I came across this photograph of Field Marshal Keitel which was taken shortly after his execution at Nuremberg on 16th October 1946. All the bodies of the executed men were photographed before being placed in coffins.
I am curious because there appears to be blood on Keitel's face and hair. Could anyone tell me was he mistreated before or during his execution in the gymnasium. I have read in several books that it took much longer than expected for Keitel to die and that he was heard moaning after he was dropped through the trapdoor. The article below says he took 24 minutes to die when hanging should of course be instant when the neck breaks.
The second photograph is of Wilhelm Frick who also appears to have blood on his face - and look at where his head is resting, it is also badly covered in blood. Surely this is too much of a coincidence?
I came across these stories which might suggest that the executions might not have gone as smoothy as was officially reported at the time. The first article in particular could account for the bloody faces:
GORY DETAILS ABOUT EXECUTING NAZI WAR CRIMINALS
Is it true that one of those condemned to death for war crimes at Nuremburg had to be physically strangled by two men swinging on his ankles after he had survived the drop on the gallows?
The manner in which the Allies executed 10 senior surviving Nazis remains a matter of some controversy.
Officially, the executions were carried out cleanly, but contemporary accounts make it clear that one was so botched it did indeed become necessary to swing on the legs of the condemned man in order to finish him off.
Unofficially, neo-Nazis have long charged that all the hangings were designed to make the last moments of Germany's criminal war leaders as painful as possible. The neo-Nazi netzine Stormfront, for example, quotes Stag Magazine, (Vol. 3, No. 1, December 1946) to suggest that the executioner - Master-Sergeant John C. Woods, US Army - was a Jew. Woods, they allege, "used a short rope that prevented instantaneous death from a broken neck, instead insuring a slow death by strangulation. He built the trap door too small so that their facial features would be mutilated during the fall. Woods would later boast to the U.S. Army's Stars and Stripes newspaper that he enjoyed the task, saying that "hanging those Nazis was the best thing I ever did."
The men who died at Nuremberg were Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Franck, Frick, Streicher, Seyss-Inquart, Sauckel and Jodl. Part of the neo-Nazi argument concerns the length of time it took doctors to pronounce the men dead once they had been hanged:
Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop -18 minutes
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel - 24 minutes
SS General Ernst Kaltenbrunner - 13 minutes
Minister Afred Rosenberg -10 minutes
Governor General of Poland Hans Frank -10.5 minutes
Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick -12 minutes
Anti-semitic newspaperman Julius Streicher - 14 minutes
Slave labour chief Fritz Sauckel - 14 minutes
General Alfred Jodl - 16 minutes
Arthur von Seyss-Inquart, governor of the Netherlands and Austria - no time cited
Master-Sergeant Woods: hanged Nazi bastards
In total, the executions took from just after one until just before three on the morning of 16 October 1946. Much of that time, supposedly, was spent waiting for each victim to be slowly strangled at the end of Woods rope.
The official version of events is rather different. The Allied authorities at least implied that all the men died of broken necks, and detailed accounts of the executions (such as these eyewitness description archives) make it clear that the apparent delay was the product of a decision to construct three sets of gallows - two for the executions themselves and one spare - and to hang the condemned Nazis one after the other, but on two different gallows. The doctors present did not enter the enclosed areas beneath the traps to pronounce one hanged men dead until the man on the adjacent gallows had also been hung; thus, after Ribbentrop and Keitel had both dangled, they pronounced Ribbentrop dead; then Kaltenbrunner was hung on Ribbentrops gallows while Keitel was still strung up, after which Keitels body was cut down and examined, and so on. This was the cause of the apparent delay in pronouncing death.
In one case, however, the hanged man appears to have died of strangulation and not of a broken neck. Perhaps fittingly, the man in question was Julius Streicher, the odious editor of the racist newspaper Der Sturmer, and the only one of the condemned who went to his death still shouting "Heil Hitler".
According to US hack Kingsbury Smith, of the International News Service,
"..The trap opened with a loud bang. [Streicher] went down kicking. When the rope snapped taut with the body swinging wildly, groans could be heard from within the concealed interior of the scaffold. Finally, the hangman, who had descended from the gallows platform, lifted the black canvas curtain and went inside. Something happened that put a stop to the groans and brought the rope to a standstill. After it was over I was not in the mood to ask what he did, but I assume that he grabbed the swinging body of and pulled down on it. We were all of the opinion that Streicher had strangled.
Incidentally, neither Goebbels nor Himmler were involved in the Nazi war crime trials; Goebbels and his entire family committed suicide in Hitlers bunker the day after the Fuhrer, and Himmler munched a cyanide capsule in May 1945 after being captured by British forces whilst attempting to flee in disguise.
Source: BIZARRE (UK)
But a foul-up in the Streicher execution was not reported in Mr. Kingsbury-Smith's story. He later recounted the event, to his journalist counterparts at the San Francisco Examiner. In explaining, he said that Streicher's hanging was bungled, and at the last moment Streicher screamed out the Nazi salute Heil Hitler. And at the same instant the trap-door opened and Streicher went down kicking and twisting at the end of the hangman's rope.
As the rope snapped Streicher was groaning for several seconds. Just then, the hangman, lifted the black covering the lower portion of the gallows and went inside. Suddenly Streicher's voice was still, silenced forever.
Source: BULLDOG NEWSPAPER COMPANY
Hope someone can give me more information.