Image

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