Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maria Varga (Vargha), Hungarian Serial Killer - 1930

Some German texts use the Spelling "Vargha."


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Budapest, Thursday. - What is regarded as probably the worst Hungarian poisoning drama was unfolded at Szolnok When Maria Varga was charged to-day with poisoning her husband, also her lover, Michael Ambros. The story goes that the husband was Hungary’s first soldier to be blinded in the war, being the victim when a shell burst on Russian frontier. His wife was disgusted at being so burdened, and gave him the coolest reception. She called in a “widow-maker,” Aunti Susi. Her husband died in agony after the second dose of arsenic.

A story was circulated in the village as to how the ghost of the blinded soldier was seen tapping a stick round the churchyard, and tearing the sightless sockets of his eyes, as he went towards the farm. The widow declared that the house was haunted, and took in Ambros, who died in similar agony.

Maria’s defence was that she believed the “widow-maker’s” medicines were harmless.

[“Poison Drama. – ‘Widow-Maker’ Called In. - Two Dead.” The Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania), Feb. 8, 1930, p. 13]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Budapest, February 10. – The appalling spectacle of a woman, recently condemned to death, giving evidence against her former friend, in order that she should not go to the gallows alone, was a feature of the Szolnok case, when the trial of 31 women and three men prisoners was resumed.

The evidence was given against Maria Varga, aged 41, who was accused of having murdered her husband, Stefan, who was blinded in the war, her lover, Michael Ambrus, and her lover’s grandfather. The woman was led in wearing a velvet mantle and other finery.

For a time, the evidence was so weak, that an acquittal seemed certain. Her mother gave evidence that Stefan often spoke of suicide, as a release from blindness. Moreover, it was shown that Maria Varga did not, in fact, inherit the property when Ambrus’s grandfather died, and although Varga admitted she administered the fatal dose, she said she did not know it was poisonous. She explained that her husband was acquainted with Fazekas, a midwife, who committed suicide when the police came to arrest her. Maria added she understood it was a soothing draught Fazekas had given her husband.

However, the last witness for the prosecution, Frau Kardos, entirely changed the aspect of the case.

This once beautiful woman, who was condemned to death a few days ago for having murdered her husband and only son, came to the Court in the custody of gendarmes. She was also in a her finery, After taking the oath, she turned upon the cringing figure in the dock, and cried, “You know your statements about Suzanne Fazekas. All we villagers know that if Aunt Suzanne entered the house, it signified unavoidable death. Everybody knew Suzanne’s profession. She led astray all the women in the village. Whenever she darkened the door of a village home, some unwanted man or woman soon died.” I heard  you promise the midwife 500 weights of wheat if she killed your husband.”

Frau Kardos concluded by describing Stefan’s death agony in detail, and while the crowded Court shuddered with horror, she added. “I killed my own husband and son, so I know how they die. I am condemned, and I do not want the other murderess to escape.

Varga angrily denied the charges, but Kardos’s damning evidence was sufficient, for Varga was found guilty of having murdered her husband.

Kardos, however, missed her final vengeance, as Varga was sentenced to imprisonment for life. Despite the public prosecutor’s demanding the death sentence, the Court decided it had not been proved she murdered Ambrus, although the woman admitted the could not explain how such an enormous quantity of arsenic got into her lover’s body. There was also lack of evidence of how the grandfather died.

The body of another peasant Peter Hegedues, was exhumed to-day. He died in 1914, and It is believed he was poisoned with cucumber salad containing rat poison.

[“Apalling Case. - Hungarian Poisoning Charges. - Condemned Woman Called as Witness.” The Townsville Daily Bulletin (N. Queensland, Australia), Feb. 1, 1930, p. 7; “Apalling” as in original.]


FULL TEXT (translated from German) (Article 3 of 3): Szolnok, February 7. - Today before the local district courts there is a hearing against 41-year-old Maria Varga, who is accused of double murder. The accusation accuses her of poisoning her 24-year-old war-blind husband Stefan Joljart in April 1916 and five years later of poisoning her partner Michael Ambrus.

~ She declares herself not guilty. ~

Defendant: I am innocent. I didn't kill poor Joljart or Ambrus. - Court: How did your husband die? - Defendant: We got married in 1913. Our marriage was very happy. Then the terrible misfortune happened to him. In 1915 they brought him home from the war to Nagyrev. He was blind in both eyes and cried all day.

Court: You claim that he was sick there? - Defendant: Yes, when he came home he was sick for two weeks, then he died.

Court: It wasn't that easy. Tell us more about how your husband died.

Defendant: He always complained of stomach cramps. The midwife Fazekas - in the village – we called her Susi Olah - often came to our house. My husband complained to her that he was in pain and she said: “Don't worry, I'll bring you something that will heal you. Then she brought a small bottle and from it she put a lot of drops in his drinking water.

