Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zsuzsanna Fazekas (Olah), Murder Syndicate Leader – Hungary, 1929

Zsuzsanna Fazekas, wife of Gyula Fazekas, née Zsuzsanna Oláh (Proper Hungarian orthography: Fazekasné Gyuláné Oláh Zsuzsánna). (May 20, 1861 – Jul. 19, 1929)


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3) (Translated from German): Budapest, July 23. (Tel.-Komp.) - Because of the numerous deaths suspected of having been caused by poison in Nagy-Reve and the surrounding villages, eight arrests have been made so far. The midwife Fazekas in Nagy-Reve committed suicide when the murders became known. The main culprit is the midwife Csordas, who, as it was established, sold a serving of arsenic for a hundred pengo, which would have been enough to cause the immediate death of an ox. After a successful poisoning, the Csordas received another hundred pengoes.

In Nagy-Reve, besides Mrs. Csordas, two women were arrested who had disposed of their husbands with the poison they had received from the midwife, as well as a woman who was distributing the poison in the surrounding villages. Two married couples were arrested in Tiszakürt who poisoned their parents in order to gain possession of the inheritance earlier. The Szabo couple even called on the poisoners' help in two cases and not only killed the man's father, but also his uncle.

The investigation has so far been extended to six municipalities, where eighteen corpses have already been exhumed on behalf of the public prosecutor's office and a further fifteen exhumations are likely to be carried out.

[“Poisonous villages on the Tisza. A poisoning costs two hundred pengo.” Arbeiter-Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), Jul. 24, 1929, p. 7]



FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Over a period of eighteen years mysterious deaths were continually occurring in a country district called “Tisza Corner,” near Budapest. The victims, mostly innocent people, always died in agony.

A cold-blooded mass poisoner was at work. Everyone knew her identity – Yet Madame Julius Fazekas [Julius was the husband’s first name; Júlia is given as her name in some sources; BBC states hers was Zsuzsanna, possibly confusing her with Olah] was allowed to carry on her terrible trade until more than fifty people had met their deaths at her hands.

The key to her power lay in the fact that many local people had paid her and her assistants to break the law for them – and even get rid of unwanted relatives. They were terrified of being implicated.

Another extraordinary feature was the odd reluctance of both local and regional authorities to make more than superficial investigations when their suspicions were around by the arrival of anonymous letters.

Madame Fazekas lived in the village of Nagyrev, which, with a few hamlets and one other village named Tiszakurt, comprised the area known by a loop of the river Tisza.

A widow, she was a midwife by profession. Greedy for money, she showed criminal tendencies while still a young woman.

Finding that the trees earned by normal midwifery were too small to satisfy her desires for clothes and jewellery, she turned her attention to illegal operations.

That was in 1908. Six years later the first great was began, and Madame Fazekas soon found at hand all the circumstances which could make her illegal occupation lucrative.

For, as the war dragged on, so more husbands and male sweethearts were called up, and prisoners-of-war began to arrive. And the womenfolk, deprived of their husbands and sweethearts, found the P.O.W.’s engaged in agricultural work more than ready to take the place of the absent men.

Under these conditions Madame Fazekas, working on the credulity of the simple village women, was soon making a lot of money at her vile trade.

Meanwhile, another midwife had set herself up in opposition. To the avaricious Madame Fazekas this was a barefaced attempt to steal her livelihood. Cunningly, she set about removing this menace. She became the sweetheart of the woman’s brother, and not long afterwards, by apparent coincidence, her rival died a sudden violent death!

The neighbours, and especially the woman’s grown-up son, were certain she had been poisoned by Madame Fazekas, but only the son had the courage to do anything about it. He challenged Madame Fazekas with the murder. Brazenly, she dared him to prove it.

Outwitting the vengeful son was not very difficult. Madame Fazekas visited a number of people whom she had “helped,” and thus formed a gang who let it be known that they were prepared to burn down the house of anyone who gave evidence against her.

