Until a few centuries ago, each European city had its scaffold on the market place and a gallows field at the gate. The rack below the city hall was a common method for sharp interrogation, and the executioner had a recognised trade: “The first stroke is the one that counts”. Ecclesiastical lawyers devised special punishments for the exceptional crimes of witchery and heresy. The Spanish Inquisition used an elaborate range of instruments to fight against those evil works of the devil.
The Torture Museum provides a vivid image of this painful past. The international exhibition “Punishments and Verdicts in the Middle Ages” includes over 40 instruments of punishment from different parts of Europe, from the inquisition chair to the guillotine. They are illustrated with engravings and described with historical background information in eight languages.
The Torture Museum organises guided tours for schools, associations and other groups on request. For secondary schools there is a thought-provoking learning package for young people about torture and the death penalty in today’s “civilised” world.