Execution Today: The Last Witch in Germany executed

 

 

When did Europe stop executing witches?
Early modern Europe’s witch hunt era wound down in the 18th century, but the precise milestone dates are surprisingly tricky to pin down. The superstition outlived the judicial machinery, and some of the last reputed “witches” — like Anna Göldi and Barbara Zdunk — don’t seem to have been formally charged with sorcery.
The clear “lasts” we do have are country by country, earlier or later depending on the vigor of the pushback witch-hunters could muster against the theonset of rationalism.
The last witch execution that can be documented on in the Holy Roman Empire’s illustrious history took place on this date in 1756, in Landshut, during the age of Maria Theresa.* Its subject was a 15-year-old named Veronika Zeritschin, who was beheaded and then burned.
There is scant information readily available online as to how she came to that dreadful pass, perhaps because the distinction was long thought to be held by a woman named Anna Maria Schwegelin (English Wikipedia entry | German) — condemned for her Satanic intercourse in 1775. That sentence, it was only latterly discovered, was not actually carried out, leaving poor Anna to die in prison in 1781.
As one might infer, Veronika Zeritschin’s own distinction might not be entirely secure against subsequent documentary discoveries.

1756: Veronika Zeritschin, die letzte Hexe in Deutschland

Wann hat Europa aufgehört, Hexenjagden auszuführen?
Die frühe moderne Europas Hexenjagd-Ära wurde im 18. Jahrhundert beendet, aber die genauen Daten sind erstaunlich schwierig, festzulegen. Der Aberglaube überlebte die gerichtliche Maschinerie, und einige der letzten angeblichen “Hexen” – wie Anna Göldi und Barbara Zdunk – scheinen nicht formell mit Zauberei angeklagt worden zu sein.
Die letzte Hexenexekution, die in der berühmten Geschichte des Heiligen Römischen Reiches dokumentiert werden kann, fand am 6. Februar im Jahre 1756 in Landshut im Alter von Maria Theresia statt. Ihr Opfer war die 15-jährige Veronika Zeritschin, die erst enthauptet und dann verbrannt wurde.
Es gibt kaum Informationen, wie sie zu dieser schrecklichen Strafe kam, vielleicht, weil dieser Tatbestand der letzten Exekution zunächst von einer Frau namens Anna Maria Schwegelin gehalten wurde – verurteilt für ihren angeblichen satanischen Geschlechtsverkehr im Jahr 1775. Diese Strafe wurde jedoch, wie erst jüngst entdeckt wurde, nicht wirklich durchgeführt, so dass die arme Anna im Gefängnis 1781 sterben musste.

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