It was natural enough, then, that the villagers of Nagyrev should pretend they knew nothing when the son sought confirmation of his belief.

Thwarted, he waylaid Madame Fazekas one day, shot at her – and missed. The penalty for the attempt was a long term of imprisonment, an art of fate which removed Madame Fazekas’ greatest enemy.

The case with which these two enemies have been removed tempted Madame Fazekas to offer her “services” to other people also desirous of getting rid of somebody.

Almost openly she let it be known what it would cost, and she arranged a scale of fees which varied according to the wealth and social position of the interested persons.

Subsequent investigations suggest that the first “murder for profit” took place in 1916. the victim was a fairly wealthy man. When he fell genuinely ill, his wife (wishing to be rid of him) obtained Madame Fazekas’ help to ensure that he didn’t recover. Arsenic, supplied by Madame Fazekas, was added to his medicine.

Ironically, the guilty pair hid the bottle of arsenic-contaminated medicine in the victim’s coffin, never forseeing that the body would be exhumed and the grisly evidence revealed nineteen years later.

During the period 1918-1924, many people died “mysteriously” in the villages of Nagyrev and Tiszakurt. But few had any doubts as to the identities of the murderers.

Then, in 1924, the suspicions of a local doctor became crystallized by the sudden death of a wealthy patient whom he had been treating for bronchitis.” The illness was not serious so that the doctor was startled when, about a week later, the wife visited him at his surgery, said her husband had died in the night, and requested a death certificate.

In 1929 a third anonymous letter arrived, this time addressed to the Attorney-General at Szolnok. In it the writer was identified, and failing to produce evidence to support his accusations, was promptly sent to prison for slander!

Despite this, frightened people in the village concerned continued to write many anonymous letters. And, at last, a thorough investigation was launched by the authorities.

A number of bodies were exhumed and arsenic was found in them. Police inquiries quickly broke down the wall of fear which had so strangely protected the guilty, and several people confessed. The evidence against Madame Fazekas piled up so quickly broke down that she was on the point of being arrested when she took her own life.

Altogether, twenty-nine bodies were exhumed, involving eighty-six cases in the village of Nagyrev alone. Something over forty people from both villages were implicated in the murders.

After a long and sensational trial, six were found guilty and sentenced to death, seven received life imprisonment and another seven were sentenced to periods ranging from five to fifteen years.

In her diabolical “trade” Madame Fazekas was assisted by two women friends. To obtain by two women friends. To obtain the arsenic, they used flypapers – so many that at the trial a grocer from a neighbouring town was able to testify that more fly-papers were sold in Nagyrev than in all the rest of Hungary. From these the arsenic was extracted and mixed with the food, drink or medicine of the chosen victim.

[“Flypaper Poisoner Killed for Profit,” The Buckingham Post (Quebec, Canada), Dec. 2, 1955, p. 23]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Budapest – Nearly a hundred women have been arrested, the bodies of thirty murdered husbands have been exhumed and two suicides have resulted so far from the exposure of Hungary’s “Widow-Making Syndicate.” To the astonishment of the police and terror of married men, a successful, wholesale murder plot has come to light, worthy of the dark ages.

Since 1911 it has been possible by paying a reasonable fee for any wife in the two small villages of Nagyrev and Tiszakurt, on the banks of the Tiszaltiver, to have her husband transferred to the cemetery, without any fuss or trouble or questions asked. This remarkable murder service was strictly for married women only. No unmarried woman could have a faithless lover punished by death and the “Widow Makers” would not relieve a husband of an undesirable wife. Also if a woman was happily married and therefore not a likely customer for the syndicate, she was not taken into the husband-killing freemasonry and, like the spinster, was not told about it.

