Saturday, August 8, 2020

Katarzyna Onyszkiewiczowa, Serial Killer Thief – Ukraine, 1880

EXCERPT (Translated from Polish, with additions): The trial of Katarzyna Onyszkiewiczowa, which took place in Lviv (Ukraine), in the spring of 1880, aroused great interest. There was a crowd of onlookers in front of the court building, and the media of that time reported in detail the course of each trial. Onyszkiewiczowa probably came from northern Bukovina (a historical region today in Ukraine), but she conducted her "activity" mainly in Galicia. It is not known what her real name was, because she also introduced herself as Kasia Koczeczukowa, Ksenia Unyszkiewicz or Joanna Topolnicka.

She went from village to village, pretending to be a tradeswoman or a nun, and asked for hospitality. Then, she treacherously treated her hosts with a sleepy and deadly mixture (it probably included datura, venomous scarlet and black henbane), which caused not only narcotic sleep, but also hallucinations, vomiting, convulsions, breathing difficulties, and sometimes death. When the victims lost consciousness, Onyszkiewicz looted the cottage and disappeared. She would prey on another victim again miles away under a new name and disguise.It is not known how many people she killed. She was convicted of 4 murders in 3 separate trials (1869, 1870 (2), 1872). In 1880 the court sentenced her to ten years in prison - the penalty was to be added to previous sentences. The poisoner died behind bars.

[“Najsłynniejsze trucicielki,” WP (Poland), Jan. 11, 2016



Murder convictions: 1869, 1870 (2), 1872.

1858 – in Chernivtsi she was sentenced to theft for 6 months in prison.

1859 – in Sniatyn convicted for theft of 20 rods. (The accused, laughing, says: not true).

Jul. 2, 1862 – in Stanisławów convicted for the theft of rods for 5-30 years and imprisonment for 2 years.

Dec. 19, 1866 – Released; having served a 5-year sentence, in a short time she managed to commit 20 thefts by poisoning her prey.

1869 – Stanisławów court convicted of murder; sentenced her to 10 years in prison; sent to Mary Magdalene Prison.

July 9, 1870 – escapes; commits poisoning-theft in four locales; 2 victims die. captured in Krakow, from where she was sent to Lviv, she was sentenced to an additional 10 years, a darkroom in September and a hard bed, to be served consecutive to her previous sentence.

1872 – convicted of murder by poisoning, 20 thefts; sentenced to additional 10 years in prison.

Sep. 2/3, 1879 – escapes without the slightest trace.

1880 – arrested.

Feb. 1880 – Trial.

Mar. 9, 1895 – dies in prison.


FULL TEXT: The famous poisoner of Onyszkiewicz, whose skillfully committed crimes and escapes from prison, once awakened great sensation, did not live to see her freedom, because she died the day before yesterday in St. Mary Magdalene.

[The National Gazette. Year XXXV. No. 68. In Lviv - Saturday, March 9, 1895. Rubric: Chronicle The original spelling has been preserved.]


FULL TEXT: On the 9th of May, at 6 a.m., the famous thieves Barbara Woźna from Lubień near Gródek, 33, escaped from the facility of Mary Magdalene, 33 years old, for the theft of 6 years in prison, and Heńka Onyszkiewiczowa, actually Kasia Koczerczukowa from Stanisławów, sentenced to 10 years; he is 30. They both wore prison clothes.

[“Escape from prison.” Gazeta Lwowska. Monday 11. July 1870.]


FULL TEXT: In the spring, they escaped from the prison for women at St. Magdalene in Lviv, two very dangerous thieves, Barbara Woźna, sentenced to 6 years, and Onyszkiewicz, sentenced to 10 years in prison. The janitor was later arrested in Lviv for theft by the police. Those days Onyszkiewicz came to Żółkiew to a court janitor, where she offered tea to the whole family. After drinking tea, everyone fell ill and the janitor died, probably due to poison. Onyszkiewiczowa, after taking several hundred zlotys. in gold, silver and banknotes, she has disappeared. On a telegram to the Lviv police, Commissioner Meidinger and agent Millet went in pursuit of Onyszkiewiczowa, followed her partly by carriage, and partly by rail, as far as Krakow and held her there on 7th. The greater part of the amount stolen was still found at the arrested person.

[“Theft.” Gazeta Lwowska. Nov. 10, 1870]



FULL TEXT: Lviv, February 26th. – Today the final trial against the famous poisoner and thief Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz has started in the local criminal court. As a result of the announcement in the newspapers about the date of the trial a month ago, all the places standing in the hall, as well as those sitting in the gallery, were first dismantled. The gallery is intended exclusively for women. The curiosity of the ladies, it seems, only about this process was so great that the pleaders could not be resisted and they had to give way even to the room downstairs, which had never happened before. More than 160 cards were issued and twice as many.

