Bodily Functions During Hanging
I contribute this report to add perspective to toilet habits. The bladder and the bowel often function normally as involuntary actions -- even in the most horrific of circumstances. While this site focuses on the grunts and groans of a too-big turd, or the embarrassment of messing one's pants, the people I'll discuss below have more to say about the subject.
I am a historian and history teacher interested in the partisan fight in the USSR against the Nazi invasion of 1941. In October of that year, a seventeen-year-old Jewish girl named Masha Bruskina was the first of at least 4,000 victims of official retaliation by German SS. She was publicly hanged in Minsk (Belarus), along with two others. Among the accounts written of the incident are descriptions of this poor young lady's involuntary defecation and urination as she died.
It's long been known than convicts -- especially women -- urinate and defecate during execution. In the USA, they are diapered; in the UK, before capital punishment was eliminated in 1965, condemned women were compelled to don heavy canvass slacks at time of execution. The so-called "long drop" with hanging (employed by more civilized jurisprudence in recent times) has the force to kill instantly, but also to caused rectal and vaginal prolapse -- the tearing out of internal organs and discharge through lower orifices. The "short drop" was another story. Known to slowly strangle the victim rather than cause instant death, the short drop is the favorite for public executions in the Middle East, and was the mode of execution in Nazi Europe when and where an "example" had to be made. In the former USSR, the short drop was the fate of countless thousands during WWII; and for a very definite reason it was inordinately applied to women and girls in their teens and twenties.
To punish and discourage the partisans (whose offense could be as little as cursing or throwing rocks at a passing German convoy), the German SS employed a trick popular since biblical times, and still in use in the Middle East today: disgracing and humiliating their sisters, wives, and daughters. It went like this. The girl was made to stand on a bucket or stool while the noose was tightened around her neck. An officer then kicked the bucket or stool away, and the girl gasped, convulsed for a few minutes, then urinated and defecated down her legs before becoming limp and dying.
Multiple condemned were strung-up on a common crossbar one at a time, so the next could see what awaited them. Thus, one bucket or stool was placed down as if to catch raindrops in a leaky roof. But it caught none of those. The bucket or stool was returned to the lender -- a local shopkeeper perhaps -- for whom it became an object of derision. This was yet another part of the SS plan.
The smell of urine and feces around the hanging execution site was renowned. Streaks of urine and feces crusted on the victims' legs and pooled under their dead bodies. The women's skirts were stained brown, especially in the rear, and their undergarments often held a load leaching brown fluid as if through a cheesecloth. The German SS required the bodies to remain suspended in this way for three days.
Four thousand Soviet girls, one at least as young as twelve, took their last shit and piss such a way -- in front of a gawking crowd and the click-click of German soldiers' cameras as they did it. If you want to know more, Google Masha Bruskina and follow the links.
I have come across execution techniques used in today's Middle East to remove women's underwear (even though they still wear a very long skirt) before they are hung -- and in which the executioner returns the bucket he has kicked out from under them to catch their falling urine and feces. This reported stated that, despite the pain of hanging, these women retain enough composure to spread their legs for a clean piss and dump into the receptacle below.
My interest in this subject is the consequence of a fascination for history, and of having a very dear friend who's father was judiciously executed at Sing Sing. Guess they used to shit on the electric chair, too.