Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Peter
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Post by Peter » 30 Jan 2007 19:10

Yes please,\ more info and a photo if possible

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fredric
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Post by fredric » 31 Jan 2007 05:55

I recommend you get Tod durch das Fallbeil by Dachs which is one of two biographies of Johann Reichhart. It contains several photos of Reichhart. You actually can find some film footage on YouTube of Reichhart at work, hanging war criminals at Landsberg. I have several photos of him but these are protected by copyright and I will not post them to a site.
Please let me know of your interest in him...he is one of 12 state executioners during the Nazi era and the only one to have been a party member (did not help when he wound up the subject of a denazification trial). Give me specific questions and I will gladly respond.

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Post by wolfguy » 03 Feb 2007 09:02

Frederic,


I understand Reichart wore the traditional executioner uniform of a top hat, overcoat, bow tie, and white gloves. Did Scharfrichter Roettger wear this outfit as well or something else?

wolfman

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fredric
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Post by fredric » 14 Mar 2007 05:53

Herr Wolfman,

An interesting question. Johann Reichhart brought eight generations of tradition to the scaffold and therefore dressed formally in a style dating to the 1850's. He trained under his Uncle Xaver, the official Bavarian scharfrichter who followed strict executionary protocol. This protocol included wearing formal attire (zylinder or top hat, tailcoat, bow tie and gloves). This stye of dress eventually was prescribed by the RMJ for all state scharfricters. Johann Reichhart was a most elegant figure and maintained this aura even in the short, post-war period when he worked for the Allies.

Wilhelm Roettger (or Rottger) joined the ranks of the scharfrichters much later than Reichhart. It is reported that he dressed more casually in rustic attire (leather jerkin, 3/4 length coat) but was directed to wear formal dress. I have tried to find a photograph of Willi Roettger for years to check this out. The few descriptions I have found describe Roettger as a skilled executioner but a crude person known for his jokes. What happened to him after the war remains a mystery.

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From the Official Ploetzensee Memorial Website (English Ver)

Post by ahingston » 11 Jun 2007 09:16

<<The executioners receive an annual salary of 3,000 Reichsmarks and a special bonus of 60 Reichsmarks for each execution that is later raised to 65 Reichsmarks. The families of the executed prisoners must pay an ”invoice of expenses.” The public prosecutor charges 1.50 Reichsmarks for every day of custody in Plötzensee, 300 Reichsmarks for the execution, and 12 Pfennigs to cover the postage for the ”invoice of expenses.”>>

This slightly amends and corrects an earlier posting -- regarding payment of State Executioners during the Nazi era. The grim fact that the families of the victims had to pay for the both incarceration and execution was typical of the Nazi ear, but I suspect it actually predates the Nazis -- does anyone have any information on this?

The is an example of a Nazi "mini-guillotine" at the Fort VII Museum in Poznan, Poland, where I am currently living. It was not used there, but in the basement the Gestapo HQ in Poznan, which still exists as an office building, on the edge of a city park, well removed from the other Nazi buildings in Poznan. Fort VII was a small concentration and transport camp on the western edge of the city that had been the city of a mid-19th century fort, part of the elaborate fortifications of the city when it was under Prussian/German rule (1791-1918). In the Poznan war museum (in the Old Market) there are also photographs of such a guillotine in use in the death chamber of the city prison.

It is often said that the Nazis hanged people with "piano wire." Is this true? How did it work? As a method, it must have caused more than one decapitation, no?

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mty
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Post by mty » 11 Jun 2007 12:09

I am not aware of alleged use of piano wire in any other cases than the well-known executions of certain opposition members related to Stauffenberg coup attempt of July 20th. They were hanged in the execution hut of the Plötzensee prison. Also a guillotine was located there.

There are also some other references to piano wire hangings, though mostly in fictional literature and usually in connection with either reprisal operations or concentration camps. I think it was regarded as a special humiliating measure used to increase the psychological terror effect of the executions and for such reasons became sort of a "Nazi hanging legend". I think it was not used before July 1944 and very rarely even after that.

- Mikko

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Post by David Thompson » 11 Jun 2007 13:52

It is often said that the Nazis hanged people with "piano wire." Is this true? How did it work? As a method, it must have caused more than one decapitation, no?
See the discussion on p. 1 of this thread:

Truth about hangings of convicted July 1944 defendants
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=80680

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Thanks for info so far...