At 1/2:10 this morning the jury draw was completed. The jury consists of: pp. Nasadnik, Henryk Müller, Korkes, Józef Onyszkiewicz, Swaczyna, Grodzicki, Brecher, Leszczyński, Mütz, Hawranek, Płoszczański, Baurowicz; as deputy Mr. Małuszyński.

The Tribunal consisted of pp. Budzynowski as chairman, Drdacki and Buszak as voters.

The prosecutor, Mr. Henzel, the defense attorney Dr. Krówczyński.

At 3/4 out of 10, the accused Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz was brought into the courtroom simultaneously with the appearance of the high tribunal.

She is a woman who is very sick, of small height, an expression much softer than the known photograph shows him - Mary Magdalene's mélena dressed in winter dresses. She sits on the dock with utter apathy and sits throughout the trial as if she did not take part in it, yet, as I will show later, she pays attention to everything.

After calling the case, he calls the chairman of the accused to give her pedigree.

The defendant says that she was formerly called Rózia, her real name is Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz, she comes from Bukovina from Czerniowce, her father's name was - certainly not Jan, or otherwise, her mother was called Marynia, she is 40, religion Greek. cat. In her youth she made a living by sewing, she served in various places, for a long time she was considered a pupil of some major, not to write and read.

The prosecutor accuses Katarzyna Onyszkiewiczowa of the crime of serious bodily injury and of compulsive theft. The history of her recent crimes is summarized as follows:

In eastern Galicia and Bukovina, many years ago there were cases of intoxication of many people with poison, which were then stolen. Kobiéta, who committed these crimes, captivated the rural people with mock godly fear, she knew how to sneak into their hearts and minds. And since she always left the place of action when the people intoxicated by her were completely unconscious, it was extremely difficult to track down the criminal. Finally, the security authorities managed to track down this criminal in the person of Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz, also known as Kikierczuk. Having served only on December 19, 1866, a five-year sentence, she threw herself again and with even greater ferocity on the field she knew. The harvest was abundant for her, because in a short time she managed to commit 20 thefts in a proper way, i.e. by intoxication with poison. In 1869, the court of Stanisławów sentenced her to 10 years in prison. Onyszkiewicz was sent to Mary Magdalene, from there she had already escaped on July 9, 1870, and then in various places four cases of theft and intoxication of the victims happened, two of whom died immediately.

It was not difficult to guess who was the perpetrator of these crimes, but it was difficult to capture the criminal, because cunning Katarzyna O., changing clothes, was quickly escaping from place to place. She was captured dopiéro in Krakow, from where she was sent to Lviv, she was sentenced again to 10 years in prison, after serving her previous sentence. Despite the close supervision of her by Mary Magdalene, she managed to escape again on the night of September 2 to 3, 1879 without the slightest trace.

Although suspicious women were held here and there, it soon turned out that they were completely innocent. The trace showed on September 6. On that day, many people went to the fair in Podkamienie via Pieniaki. The local postmaster, Władysław Zaleski, saw a woman through the window of his apartment, who approached the window and said that she was from Rawa, her name was Mirska, and that she was going to Pidkamin for an indulgence. Zaleski, struck by the perception of the nipple on the woman's face, asked: are you not Onyszkiewicz, whom they are looking for? So questioned, she did not get confused, but denied that she was called Onyszkiewicz and left calmly gifted with a few more cents.

A few days later, on September 11, 1879, the same woman appeared in Załoźce, at the house of the shoemaker Dmytro Chronowicz, to whom she told that she was returning from Podhorece from an indulgence. Complaining that her legs were swollen, she asked for a noclég. Chronowiczowa took pity on the woman who was barely able to hold her feet, and took her to her and brought her camphor and vodka to lubricate her legs for her own money. Onyszkiewicz said that she came from Tarnopol and that she was married to a shoemaker. Then she slept for a few hours in the chamber, and about 7 hours in the evening she entered the room, knelt by the stove, prayed for a long time, because it was almost an hour and a half on lace. The next day she went out to town around 7 am and brought some plums and candies as a gift for Tekla Chronowiczowa's children. It was raining outside, so the stranger asked the shoemaker for hospitality, until God gave him a better look for the weather, and that she was bored,she started embroidering aprons. In the morning she began to complain to the Chronowicz family about the toothache, and in the evening she cooked in a pot a small, flat seed, similar to mustard seed, which she said she had received from her married sister in Podhorce, as a good remedy for toothache. After boiling the semen, she cut the decoction, a dirty dark yellow in color, and poured it into the flask she had with her. During this cooking, in order to draw attention in a different direction, she told the household members about various wonderful things, such as the appearance of Mother of God in several places, then she went to bed. The next day, she got up quite early and worked on finishing the embroidery, and around two in the afternoon she went out into the city under the guise of buying leggings, or rather, to gather information about the relations of the inhabitants,which would be robbed. Returning in the evening, around 7 am, she brought a piece of pork with her, put it on the bench, and went back to town for butter on the road, telling her that she had to leave for Tarnopol the next morning.

