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John Chris Woods (1903, San Antonio, Texas – July 21, 1950 at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands) was an American Master Sergeant and the hangman for the Third United States Army at the Nuremberg Trials.

Together with Joseph Malta, on October 16, 1946, Woods carried out the executions of the ten convicted German Main War Criminals. The executions took place in the gymnasium of Nuremberg Prison. Either Woods or his colleague Malta calculated wrong lengths for the ropes used for the executions, so that several convicts did not die quickly due to a broken neck as intended, but had to suffer a slow and painful death by suffocation.[1][2] In addition to that mistake, the trapdoor was too small, so that several convicts suffered bloody head injuries when they hit the trapdoor.[3] Woods is said to have kept small pieces of the rope used for each convict as his souvenir, considered to be against the policy adopted at Nuremberg Trials by the Colonel in charge of executions.

Altogether he executed 347 people during his 15-year career.

Contents

Famous convicts hanged by Woods

Woods said after the Nuremberg executions:

"I hanged those ten Nazis... and I am proud of it... I wasn't nervous.... A fellow can't afford to have nerves in this business.... I want to put in a good word for those G.I.s who helped me... they all did swell.... I am trying to get [them] a promotion.... The way I look at this hanging job, somebody has to do it. I got into it kind of by accident, years ago in the States...."[1]

And:

"Ten men in 103 minutes. That's fast work."

Death

Woods was accidentally electrocuted when he came into contact with a high voltage power line while deployed in Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. His grave remains unknown.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b TIME Magazine, October 28, 1946, p. 34
  2. ^ Howard Kingsbury Smith: The Execution of Nazi War Criminals. Eyewitness Report.
  3. ^ Spiegel Online, Nürnberger Prozesse: Der Tod durch den Strick dauerte 15 Minuten (German), 16. Januar 2007

4. "By The Neck Until Dead: The Gallows of Nuremberg" by Stanley Tilles with Jeffrey Denhart, Publisher: Jona Books, Box 336, Bedford Indiana, 47421 </references>

External links








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