Monday, September 24, 2018

The Austrian Strangler: Serial Killer Leopoldine Kasparek - 1916

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Vienna — One of the most sensational murder trials in the history of the Austrian capital occupied the criminal court of the Fifth District four days last week and ended with the conviction of the defendant, Mrs. Leopoldine Kasparek, who will have to die on the gallows if Emperor Charles does not save her by an act of grace.

Altho [sic] only 23 years old, the convicted woman to one of the most desperate and heartless criminals in the annals of the police. She comes from a respectable family and is the wife of a soldier who has been fighting on the Russian front since the first months of the war. After her husband was called to the court she started on her criminal career by committing numerous thefts, robberies and extortions. In 1915 and 1916 she was arrested repeatedly, but always escaped with short terms of imprisonment, because she pleaded that she had been driven to her crimes by want.

Since she left the workhouse the last time the woman attempted at least 14 murders and robberies, and in four or five cases she was successful. All of her victims were wealthy elderly women whose confidence she won in some way. Her method was simple enough. After gaining admittance to the apartments of the old ladies she strangled them into insensibility and then ransacked the houses. Ten of her victims recovered, but three were found dead and one died in a hospital.

In every case the murderess managed to escape unnoticed and her crimes remained mysteries for many months, until she was finally caught in the act when she strangled Mrs. Marie Wurish, a 70-year-old [error, 56] widow, and applied the torch to the house of the old woman to cover up the murder.

After her arrest the murderess made a daring attempt to escape from prison. To get herself transferred from the jail to a hospital, she swallowed a large darning needle, which had to be removed from her body by an operation. As soon as she had strength enough she attacked one of her nurses, an elderly Sister of Mercy, whose garb she donned after strangling her almost to death. She succeeded in getting out of the hospital, but was recaptured within half an hour.

At her trial the murderess manifested a cynicism almost unbelievable in a woman. She did not show the slightest trace of remorse, bragged of her deeds and cursed the judges and the jurors. After death sentence had been pronounced upon her it took the combined efforts of six policemen to drag her put of the courtroom, and on the way back to her prison cell she fought like a tigress.

[“Sensational  Murder Trial Held In Vienna - Wife of Soldier on German Front Convicted of the Crime - One of Most Hardened Criminals In Country, Altho Only 23 Years Old.” Syndicated, Lima Sunday News (Oh.), Aug. 12, 1917, p. 13(?)]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): To-day’s German crime story, though it is related by the Munich post, comes from Vienna. It concerns the doings of a “pleasant-spoken and rather good-looking young woman,” Frau Leopoldine Kasparek, who had a hobby for strangling people: –

Leopoldine Kasparek, aged twenty-three, was convicted before the Vienna Penal Court on the charges of murdering her husband [sic; error] and two other persons, as well as on those of incendiarism, robbery, fraud, theft, and libel.

“Kasparek had for some time made it a practice to gain entrance to houses inhabited by women living alone, whom she proceeded to strangle, subsequently appropriating their money.

One of her victims, a woman named Marie Wurisch, who was half-blind, was not only half-strangled, but was burned to death by Kasparek, who saturated her clothing with paraffin and set fire to it, the house in which the woman dwelt being burned to the ground.

Kasparek, who pleaded guilty, declared that she needed money, and saw no way of making it in these hard times except by procuring it from persona who only spent it on luxuries. She further confessed that she had also murdered her husband, a waiter, because he was too niggardly in his allowances.

She admitted, too, that she had forged the signature of the chief of police to a bill of acceptance on which she had obtained the sum of £35, and that she had libelled and blackmailed Superintendent Klein, of the Criminal Investigation Department, against whom she had levelled accusations of assault. Sentence was postponed in order that the girl’s mental condition might be investigated.

[“Through German Spectacles  - Young Woman With A Hobby For Murder. - A Nice Young Thing.” The Oamaru Mail (New Zealand), Jul. 24, 1917, p. 6]


Leopoldine Kasparek, A Woman as Murderer of Women

FULL TEXT (translated): In the midst of the annoying excitement and horrors of the war, a sensational criminal appears on the scene, a young woman of 22 years, that for a time drove on with ghastly calmness and regularity, and that it aimed at lonely old women as their victims. Now the young criminal, Leopoldine Kasparek, has finally been arrested and the public breathes with relief that such a dangerous character will be repaid in kind.

