Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jozefa Gendek (Pasnik), Serial Killer of Women (Along with Her Husband) - Poland, 1922

The most remarkable thing about this case is the existence of police surveillance photos which show the killer couple in the process of luring a prospective victim previous to arrest.

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Name variants: Jozefa Gendek, Szczepanowa Paśnik (wife of Szczepan Paśnik), Józefa Gendek, Józefina Paśnik.

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FULL TEXT: The last known woman executed in Poland for ordinary crimes was 40-year-old Józefina Paśnik [sic]. She was accused of complicity in the murder of least seven women with her serial killer husband 37-year-old Szczepan Paśnik in Warsaw area in the early 1922. They were convicted of only one murder and both executed by firing squad on the slope of the Citadel of Warsaw on April 7th, 1922 at 6.00 a.m. They were buried in an unmarked grave under the wall of the Citadel, where authorities buried all executed prisoners. [capital punishment UK]

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FULL TEXT (translated from Polish): The year 1922 began disastrously for the Warsaw police. In January and February, the bodies of seven women were found in the forests and groves near Warsaw. All of them were raped before they died. Some were strangled, others had their throats cut. The method of the perpetrator's operation indicated a serial killer.

The newspapers immediately hailed him as "Polish Landru" or "Landru from the Vistula River", referring to the notorious French serial killer Henri Desire Landru (1869-1922), who killed and robbed wealthy widows. The criminal, later popularized by films and books, had at least ten women on his conscience, whose dismembered bodies he incinerated in his home kitchen and scattered ashes in the garden. He was guillotined on February 25, 1922, but never pleaded guilty to him, and no compelling evidence of his guilt was ever found. Therefore, today there are also skeptics who criticize that judgment.

Probably both the then commander of the capital PP Insp. Józef Sikorski, and the head of the Warsaw Investigation Office, nadkom. Maurycy Sonnenberg must have wondered whether the appearance of the "Polish Landru" on the Vistula - at almost the same time - was just a coincidence. Is it not the invention of a Parisian psychopath - widely famous in the world - that inspired some native degenerate to these murders? The analogies were obvious: the same sex of the victims (women only), partly the same mode of action (choking) and motive (robbery). But there were also differences: the "Polish Landru" also used a sharp tool - a knife or a razor (he cut his throats), before the murder he raped his victims, murdered in secluded and forested places. The Frenchman was more "subtle":he committed his crimes in the privacy of his home, usually in the course of amorous ecstasy, not brutal rape. And he "cleaned up" after himself, burning the remains.

At the same time, the trial of a German serial killer of women, one Grossman, was also taking place in Berlin. He was credited with about 20 murders. The latter, however, did not live to see the sentence, and he took justice himself by hanging himself in the cell.

The first victim of the "Polish Landru" was found at the beginning of January 1922 in the Helenów grove near Pruszków. It was 30-year-old Józefa Gądekowa. A few days later, in the same grove, an accidental passer-by came across the naked body of an elderly woman. As it turned out, it was 55-year-old Maria Wiśniewska, the mother of Józefa, who was murdered earlier. After two weeks, the body of Maria Garlicka was found near the village of Duchnice, near Ożarów. Also with a slit throat and "defloured" - as the then press reported. The police quickly established that Garlicka was Wiśniewska's cousin, and both were lovers of a certain Szczepan Pasnik, a farmer near Pruszków.

~ "Symptom of madness or degeneration?" ~

The reporters of the "Kurier Warszawski" wondered, reporting at the end of January about the next victims of the manic killer, found near the Włochy railway station, on the road to the village of Karolina, and in the forest complex near Wawer. Both women, like the previous victims, were partially naked and raped, and were around 30 years old. The killer took everything that could identify them. Initial findings pointed to the same serial perpetrator, who - despite intensified police activities in Mazovia - did not intend to interrupt the cruel practice.

In early February 1922, he attacked again. In the evening near Teresin, Maria Justyniak was returning home. He probably threw a string or belt around her neck and dragged her into the bushes. Threatening death, he raped and murdered. He robbed the body.

Again, he left no traces that would give investigators any point of reference. So it was decided to take a look at Szczepan Paśnik, whose name was mentioned while collecting information about Garlicka and Wiśniewska. It turned out that the 36-year-old farmer near Pruszków is not a very crystal figure. He was punished several times, incl. for the murder of a tsarist gendarme, he was sent to the Szlisselburg fortress near Saint Petersburg for 12 years. He escaped from there after the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution. After returning to Poland, he settled on his father's estate, got married, but did not want to agriculture. He preferred "shady" business with representatives of the Warsaw underworld.

On the orders of the head of the Investigation Office, Pasnik was placed under discreet observation.

