Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 21 July 2013
A hare in Nuremburg
Still on the subject of Albert Pierrepoint, the British executioner, this is a photo I took of the stadium at Nuremburg, Germany, when I was working there some years ago.
John said that the little bag of tricks that Pierrepoint used, came up for sale on a T.V. auction and nobody bid on them. I can understand why not, as to show any interest at all in public might make the bidder look tasteless and morbid in the eyes of the viewers, even though they might have been even more tasteless and morbid in private.
It is - in a way - natural to gawp at fatal road-accidents that you happen to be driving past, as to glimpse the end of someone else's life seems to be a way of coming to terms with the end of your own, though I - personally - don't think it helps at all, so I just drive past with only a glance. I get quite angry with drivers who virtually come to a halt on the other side of the crash-barrier and have to be waived on by the police in case they cause another fatal accident of their own.
When I visited the Nuremburg Stadium, you had to climb through a hole in a fence, and the stadium itself was kept in a state of controlled decay, waiting for a time when it would be acceptable to restore it as part of Germany's rich, cultural heritage. The Nazi badges had been removed (by heavy calibre gun-fire) and the main flag-pole had a Stars and Stripes in place of the old swastika.
I walked up the steps to the little box reserved for Adolph Hitler to inspect the troops and athletes, wanting to take a look at the same vista that Hitler would have had himself - there is only enough room for one person in it at a time.
As I stood there, I became overcome with an intense embarrassment, as there could have been only one reason for being there, and that reason was obvious to anyone watching me. I scuttled out of the box and back down to where I took this photo.
A little later, I saw a youngish German man doing exactly the same thing as I had, and his discomfort was obvious - even from a distance of several hundred yards.
I walked around the grounds of the stadium, eventually going to the rear of it, where there was some back-entrances to changing rooms and offices.
Suddenly, in a small courtyard, I came across a very high, wooden scaffold, complete with trapdoor and lever. It had small wheels on each corner so it could be pushed around into location when needed.
I began thinking that Albert Pierrepoint must have used the very same contraption when he was sent to kill about 300 Nazis in 1945. For some reason, I did not take a photograph of it.
Just after I took the above photo, a hare sprinted up the shallow steps - a hare in the middle of Nuremburg. Who would have thought it?