The dungeons

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Before Germany was united into one modern state in the 19 ´th century, it 
consisted of several independet principalities and kingdoms. 

Each kingdom had their castle, and each castle their dungeon. 
The most well-known today is the castle of Nürnberg, but there were many others. 

Hard criminals such as murders and traitors were, as in most other countries at that time, executed.  
So who were the unlucky souls, who were locked away in chains down in the foul and dark cells, 
condemned to a life in endless boredom and misery? 

A report from an officer, who once was ordered to escort one of the Kings young mistresses 
to the dungeons, because the King had made her pregnant, may give us some of the answeres.
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"Get down the stairs whore !"
"All her yewellery are yours Master Jailer, 
if you asure, we never will see this dirty slut again!"

  After having delivered her to the jailer, he made an inspection 
of the rest of the prison, before returning home.  

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After having unbolted the heavy rusty iron door, the guard pulled it open.  A nauseating stench reached my nostrils,  as I in the flickering light from the torch saw a girl sitting in the filthy straw.  Unaccustomed to the sudden light she held her hands before her eyes.  The guard told me it only was an unimportant girl.  She had been there about six months.  He didn´t remember why.  Maybe she just had been too pretty, he said laughing.  Then he shut the door again with a hollow bang,  drew the bolts in, and turned the key in the lock.  


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Another iron door revealed a nice young woman.  She had been there only one week, and had not yet realized, she was going to spend the rest of her life here chained to the wall.  She was a foreigner.  She and her husband, had been traveling through with the coach, on their way home, after a trip to Rome.  He had got drunk and gambled all his money away.  It was decided, he was allowed to go home, if he would leave his young wife in the city´s custody. 

 If he ever should come back with the money, they would take them, and tell him the interests had gone up, and he had to pay more.   The guard told laughing.  Only one thing was certain, he said, the little floozie would never leave her cell alive.   

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In a third cell were two prisoners.  Both were naked, and tried to hide their intimate parts from us.  The blond girl looked up at me.  Her eyes were blue but reddened of crying.  After slamming and locking the iron door, leaving the two girls to the pitch-darkness again, he told me, she was a countess.  
Because she was a noble, she had been allowed 
to bring her maid with her.  

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She has now been standing in chains for a week. 

She had been in a troupe of actors.  The sheriff had given them a fine.  When they couldn´t pay, he had kept her, because she was the prettiest. 

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A common thief !  With both her hands and her feet chained to the wall, she will never steal again. 





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The prisoner here was known as a believing, honest and helpfull woman.  The jailor said, he thought she was there by mistake.  That was why he had given her a cell, with a small barred opening in the wall, letting in a little daylight and some fresh air, and had not chained her hands.  It was the only prisoner he felt any  sympathy against.  But of cause she will never be released. 

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When we opened the door, this  girl thought we were comming to fetch her, 
because her husbands gambling debts had been paid. 
The jailor told her something els !  
When the door was slammed again, she began crying hysterically.  

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This young French prisoner, told us with a low voice, her name was Michele.  She had not been there long.  She still had fine hair, and most of the filth in the cell was from it´s former  occupant, who had died last week. 
Michele seemed to have fallen into total apathy. 

The jailor said, she and her fiancé had been passing through, on the way to Rome to get married.   When the authorities discovered, they were travelling together without yet been married, they ordered the young man to leave the country immediately. 

They kept the girl ! 

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A waitresses was so unlucky, that a young 
noble man fell in love with her. 

This was of cause an impossible relationship. 
His family arranged, that she disappeared for good. 


In the deapest part of the prison, 
are the special prisoners from the King´s Court kept.


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In one of these deep cells the occupant had long run out of tears. 
I had to hold my handkerchief before my nose against the stench. 
When she looked at me, with an empty expression in her face, I could hardly recognize her. 
It had been 5 years since I last saw her at a ball at the King´s court. 
At that time, she had been the most beautiful women present. 

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The next prisoner I recognized at once. 
I had seen her at the Kings latest ball only 2 days before, and had even danced with her. 

The jailer told me she had arrivede only yesterday, and that she was still dazed and suffered from a mighty headache from the strong drugs, which had been put into her wine late in the evening, 
at the ball in which I had met her. 
Newly arrived from the country side, this young woman, belonging to the landed gentry, had 
been a refreshing personality at the rigid and formal Court. 
 A bit to provocative to some -  it seemed.  

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I could at once tell from the stench, that met my nose, when the next door was opened, that  the prisoner in this cell had been there for a long time.  

She had once been the Queen´s maid.  One night she had gone into her mistresse´s bedroom, and had accidently seen Her Highness in bed together with an important man from the goverment. 

Even she had sweared, she would tell nothing to anybody, she had at once been seized by the guards, and brought to this place, to keep her silent.   

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In a cell further down the passage, was the chambermaids mother.  After not having heard a word from her daughter for a year, she had shown up at the Court and had demanded to see her.

Permission was granted !
 They were allowed ten minutes together, before the mother was taken to another cell and chained 
 permanently to the wall - just like her daughter.  

The prison was always heavily overcrowded. 

Some new prisoners had to live in the courtyard for some time before a cell got available. 

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Lucy, the daughter of an important Officer, who 
was stationed fare away in the colonies, 
is wakening up from the drugs given 
to her at a ball the evening before.


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Another victime from the same ball 
is beginning to wake up.
The giant headaces from the strong drugs 
put in the wine before their abductions 
can last for days. 

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Young women and girls are sitting all over the place, waiting for a prisoner down in the dungeons shall die, so they can take her place. 

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There is no danger for any of them shall escape. 
The prison is heavelig guarded, and
all newbies are forged in chains at once.

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This girl tried to run away from her jailers. 
As punishment she stands chained to the wall. 
in all kind of weather. 

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The important ones goes down ahead of the others, so
sometimes it take many months, before the unimportant pristoners get chained up in their own cells. 


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The flooded basement cells were also put in use,
so as many women as possible could be held secured 
down below.  
To prevent these prisoners from drowning, they were 
chained to the ceiling durring the few weeks, 
they spend there, until they could get their own cell. 

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Finally this girl has got her own cell. 
After the guards have locked and bolted the door, 
she lie down in the  moisten straw in her future home, in which the former
occupant died only a few hours ago. 

 This will be her home for the rest of her life.