MFDJ 04/09/24: The Shoe-Testing Track

Today’s Brisk Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

From the summer of 1940 on, prisoners at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany had to test the soles of shoes for German shoe manufacturers. A special “shoe-testing track” was laid out around the parade ground. The prisoners were part of a penal work detail and were forced to run up to 40 kilometers a day around the 700-meter track, at a brisk pace, regardless of the weather. Anyone who couldn’t keep up with the pace was hit by the SS guards. Few managed to survive this torture for longer than a couple of weeks.

I visited Sachsenhausen in 2014 and took this photo of the testing track.  (My full travelogue of the camp can be found at Forlorn Photography.)

Culled from: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp


Torture Instrument Du Jour!

Mordacchia  (Iron Gag)

The iron gag is an instrument we can find in different shapes. As its name suggests, it prevented the victims who wore it from speaking or screaming while they were being tortured.

This family of instrument focuses on the mouth as the site of torture and they occluded it either by a ball, a very sharp metal tip placed in front of the mouth, or through a mask fastened to the head. Some of the iron gags had a long spike that penetrated through the victim’s chin, pierced his tongue and also penetrated his palate.

Of course, this instrument prevented the victim from speaking but allowed him to groan and to moan, being that the torturer had inflicting pain as his object.

Culled from: Torture – Inquisition – Death Penalty


Andersonville Prisoner Diary Entry Du Jour!

This is the continuation of the 1864 diary of Andersonville prisoner Private George A. Hitchcock (see the archived version for all entries up until now).

Here’s today’s entry:

December 5th. Frosty night, but beautiful to-day. I drew a ration of a pint and a half of meal, but no wood to cook with.

Culled from: Andersonville: Giving Up the Ghost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *