Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frau Czordus, Hungarian Serial Killer - 1897


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): The New York Sun special from London, March 27, says the poisoning trial which is still continuing in Hodmoazoe, Hungary, has developed into the greatest criminal revelation of modern times. It is beginning to appear that murder by poison is a family custom in that part of Hungary. The victims are numbered almost by the hundreds.

Most of the accused persons denied everything at first, but when the woman Czordus, driven into a corner and seeing that she could not get away, began to reveal fresh facts and to inculpate the accused midwife, Jager, the latter not only made a full confession, but also referred to cases which had not been suspected. She gave names and facts in such detail that the Court was bound to order fresh arrests and the exhumation of twelve more bodies. The number has increased still further, as all the accused are now with each other in making startling revelations.

A pork-butcher, Horvath, nicknamed the “Evangelist,” because of his habit of quoting Scripture, now stands accused of having poisoned his mother, father, parents-in-law, and, finally, his wife. The woman Czordus owns to have poisoned her sister and niece, in addition to the crimes of which she was originally accused [presumably, making the total four]. She also informed the Court that the midwife, Jager, procured the poison from a chemist's. assistant, whose arrest has been ordered.

It has been thought that the cases under trial would prove only a small portion of the crimes actually committed in this one town, but the new disclosures are so far inconsistent that they will probably necessitate an adjournment of the trial. A correspondent says that there is not a home in Hodmozoe in which suspicion does not exist that deaths dating back several years are the result of foul play, and family ties in the town are being broken right and left. Insurance for the amount of the ordinary burial expenses furnished the motive in nearly all the cases.

Midwife Jager, it is said, always supplied the arsenic, which was ready when the insured person became ill and it could be given without arousing suspicion. When death took place the doctor examined the body and declared that everything was in order, and the midwife was handsomely paid for when the insurance money was received. In some cases persons previously insured were asked to dinner and received poisoned food.

[“The Poisonings in Hungary. – Horrible Disclosures.” From The New York Sun, The Mataura Ensign (Gore Otago, New Zealand), May 6, 1897, p. 6]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Budapest, July 24.—The trial of 12 women and two men charged with wholesale poisoning was concluded here and sentences were pronounced upon six of the prisoners.

Four of them were condemned to death, one to penal servitude for life and one to a term of six years imprisonment. Of those under sentence of death one [presumably Frau Czorduz] was found guilty of having caused the death of four persons by administering poison, another was convicted of having poisoned two persons, the third of having poisoned one, and the charge of murder was proven against the fourth.

The sentence of penal servitude for life was imposed upon a man convicted of having killed his mother and that of six years imprisonment on a prisoner against whom a verdict of murder was returned.

The victims were in most cases married men who were killed by their wives, the motive for the crimes being generally a desire to obtain insurance money. The insurance companies, the testimony at the trial showed, had called the attention of the authorities to the suspiciously low rate of mortality in the district hitherto and proceedings were begun. An alleged midwife named .Marie Jager supplied the other female prisoners with the poison used by them.

Two hundred witnesses were examined in the course of the trial.

[“Six Convictions. - End of Sensational Poisoning Cases at Budapest. – Four Are Condemned To Death. - For Some Years Past Women Have Been Defrauding Insurance Companies by Administering Fatal Poisons to Their Husband – Marie Jager was the Chief Dispenser of the Deadly Drug.” Newark Daily Advocate (Oh.), Jun. 24, 1897, p. 1] 

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SEE: Post on Jager

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For more than two dozen similar cases, dating from 1658 to 2011, see the summary list with links see: The Husband-Killing Syndicates

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