Beheadings in the Third Reich

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Pete26
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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by Pete26 » 08 Dec 2020 02:41

tomh wrote:
06 Dec 2020 20:47

Is there evidence that the last axe executions were actually carried out by Gröpler?
Apparently a number of beheadings were carried out by axe still during the first half of 1937, at least in Berlin Plötzensee and Köln Klingelputz prisons.
Also, according to this wikipedia article Ernst Reindel carried out axe executions until 1943, and beheaded a number of prisoners by axe in Bützow-Dreibergen between April and July 1942.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Reindel
I do not have any evidence that official axe executions were not carried out by someone else other than Groeppler after 1936. However, I am certain that if such axe official executions were indeed carried out, they would be an exception, not norm, as beheading by guillotine was selected as the official execution method after international outcry following the beheading by axe of von Falkenhayn and von Natzmer in 1935. And the claim that Ernst Reindel carried out axe executions in Bützow-Dreibergen prison is new to me too. In December 1944 Hamburg guillotine was moved to Bützow-Dreibergen prison and Friedrich Hehr started executing people there. The guillotine from Hamburg was modified after transfer to Bützow-Dreibergen. The bench was separated from the vertical frame and it moved on rails. I posted a photo of Bützow-Dreibergen modified guillotine some time ago
Last edited by Pete26 on 09 Dec 2020 01:59, edited 2 times in total.

tomh
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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by tomh » 08 Dec 2020 03:56

Pete26 wrote:
08 Dec 2020 02:41
tomh wrote:
06 Dec 2020 20:47

Is there evidence that the last axe executions were actually carried out by Gröpler?
Apparently a number of beheadings were carried out by axe still during the first half of 1937, at least in Berlin Plötzensee and Köln Klingelputz prisons.
Also, according to this wikipedia article Ernst Reindel carried out axe executions until 1943, and beheaded a number of prisoners by axe in Bützow-Dreibergen between April and July 1942.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Reindel
I do not have any evidence that official axe executions were not carried out by someone else other than Groeppler after 1936. however, io am certain is such axe oficial executions were indeed carried out, they would be an exception, not norm, as beheading by guillotine was selected as the official execution method after international outcry following the beheading by axe of von Falkenhayn and von Natzmer in 1935. And the claim that Ernst Reindel carried out axe executions in Bützow-Dreibergen prison is new to me too. In December 1944 Hamburg guillotine was moved to Bützow-Dreibergen prison and Friedrich Hehr started executing people there. The guillotine from Hamburg was modified after transfer to Bützow-Dreibergen. The bench was separated from the vertical frame and it moved on rails. I posted a photo of Bützow-Dreibergen modified guillotine some time ago
Bützow-Dreibergen became one of the central execution sites in 1944 and in December that year a guillotine was installed, from Hamburg. But, according to several sources, there were executions carried out there in 1942. Some sources say there were 16 executions in that year (page 242)
https://books.google.fi/books?id=Rnp-Ul ... &q&f=false

The German Wikipedia article about Ernst Reindel says that he beheaded several plunderers with hand axe between april and july 1942 in Bützow-Dreibergen prison.
Also other sources say that after the bombardment of Rostock 1942, several plunderers were executed in Bützow (I'll try to find the original sources)
Apparently, for some reason, these plunderers ere executed by hand axe in Bützow, rather than brought to one of the central execution sites to be executed by guillotine.

Pete26
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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by Pete26 » 09 Dec 2020 02:12

tomh wrote:
08 Dec 2020 03:56

The German Wikipedia article about Ernst Reindel says that he beheaded several plunderers with hand axe between april and july 1942 in Bützow-Dreibergen prison.
Also other sources say that after the bombardment of Rostock 1942, several plunderers were executed in Bützow (I'll try to find the original sources)
Apparently, for some reason, these plunderers ere executed by hand axe in Bützow, rather than brought to one of the central execution sites to be executed by guillotine.
Bützow-Dreibergen prison was also equipped with hanging hooks. When these were installed I do not know. But if they were there at the time these delinquents were executed, it seems that it would have been easier just to hang these individuals on the existing gallows rather than beheading them with an axe. An axe beheading would at least require an execution block and it is not clear if there was one in the prison or if it was Reindel's personal equipment, along with the execution axe. And do we really know if Reindel actually used a bench attached to the execution block for these beheadings?

Plundering in Nazi Germany became punishable by death as more and more cities were bombed. People's Pest regulation was used to secure the death sentence for convicted individuals. I have posted quite a few of such cases in this forum. Some notable cases are Erna Wazinski, beheaded in Wolfenbuettel prison, and Russian laborer Valentina Archipova, beheaded in Frankfurt Preungesheim prison.

