Thursday, September 22, 2011

Erna Warz, Berlin Black Widow - 1924


FULL TEXT: London, March 26. – The Berlin correspondent of the “Daily Telegraph” wires that the wife of a superior official of the Law Courts was arrested on suspicion of murdering two husbands, a mother-in-law and a brother-in-law.

It is alleged that as a result of the death of the first husband, his mother and the accused woman inherited the family’s wealth. She was only 32 when she first entered the family as a nurse. A doctor gave certificates of death on her testimony from natural causes or suicide.

[“Murdered Husbands - Case Against Berlin Law Official’s Wife.” The Cairns Post (Cairns, Queensland, Australia), Mar. 27, 1924, p. 7]

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NOTE: Many English language articles on the arrest fail to name the woman, yet she is identified as Erna Warz in the New York Times of Mar. 25, 1924.

FULL TEXT: Berlin, March 24. – A woman has been arrested here, charged with four murders and the forging of a will. Her victims are said to have been her first and second husbands, her first mother-in-law and the brother of her first husband.

Erna Warz, the accused woman, was a nurse, and in that capacity she attended Heinrich Koerner, a merchant, who married her and took her to his mother’s home. Soon afterward Koerner’s mother died suddenly, and a little later Koerner himself died. His brother George inherited all his money. Two months later George was found dead. In his desk a will was discovered, leaving his property to his sister-in-law, the woman now accused. She then married an engineer named Frenzel, who was found shot through the heart two months later and left her a comfortable fortune. Thereupon she married a third time.

Meanwhile the Koerner family instituted legal proceedings to recover the money left in George Koerner’s will to his sister-in-law, and in the course of these proceedings she confessed that she had forge George’s will, though she denied all other wrongdoing. Nevertheless the examining Judge deemed the evidence that she had committed four murders so strong that he ordered her arrest.

[“Accused Of Four Murders; Berlin Nurse Said to Have Disposed of Two Husbands.” New York Times (N.Y.), Mar. 25, 1924, sports section, p. 23]

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FULL TEXT (translated from German): The arrest of former nurse Erna Bischuff-Warz, who is suspected of forcibly disposing of a number of persons in order to gain possession of inheritances, is attracting tremendous attention in Berlin. It is unbelievably discovered that the case of Erna Warz has been going on for five years, and that only after the courts dealt more than a dozen times with the challenged will did the senate of the appeals court become suspicious and hand over the material to the prosecutor.

Erna Warz is the illegitimate child of a job placer in the north of Berlin. After helping her mother's with her work, she went to the emergency room during the war as a nurse. It is reported that one night the hospital sent to her to the merchant Heinrich Körner to give him a morphine injection. Heinrich Körner later married her, and now begins the series of deaths that arouse the suspicion that they are murders. Erna Warz, as has just been stated, had already been jailed twice in previous years for stealing. None of her presumed victims knew about this. According to the testimonies of different witnesses, she initiated the marriages by telling the men she was was pregnant. In fact, she never had children.

The strangest thing is their relationship with a physician, Dr. Weiermiller. He has issued death certificates for all four of the dead persons Erna Warz is suspected of murdering. With his help, Erna Warz acquired the morphine by having prescriptions signed by him. According to testimony, Warz is said to have maintained intimate relations with him. In fact, she was drawn to him after the death of her first husband. But she has also forged his prescriptions. The death certificates that Dr. Weiermiller filled in were for old Mrs. Körner, the mother of the first husband, citing old age, for Heinrich Körner, the first husband, citing hardening of the arteries, although he was only 52 years old, for Georg Körner, a brother, who had the evening before been in a cheerful mood with his sister-in-law and had drunk punch, citing gas poisoning, and for chief engineer Frenzel, the second husband of Warz, blaming suicide.

Dr. Weiermiller was interviewed yesterday by the examining magistrate. It was he who had taken on Warz as nurse in the emergency room. At his interrogation, he gave the Warz the best possible testimony. Also, his statements are in every respect relieving for Warz. But the fact that the Warz had lived with him for a while after the death of her first husband could not be denied by him. Dr. Weiermiller assured us that the death certificates issued by him corresponded to the actual findings and stated that he had proceeded with absolute conscientiousness. He has been suspended until the completion of the investigation by the City Rescue Services.

Warz is heavily incriminated by the statements made by a maid, her first husband’s daughter as well as her second husband’s father. Warz has admitted that the will has been forfeited, but firmly denies that she had lost her hand in the death of the four persons.

In the next few days the exhumation and dissection of the four bodies will take place.