My husband drank it and then vomited. Otherwise he felt good.

Court: So your husband didn't die on the first dose?

Defendant: Then he just got a little more sick and we called the doctor. The doctor gave him medicine and after three days my husband died. A year later came Susi Olah to me. She wanted me to marry her son. When I refused, she shouted angrily: “You will pay me for this!”

Court: And what about your life, Michael Ambrus? – Defendant: I don't know anything at all. He died an ordinary death.

The accused must then admit that her daughter inherited from this 20 yoke [land measure] after the death of Ambrus, an unusually large possession for Nagyrev. She goes on to say that her husband was intolerable, but it never occurred to her to harm the husband.

Court: You all knew very well in Nagyrev that you always die from the medicine of Mrs. Fazekas.

Defendant: I was always very good with her. I've never heard of anything like that.

~ The witnesses. ~

The first witnesses do not testify very favorably for the accused.

Sensation arouses the statement of the doctor Dr. Szegedi. According to the accused, who treated her first husband Szegedi describes this as untruth, which he was in the field at the time and only ever imagined in Theißwinkel since 1920.

The accused turns deathly pale and wrings her hands in despair.

Court: What do you say now?

Witness: I don't understand that! I remember that it was Doctor Szegedi.

~ The poisoner sentenced to death as a witness. ~

The statement of Maria Szendi-Kardos, who was recently sentenced to death for poisoning, caused a sensation.

Court: What do you know about Joljart's death? - Witness: I don't know much about him except that he did not get along well with Maria. For this I can tell you all the more about the Ambrus. With this, the thing seemed suspicious to me. You can believe me. Mr. Chairman: I already understand something about it. I killed my son and my first husband myself.

Court: So what did you notice? - Witness: The man sued me. Maria, something eats in my gut. I already knew what was going on. I knew what it means when “Aunt Susi” visits someone. Mr. Chairman, if I have to atone for my sins, others should do the same. Just two weeks ago, I sat here on the dock with Juliane Földvari. I admitted everything honestly and was sentenced to death, and she who lied was acquitted.

~ Of course fly-water. ~

Court: So, keep telling.

Witness: One day I ran into “Aunt Susi” at the front door of Mrs. Varga. She told me that the Varga doesn't want to pay. As soon as she was gone, the Varga rushed up to me and asked what we said. I told her what she said: “I've already given her enough, I can't give everything away”.

Court: Did she say you what the midwife asked for the money for?

Witness: That wasn't even necessary. It was so natural that she asked for money for the fly-water, as it goes without saying that the geese are put out to pasture every morning.

~ 500 kilograms of wheat as murder wages. ~

The next witness, the 67-year-old Ms. Lajos Cser, who was suspected of being poisoned twice and who has now been questioned, caused even greater sensation.

Court: What do you know about the whole thing?

Witness: My husband has an inn in Nagyrev. Once Varga was drinking with us and Marie came to get him killed. He said: “I'm going with you, but woe to you, I had to give five meters of wheat to Aunt Susi because of Ambrus.” Then she shouted at him: “Shut up, you idiot, the devil will fetch you with your talk.”

Court: Did you know that Mrs. Fazekas was given the five meters of wheat for killing Ambrus?

Witness: Yes, Varga herself had told me that the midwife had been paid to get the Ambrus out of the world.

~ Life sentence! ~

Maria Varga was found guilty of the poisonous murder of her greatest gods and sentenced to a life-long penitentiary.

The condemned: I am happy, I feel completely innocent!

[“Poisoned Her Blind husband and Lover.” Illustrated Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), February 8, 1930, p. 12]


FULL TEXT (Translated from German): Budapest, January 23rd. On the 7th - The fourth poisoning trial begins in Szolnok in February against the 41-year-old woman Marie Vargha, who is accused of having poisoned her husband and later her lover with arsenic. Her husband came back from the world war blind and with a serious stomach disease. He learned that his wife, then 27 years old, had a lover. After an excited scene of jealousy, the woman decided to get the man out of the way. Later she also got tired of her lover and poisoned him with arsenic. In front of the examining magistrate, Vargha denied both murders and declared that she had only asked the village witch, Frau Fazekas, for medicines for the two seriously ill men, and nodded that she knew that the witch had sold her arsenic poison.

[“The fourth poisoning trial in Szolnok; Murder the husband and the lover. " Das Kleine Blatt (Vienna, Austria), Jan. 21, 1930, p. 2]


FULL TEXT: Szolnok, 7, Februar. – Vor dem hiesigen Kreisgerichte findet  heute die Verhandlung gegen die 41jährige Maria Varga statt, die des zweifachen Mordes angeklagt ist. Die Anklage legt ihr zur Last, daß sie im April 1916 ihren 24jährige nkriegsblinden Gatten Stefan Joljart vergiftet und fünf Jahre später ihren Lebensgefährten Michael Ambrus ebenfalls durch Gift beseitigt hat.