Pete26
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Hitler's executioner

Post by Pete26 » 09 Dec 2020 02:36

I watched this one hour long documentary on the History Channel recently and it seems that they got a lot of facts wrong. The presentation was about Johann Reichhart as the leading Hitler's executioner. They talked about Reichhart for about 20 minutes, then they changed the subject completely and talked about other unrelated events. They stated that Reichhart invented his own guillotine, which is not true. He used both Mannhardt and Tegel guillotines and clearly preferred the Mannhardt for its sturdiness and reliability. It is true that Reichhart removed the bascule from the Mannhardt guillotine in Stadelheim prison. However, the bascule was also removed form the Volfenbuettel Mannhardt which was operated by executioner Friedrich Hehr. Also, Hamburg Mannhardt had the bascule removed and had the sledge modified to accept the old wooden guillotine blade. And this guillotine was also operated by Friedrich Hehr.

They presented Reichhart as a high ranking Nazi official, which is not exactly true. He was a member of Nazi party to reap the maximum benefits of such membership, but he certainly was not a high ranking Nazi official. They also stated that Reichhart was hiding in a bunker among "high ranking Nazi oficials" in Berlin during Berlin bombardment by the Allies towards the end of WWII. To my knowledge Reichhart lived in or near Munich, not Berlin, and he did not operate either Ploetzensee or Brandenburg-Gorden guillotines.

They did not mention any of the official execution sites in this presentation, did not mention Mannhardt type or Tegel type guillotine, did not mention Stadelheim prison, which was Reichhart's home turf. The only person mentioned beheaded by Reichhart was Sophie Scholl.

And they showed staged beheadings using ridiculous stage prop guillotines without head baskets. And the executioner does not pull the lever, which was his job, but rather gives a hand command to someone else to do it, which is nonsense. Al in all, not well researched and organized presentation. They made it sound like Reichhart was the only official executioner in Nazi Germany.

tomh
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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by tomh » 09 Dec 2020 02:51

Pete26 wrote:
09 Dec 2020 02:12
tomh wrote:
08 Dec 2020 03:56

The German Wikipedia article about Ernst Reindel says that he beheaded several plunderers with hand axe between april and july 1942 in Bützow-Dreibergen prison.
Also other sources say that after the bombardment of Rostock 1942, several plunderers were executed in Bützow (I'll try to find the original sources)
Apparently, for some reason, these plunderers ere executed by hand axe in Bützow, rather than brought to one of the central execution sites to be executed by guillotine.
Bützow-Dreibergen prison was also equipped with hanging hooks. When these were installed I do not know. But if they were there at the time these delinquents were executed, it seems that it would have been easier just to hang these individuals on the existing gallows rather than beheading them with an axe. An axe beheading would at least require an execution block and it is not clear if there was one in the prison or if it was Reindel's personal equipment, along with the execution axe. And do we really know if Reindel actually used a bench attached to the execution block for these beheadings?

Plundering in Nazi Germany became punishable by death as more and more cities were bombed. People's Pest regulation was used to secure the death sentence for convicted individuals. I have posted quite a few of such cases in this forum. Some notable cases are Erna Wazinski, beheaded in Wolfenbuettel prison, and Russian laborer Valentina Archipova, beheaded in Frankfurt Preungesheim prison.
There are interesting pictures of the Bützow-Dreibergen hanging hooks and guillotine here:
https://www.ostsee-zeitung.de/Mehr/Bild ... -Buetzow/2

The text of the hanging chamber picture says that an apple cellar was transformed into an execution chamber during the nazi era. I think it is reasonable to believe that this was done when the prison became a central execution site in 1944, and that the hanging hooks as well as the guillotine were installed then.
An article about the execution of the Rostock plunderers was published in "Zeitgeschichte regional" 07/2003. It is not available online, but I am trying to find a paper version of it.

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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by Pete26 » 09 Dec 2020 03:40

tomh wrote:
09 Dec 2020 02:51


There are interesting pictures of the Bützow-Dreibergen hanging hooks and guillotine here:
https://www.ostsee-zeitung.de/Mehr/Bild ... -Buetzow/2

The text of the hanging chamber picture says that an apple cellar was transformed into an execution chamber during the nazi era. I think it is reasonable to believe that this was done when the prison became a central execution site in 1944, and that the hanging hooks as well as the guillotine were installed then.
An article about the execution of the Rostock plunderers was published in "Zeitgeschichte regional" 07/2003. It is not available online, but I am trying to find a paper version of it.
I posted these same photos year and half ago:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=35191&p=2212452&hil ... r#p2212452

It seems that they shipped only the vertical frame of Hamburg Mannhardt and for some reason came up with this movable cart/bench on rails with straps. This is certainly very peculiar and I cannot come up with a good explanation why they would do that, unless this device was already in place before the guillotine was shipped.

tomh
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Re: Butzbach fallbeil

Post by tomh » 10 Dec 2020 17:10

Pete26 wrote:
24 Feb 2019 02:57
Image

https://static3.giessener-allgemeine.de ... vwyPWl.jpg

Image

http://www.milger.de/bilder/fallbeil.jpg

Image

https://static3.giessener-allgemeine.de ... HDQFkb.jpg

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justizvol ... t_Butzbach

The article mentions that by 1937 seven people were beheaded by Butzbach fallbeil in Butzbach prison. After 1937 the fallbeil was moved to Frankfurt Preungesheim prison.

