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.


Attack on German Christmas Market underscores Threat to Mass Gatherings

Germany: Vehicular Assault at Christmas Market Underscores Threat to Mass Gatherings and Open-Access Venues

Page Count: 4 pages
Date: December 21, 2016
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(U) A 25-ton commercial truck transporting steel beams from Poland to Germany plowed into crowds at a Christmas market in Berlin at about 2000 local time on 19 December, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48 others, several critically, according to media reporting citing public security officials involved in the investigation. The truck was reportedly traveling at approximately 40 miles per hour when it rammed the Christmas market stands. Police estimate the vehicle traveled 80 yards into the Christmas market before coming to a halt.

(U) German authorities are calling the attack a terrorist incident, with the attacker still at large. German authorities are warning that it is unclear if the attacker was a lone offender, acted as part of a cell, or if he received any sort of direction by a FTO, and expressed concern that additional attacks are possible. An individual who was initially detained on 19 December was released on 20 December, and is no longer considered a suspect, according to German police. The truck may have been stolen or hijacked with the original driver overpowered or murdered. The original driver, found dead in the truck cab, appears to have died from stabbing and shooting wounds, according to media reporting citing law enforcement officials. The truck tracking location system indicated repeated engine stalls in the time leading up to the attack, leading the owner of the vehicle to speculate this was unlikely if a veteran driver was operating the truck, unless there was some sort of mechanical trouble. In response to the incident, German authorities, as part of their heightened security posture, will place concrete barriers around access points at Christmas markets across Germany.

(U//FOUO) Vehicle Ramming Featured in Recent Terrorist Messaging

(U//FOUO) I&A assesses that the 19 December likely terrorist attack at one of the largest Christmas markets in Berlin highlights terrorists’ continued use of simple tactics and is consistent with recent calls by the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for attacks in the West using “all available means.” In an early December audio statement, ISIL spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir called for attacks in “their homes, markets, street gatherings and anywhere they do not think of.” Vehicle ramming has been featured in recent violent extremist publications and messaging—including in ISIL’s al Rumiyah magazine and al-Qaʻida in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine—especially since the mid-July vehicle ramming attack in Nice, France. The early-November third issue of Rumiyah highlighted applicable targets for vehicle ramming attacks such as “large outdoor conventions and celebrations, pedestrian-congested streets, outdoor markets, festivals, parades, and political rallies.” The most recent Homeland attack featuring this tactic occurred at Ohio State University in Columbus on 28 November, where Abdul Razak Ali Artan ran over pedestrians and then continued the attack with an edged weapon after the vehicle came to a stop.

(U//FOUO) On 20 December, ISIL’s A’maq News Agency called the attacker “an Islamic State soldier” consistent with previous instances of quickly posting claims of credit for operations. While the attack bears the hallmarks of ISIL’s tactics and targets, we have not been able to determine a definitive link to the group at this time.

(U//FOUO) I&A has no information indicating a specific or credible threat against individuals, locations or events in the Homeland, but several recent plots and attacks in the United States and overseas involving shopping malls, mass transit, and mass gatherings, including sporting events, have shown that homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) and terrorist groups are interested in attacking these types of targets. I&A assesses that commercial facilities—such as festivals, concerts, outdoor events, and other mass gatherings—remain a potential target for terrorists or HVEs, as they often pursue simple, achievable attacks with an emphasis on economic impact and mass casualties. The most likely tactics in a hypothetical terrorist attack against such events likely would involve edged weapons, small arms, vehicular assaults, and possibly improvised explosive devices. The 19 December events underscore the difficulties the private sector and law enforcement face in securing venues that are pedestrian-friendly, particularly in light of the large number of such aereas.

The Polonium plot: The Litvinenko Murder revealed

In the aftermath of a British Public Inquiry, this is the dramatic full story of how the Russian State was involved in the radioactive poisoning murder in London of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent.