The secret was kept and nobody knows how many husbands had been put under the sod prematurely when, a few weeks ago, the wife of the precentor of Nagyrev let it out in a burst of temper. It seems that the precentor, though an important dignitary of the village, had several times in succession come home somewhat under the influence of the native wines, much to the annoyance of his wife. Seeing that her scoldings made no impression, the lady, who is something of a prohibitionist, remarked that she had been married to a drinker just about as long as she intended to be.

The precentor took one look at his better half, saw that she meant it, and suddenly became sober. That was no divorce threat. The couple, like virtually everyone else in the vicinity, belonged to a religion which does not permit divorce. Though the “Widow Makers” had never talked before, there had been rumors and fantastic gossip whispered among the men that somehow husbands were surprisingly obliging about dying to suit certain wives’ convenience.

All this hashed into the precentor’s mind as he noticed that the wife of his bosom bit her lip, as she often did when she realized she had said too much. Not for nothing had it been said that the doctor must have vaccinated the precentor’s wife with a phonograph needle. Before morning he managed to wring from his garrulous wife a confession.

Their neighbor, the Widow Szabo, had offered to sell her poison enough to kill him and show how to administer it—all for 120 penges (about $20) down, 120 penges more after the funeral and a final installment of the same amount when the estate had been settled up. Frau Szabo said she could guarantee the poison would work without making the doctor suspicious because she had tried it successfully on her own husband and brother.

The precentor knew that his old friend Herr Szabo had gotten to be an invalid and nuisance to his wife before his last and brief illness, but he was puzzled as to why she had murdered her brother. It was later discovered that the brother carried life insurance in his sister’s name and she needed the money.

Next morning without waiting for breakfast, the precentor called upon the officer in command of the village's soldier-police force. That night, after all the village was asleep, the police quietly took the widow Szabo to the neighboring large town of Szolnok, where the police judge soon drew the facts from her. She had, indeed, poisoned her husband and brother, and gotten the stuff from another widow, Frau Zsuzsi Fazekas, the village midwife, who was equally efficient at bringing people into the world or pushing them out of it.

Frau Fazekas was also arrested and brought to Szolnok for questioning. But, after two days, when the judge had gotten no admissions from the iron-willed woman, she was allowed to go home under the impression that she had bluffed the authorities. Meanwhile, they had searched her house and found evidence of a murder business, suggestive of Rome under the Borgias.

In the attic of the house belonging to this woman, who was not a licensed midwife though the best general nurse in either village, they found hidden away a large supply of arsenic flypaper. Between the floor-boards of the attic and the ceiling of the room below were a dozen pint bottles carefully corked and filled with water, in which this same flypaper was soaking. The other bottles contained the arsenic-saturated solution from which the papers had been removed.

Taking samples from the bottles and replacing the liquid they had removed with, an equal amount of water, they left things so the woman would not suspect that her poison hoard had been found. For two days after her return the poison merchant stayed in her home as if nothing had happened, and then, as the authorities hoped, curiosity began to burn her up. She just had to find out if someone had talked and to caution all the other members how to act.

The second evening after her return she set out on a round of calls. Every few minutes her shawled head turned around that her sharp old eyes might assure her that nobody was following. Nevertheless, she was shadowed most expertly and every house she visited was noted. Also it was noted that in every case she conversed with a woman who had been at least once a widow. On the next evening her ringing of widows’ doorbells began and ended with that of Frau Szabo, the precentor’s neighbor.

This husband and brother killer had been returned to her own abode on the understanding that if she would co-operate with the authorities, she would get off easy. A detective was hidden within earshot when the nurse called, but apparently some warning, perhaps involuntary, passed from the widow Szabo to the widow Fazekas, for after a few perfunctory remarks about the weather, the caller went straight home.

Realizing that their bird was warned, the police made their next move. The following morning the regular grave digger at the cemetery between the two villages was astonished to find that the police had provided him with a squad of assistants and orders to open 11 [illegible digit: 11?] graves. No explanation was given, but the proceeding caused a sensation and brought to the scene nearly the entire population of the communities. Among them were the widow Fazekas and the eleven ladies she had called upon. The eleven saw with dismay that the diggers were attacking the graves of their late lamented husbands.