~ The last victim~

On the morning of February 24, 1922, the son of a railway crossing attendant from Błonie near Warsaw noticed the body of a young woman by the tracks. Terrified by the macabre sight, he ran to notify his father, who called the police. Preliminary findings showed that the woman had been raped and then strangled. The killer also stripped her of her outer clothing, money, and documents. Her personal details were quickly identified, however, when a certain Michalina Matwiejewa, a newcomer from Kresy, who had been looking for her friend, 24-year-old Maria Moroz, came to the PP police station. Together, the women intended to emigrate from Poland, but due to lack of money, they stayed in Warsaw and looked for a job.

Matveev was concerned. She saw Maria for the last time on February 20 at the Main Railway Station, when she got on a train with an employer she had just met - apparently a wealthy farmer from the vicinity of Błonie - and his wife. She was to stay with them "on duty" for a while and earn a ticket to Canada. They agreed to meet in two days, but Maria did not come and gave no sign of her life.

Matveeva, a dozen or so photos were shown of unidentified victims of crimes and accidents from the last week. On one of them, she recognized her friend and burst into tears. Then she was taken to the Investigation Office and asked to look at the photographs in the albums. She stared at the black-and-white photos for a long time, only to point out one thing: "It's the one," she said firmly. -It was with him that Marysia got on the train.

On the other side of the photograph was the signature: Szczepan Paśnik, born in 1887.

~ Summary court ~

Pasture was stopped on the same day. Together with him, his wife, Józefa, who - as the investigation showed - not only knew about her husband's crimes, but also participated in them, "substituting" victims for him and selling stolen clothes in bazaars.

In the investigation, Pasnik confessed to the murder of at least seven women, whom he also raped and robbed. However, during a two-day hearing (April 5-6, 1922), he withdrew his earlier testimony, claiming that the police had extorted it by "beating him and torturing him in an inhuman manner." Realizing that the head could only be saved by "escaping into illness", he tried at all costs to convince the court that "while murdering he did not control his reason and was not motivated by the lust for profit".

The court, however, did not believe these translations, dispelled the legends of lecherousness in this case, accepting the accusation's argumentation that the only motive for the conduct of a "criminal marriage" was the desire for profit. Not seeing any mitigating circumstances, the District Court, acting as a summary court, sentenced both spouses to death by shooting. The Chief of State did not use the right of grace. At six in the morning the next day, the sentence was carried out on the embankments surrounding the Warsaw Citadel.

[“A Ghastly Couple,” (“Zbrodnicze małżeństwo Paśników”) Biuro Edukacji Historycznej - Muzeum Policji Komendy Głównej Policji, Mar. 30, 2020]

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FULL TEXT (translated from Polish): ′′ I murdered Maria Wiśniewska for revenge, because she and her daughter Józefa Gendek forced me to do criminal acts, so I was forced to flee my place of residence because I am being chased by the police there ′′ - that's how Szczepan Paśnik described the reason for the murder of his mistress and her mother ... They probably both knew about Szczepan's killing two Jewish girls in the forest in the Garwolin district and in the sense of Paśnik were a threat. A few days after the murder of Maria Wiśniewska Szczepan met his wife Józefa Paśnik in Warsaw. We don't know what this meeting looked like or what it was about, but from now on until their death on the slopes of the Citadel, Szczepan and Józef acted together, supporting each other and creating a sick, murderous and dangerous couple for every woman. He raped and killed. She was taking clothes off of murdered women and selling them later in Kercele Square in Warsaw. And although Joseph testified that she didn't know anything about the murder of Maria Wiśniewska and her daughter, the first common victim of Paśników became the cousin of these women - Rozalia Garlicka. Szczepan strangled her under Ozarow with a trouser belt, and Joseph took her clothes off afterwards and sold them later at the Warsaw marketplace. These three murders and a meeting in Warsaw somehow reunited the Paśników, but their hunger for murder was no longer satisfied.

At the beginning of February 1922, at Warsaw-Vienna Szczepan station, together with Józefa met a young woman living near Toruń. After a short interview, they persuaded her to go to her home, offering a job and a roof over her head. All three of them got off the train at Italy station. After moving away from the platform, Szczepan raped a woman first and then slit her throat. A moment later, Józefa took the scarf, shoes off the victim, took 50 German brands and 200 Polish brands out of her pocket. The rest of the clothes were all bloody and not suitable for sale. A few days later, Joseph saw and brought another victim to Szczepan. Her name was Stasia and she came from Płońsk to look for a job. The three of them took the train to Wawer, where in the nearby forest Szczepan raped her and strangled her with a trouser belt. In this way, as he testified, he did not dirty the victim's finger, which she sold with a scarf, shoes, shirt and dress by Józef in Warsaw's Kercelei square. From now on, Szczepan used only his belt to kill, although Joseph always held his knife and a big spring knife in her basket, just in case... Another murdered woman - Marianna Zuchniak was also brought by Joseph. Everything looked the same as when the previous woman was murdered, only this time tragedy works in the forest near Teresina station.

