A hangman’s diary, being the journal of Master Franz Schmidt

Nuremberg Town Hall
Old Town Hall (Rathaus) of Nuremberg – 1614

Today two books from the stacks, are featured. The first is “A hangman’s diary, being the journal of Master Franz Schmidt, public executioner of Nuremberg, 1573-1617” by Franz Schmidt.

The author of this volume is Master Franz Schmidt (1555–1634), an executioner in Nuremberg. Under the supervision of his father he started the profession of executioner at the age of eighteen. During his career of forty-five years (1573 to 1617) he performed more than 350 executions. First hand accounts, such as this, are rare and that Schmidt kept a diary even more rare. This is an enlightening window into the legal system of the sixteenth and seventeenth century when punishments were far different that those of later periods.

DLWA Call Number: HV8579 .S3513

Worldcat: Link

  • Title: A Hangman’s Diary
  • Language: English
  • Setting: Europe

The second volume is “The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century” by Joel F. Harrington.

Joel Harrington came across the diary of Frantz Schmidt and became fascinated with the dichotomy of executioner and an apparently progressive and sensitive person. Harrington explored the person and time with an eye to the greater cultural context of the age.

DLWA Call Number: HV8551 .H374 2013

Amazon.com: Link

  • Title: The Faithful Executioner
  • ISBN: 1250043611 (ISBN13: 13: 978-1250043610)
  • Language: English
  • Setting: Europe