The twelve ladies and another, a widow, making thirteen, went into a huddle and after much whispering, dispersed. The thirteenth, who proved to be the widow [of] Balint Czordas, then put on her best clothes and went to the Hungarian capital, followed by police agents. At Budapest she entered a chemist’s shop and a few moments later was seen to emerge with a white and agitated face, for which one of the agents soon learned the reason. She had asked if when a person dies of an arsenic solution, traces of the chemical remain in the body. The chemist assured her that the poison can he detected by a very simple test. She then wanted to know if any of it could still be found when the body had been so long buried that the flesh had all disappeared. The lady had seemed surprised to learn that it could still be found in the hair and finger nails.

Balint [Chordas’s widow] returned to town, informed the nurse of the bad news and was arrested on her way out. With the eleven widows whose husbands were being exhumed and the precentor’s neighbor, she was taken to the jail at Szolnok, where the ghastly story of the “Widow Makers” rapidly began to come out. As the officers began to arrest her, she drank a glass of lye, for eating grease out of pipes, and died after prolonged and terrible agony. She gave herself a more agonizing death than any of her victims. The widows tried changing the headstones in the cemetery by night, but a police guard stopped that.

The receiving vault of the cemetery was turned into a morgue where the presence of arsenic in the bodies of the eleven was speedily found. After these had been returned to the earth it was also found in the remains of the husband and brother of the precentor’s widow-neighbor. After these came more with the same result, thirty poisoned husbands in all, as the confessions at Szolnok brought more and more crimes to light. And more and more widows were arrested until nearly 100 of them are now in the Szolnok jail, accused of belonging to the syndicate.

Men, women and children peered in the windows of the little morgue at the forms of men who had died during the last eighteen years and whose widows have confessed that they put them away with a little of the nurse’s “medicine.”

Soon the confessions implicated almost every widow in either of the two villages whose husband had breathed his last in bed during the last decade and a half. So, the authorities have just ordered that every married man who died since 1911 shall be exhumed and examined. At the present time the cemetery looks like one of the battlefields of the late war and every widow will soon have the opportunity of looking again upon the features of her late lamented. Thus far only the bodies of two women and half a dozen children have been ordered disturbed.

At present there are nearly 100 widows in prison awaiting trial, and it has been predicted that before the last test has been made there will be as many more prisoners. A few widows, far from protesting at this wholesale digging up, have insisted on it. They maintain that their present husbands will run away and that they will never be able to pet others unless this chance, is offered to prove that they were not in the “Widow Making Syndicate.” Incidentally, all marrying and giving in marriage seems to have stopped in the vicinity. The institution of matrimony is not expected to flourish again until the trials are over.

An unexpected feature of the exhumation was the finding in some of the coffins of bottles containing dried out sediment of what was evidently the arsenic solution with which the crime had been committed. In some also were remains of bread and cakes saturated with the poison. This happened only when the nurse herself had been in charge of the case. She took this queer method of getting the evidence out of the house.

The confessions showed that the widow [of] Balint Czordas [Christine] was the second in command, a sort of vice-president of the murder syndicate. She confessed to having helped poison twenty husbands and, also, during the hungry years, just after the war, a few children who were hard to feed. The morning after her confession the authorities wished to ask one or two more questions, but she had committed suicide during the night. Three other widows, sharing her cell, had watched Balint make a rope from bedding and hang herself, without interfering.

The nurse started things in 1911 by showing the wife of Lewis Takacs how to murder her husband. Seeing Lewis slip into his grave without making any fuss, she went into the business of exterminating unnecessary husbands. As midwife she had occasion to talk intimately with wives, and if they were tired of their partners showed them the way out. Like the surgeons, she charged according to how much her customer could pay. It is said that she did the Takacs murder for “charity.” But she never revealed that her “murder medicine” was just flypaper soaked in water. She had the delusion that arsenic, in solution, could not he traced in a cadaver.