[“Under suspicion of four murders” (Unter dem Verdachte des viersachen Mordes), Salzburger Volksblatt (Austria), 27. März 1924, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Berlin, 25. März. – Die Verhaftung der früheren Krankenpflegerin Erna Bischuff-Warz, die im Verdacht steht, eine Reihe von Personen gewaltsam beseitigt zu haben, um in den Besitz von Erbschaften zu gelangen, ruft in Berlin ungeheures Aussesehen hervor. Ungebgreislich wird es gefunden, dass fer Fall der Erna Warz bereits seit fünf Jahren spielt und dass erst, nachdem die Gerichte sich mehrsach mit dem angefochtenen Testament beschäftigt hatten, der Senat des Berufungsgerichtes stutzig wurde und das Material dem Staatsanwalt übergab.

Erna Warz ist das uneheliche Kind einer Stellenvermittlerin im Norden Berlins. Nachdem sie bis zum Kriege ihrer Mutter in der Wirtschaft geholfen hatte, ging sie während des Krieges als Hüfsschwester zur Unfallstation. Von dieser wurde sie, wie berichtet, eines Nachts zum Kaufmann Heinrich Körner gefandt, um ihm eine Morphiuminjektion zu geben. Heinrich Körner hat sie später geheiratet, und nun beginnt jene Reihe von Todesfällen, die den Verdacht erregten, dass es Mordstaten sind. Erna Warz ist, wie erst jetzt festgestellt wurde, bereits in früheren Jahren zweimal wegen Diebstahls mit Gefängnis bestrast worden. Hievon hatte keiner ihrer Gatten Kenntnis. Nach den Ausagen verschiedener Zeugen hat sie die Heiraten dadurch herbeigeführt, dass sie den Männern erklärte, sie fühle sich Mutter. Tatsächlich hat sie jedoch niemals Kinder gehabt.

Am merkwürdigsten sind ihre Beziehungen zu einem Arzt Dr. Weiermiller. Dieser hat allen vier Toten, die ermordet zu haben Erna Warz verdächtig ist, die Totenscheine ausgestellt. Mit seiner Hilfe verschäffte sich Erna Warz das Morphium, indem sie sich von ihm Rezepte unterschreiben liess. Nach Zeugenausfagen soll die Warz mit ihn intime Beziehungen unterhalten haben. Tatsächlich ist sie nach dem Tode ihres ersten Mannes zu ihm erzogen. Sie hat aber auch seine Unterschrift nachgeahmt. Die Totenscheine, die Dr. Weiermiller ausfüllte, lauteten bei der alten Frau Körner, der Mutter des ersten Gatten, auf Alterschwäche, bei Heinrich Körner, dem ersten Gatten, auf Arterienverkalkung, obwohl er erst 52 Jahre alt war, bei Georg Körner, einmem Bruder, der noch am Abend vorher in heiterster Laune mit seiner Schwägerin eine Bowle getrunken hatte, auf Gasvergiftung, bei dem Oberingenieur Frenzel, dem zweiten Gatten der Warz, auf Selbstmord.

Dr. Weiermiller ist gestern vom Untersuchungsrichter eingehend vernommen worden. Er  war es, der seinerzeit die Warz als Krankenschwester in der Unfallstation aufgenommen hat. Bei seiner Vernehmung stellte er der Warz das allerbeste Zeugnis aus. Auch lauten seine Aussagen in jeder Beziehung entlastend für die Warz. Doch konnte die Tatsache, dass die Warz nach dem Tode ihres ersten Gatten eine Zeitlang bei ihm gewohnt hatte, von ihm nicht abgeleugnet wrerden. Dr. Weiermiller versicherte, dass die von ihm ausgestellten Totenscheine durchaus dem tatsächlichen Befund entsprechen und erklärte, er sei mit absoluter Gewissenhaftigkeit vorgegangen. Er ist bis zum Abschluss der Untersuchung von Dienst im städtischen Rettungswesen suspendiert worden.

Schwer belaftet wird die Warz durch die Ausfagen eines Dienstmädchens und der Tocter aus der ersten Ehe des ersten Mannes, sowie durch diejenige des Vaters ihres zweiten Mannes. Die Warz hat die Testamentsfälschung zugegeben, leugnet aber entschieden, dass sie bei dem Tode der vier Personen ihre Hand im Spiel gerhabt habe.

In den nächsten Tagen wird die Erhumierung und Sektion der vier Leichen stattfinden.

[Unter dem Verdachte des viersachen Mordes, Salzburger Volksblatt (Austria), 27. März 1924, p. 5]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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