Office of the Provincial Government of Lower Austria, Department of Arts and Culture
A-3109 St. Pölten, Landhausplatz 1
The Province of Lower Austria received the core items of the “Legal History” collection in 1950 by bequest of Hans Liebl. An administrative officer and lawyer, Liebl built his collection for more than forty years researching the field of jurisprudence in Austria. The “Collection of Old Austrian Criminal Law Practices,” which he systematically expanded during this time, is one of the most well-known collections of old law practices in the German-speaking world. The collection traces the development of criminal justice in Austria with a special focus on Lower Austria from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century on the basis of about 2,600 objects. It was on view at the Landesmuseum Niederösterreich as early as 1918, and at the Schloss Greillenstein from 1967 to 1978. Afterward, the collection was relocated to Schloss Roggendorf in Pöggstall and could be viewed at the Museum für Rechtsgeschichte (Museum of Legal History) until 2015. After scientific reassessment, the collection is now available for further exhibition projects.
The Collection/Main Emphasis
Authentic tools of punishment make up a considerable part of the “Legal History” collection—comprising branks masks, schandmantels, and devices for judicial public humiliation. Along with punishment tools such as flogging devices and tongs, the collection also holds a substantial number of executioner’s swords from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century as well as large-scale objects such as gallows posts, wheels, racks, and pillories.
In addition, Liebl’s collection also includes valuable law codes, verdicts, and criminal case records.
An extensive library features special literature customized to the collection holdings.
Copy of the Eidstafel of Perchtoldsdorf,
Inv. Nr. RG-1622, © Landessammlungen NÖ
Museum of Legal History