One of her customers poisoned two husbands and had bought the bottle for the third when the police intervened. The widow Palinka only murdered one husband but it worked so nicely that she could not resist getting more of the stuff and in two years slipped six more members of her family, her parents, two brothers, sister-in-law and aunt, into the graveyard. By so doing she inherited a nice house and two and a half acres. This, however, was contrary to the rules of the syndicate which was supposed to be entirely a man-killing enterprise, with an occasional child thrown in, but never a woman.

The Palinka widow did her work with an ostentatious flourish. She would first administer a small dose, just enough to give the victim a touch of cramps. Then, to cure this, she would rush to the city and return with a bottle of expensive stomach medicine, from which, in the sight of everyone, she would give the sick person generous doses till he died, of course, she had poured out the original contents and refilled the bottle with the flypaper water, obtained from the nurse.

Like many other parts of Hungary since the war, this area has been poverty-stricken and has practiced the strictest economy in both government and private circles. Government penuriousness has prevented proper medical supervision of death certificates, which, with the hasty calls of the overworked and underpaid doctors, made the murder syndicate’s work possible.

[“100 Self-Made Widows in One Jail – Husband Poisoners – Rumours of the Wholesale ‘Removal’ of Unwanted Husbands Start the Authorities to Open Dozens of Graves in the Village Church Yard at Nagyrev, Hungary, With Startling Results,” The American Weekly (San Antonio Light) (Tx.), Nov. 24, 1929, p. 3]

Note: This article gives Fazekas’ first name as Zsuzsi, while other sources give Susanna or Suzanne.



FULL TEXT: Budapest, 23. Juli. (Tel.-Komp.) – Wegen der zahlreichen giftmordverdächtigen Todesfälle in Nagy-Reve und den umliegenden Dörfern wurden bisher acht Ver haftungen vorgenommen. Die Hebamme Fazekas in Nagy-Reve hat, als die Morde aufkamen, sich selbst das Leben genommen. Hauptschuldig ist die Hebamme Csordas, die, wie festgestellt wurde, für hundert Pengö eine Portion Arsen verkaufte, die hingereicht hätte, den sofortigen Tod eines Ochsen herbeizuführen. Nach gelungenem Giftmord kaffierte die Csordas nochmals hundert Pengö ein.

In Nagy-Reve wurden außer der Csordas zwei Frauen verhaftet, die ihre Gatten mit dem von der Hebamme erhaltenen Gift beseitigt hatten, sowie eine Frau, die das Gift in den umliegenden Dörfern vertrieb. In Tiszakürt wurden zwei Ehepaare verhaftet, die ihre Eltern vergiftet haften, um früher in den Besitz der Erbschaft zu gelangen. Das Ehepaar Szabo hat die Hilfe der Giftmischerinnen sogar in zwei Fällen in Anspruch genommen und nicht nur den Vater des Mannes, sondern auch seinen Onkel umgebracht.

Die Untersuchung wird bisher auf sechs Gemeinden ausgedehnt, wo bereits im Auftrag der Staatsanwaltschaft achtzehn Leichen exhumiert wurden und noch weitere fünfzehn Exhumierungen vorgenommen werden dürften.

