Pillory and vice stones

In former times, judgements were executed on the market place, the centre of the old town in Korbach. Reconstructed according to old documents, the pillory and the vice stones bear witness to this. The anterior criminal justice was very different. Death penalty was executed according to the respective crime. There was death by hanging, dividing into four parts, burning or drowning. Execution by sword was considered an act of mercy.

Pranger am Marktplatz

In Korbach, fraudsters, thieves and other convicts also were pilloried and thereby exposed to ridicule. Often they had to endure name and shame for days, before they were run out of town and exiled. The pillory was first documented in Korbach related to the timber thief Gerecke Becker, who was exposed to the public for several days. The delinquent was chained to the pillory with an iron chain around his neck. People were allowed to insult him or throw bad eggs at him.Pranger am Marktplatz

The pillory was removed around the beginning 19th century. Part of the socket and the platform were reused as "Steintisch" (stone table). One of the iron neck chains was fixed at the restaurant "Zur Waage". In oral lore, last a woman was pilloried between 1840 and 1845 for stealing beans. A policeman led her around in Korbach. She had a chain around her neck and a bale of haulm underneath her arm. People sneered at her. The policeman promulgated her misdeed at every turn. After that he chained her for several hours to the "Waage". In 1849 the pillory, the stigmatization and physical castigation were abolished in Waldeck.


If people told lies or spread rumours they had to wear two faces of stone and city servants led them around in town. Each vice stone weighed 15 kg and showed two big malicious tongues on the outside. These stones were tied up with chains to be worn on breast and back. The original stones have weathered long ago. Reproductions are hanging at the restaurant "Zur Waage".

Pranger am Marktplatz

© Micha Krause/ M. Möller


Hans Osterhold: Meine Stadt. Korbacher Bauten erzählen Stadtgeschichte, hrsg. vom Magistrat der Kreisstadt Korbach, 3. Aufl., Korbach 2004.

Erwin Günther und das Team des Stadtarchivs Korbach: Was die Namen der Korbacher Straßen erzählen . und was sie verbergen, hrsg. vom Magistrat der Kreistadt Korbach, 1. Aufl., Korbach. 2008.

Wilhelm Hellwig (Hrsg.): Sagen und Geschichten aus Korbach und Umgebung, 4. Aufl., Korbach 1999.