She is the daughter of a coffee house owner. Her husband was employed by her parents. The parents were against the marriage and had withdrawn their hand from the daughter. In April [1916], the Kasparek had committed a theft on a friend; she was sentenced to two months in jail. She was granted a sentence and she should have served the sentence on October 1. In the course of the investigation, she was found to have committed no less than eighteen crimes, including one she committed on an old woman living with her in the same house.

In the house at Erdbergstraße No. 14 in which the Kasparek lives, also lived the 56-year-old Mrs. Marie Wurisch. She had severe heart disease and did not see with her right eye. On October 17, a fire broke out in her apartment and the woman was found to be a charred corpse.

It was thought that the woman had died from an accident, but it was noticeable that a strangulation groove was found on the larynx. Now Kasparek has admitted this murder and ended her series of crimes by this terrible act.

She was taken to the state courts and seeks to avoid her conviction.

 [“Leopoldine Kasparek, ein Weib als Frauenmörderin.” Wiener Bilder (Austria), 24 Sep. 1916, p. 7; reproduced in: Roland Stadler, “Der Fall Leopoldine Kasparek 24. September 1916,” 1030wien


Leopoldine Kasparek, ein Weib als Frauenmörderin.

FULL TEXT: Mitten in den nervenzerrüttenden Aufregungen und Greueln des Krieges tritt eine sensationelle Verbrecherin auf den Plan, ein junges Weib von 22 Jahren. das mit grauenvoller Ruhe und Planmäßigkeit eine Zeitlang sein Unwesen trieb und das es auf alleinstehende alte Frauen als ihre Opfer abgesehen hatte. Nun wurde die junge Verbrecherin, Leopoldine Kasparek, endlich verhaftet und die Oeffentlichkeit atmet befreit auf, daß ein so gefährlicher Würgengel gefährliche gefälschte Sparkassenbuch zurückzubekommen.

Sie ist die Tochter eines Kaffeehausbesitzers. Ihr Mann war bei ihren Eltern angestellt. Die Eltern waren gegen die Ehe und hatten ihre Hand von der Tochter abgezogen. Im April hatte die Kasparek an einer Freundin einen Diebstahl verübt; sie wurde zu zwei Monaten Kerker verurteilt. Es wurde ihr ein Strafausschub gewährt und sie hätte die Strafe am 1. Oktober antreten sollen Im Laufe der Untersuchung wurden ihr nicht weniger als achtzehn Delikte, darunter auch ein Mord nachgewiesen, den sie an einer Greisin begangen, die im selben Hause mit ihr wohnte.

In dem Hause Erdbergstraße Nr. 14, in dem die Kasparek wohnt, hat auch die 56jährige Frau Marie Wurisch gewohnt. Sie war schwer herzleidend und sah auf dem rechten Auge nichts. Am 17. Oktober ist in ihrer Wohnung ein Brand ausgebrochen und die Frau wurde als verkohlte Leiche gefunden.

Man dachte, die Frau sei durch einen Unfall zugrunde gegangen, aber es fiel auf, daß man am Kehlkopf eine Strangulierungsfurche fand. Nun hat die Kasparek diesen Mord eingestanden und die Reihe ihrer Verbrechen durch diese schreckliche Tat vollendet.

Sie wurde dem Landesgerichte eingeliefert und sieht dort ihrer Verurteilung entgegen.

