Talk:Spandau Prison

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A picture of the prison, anyone? abelson June 28, 2005 17:18 (UTC)

Did it myself. abelson June 29, 2005 09:18 (UTC)

Hess injected by distilled water? I'm pretty sure that would be harmful. I suppose it was a saline solution. (Distilled water is completely harmless when in the context of an injection.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:43, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Good article[edit]

I enjoyed reading it. Good prose, too. Kudos to those who worked on it. Junes 16:27, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

The term "Spandau ballet"[edit]

I've read two versions for the origin of this term, which led to the band's name. I'd like to know if there's any truth in any of those, because the sources were far from official or remotely reliable.

The one usually associated to the band is that the Nazi would use the term to describe (and most possibly mock) the death contortions of men thrown into the gas chambers of this prison. However, this text doesn't mention gas chambers, which, I believe, would be a crucial part of the description. IMHO, this brings more doubt to the band's 'mythology' than to the text.

The other story has it that those machine-guns mentioned in the text were so powerful (a particular type? specially-designed?) that, when a man tried to escape and the guards had to shoot him, the heavy fire would usually stick the prisoner to a wall and lift his body a few inches, causing the limbs and, eventually, other parts to "shake" in such a way that someone (other prisoners? the guards?) named it "the Spandau ballet".

Anyway, the term existed previously to the band and it'd be interesting to know where it came from, mostly if associated to the prison (and not the borough, type of gun or else). (Anonymous, Brazil, April 2006).

The sentences regarding Spandau Ballet seem rather doubtful to me - there are many different theories floating around as to the origin of the term and why the band adopted it as their name. One more plausible theory is that Robert Elms saw graffiti on the wall of a toilet in a club in London (there was allegedly another band in London called Spandau Ballet at that time who performed on the pub circuit). There's a discussion of the origin of the phrase here. If no one can supply references for the information in the article, I suggest that the sentences should reflect the fact that no one really knows the origin of the term and name. Jammycaketin (talk) 18:22, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Communication via Morse Code Unlikely[edit]

In the article there's a claim that prisoners were separated by empty cells to prevent communication via Morse Code. That doesn't sound right. From what I've read and heard, prisoners use what's known as Tap Code. That's because Morse code requires the ability to distinguish dashes (longer period of noise) from dots (shorter period of noise) from interword gaps (longer period of silence) from interletter gaps (shorter period of silence), while prisoners usually only have a pipe or wall to bang on, and bangings or tappings don't have different lengths of noisiness. Although the Wikipedia article says it was invented in 1965, other sources mention tap codes used by Russians as far back as 1924, or even earlier, so I wouldn't take the 1965 date too seriously. (talk) 15:02, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Watchtowers and group name[edit]

I was stationed 'next door' to the prison, in Smuts barracks in the early 1970s. One watchtower overlooked both the main road and the interior of our barracks. I can remember when any of the western countries were on duty, the sentries, in winter, used to stay in the inside portion of the tower. It was a different story with the Soviets. They used to move round the outside of the tower with robotic precision. Nobody in their right mind would have tried to free Hess when they were on duty! We heard that all the Russian soldiers were specially selected for their commitment and loyalty to the communist regime.

As far as the group's name is concerned, (see above), a) I was never aware of any gas chambers and b) the prison was built out of red brick, a material that would not stand up for long to any machine gun, standard or super, so I would say that that explanation for 'the Spandau Ballet' is highly unlikely.

As mentioned at the top of the page, a good article; it brought back some memories RASAM (talk) 22:17, 31 August 2009 (UTC)


Was one of the goveonrs of the prison Ronald Spears? It said so in Band of Brothers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Whatever does this mean?[edit]

. In history, Spandau Prison succeeded as a prison to the citadel and where Frederick II of Prussia had held captive the magistrates of the Prussian Kammergericht and the Spandau gaol, where Carl Schurz had freed his friend Gottfried Kinkel in the aftermath of the 1848 German revolution[1].  ??? --jpgordon::==( o ) 15:24, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Daily life section poorly sourced and vague[edit]

The daily life section has no references and is very vague. It mentions a soviet dictator, but not by name.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lukehildy (talkcontribs) 09:33, 29 December 2010 (UTC)Lukehildy (talk) 08:25, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Date of construction[edit]

The NYT says the prison was built in 1871, not 1876 (see According to Garrett Epps, it dates to the 16th century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Dear IP, Spandau Prison was build from 1876–1879, not 1871! It therefore can't date back to the 16th century. It's a mix-up with the Spandau Citadel. The Citadel was build from 1559–94 and that is indeed 16th century. Joerg, The Flag of Barbados.svg BajanZindy (talk) 01:04, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Location? Current site?[edit]

Can someone provide information on where the prison was located? And what is currently located on the site? Elsquared (talk) 05:56, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Schurz/ Kinkel[edit]

The claim in the opening, that Carl Schurz rescued Gottfrid Kinkel from this prison, is wrong and actually makes no sense, because the prison was only built in 1876. The prison where this daring rescue occurred was in the Old Town of Spandau, where one of the streets was renamed Carl-Schurz-Strasse because of this. (See the German wiki articles for confirmation). Please remove this false claim... (talk) 16:24, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Spandau ballet was slang used in the German army during World War One to describe the effect of machine guns (Spandau's) on advancing allied troops. In yet another case of the 'winners' rewriting history this cynical phrase has been redefined into another palatable term about hanging Nazi's. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:29, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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