[“Giftmicherdörfer an der Theiß. Ein Giftmord kostet zweihundert Pengö.” Arbeiter-Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), Jul. 24, 1929, p. 7]


SEE: “How Wives Gained Power By Mass-Murder of Husbands - Hungary 1929”





Zsuzsanna Fazekas, wife of Gyula Fazekas, née Zsuzsanna Oláh (Proper Hungarian orthography: Fazekasné Gyuláné Oláh Zsuzsánna). (May 20, 1861 – Jul. 19, 1929)
From: Ripley’s Believe It Or Not


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Susie Olah, a midwife of Szolnok, Hungary, was proved to have run a veritable poison factory to which no less than 105 murders have been traced. The bodies of 100 men were exhumed by the Hungarian authorities and found to contain enough arsenious oxide to kill a regiment. Forty-six women were charged with having administered the poison, with a view of expediting inheritances or promoting illicit love affairs. There are few pages of criminology more appalling than that which was unfolded during the trial of the 46 prisoners in the district court of Szolnok 1929-30. The defendants who had acted strangely unperturbed during the trial received the death sentences with stony silence. The chief culprit, Susie Olah, escaped earthly retribution by committing suicide.

[Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, “Yesterday’s Explanations,” syndicated, Feb. 22, 1933]

Suzi’s sister, Lydia had this to say about the mass murder of husbands she participated in:

“We are not assassins! We did not stab our husbands. We did not hang them or drown them either! They died from poison and this was a pleasant death for them!”

[Nash, Robert Jay, Look for the Woman: A Narrative Encyclopedia of Female Poisoners, Kidnappers, Thieves, Extortionists, Terrorists, Swindlers and Spies from Elizabethan Times tom the Present, Evans, 1981, p. 159]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): The tiny Hungarian villages of Nagyrev and Tiszakurt are unlikely locales for murder, but from 1909 to 1930, a series of murders took place that made headlines throughout Hungary and all of Europe.

The villages are isolated agricultural communities. In the winter, they are snowbound. The closest railroad is 40 kilometres away.

The male inhabitants work hard and play hard. They are forever sloshed on the rather vile wine they produce, mainly for their own consumption. For relaxation and to give a boost to their faltering egos, they often abuse their wives. That is, until Susi Olah arrived on the scene in 1909.

Susi was stout, short and not that good looking. In fact, she was a carbon copy of most of the other ladies who were forever cleaning, cooking and having babies. Susi followed the great demand. Her popularity wasn't due entirely to her dexterity around those with expanding tummies.

You see, the farms in the area were small, the soil poor. In most cases, a peasant couldn't expand his farm because rich men's large estates and imposing walls shut off any expansion. The laws were stacked against the peasants as well. Upon the death of the head of the family, offspring would inherit only a fraction of the father's land. Clearly, the more children, the grimmer the future. Pregnancy was not always a happy occasion in Nagyrev and Tiszakurt.

Susi gained in popularity when she added abortion to her repertoire. One has to keep in
mind doctors were not available in the villages. On occasion, when Susi lost a patient, the only official, a sort of modern medicine man, examined the body. This gentleman always attributed the cause of death to pneumonia, consumption, heart failure and other common maladies. Of course, this couldn't go on forever. Susi was concerned about the number of women dying while she performed abortions.

That's when she got her great idea. Arsenic. Wonderful, deadly arsenic was the solution to all her problems. Why not let the women give birth and poison the infants? The results would be exactly the same as an abortion without any risk to the mother.

No sooner said than done. Susi soaked arsenic laced flypaper in water. The subsequent solution, placed in the unwanted baby's milk proved to be deadly. Business boomed. Susi's reputation as a purveyor of death spread throughout the two villages. For the equivalent of a few dollars, you could purchase a bottle of the solution and, quick as a gypsy's fiddle, the unwanted child was gone.

Now, Susi wasn't the only midwife in the area. Her competitors became jealous of her success. Not to worry. Susi held a meeting with the four other midwives. She explained they shouldn't compete against each other. To solve their problem, they should divide the territory. Everyone agreed it was a super idea. They arranged to meet again at Susi's home.

