Do we know exactly how Fraulein Ritter was stripped for her whipping? Completely naked to the waist, only her back bared, entirely naked?I'm probably boring everybody by now with the Doris Ritter story, but in trying to get the historical background right for a fictionalisation, I have now found the relevant passage from Voltaire's "Memoirs" (somewhat of a misnomer, as it's actually a postumous publication of a private and wonderfully gossipy account of his trip to Prussia in 1740, unfortunately of dubious factual accuracy). Voltaire is scathing about the reign of Frederick William I, whom he paints as a boorish mysogynistic miser only interested in money and collecting extremely tall soldiers. Violence to women was a speciality. According to Voltaire:
"After Frederic-William had reviewed his giants, he used to walk through the town, and everybody fled before him full speed. If he happened to meet a woman, he would demand why she stood idling her time in the streets, and exclaim, 'Go - get home with you, you lazy hussy; an honest woman has no business over the threshold of her own door;' which remonstrance he would accompany with a hearty box on the ear, a kick in the groin, or a few well applied strokes on the shoulder with his cane."
Here is Voltaire's account of the punishment of Doris Ritter:
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"The prince had a sort of mistress, the daughter of a schoolmaster, of the town of Brandebourg, who had settled at Potzdam. This girl played tolerably ill upon the harpsichord, and the prince accompanied her with his flute. He really imagined himself in love, but in this he was deceived; his avocation was not with the fair sex. However, as he had pretended a kind of passion, the king, his father, thought proper that the damsel should make the tour of Potzdam, conducted by the hangman, and ordered her to be whipped in presence of his son. (...) The father was present at [Katte's subsequent execution], as he had been at that of the girl's whipping-bout."
So, not much detail but lots of innuendo about the prince's sexual inclinations being "not with the fair sex" (note later on the same page his reference to his "young, well made handsome" servant in captivity having "more than one way of amusing the royal visitor"), all in Voltaire's inimitable writing style. The reference to Doris's "tour of Potzdam, conducted by the hangman" does confirm the ritual humiliation aspect of the punishment, painting the picture of her being driven in undress and shame through the streets from whipping post to whipping post. Despite Voltaire's claims, it's pretty certain that neither King nor Prince were present in person.
Voltaire of course wasn't an eye witness, so he is relaying (and relishing in sharpening) gossip he picked up when he visited some years later. However, I have now also found the full text of the King's actual cabinet order by which he convicted Doris, in the form it was first published a century later, in 1823:
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There are two orders: one to the lord mayor (and chief magistrate) of Potsdam, Counsellor Klinte, to have Doris whipped, and the other to the governour of the Spandau Spinnhaus to incarcerate her "for ever".
"His Royal Majesty orders Counsellor Klinte, that he should tomorrow arrange the whipping of the Cantor's daughter here incarcerated, and the same then deliver forever to the Spinnhaus in Spandau. Firstly shall she be whipped in front of the Town Hall, thererafter in front of the Father's house, and then at all corners of the Town. Potsdam, the sixth day of September 1730."
"To the Government at Spandau. His Majesty orders the Governour hereby that the daughter of the Cantor here, once she is being sent over, shall be admitted for ever to the Spinnhaus there."