Post by ahingston » 11 Jun 2007 16:08

The mini-guillotine in Poznan's Fort VII Museum (Poland) does not appear to have been spring loaded. It was made entirely of steel -- at least only the steel parts survive. The blade was more steeply raked than the blades of any French guillotine I have seen depicted or "recreated." It was very heavily weighted -- something like 40 kilos, though this is from memory and should not be relied on without confirmation.

Several photographs of German guillotines appear on a Danish website: http://www.metaphor.dk/guillotine/Pages/German.html The photos are very clear, but there is not much text. The guillotines in the Danish photos appear larger, more elaborate and more permanent tha the apparently smaller, protable version now at Fort VII.

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fredric
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Post by fredric » 11 Jun 2007 22:56

Piano wire was not used. Thin cord was. The "mini-guillotine" at Poznan Fort VII is very interesting to me. Does anyone have a photograph? I should be able to identify it. The fallbeil (guillotine) in the Poznan prison was a Tegel-style (many produced to a standard, simple design at Berlin-Tegel prison during the NZ era).
As far as the exectioner's wages, that varied before and throughout the War. The figures given by the Memorial site are accurate. Some "sharfrichters" made a lot of money during the War.

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Paul53
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guillotines germany

Post by Paul53 » 04 Aug 2007 18:46

Hi friends,I have only today become a member of the Guillotine Debating Club. Perhaps I can make a tribute to things.During the rule of the Nazis in Germany, some 45 Guillotines were in use,operated by 11 executioners> Ulizke,Weisz,Roselib,Hehr,Koester,Klein,Reichardt,Reindl<Rottger,Korzer and Wogner.The majority of them were hanged after the war with the exception of Reichardt who remained in bui siness for the allies.On march.- lot of information may be foun 20, 1933. Hitler ordered 20 new Guillotines to be constructed by the inmates of Tegel prison in Berlin as a supplement to the already existing 25 Guillotines in Germany.A lot of infomation may be found in >Geschichte der Henker< by Tankred Koch ISBN 3 88199 882 9:As far as I know it is only published in German
By the way, some 2 years ago I consructed a fullsize working Guillotine. following closely the design of one of those 20 Guillotines that were ordered by Hitler in 1933.Photos thereof will be published on this site as soon as I have mastered the technicalities, as I have only two weeks of experience with computers.
As to some questions that arose regarding the clothing of the executioners>|
As the war dragged on. the rules concerning clothing were somewhat simplefied< Dark clothing was recommended,but no high hat or something.
Regards, Paul 53





h

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Post by David Thompson » 04 Aug 2007 19:05

Thanks, Paul53, and welcome to the forum.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 05 Aug 2007 02:48

Benita von Falkenhayn,executed by axe 1935:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=125007

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Paul53
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Post by Paul53 » 05 Aug 2007 11:07

The executioner Reichardt always had three Guillotineblades ready that were only inserted immediately before an execution.Furthermore it was practise to test the blades in presence of an official of the Reichsjustizministerium who had to give an approval with regard to the proper functioning of the thing.A bundle of straw was used for the test.During the war,socalled |Klappsaerge\ were introduced,a sort of reusable coffins that the executed were trnsported in to the local crematorium.It happened once that after a series of executions in Brandenburg,the lorry that the coffins were stacked on,overturned in the nearby town of Goerden,scattering its contents right in front of a cafe,

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Paul53
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Post by Paul53 » 05 Aug 2007 17:18

I have some additional information

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Paul53
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Post by Paul53 » 05 Aug 2007 17:32

I am looking foreward to Frederic s book. A further source of information may be found in > Sterben um zu leben.> by Walther Uhlmann ISBN 3 462 01584 2.This is about the inmates if Brandenburg Goerden prison .15 miles west from Berlin.A lot of deathsentences were carried out there during nazi rule.usually by Ernst Reindel.The executionsite is a memorial today and can be visited.It also contains a Guillotine.The actual Guillotine that was in operation there is now on display at the Museum fur Deutsche Geschichte in Berlin.I have a photo of that one.Fredric I may be able to help you with some photos of the Guillotine that we constructed 2 years ago for a tv ducumentary.It is an almost exact copy of one of the transportable Guillotines that were in use during the nazi period,and is in full working order.so to speak Regards Paul53

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