[“Leopoldine Kasparek, ein Weib als Frauenmörderin.” Wiener Bilder (Austria), 24 Sep. 1916, p. 7; reproduced in: Roland Stadler, “Der Fall Leopoldine Kasparek 24. September 1916,” 1030wien]


FULL TEXT (translated from German): This issue of Miss Leopoldine Kasparek received her provisional apprenticeship with her yesterday's submission to the state court. Mrs. Kasparek committed as much as possible the following facts: robbery, robbery, burning, burglary, theft and fraud. The police surveys have established the exact record of sin. It covers no less than sixteen isolated cases, namely:

Theft of a cash register with 300 kroner to the disadvantage of her sister-in-law Anna Nicolanda in May 1915;

Theft at the junk dealer Sarah Bernhard, who was killed in August of 1915; stole a handbag with 50 kroner and some smaller jewelery objects:

Attempted theft from the regimental physician Dr. Moritz Schmied on January 10, 1916;

Shoplifting at the junk dealer Johanna Kohn, who on January 11, 1916; stole a broach with 500 kroner;

Robbery of Marie Wurisch on February 16, 1916. Kasparek stole 120 kroner, a gold watch and golden rings;

Burglary of Mrs. Leopoldine v. Arenstorff on April 27, 1916. 1195 kroner was stolen, securities in the amount of 5000 kroner and valuables by 500 kroner;

Theft from Mrs. Wilhelmine Russenescu on July 23, 1916. Stole 83 kronen in cash, a handbag and a women's rubber coat;

Intended theft with Mrs. Lina Benedikt on August 8, 1916. Kasparenk had advertised that she that she was looking for a post. She resolves several suggestions to introduce herself, and also found herself with Mrs. Benedict; but it was not exempted, but at any rate it is intended to carry out a theft;

Robbery of Zäilie Hötschul on August 21, 1916;

Theft of Marie Nekic's service book on August 22, 1916;

Attempted theft at Mrs. Berta Holländer earlier this month (Sep. 1916). As a result of Mrs. Hollander's caution Kasparek could not realize her intention;

Attempted theft from Mrs. Sophie Beran earlier this month (Sep. 1916). Since Mrs. Beran was not alone, the Kasparek could not reach her goal here;

Attempted theft from a woman from the Wieden on the 9th Sep. 1916. There, too, the plan failed by the lady's caution;

Robbery from Stephanie v. Mack on the September 10, 1916;

Stealing theft at Mrs. Sophie Morawetz on the September 11, 1916. This plan, too, failed because of the lady's caution;

The luring out of a gold gentleman's watch worth 170 kroner at a jeweler's out of the country road.

Then the Kasparek also found a silver-plated cigarette dumpling, which crossed the German and Austrian flags in the corner and, in any case, also resulted from a crime. Of the entire prey was a part of the robber healthy, About another part was found with her pledges. The rest was sold by the woman.

[The Crimes of Frau Kasparek (Die Verbrechen der Frau Kasparek), Fremden-Blatt (Vienna, Austria), Sep. 20, 1916, p. 9] [Abbreviations: “v. M. month before; “d. M. “ this month; “l. J.” previous year]


Leopoldine Kasparek – Born Nov. 12, 1883, Vienna; Died 1921, Neudorf penitentiary.

MURDER VICTIMS (n progress)

Aug. 1915 – Sarah Bernhard, junk dealer, murdered.
Feb. 16, 1916 – Frau Marie Wurisch (56), non-fatally strangled, burned to death.
Aug. 21, 1916 – Zäilie (Cäcilie) Höstschul (80) – Strangled to death.
Sep. 10, 1916 – Frau Stefanie von Mack (72) – Strangled to death.
(Ten of her victims recovered, but three were found dead and one died in a hospital.)


Leopoldine Kasparek died in May 1921 at Neudorf penitentiary.
[translation: Some time ago, at the Neudorf penitentiary, the murderess Leopoldine Kasparek died during the expiation of the criminal detention imposed on her. original: Vor einiger Zeit ist in der Strafanstalt Neudorf die Frauelimörderin Leopoldine Kasparek während der Abbüßung der über sie verhängten Strashaft gestorben. – Source: Untitled notice, Der Bezirksbote für den politischen Bezirk Bruck an der Leitha, (Schwechat, Austria),  8. Mai 1921 p. 1]


