GALLOWS

 

The gellows was located on the roll-call ground in Auschwitz I, the main camp. The executions always took place in front of all gathered prisoners. Mostly, inmates who had tried to flee the camp were hung.

The convicted was first fettered and led under the gellows. The sentence was read out loudly in German and Polish, then the hangman, also an inmate, was given accurate order. The victim had to climb a box, the hangman put the noose around his neck, the cover sheet was pushed away and the convicted crashed into the box with a short yank.

The painful death often lasted for minutes. In most cases, death obviously did not occur by break of the neck - rope and height of fall were too short - but by suffocation or strangulation.

At every execution which were attended by SS-officers, the alert phase of the SS-guards was increased.

One purpose of such public executions was to intimidate the prisoners not to undertake attempts to flee, but also exemplary retaliation for disobedience.