~ Sie erklärt sich nichtschuldig. ~

Angekl.: Ich bin unschuldig. Ich habe weder den armen Joljart noch den Ambrus umgebracht. – Vors.: Wie ist se zum Tode Ihres Mannes gekommen? – Angekl: Wir haben 1913 geheiratet. Unsere Ehe war sehr glücklich. Dann ist ihm das furchtbare Unglück zugestoben. 1915 haben sie ihn mir vom Krieg nach Hause gebracht nach Nagyrev. Er war an beiden Augen blind und weinte ganze Tage.

Vors.: Sie behaupten, daß er dage kränkenelt? – Angekl: Jawohl, als er nach Hause kam. war er zwei Wochen lang krank, dann ist ergestorben.

Vors.: So einfach war daß nicht. Erzählen Sie uns genauer, wie Ihr Gatte gestorben ist.

Angekl: Er hat immer über Magen-Krzengeklagt. Die Hebamme Fazekas – im Dorf nannte wir sie Susi Olah – kam des öfteren zu uns ins Haus. Mein Mann beklagte sich vor ihr, daß er solche Schmerzen hat, und sie sagte darauf: “Kränke dich nicht, ich werde dir etwas bringen, was dich sich erheilen wird. Siebrachte dann ein kleines Fläschchen und aus diesem gab sie ihm eine Menge Tropfen ins Trinkwasser.

Mein Mann trank es und bekam dann Erbrechen. Sonst fühlte er sich gut.

Vors.: Also Ihr Mann starb nicht ander ersten Dosis?

Angekl : Er wurde dann nur etwas mehr krank und wir haben den Arzt gerufen. Dieser gab ihm eine Medizin und nach drei Tagen starb mein Mann. Ein Jahr später kam
Susi Olah zu mir. Sie wollte, daß ich ihren Sohn heirate.  Als ich es ablehute, rief sie mir erbost zu: “Das wirft du mir büßen!”

Vors.: Und was war mit Ihrem Lebense führten, dem Michael Ambrus? – Angekl:
Da weiß ich über haupt nichts. Er ist eines ganz gewöhnlichen Todes gestarben.

Die Angeklagte muß dann zu geben, daß ihre Tochte rnachdem Tode des Ambrus von diesem 20 Joch geerbt hat, einen für Nagyrev ungewöhnlich großen Besitz. Sie erzählt weiter, daß ihr Mann unverträglich gewesen ist, doch sei ihr nie in den Sinn gekommen, dem Gatten etwas zu leide zu tun.

Vors.: Ihr habt in Nagyrev doch alle sehr gut gewußt, daß man an der Medizin der Frau Fazekas immer stirb.

Angekl.: Ich war mit ihr immer sehr gut. Über so etwas habe ich nie gehört.

~ Die Zeugen. ~

Die ersten Zeugen sagen nicht sehr günstig für die Angeklagte aus.

Sensation erregt die Aussage des Arztes Dr. Szegedi. Der nach den Angaben der Angeklagten, ihren ersten Gatten behandelt  haben soll Dr. Szegedi bezeichnet dies als Unwahrheit, den er sei zu dieser Zeit im Felde gestanden und wähne über haupt erst seit1920 im Theißwinkel

Die Angeklagte wird tötenblaß und sie ringt verzweifelt die Hände.

Vors.: Was sagen Sie nun dazu?

Angekl.: Ich verstehen daß nicht! Ich erinnere mich doch, daß es der Herr Doktor Szegedi gewesen war.

~ Die zum Tod verurteilte Giftmischerin als Zeugin. ~

Ungeheures Aufsehen erregt die Aussage der vor kurzem wegen Giftmischerei zum Tode verurteilten Maria Szendi-Kardos.

Vors.: Was ist Ihnen über den Tod des Joljart bekannt? – Zeugin: Von diesem weiß ich nicht viel außer daß er sich mit der Maria schlecht vertragen hat. Dafür kann ich umsomehr von dem Ambrus erzählen. Bei diesem ist mir die Sache gleich verdächtig vorgekommen. Sie können mir glauben. Herr Vorsitzen der: Von der Sache verstehen ich schon etwas ich hab ja selbst meinen Sohn und meinen ersten Mann umgebracht.

Vors.: Was haben Sie also bemerkt? – Zeugin: Der Mann hat mir geklagt. Maria, etwas frißt mir in den Eingeweiden. Da wußte ich schon, was los war. Ich wußte, was ds heißt, wenn “Tante Susi” jemanden einen Besuch abstattet. Herr Vorsitzender, wenn ich meine Sünden abbüßen muß, dann sollen es auch andere tun. Erst vor zwei Wochen bin ich mit der Juliane Földvari hier auf der Anklagebank gesessen. Ich habe alles ehrlich eingestanden und wurde zum Tode verurteilt, und sie, die gelogen hat, ist freigesprochen worden.