FULL TEXT: Ihren vorläsigen Abschulz hat hie Angelegenheit der Frau Leopoldine Kasparek mit ihrer gestern erfolgten Einlieserung an das Landesgericht erhalten. Frau Kasparek hat, soviel bis jetzt fetzgestellt weden konnte, folgende Stastaten begangen: Raubmord, Raub, Brandlegung, Einbruchsdiebstahl, Diebstal und Betrug. Die polizeilichen Erhebungen haben das genaue Sündenregister sestgestellt. Es Umfasst nicht weniger als sechzehn Einzelfälle, und zwar:

Diebstahl eines Spasrkassebuches mity 300 Kronen zum Nachteile ihrer Schwägerin Anna Nicolanda im Mai 1915;

Diebstahl an der Trödlerin Sarah Bernhard, der sie im August v. J. (1915) eine Handtasche mit 50 Kronen und einige kleinere Schmuckgegenstönde stahl:

Einschleichediebstahl bei dem Regimentsarzt Doktor Moritz Schmied am 10. Jänner 1. J. (1916);

Ladendiebstahl bei der Trödlerin Johanna Kohn, der sie am 11. Jännere l. J. (1916) eine Briestosche mit 500 Kronen stahl;

Raubmord am Marie Wurisch am 16. Februar l. J. (1916) Geraubt hat die Kasparek 120 Kronen, eine goldene Uhr und goldene Ringe;

Dienstdiebstaghl bei Frau Leopoldine v. Arenstorff am 27. April l. J. (1916) Gestohlen wurden 1195 Kronen bar, Wertpapiere in der Höhe von 5000 Kronen und Wertsachen um 500 Kronen;

Einschleichediebstahl bei Frau Wilhelmine Russenescu am 23. Juli l. J. (1916) Gestolen wurden 83 Kronen bar, eine Handtasche und ein Damengummimantel;

Beabsichtiger Diebstahl bei Frau Lina Benedikt. Die Kasparenk hatte selbst am 8. v. M. (Aug.. 1916) inseriert, dass sie einen Dienstposten suche. Sie erheilt mehrere Aussorderungen, sich vorzustellen, und fand sich auch bei Frau Benedict ein; sie wurde aber nicht ausgenommen, hat aber jedenfalls einen Diebstahl auszuführen beabsichkeit;

Raub an Zäilie Hötschul am 21. August l. J. (1916);

Diebstahl des Dienstbotenbuches der Marie Nekic am 22. v. M. (Aug.. 1916);

Einschleichediebstahl bei Frau Berta Holländer Anfang dieses Monat (Sep. 1916). Infolge Vorsicht der Frau Holländer konnte die Kasparek ihre Absicht nicht verwirklichen;

Einschleichediebstahl bei Frau Sophie Beran Anfang dieses Monate (Sep. 1916). Da Frau Beran nicht allein war, konnte die Kasparek auch hier zu ihrem Ziele nicht gelangen;

Einschleichediebstahl bei einer Frau aus der Wieden am 9. d. M. (Sep. 1916) Auch dort schlug der Plan durch Vorsicht der Dame fehl;

Raub an Stephanie v. Mack am 10. d. M. (Sep. 10, 1916);

Einschleichediebstahl bei Frau Sophie Morawetz am 11. d. M. (Sep, 1916) Auch dieser Plan ist durch die Vorsicht der Dame gescheitert;

Herauslockung einer goldenen Herrenuhr im Werte von 170 Kronen bei einem Juwelier aus der Landstrasse.

Dann wurde bei der Kasparek auch eine versilberte Zigarettendole gefunden, die in der Ecke die deutsche un die österreichischeFlagge gekreuzt hat und jedenfalls auch von einem Verbrechen herrührt. Von der gesamten Beute wurde ein Teil bei der Räuberin gesunden, Ueber einem anderen Teil fand man bei ihr Pfandscheine. Den Rest hat die Frau verkauft.

[Die Verbrechen der Frau Kasparek, Fremden-Blatt (Vienna, Austria), Sep. 20, 1916, p. 9] [Abbreviations: “v. M. month before; “d. M. “ this month; “l. J.” last year]
























For similar cases, see: Female Serial Killer Bandits

[(9/22/11)-1254-9/23/18-1648-11/26/18; 2005-12/29/20]

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