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Dinkelsbühl Gerichtsbarkeit Hexenverfolgung - Scharfrichterhaus (Executioner's House) (7)

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Scharfrichterhaus (Executioner's House) (7)

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Sights - Bauwerke/Denkmäler

As an Imperial City, Dinkelsbühl had the power of high-court jurisdiction (i.e. could hold its own "blood courts" as they were sometimes called) from the end of the 14th century.

Judgements were in accordance with the first pan-German penal code, Charles V's "Constitutio Criminalis Carolina" ("Carolina" for short), also known as the "Peinliche Halsgerichtsordnung" (Procedure for the judgement of capital crimes). This was characterised by the ruthless severity of the punishments and manifold methods of torture. The torture, the amputation of limbs and the death penalty were carried out by the executioner; the hangman's assistants performed lesser punishments to "skin and hair". From 1580, Dinkelsbühl had its own executioner, who lived in this house by the Muckenbrünnlein. Before then, they had always hired the hangman from one of the friendly neighbouring towns. In 1445, for example, the hangman Schabenkäs frequently travelled to Dinkelsbühl and received six guilders for an execution.

96 executions are known to have taken place in the years between 1420 and 1753. The judges differentiated between execution by hanging for theft and death by the sword for murder, manslaughter, robbery or arson. Murderesses and adulteresses were drowned, those condemned as witches were burned at the stake after being beheaded.
The executioner, his servants and his whole family belonged to the "dishonourable people". Nobody wanted to come into contact with them; their children were not allowed to enter a guild apprenticeship and marriage into a respectable family was also out of the question. So, in time, entire "executioner dynasties" were formed.
In St. George's Minster, there was a seat right at the back, on its own under the organ loft, where the hangman had to sit. He and his family also had to sit in segregated seats in the tavern. However, a city executioner could live quite well on his income. He also carried out other vital work for the community, such as that of knacker.

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