At least 100 people were guillotined in Frankfurt Preungesheim prison. Was the Butzbach fallbeil replaced in Frankfurt Preungesheim prison with a Tegel fallbeil at some point?

According to this article, there were 12 recorded execution in Butzbach prison between 1921 and 1937. The last execution took place on October 14, 1937 in the detention center Butzbach. Wilhelm Eckert, a 51-year-old prisoner, was beheaded by executioner Friedrich Hehr from Hanover. Note that according to the detailed records, Freidrich Hehr performed only one and the last execution in Butzbach prison. The executioner Burkhard from Endingen performed most executions.




The article also mentions that the original wooden fallbeil had to be shortened somewhat to fit into Butzbach prison execution chamber.

https://translate.google.com/translate? ... 2%2C502230
Executions in Butzbach from 1921 to 1937
Richard Schmidt, November 5, 1921, by executioner Müller from Seckenheim - Elise Dörrzapf from Mainz, 1921, by executioner Müller from Seckenheim - Wilhelm Sauer, February 27, 1924, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Johann Pieroth from Gensingen, September 25, 1925 , by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Adolf Steul, 19 January 1926, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Ludwig Büchler, 26 August 1933, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Leo Buchholz, 7 March 1934, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Valentin Kiefer, January 4, 1935, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Franz Becker, 11 July 1935, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Karl Dehmer, 20 December 1935, by executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Frieda Vogler, 5 February 1937, by Executioner Burkhard from Endingen - Wilhelm Eckert, 14 October 1937, by executioner Hehr from Hanover (Source: L. Liebmann: »The executions at the Butzbach cell-prisons«, published in » 100 years JVA Butzbach «)
Here is a very interesting article about the first and the last guillotine in Mainz. The first Mainz guillotine is the one used in Butzbach from 1921-1937. It was a very old, wooden, French revolution-era guillotine, that was used for the execution of the famous bandit Johannes Bückler, alias "Schinderhannes", in 1803.
This guillotine was used for 12 executions in Butzbach between 1921 and 1937, of which the last one was carried out, as mentioned, by executioner Friedrich Hehr 14 October 1937. After this the guillotine was transported to the central execution site Frankfurt-Preungesheim, where its usage increased.
It is not known exactly how many people were executed with this device in Frankfurt-Preungesheim. On 28 October 1940, a medical doctor who witnessed an execution, wrote to the Staatsanwalt that the guillotine was in bad condition and unreliable. Later that year (1940) the old guillotine was dismantled and replaced with a Tegel fallbeil.

https://www.regionalgeschichte.net/rhei ... mainz.html

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by hmtk1964 » 31 Dec 2020 09:24

Hi all

Just finished a book on albert pierrepoint, the UK hangman.
As he worked in germany same time as Johann Rheichhart was doing his bit hanging criminals, i just was wondering if those 2 have met, being professional executioners. Anybody?

My best wishes and stay safe

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 31 Dec 2020 19:17

I have read that Reichhart did learn about British hanging protocol from Albert Pierrepoint but cannot recall where I read this.
I do not recall anything about Reichhart in Pierrepont's autobiography.

I have also read that Reichhart contributed to the design and construction of the gallows (British style) on which Nuremburg Trial Nazi war criminals were hanged. I recall that it was asserted he oversaw the construction because he was trained by Pierrepont.

Master Sgt. John Woods was the executioner of the Nuremburg criminals, not Reichhart.
Woods hated Reichhart (a stinking Nazi in Woods' opinion of course) and I did read that having a German/Nazi execute Goering, etc. would look bad, hence Woods did the job. Pierrepont did, however, hang Nazi concentration camp criminals as depicted in the film.

Reichhart hanged about 150 war criminals for the Allies and on occasion did so in alternation on a gallows across from Woods.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by hmtk1964 » 03 Jan 2021 15:07

Hi fredric, tks for the info

Hardly can call sgt woods a professional with his reputation of budged hangings. Both pierrepoint made behaved civil towards their customers and made improvements in their profession, Both to reduce efficiency and/or reduce suffering. Would be interesting seing those 2 having a beer and chat compering notes.