~ Selbstverständlich Fliegenwasser. ~

Vors.: Also erzählen Sie weiter.

Zeugin: Eines Tages bin ich mit der “Tante Susi” vor dem Haustor der Frau Varga zusammengestoßen. Sie erzählte mir, daß die Varga nicht bezahlen will. Kaum war sie fort, als die Varga auf mich zustürzte und mich fragte, was wir gesprochen haben. Ich erzählte es ihr, worauf sie meinte: “Ich hab ihr schon genug gegeben, ich kann doch nicht alles weggeben”.

Vors.: Sagte sie Ihnen, wofür die Hebamme das Geld verlangt hat.

Zeugin: Das war ja nicht ein mal nötig. Es war so selbstverständlich, daß sie daß Geld für das Fliegenwasser verlangt hat, wie es selbstverständlich ist, daß man jeden Morgen Die Gänse auf die Weide treibt.

~ 500 Kilogramm Weizen als Mordlohn. ~

Noch größere Sensation erregte die nächste Zeugin, die 67jährige Frau Lajos Cser, die unter dem Verdachte des zweifachen Giftmordes in Haft sitzt und nun einvernommen wurde.

Vors.: Was wissen Sie von der ganzen Sache?

Zeugin: Mein Mann hat ein Wirtshaus in Nagyrev. Einmal hat der Varga bei uns gesossen und die Marie ist gekommen, um ihn bei ums zu holen. Er sagte: “Ich gehe schon mit, aber weh dir, ich habe wegen dem Ambrus der “Tante Susi” fünf Meterzentuer Weizen geben müssen”. Daraufhin schrie sie ihm an: “Halts Maul, du Trottel, der Teufel hole dich mit deinem Gerede!”

Vors.: Wußten Sie, daß Frau Fazekas für die Tötung des Ambrus die fünf Meterzentner  Weizen bekommen hat?

Zeugin: Jawohl, die Varga selbst hate es mir gesagt, daß man es der Hebamme bezahlt hat, damit sie den Ambrus aus der Welt schafft.

~ Lebenslängliches Zuchthaus! ~

Maria Varga wurde des Giftmordes an ihrem ersten Gotten schuldig erkannt und zur Straf des lebens längliche Zuchthaus verurteilt.

Die Verurteilte: Ich heruse, ich fühle mich ganz unschuldig!

[“Den Blinden Gatten und den Liebhader vergiftet.” Illustrierte Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), 8. Februar 1930, p. 12]


FULL TEXT: Budapest, 23. Jänner. Am7. – Februar beginnt in Szolnok der vierte Giftmordprozeß, und zwar gegen die 41jährige Frau Marie Vargha, die besichuldigt wird, ihren Gatten und später ihren Geliebten mit Arsen vergiftet zu haben. Ihr Gatte kam erblindet und mit einer schweren Magen krankheit aus dem Weltkrieg zurück. Er erfuhr, daß seine damals 27jährige Frau einen Geliebten habe. Nach einer erregten Eifersuchts szene beschloß die Frau, den Mann aus dem Wege zu räumen. Später wurde sie auch ihres Geliebten überdrüssig und vergiftete auch ihn mit Arsen. Vor dem Untersuchungsrichter leugnete die Vargha beide Mordtaten und erklärte, sie habe von der Dorfhexe, Frau Fazekas, bloß Arzneien für die beiden schwerkranken Männer verlangt, und nickt gewußt, daß ihr die Hexe Arsengift verkaufte t habe.

[“Der vierte Giftmordprozetz in Szolnok; Den Gatten und den Geliebtener mordet.” Das Kleine Blatt (Vienna, Austria), Jan. 21, 1930, p. 2]


1889 – Maria Sülye born.
1913 – marries Stephan Joljart.
1915 – loses eyesight in WW I, returns home.
Apr. 1916 – Stephan Joljart, husband, murdered. (Cinn. Inq. Feb. 27, 1930, 4)
Year – marries Varga.
1921? – Varga dies.
Sep. 1921 – moves in with Michal Ambrus.
Feb. 7, 1930 – trial begins. Convicted og Joliart murder. Acquitted of Ambrus murder. Sentenced to life of hard labor.

Note: There is a possible confusion with another case, Sijj, in the following account: “Maria Varga killed seven members of her family, considering the death of her husband in particular a Christmas present to herself.” [Katherine Ramsland “Angels Of Death: The Female Nurses - Murder By Proxy,” True TV website]



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


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


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