Staatlich gedeckte Gewalt und Mord – Die STASI Doku


Top 10 Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals

A. Alois Brenner – Syria *

Key operative of Adolf Eichmann. Responsible for deportation of Jews from Austria (47,000), Greece (44,000), France (23,500), and Slovakia (14,000) to Nazi death camps.

Status: Lived in Syria for decades; Syrian refusal to cooperate stymies prosecution efforts; convicted in absentia by France. Alois Brunner is the most important unpunished Nazi war criminal who may still be alive, but the likelihood that he is already decreased increases with each passing year. Born in 1912 and last seen in 2001, the chances of his being alive are relatively slim, but until conclusive evidence of his demise is obtained, he should still be mentioned on any Most Wanted List of Holocaust perpetrators.

B. Dr. Aribert Heim – ?? *

Doctor in Sachsenhausen (1940), Buchenwald (1941) and Mauthausen (1941) concentration camps. Murdered dozens of camp inmates by lethal injection in Mauthausen.

Status: Disappeared in 1962 prior to planned prosecution; wanted in Germany and Austria New evidence revealed in February 2009 suggests that he may have died in Cairo in 1992, but questions regarding these findings and the fact that there is no corpse to examine, raise doubts as to the veracity of this information. During the past year, a court in Baden-Baden, Germany closed the case without forensic confirmation of Heim’s death.

    1. Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary – Hungary

Served as the Commander of the Hungarian police in Kosice (Hungarian-occupied Slovakia) and was in charge of the ghetto of “privileged” Jews; helped organize the deportation to Auschwitz of approximately 15,700 Jews from Kosice and vicinity in spring 1944.

Status: : Convicted in absentia and sentenced to death for torturing Jews and his role in the mass deportation to Auschwitz. Escaped to Canada after World War II, but was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1997, and chose to voluntarily leave the country. His whereabouts were unknown until fall 2011 when he was discovered living in Budapest by the Wiesenthal Center in the framework of “Operation: Last Chance.” On July 17, 2012, Csatary was charged with torture of the Jews in the KosiceGhetto, and was placed under house arrest and had his passport confiscated. Currently under house arrest in Hungary, where he awaits possible prosecution. In late March 2013, a Slovak court commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment to enable Slovakia to seek Csatary’s extradition to stand trial for his crimes in Kosice.

    1. Gerhard Sommer – Germany

Former SS-Untersturmfuehrer in the 16th Panzergrenadier Division Reichsfuehrer-SS; participated in the massacre of 560 civilians in the Italian village of Sant’ Anna di Stazzema.

Status: On June 25, 2005, Sommer was convicted in absentia by a military court in La Spezia, Italy for committing “murder with special cruelty” in Sant’ Anna di Stazzema. Since 2002, he has been under investigation in Germany, but no criminal charges have yet been brought against him.

    1. Vladimir Katriuk – Canada

Served as a platoon commander of the first company of Ukrainian Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 which carried out the murder of Jews and innocent civilians in various places in Belarus.

Status: Escaped to Canada after World War II but was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in January 1999 after his service as a Nazi collaborator was revealed. In May 2007, the Canadian authorities decided to overturn his denaturalization, a decision confirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal in November 2010. New research by Swedish historian Per Anders Rudling revealed Katriuk’s active role in the mass murder of the residents of the village of Khatyn, Belarus and provides a firm basis to overturn the decision not to strip Katriuk of his Canadian citizenship.

    1. Hans (Antanas) Lipschis – Germany

Served in the SS–Totenkopf Sturmbann (Death’s Head Battalion) from October 1941 until 1945 at theAuschwitz-Birkenau death camp where he participated in the mass murder and persecution of innocent civilians, primarily Jews.

Status: Escaped to the United States after World War II, but was deported by the American Office of Special Investigations to Germany in April 1983. Currently under investigation by the German authorities for his role in the Nazi death camp.

    1. Ivan (John) Kalymon – United States

Served in Nazi-controlled Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in Lvov (then German-occupied Poland, todayUkraine) during the years 1941-1944, during which time he participated in the murder, roundups and deportation of Jews living in the Lvov Ghetto.