At the time, the press compared the Warsaw serial killer, who later turned out to be Szczepan Paśnik, to London Jack the Ripper and to the Paris serial killer of women Henri Landru called Bluebeard. Women were afraid to travel alone and ride trains throughout the Warsaw region. All police leads, auditions and revisions led nowhere. On February 24, another 7 was found already the victim of the murderer (10 including all his kills, including those committed before 1922). A young woman murdered was found near the railway station in Płochocin. She was raped, strangled and robbed of clothes and personal items. Her name was Maria Morozov and she was the last victim of the Warsaw serial killer. Thanks to the investigation of two interviewers - Józef Sikorski and Anthony Bednark, the police finally hit the killer's trail. Michalina Matwiejev, a friend of the last murdered woman, was involved in this. She told the interviewers that together with Maria Morozov met a woman with breakfast, skinny face and black eyes at the Warsaw Main Station, who offered them a job with her neighbor. Michalina described the situation as a woman called a man claiming to be the owner of a farm near Ozarow. He just got back from America and offered both girls a job. This was two days before Maria Morozov's murder.

Rusinki agreed to accept the host's offer and the next day invited him to rent a room at the housewife Felicia Zakrzycka, where they lived. The three of them drank vodka and ate the snacks brought by a man, then went on the train to Płochocin. At the station there was a woman waiting for them, whom the Rusinki met the previous day. At the last minute Michalina declared that she will arrive tomorrow. Hunch told her not to go to stay. The man didn't protest, he bought three tickets and he got on the train with Maria and his ′′ neighbor Michalina never saw her friend again. A few days later, she was poked by two Russian-speaking migrants at the station. During the interview, they admitted that they were police interviewers tracking a serial killer of women and showed pictures of his victims. Michalina recognized her missing friend on one of them. Every next day she appeared at the station with the interviewers Sikorski and Bednark, trying to show them the people she saw her last time. Finally, on March 7, police detained a matching man and woman when they boarded the train with their future victim Olga Zacharówna. Exactly one month later, on April 7, 1922, after auditions, investigation and two-day trial, Szczepan Paśnik - the first Polish serial killer and his wife Józef - the first woman after regaining independence sentenced to death penalty in Poland; they were shot by a firing squad in the Warsaw Citadel area.

[Matthew Waśkowski, Upiorna para, “106. Zbrodnicze małżeństwo Paśników,” “106. Paśnik's criminal marriage,” History Dept., Muzeum Mazowsza Zachodniego w Żyrardowie, Echo Żyrardowskie, Mar. 30, 2019]

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CHRONOLOGY

1887 – Szczepan Paśnik, born.

Jan. 1922 – The first victim January 1922 in the Helenów grove near Pruszków. It was 30-year-old Józefa Gądekowa. 

Jan. 1922 – A few days later, in the same grove, an accidental passer-by came across the naked body of an elderly woman. As it turned out, it was 55-year-old Maria Wiśniewska, the mother of Józefa, who was murdered earlier.

Jan.  1922 – After two weeks, Maria Garlicka was found near the village of Duchnice, near Ożarów. Also with a slit throat and "dephlorinated"; Garlicka was Wiśniewska's cousin.

early February 1922 – near Teresin, Maria Justyniak

Feb. 24, 1922 –Michalina Matwiejewa, Błonie near Warsaw.

Mar. 7, 1922 – police detained the couple when they boarded the train with their future victim Olga Zacharówna.

Apr. 5-6, 1922 – trial.

Apr. 7, 1922 – 6am, sentence was carried out on the embankments surrounding the Warsaw Citadel.

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SOURCES

[“A Ghastly Couple,” (“Zbrodnicze małżeństwo Paśników”) Biuro Edukacji Historycznej - Muzeum Policji Komendy Głównej Policji, Mar. 30, 2020]

[Matthew Waśkowski, Upiorna para, “106. Zbrodnicze małżeństwo Paśników,” “106. Paśnik's criminal marriage,” History Dept., Muzeum Mazowsza Zachodniego w Żyrardowie, Echo Żyrardowskie, Mar. 30, 2019]

[Matthew Waśkowski, “99. Interrogation of a serial killer of women,” History Dept., Muzeum Mazowsza Zachodniego w Żyrardowie, Echo Żyrardowskie, Mar. 12, 2019]

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2013/03/female-serial-killers-executed.html

More cases: Female Serial Killers Executed

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2012/07/serial-killer-couples.html

Links to more Serial Killer Couples

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[691-8/22/20]
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