Best wishes and stay healthy

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 03 Jan 2021 18:02

You are correct, sgt. woods was a bungler.
He did not use Pierrepont's careful drop charts. Pierrepont was quite professional... fast, attention to detail, careful employment of the correct drop according to weight charts and the classic British noose.
Photos show Woods holding a traditional, old-fashioned noose... what I think of as an old-fashioned wild west hangman's knot
It is my understanding that Woods used the same length drop for those he hanged, not the "long drop" method perfected by Pierrepont. Woods enjoyed making some victims strangle. Julius Streicher was one in particular. Many of those executed following the Nuremberg
show that the trap door smashed their faces.

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fredric
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Re: Inventor of the axe beheading bench

Post by fredric » 17 Jan 2021 19:15

Pete26 wrote:
09 Dec 2020 02:12
tomh wrote:
08 Dec 2020 03:56

The German Wikipedia article about Ernst Reindel says that he beheaded several plunderers with hand axe between april and july 1942 in Bützow-Dreibergen prison.
Also other sources say that after the bombardment of Rostock 1942, several plunderers were executed in Bützow (I'll try to find the original sources)
Apparently, for some reason, these plunderers ere executed by hand axe in Bützow, rather than brought to one of the central execution sites to be executed by guillotine.
Bützow-Dreibergen prison was also equipped with hanging hooks. When these were installed I do not know. But if they were there at the time these delinquents were executed, it seems that it would have been easier just to hang these individuals on the existing gallows rather than beheading them with an axe. An axe beheading would at least require an execution block and it is not clear if there was one in the prison or if it was Reindel's personal equipment, along with the execution axe. And do we really know if Reindel actually used a bench attached to the execution block for these beheadings?

Plundering in Nazi Germany became punishable by death as more and more cities were bombed. People's Pest regulation was used to secure the death sentence for convicted individuals. I have posted quite a few of such cases in this forum. Some notable cases are Erna Wazinski, beheaded in Wolfenbuettel prison, and Russian laborer Valentina Archipova, beheaded in Frankfurt Preungesheim prison.
Somewhere I read that the location did not have a fallbeil, hence the axe was used.
Ernst R. was an accomplished axe-man.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by wolfguy » 18 Jan 2021 16:32

So can someone clear up a lingering mystery for me?

From the book "The Mauthausen Trial" by Tomaz Jardim:

"On May 27, 1947, the largest mass execution in the history of the American war crimes trial program began at Landsberg Prison."

The executioners were named as Norvill, Julion, and Goode. So who were these guys?
Can't find any info on them. Were they U.S. military personnel or German civilians?
Why no info? Did they request to stay permanently anonymous?

Anyone know?

Wolfguy

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fredric
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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by fredric » 18 Jan 2021 20:36

The possible names don't sound German.
I have not heard of them.
Three for a hanging team is right: one conducts the hanging and two coffin the body.
The US Military legal team hired either the US executioner (to my knowledge we had only one, Master Sgt. Woods or a native German.
The native German was Johann Reichhart, a professional executioner (master guillotiner) who need the money. And he did professional work.
No idea if any executioners requested to stay "permanently anonymous". It was dangerous work.
Reichhart of course was taking a risk executing Nazis after the war because he could be a target for the thousands of NSDAP loyalist still living. In fact Reichhart would always be worried about this and was shunned by the public for years.

Some suggestions... read "Rough American Justice and interview with Tomaz Jardim"... and your can read the official document on the Mathausen trial on the web. 58 death sentences out of 61 (those not hanged got a life imprisonment but were released in a few years). The hangings were, as I thought, held at Landsberg Prison. The trial was conducted fast and the defendents were
subject to harsh, physical punishment prior to the short trial. No appeal was allowed. This was a military tribunal I believe. We have no photo documentation. My guess is that the executioner may have been Johann Reichhart and his two sons. Reichhart was
respected for his speed and attention to detail as a hangman. I have the recollections of a military officer who hired Reichhart for Landsberg. Reichhart presented himself elegantly, representing that he knew every type of execution method... which is an overstatement. BTW, the hangings were conducted on May 27 and May 28, hardly a big deal but a clue that at 7 minute intervals, plus body handling, it may have taken two days.

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Re: Beheadings in the Third Reich

Post by wolfguy » 19 Jan 2021 12:16

Hi Fredric

I just studied a number of online photos of hangings at Landsberg Prison on the date in question, May 27, 1947, and a couple of later hangings in 1948.

From these photos it is clear that the three men in question, Norvill, Julion, and Goode must have been US military personnel as you can clearly see that there are no civilians handling the condemned on the scaffold, all persons handling the hood, noose, and leg restraints are in military uniform.

Wolfguy

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