A few weeks later, the midwives met for the second time. Susi served tea. Shortly after the meeting, one of the ladies took ill and died. Funny thing, after every meeting one of the women took mysteriously ill and went to her great reward. So much for competition. Susi's fame and power grew. She had a husband and son of her own. Up to this point, they add little to the strange tale of the arsenic-slinging midwife. Unfortunately, Susi grew tired of her husband. He died suddenly, supposedly of pneumonia. Susi's son smelled a rat. Armed with a revolver, he faced his mother on the village's main street. He aimed and fired. Susi stood unharmed as her son fell to the ground in agony.

The villagers were impressed. What they didn't know was that Susi, anticipating the problem, had laced her son's dinner with arsenic. Suffering stomach pains, his aim was off and, quite by chance, he was overcome by excruciating pain the instant he fired. Susi's son recovered, but so fearful was he of his mother that he fled the territory, never to return.

The long-suffering women of the two villages had a bona fide heroine. Susi became their confidante and leader. The dominance of men over women in the villages gradually disappeared. Under Susi's guidance, an unwanted husband was easily dispatched via her ever faithful arsenic. The stout women of the village, once stuck with unloving husbands, took on lovers. If hubby objected, a little meeting with Susi usually straightened him out — permanently. She didn't charge much for her service, normally the equivalent of $25. For those ladies in better financial circumstances, the price rose to about $200. Kindhearted Susi often dispensed her deadly concoction at no charge to those who couldn't pay.

For years Susi serviced the women of the area. Men died, women took on new husbands and lovers. A sort of secret sisterhood existed, with Susi acting as high priestess. She expanded her operations, dispensing her "medicine" to women who wanted to rid themselves of the elderly.

Of course there were rumours, insinuations and downright suspicions, but they were all put on hold with the outbreak of the First World War. The men of the villages went away to war. Some were killed. The survivors returned to the villages. Shortly after their return, seriously wounded former soldiers took ill and died.

The first news of the drama taking place in the villages reached the outside world when a Mrs. Bulenovenski reported that her 77- year-old mother, Mrs. Purris, was missing. A few weeks later, the elderly woman's body was found beside a river bank.

Clearly discernible wheelbarrow tracks were found leading to and from the body. When the wheelbarrow was located, it was traced to Mrs. Bulenovenski.

Well, the goulash hit the fan. Bulenovenski was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life
imprisonment. The cat was out of the bag. Now the men of the village knew evil forces were at work.

In July 1929, a new pastor came to the village of Tiszakurt. No sooner was the man of the cloth ensconced in his new pulpit than he heard rumours about Mrs. Ladislas Szabo, who had recently buried her aged father and uncle. The pastor decided to pay her a visit. He explained his suspicions to the dear woman, who broke into tears. Between sobs, she served the reverend tea. That night, he was seized with convulsions. A vacationing doctor saved his life. He never bothered Mrs. Szabo after that.

Someone who has never been identified informed police in Szolnok, the closest city, that Mrs. Szabo had certainly murdered her father and her uncle. The police popped up in Tiszakurt one fine day and questioned her in the street. The terrified woman confessed, implicating several other women, including Susi Olah. The suspects were questioned. Five women broke down and confessed. They were all taken into custody.

Susi refused to talk and was released. She made her way to her home village and visited several of her women friends. She told them to keep their mouths shut. Unknown to Susi, the police had let her go, hoping she would lead them to the other conspirators. The scheme worked. All the women were taken into custody. All except Susi. When the police called at her home, there was no answer. They found the mass murderer in a closet. She had hanged herself. Thirty-one women were placed on trial in Szolnok for the arsenic poisonings.

The trials took place that summer and spring of 1930. The pressure was too much for five of the accused. They took their own lives. Others were found guilty and jailed from five to 20 years.

Today, in the two villages, it is difficult to find a home that wasn't affected by the diabolical wave of killings instigated by Susi Olah.

[Max Haines, “If You Knew Suzi… - Arsenic Gave the Lady the Power of Life and Death in Two Simple Hungarian Villages,” Lethbridge Herald (Mi.), Jul. 8, 2008, p. A-4]







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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