A guillotine has gone on show in France for the first time since the deadly contraption was made redundant three decades ago.
A quick death? A 14ft tall guillotine has gone on show in the Crime and Punishment exhibition at the Orsay Museum in central Paris
The device – complete with its razor sharp blade uniquely designed for separating heads from bodies – forms the centrepiece of a new ‘Crime and Punishment’ exhibition at the Orsay Museum in central Paris.

It was put there following requests from those who campaigned to abolish it prior to capital punishment being outlawed across the Channel in 1981.

There had been concerted efforts to get rid of the infamous ‘Madame Guillotine’ since the height of the French Revolution of the 1790s when it started its work killing thousands, from the former queen, Marie Antoinette, to post-war murderers.

The last guillotining in France took place as recently as 1977 when Hamida Djandoubi, a convicted murderer who had tortured and raped his victims, was beheaded at Baumettes prison in Marseille.

During the so-called ‘Reign of Terror’ lists would be published of all those due to die. The blood-thirsty events became so frequent that they became part of Gallic popular culture.

Members of the crowd revelled in the slaughter, with one even filming the bloody event – prompting the authorities to review their execution methods.

It was not surprising, therefore, that some of the worst mass murderers in history went on to embrace the device, including Adolf Hitler.

His Nazi henchman ordered 20 from France in the 1930s, and went on to kill no less than 17,000 people with them up until the end of the Second World War.

The contraption on show at the Orsay is an 1872 model designed by Leon Alphonse Berger, and the last working model in mainland France.
Bloody retribution: Eugen Weidmann, a German who confessed to six murders, is executed by the guillotine outside of St Pierre Prison in Paris in the early morning of 17th June 1939. As the blade falls down, one of the executioners holds Weidmann's legs

The last victim: Convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded at Baumettes prison in Marseille in 1977

Queen Marie Antoinette lost her head to the guillotine during the French Revolution - as did virtually the whole French aristocracy

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