Middle Ages Torture-Museum,
Ruedesheim, Rhine, Germany

Visit the Middle Ages Torture Museum in Ruedesheim in the Rheingau on the edge of the Taunus, by taking a trip to the Middle Rhine.

Come and view the instruments used for torture in the middle ages. Learn about the methods of torture, witches, funeral piles, witch-hunts, witchcraft, the Inquisition, and the Medieval punishments.

Intriguing medieval torture museum has a modern message

Medival punishments may not be something you associate with holidays, yet a new museum has opened in Rudesheim to tell the story of what happened in the Middle Ages and is in fact a fascinating way to spend some leisure time.

Straight away it should be recognised that the Foltermuseum, in Grabenstraße, is not only informative but also educational and enlightening. While some of the exhibits may make visitors wince, it should be remembered that what they reflect were the standards acceptable four centuries ago.

What is even a more startling revelation is that in some countries – and not only in the third world – the same medieval practices are prevelant today.

And this is the message of this intriguing museum.

Incredible as it may seem, there are still places today, pretending to be democratic and often held up as "friendly", that nevertheless still perpetuate barbaric methods which may politically offend.

The Foltermuseum presents its collection most effectively and many of the displays catch the mood of the occasion.

The visitor is led initially to examine records and published information of the treatment still meted out to offenders in existing society, and this alone should open the eyes of many people.

They will no doubt keep this in mind as they then step back into the Middle Ages and as each succeeding display delves into the practices adopted by those in authority to punish or obtain information.

Recalled are the days of the witch-hunts in the period of the 14th to the 16th centuries when, at the instigation of the church authorities, inquisitors were sent out to inerrogate and even put to death those whose lifestyles were thought dubious by the local population – even the possession of a black cat could produce accusations of witchcraft.

Many of those punished in the Inquisition were women. Not only is it terrifying to think of the miscarriages of justice perpetrated for the most trivial excuse, but the method of extracting "confessions" may well almost defy belief.

Yet the evidence is there, and it makes a most gripping story.

The objects in the collection, which extends over two floors, are explained in detail – fortunately many with English translations.

Pictures and other documents add authenticity to what is a quite remarkable exhibition and one that is well worth visiting.

The subdued lighting and background music creates just the right atmosphere to stir the sympathy of the visitor for those who were on the "wrong end" of what is shown in this museum, and all must leave with some thoughts about the capability of some people to conduct themselves as human beings.

Mittelalterliches Foltermuseum

Oberstrasse 49-51, D-65385 Ruedesheim / Rhine, Germany

Tel. Museum: +49 (0) 67 22 / 4 75 10

Tel. Office and Fax: +49 (0) 62 26 / 9 93 64 98