Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ernestine Feige, German Serial Killer - 1907


FULL TEXT: Berlin – Frau Ernestine Feige of Grunau Hirschberg in the Silesian Mountains has been condemned to death for poisoning a man named Janitschek and a woman named Brueckner who had lived with her as lodgers in the years 1903 and 1906. She was also charged with poisoning in four other cases two of her alleged victims being her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, but as these four cases went back seven years there was uncertainty as to whether the exhumed bodies would show traces of poison.

Frau Feige has been called the Silesian Lucrezia Borgia and the trial revealed that she had many points in common with the famous Roman poisoner. In all the cases it was the desire to become possessed of her victims money which drove her to her terrible crimes. As lodgers she always sought out incurable people possessed of means. While they were in her hands she sought to influence them to make their wills in her favor. As soon as they did so she began her poisoning operations.

Feige used arsenic in all cases, in this displaying great cunning. The entire countryside in which she lived is arsenic producing, and the graveyard in which her victims were buried was in special degree impregnated with arsenical ores. The medical experts at the trial had to decide whether the poison found in the exhumed remains had penetrated the bodies from the earth outside the coffins or whether it had been administered during life.

[“Prisoner Must Die - Silesian Woman Charged with Causing Six Deaths. - Adroit In Use Of Arsenic -  Frau Ernestine Feige Said to Have Committed Crimes In Order to Possess Herself of Her Victims’ Money Great Displayed in the Use of the Fatal Doses.” The Washington Herald (D.C.), Apr. 7, 1907, p. 3]

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