I am planning a one-shot featuring Gellert Grindelwald and one of his prisoners. I just had a few questions about Nurmengard, his prison. This is kind of dark stuff, so if you are easily offended, please don't read on.
How do you think prisoners were handled after they had been locked up? Left there until they died, or the end of Grindelwald's reign? Do you think they would be given an execution date and then executed systemmatically or do you think executions were more spontaneous, i.e. when the prisoner was captured.
If a prisoner was scheduled to be executed, do you think a last visit from a spouse would be allowed? I'm thinking not, but perhaps if they wanted to torture the poor guy a little more by forcing him to say goodbye?
Do you think that Grindelwald ever visited the prison, perhaps to speak with a particular prisoner if there was some connection between them?
These are pretty vague questions, and I'm not going to incorporate all this in my one-shot, but I did want to get a feeling for how the prison was run. Any and all opinions are needed, please!
Thanks a lot!
Well, I happen to be writing a Grindelwald-era fic myself (called Für Das Größere Wohl), and I have put some thought into the subject of Nurmengard.
Before I delve into what is actually done there, I'll describe what it looks like, according to my imagination:
The prison is made of black stone (perhaps marble), which leads many people to call it the "Black Fortress." Concerning the actual structure, the centerpiece of the fortress/prison is a very tall and narrow triangular tower with a flat top - on the floor of this elevated triangular platform is the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.
Stylistically, this tower is very plain looking and lacks ornamentation, but its sheer mass, height, and jet black surface makes it appear very forbidding. It is very cold, drafty, and damp inside, and the higher levels contain high security/important prisoners.
Arrayed in a circle around the base of the tower are a plethora of lesser buildings, and encompassing the whole complex is a defensive wall (also made of black stone) which forms a massive triangle. There is a stone pathway that leads from the gate on one side of the wall to the tower, and then to the opposite tip of the triangular wall.
In essence, if you were to look at Nurmengard from the air, you would see a massive symbol of the Deathly Hallows (formed by the wall, the ring of buildings, and the straight path) with a tall tower in the middle, also emblazoned with the same symbol.
Also, the phrase Für Das Größere Wohl (that's "For the Greater Good") appears above the main entrance to the prison at the wall, and again at the entrance at the base of the tall tower.
Now, about the actual prisoners...
In my story, Grindelwald's equivalent of Aurors are the Zauberische Verteidigungsmannschaft des Kanzlers, meaning "Wizarding Defence Crew of the Chancellor." Instead of fighting dark wizards, however, they do the complete opposite by rounding up dissenters and "disposing" of them. This secret police-like organisation obviously has a long and unwieldy name, so they are usually called the ZVK or the Mitternachtsmannschaft, meaning "Midnight Crew." This refers to how they barge into your home in the dead of night and drag you off to Nurmengard.
Once prisoners are actually at Nurmengard, they're pretty much as good as dead. They aren't executed, but simply worked to death "the Muggle way." The wandless prisoners are forced into hard labour everyday, told to break apart boulders with hammers and move the rubble around the prison grounds. At night the Mitternachtsmannschaft simply reassemble the boulders with magic, and this Sisyphean cycle repeats itself until the prisoners die of exhaustion, their deaths hastened by periodic use of Cruciatus Curses. The bodies of dead prisoners are dumped in a mass grave dug out and covered up again by their still-living comrades.
To put it simply, Nurmengard is not a pleasant place. People who go there are never heard from again - none of their relatives are notified and the government of Das Zweite Zauberereich offers no explanation for the sudden disappearances. Prisoners are never allowed visitors, because the prisoners "don't exist."
I don't think that Grindelwald would visit individual prisoners unless they were very important, like the Minister for Magic of some occupied country. However, I do think that Grindelwald would occasionally make (Sonorus amplified) speeches from the top of the tower to the assembled prisoners, telling them how naughty they've been and how their removal from society was "for the greater good."
Tim the Enchanter
Wow, thanks very much, Tim the Enchanter, for your detailed answer! Do you mind if I use your translation of For the Greater Good in my one-shot?
I think I'm good now on the questions I had posed before, as I said I just wanted to get a kind of feeling for Nurmengard.
I do have one more question. What would someone call Grindelwald? Certainly not Minister, as in Minister of Magic in England. Any thoughts, please?
EDIT: Maybe to make this a little clearer, what would Grindelwald's title have been?
What would someone call Grindelwald?
In my opinion people would most likely call him sir. They would need to call him something that is respectful. Victor Krum called him Grindelwald, so maybe they kept to that and then sir when addressing him directly. ??? I'm not sure though, just my two cents haha
I guess you are looking for a "title" of sorts -- something Grindelwald would be known as by his loyal followers, equivalent to Hitler's "Fuehrer" label?
I suggest finding a German, Russian, or Romanian equivalent for one of these:
Alternatively, how about "Trismegistus"? Hermes Trismegistus ("Thrice-Great Hermes") is an important figure in occult lore, and calling himself "Thrice-Great" would allude to the old gods, and the traditions that preceded the modern, Muggle world. It would be an incredibly arrogant and grandiose thing to call himself, of course. Which is probably appropriate.
Voldemort is in the same position Grindelwald was in, and he is called Lord. Perhaps you could use that! (its certainly not as creative as some in the previous posts, but it works...):o
I don't mind at all if you use Für Das Größere Wohl in your story, as long as you don't make it the title - having two stories on MNFF with the same title in German would be weird. Anyway, I didn't make up that phrase, since it is simply the translation of "For the Greater Good" found in the German Harry Potter books.
However, things like the Mitternachtsmannshaft and my description of Nurmengard are my own creations, so if you decide to use them in your fic, please let me know first and cite your source of inspiration - ME! HA HA BBLUUBBAAARRRGGGHHH!!!
To move on to your next question, I imagine the German Minister to be called the Kanzler für Magie, meaning "Chancellor for Magic." However, once Grindelwald came to power, he changed the name to Zauberereich-Kanzler, or "Wizarding Reich Chancellor."
Either way, people addressed him as Kanzler, as opposed to "Minister" like in Britain.
However, some wizards also called Grindelwald the Führer, which simply means "Leader." Obviously, this never ceased to confuse Muggleborn witches and wizards in the Zauberereich, who were always trying to figure out which "Leader" people were talking about.
Tim the Enchanter
Haha, don't worry Tim the Enchanter, I'm not going to have that as the title. But at one point, one of my characters does shout "For the greater good?" so I thought it would be neat to have it in German! O_o
Thanks to all for the suggestions and opinions.
And mods, I think I have everything from this thread that I need, so you can lock and grave, or whatever it is you do! Thanks!