Status: On January 31, 2011, Kalymon was ordered deported from the United States to Germany,Ukraine, Poland, or any country willing to admit him, for concealing his wartime service with forces in collaboration with Nazi Germany and his participation violent acts of persecution. No such country has yet been found and he therefore remains in the United States.

    1. Soeren Kam – Germany

Volunteered for SS-Viking Division, where he served as an officer; participated in the murder of Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen.

Status: In 1999, Denmark requested the extradition of Kam, which Germany refused due to his German citizenship. A subsequent extradition request was refused in early 2007 on the grounds that Clemmensen’s death was not murder but manslaughter, which was under a statue of limitation. Efforts continue to bring Kam to justice either in Germany or in Denmark.

    1. Algimantas Dailide – Germany

Served in the Vilnius District of the Saugumas(Lithuanian Security Police); arrested Jews and Poles executed by the Nazis and local Lithuanian collaborators.

Status: His American citizenship was revoked in 1997 and he was deported from the United States in 2004 for concealing his wartime activities with the Saugumas. In 2006, he was convicted by a Lithuanian court for arresting 12 Jews trying to escape from the Vilnius Ghetto (and 2 Poles), who were subsequently executed by the Nazis, and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. The judges, however, refused to implement his sentence because he was old and was caring for his ill wife and “did not pose a danger to society.” In July 2008, in response to an appeal against the refusal to implement his sentence, Dailde was ruled medically unfit to be punished, without being personally examined by the doctors who provided the expertise.

    1. Mikhail Gorshkow – Estonia

Served as interpreter for the Gestapo in Belarus and is alleged to have participated in the mass murder of Jews in Slutzk.

Status: Fled from the United States to Estonia before he was denaturalized for concealing his wartime service with the Nazis; had been under investigation in Estonia since his arrival several years ago, but in October 2011 the Estonian authorities closed the investigation against Gorshkow, claiming the case was one of “mistaken identity,” a decision which was severely criticized by the United States, Russia, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

    1. Theodor Szehinskyj – United States

Served as an armed SS Death’s Head guard at the Gross Rosen (Poland), Sachsenhausen (Germany) andWarsaw (Poland) concentration camps where he actively participated in the persecution of civilian prisoners.

Status: Escaped to the United States after World War II, but was stripped of his American citizenship in 2000 by the Office of Special Investigations and was ordered deported in 2003. To this date, no country has been willing to admit him and he therefore remains in the United States.

    1. Helmut Oberlander – Canada

Served in Einsatzkommando 10a (part of Einstazgruppe D) which operated in southern Ukraine andCrimea and is estimated to have murdered more than 23,000 people, mostly Jews.

Status: Escaped to Canada after World War II, but was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in August 2001, after his wartime service with the Nazis was revealed. In May 2004 his citizenship was restored but it was revoked a second time in May 2007, and that decision was overturned by a Federal Court of Appeal in November 2009. The case is currently pending again.


  • Karoly (Charles) Zentai
  • Klass Carel Faber (Died May 2012)
  • Sándor Képíró (Died September 2011)
  • Dr. Aribert Heim (Died in 1992; Evidence of Death Uncovered in September 2012)
  • Milivoj Ašner (Died June 2011)
  • Adolf Storms (Died June 2010)
  • Peter Egner (Died January 2011)
  • John Demjanjuk (Died March 2012)
  • Heinrich Boere (Convicted March 2010)
  • Harry Mannil (Died January 2010)
  • Erna Wallisch (Died February 2008)
  • Lajos Polgar (Died July 2006)
  • Ladislav Nizmansky (Acquitted December 2005)
  • Jack Reimer (Died August 2005)

Sources: Dr. Efraim Zuroff, “2013 Annual Report on the Status of Nazi War Criminals,” Simon Wiesenthal Center [PDF] (April 2013); Associated Press (July 30, 2013)

“ENDLICH FREI” – Die Geschichte der DDR Berliner Mauer – Der Film