It was at that time that Hrynko Podolan, the landlord of his house, was busy chopping wood on the threshold of his hut, and when his daughter Maryanna entered the hut from the garden, this stranger (Onyszkiewicz) approached them, greeting the Podolians, and turned directly to Maryanna and she started telling her that she was returning from Podkamień from an indulgence, that she was walking in the company of her brother corporal in the 80th infantry regiment in Lviv, who asked her to come to Podolany and greet them from Danil Podolan, son of Maryanna, who served in the same regiment .

She continued that she was the hostess of the Daughters of Charity on the farm in Trościaniecand goes to the convent of the Sisters in Załoźce, where a pig was killed, which she is supposed to undress at night. This surprised Podolanów immensely, especially since this woman, who she did not know, told them about the family and property relations of Podolanów as thoroughly as if she had been in the best intimacy with them for many years, and my daughter Maryanna had already called it my name. As a result, she was welcomed by Podolan people with the greatest kindness, especially when she advised them, as if Danyla Podolan could be freed from the army. During this conversation, she ordered a stranger to bring for 20 cnt. After drinking vodka with Podolany, she gave Hryńek Podolan a gulden, then, as if rushing to the Monastery of the Sisters of Mercy, she said goodbye to Podolany, announcing that she would return to them the next day to have fun with them.

Instead of going to the convent, Onyszkiewiczowa went to the Chronowicz family, in front of whom she praised Podolanów, telling her that Hryńko showed her grain resources and other things, such as beads, etc. Having gotten into a good mood, she took off the cloak, gave the Chronowicz servant, and lay down to sleep, she asked to be woken up early, as she had to go to the wagon with whom she was to go to the monastery farm, a quarter mile from the city. According to wishes, the following morning, very morning, a stranger was woken up, who, taking meat and a flask with her, left the Chronowicz family, led out by the hostess, who saw that the stranger had left the city. Instead of going to the farm, at dusk on the same day she entered the Podolanów hut, to whom she immediately gave the piece of meat she had brought. The meat was cooked and eaten at once,then the stranger went to bed. Getting up the next day around 11 am, she went with the Podolany family to their orchard in Hajki Załozieckie. Then she ate dinner with the Podolany family, refreshing herself with vodka. After 6 evenings she ordered Maryanna P. to bring her from the city for 10 cents. rum, 10 sugar, 15 teas, 4 cinnamon and 20 cents. vodka, saying: today we can still have fun, and tomorrow I will go toTrościańca

As soon as these victuals were brought in, the stranger got down to making some tea. Marynia Podolanka wanted to cook it, which, however, Onyszkiewiczowa did not allow, saying that she would prepare it better, because she was rotating among the gentlemen. So she put three pots of Podolanów to the fire and one that she had brought with her. Having drained the tea, she drank the first glass herself, and handed the second to Hryńko. Hryńko, however, immediately felt an unpleasant taste, spat, and released what he drank on the ground. Onyszkiewiczowa, undaunted by this, refilled the same glass with the same liquid and handed it to Maryanna, who, having drunk almost a third of the glass, tasted an unpleasant and strange disgusting smell, and did not want to drink any more, despite Onyszkiewicz's assurances about the good results of this tea.

In a quarter of an hour Maryanna made her father's bed, she lay down on the bench herself, and the stranger went to sleep in the shed under the pretext that it was too stuffy in the room.

Maryanna Podolan did not wake up until the next day after 1am, feeling a strange headache, nausea, chills and unable to get up from the sheets. After some time she regained consciousness, and then she saw a small box on the floor, a handkerchief, a twenty cent coin, a four cent coin and a slipper of her father, all around her, wondering how the things that always lay in her father's trunk could be scattered on the ground. In a moment she noticed again that she was missing the 5 strings of beads that were still around her neck yesterday - and she began to look behind them, in the room and in front of the house, because her memory was so lost that she could not realize what was happening to her. Not finding the beads, she returned to the room, where her father was still lying on the bed, restlessly rolling over in his sleep and tugging the shirt over his chest with her hands.

Her father's hands were icy cold, his mouth burned with fever, black as if covered with soot. She woke him up immediately, but after a few hours, after vomiting heavily, he came back to himself a little, and when he opened the trunk, he found that it lacked 8 strings of beads, a peasant's sheepskin coat, a katanka, a jacket, a woolen cloth handkerchief, a cloth, a cloth trousers, an apron, two bills of exchange, one for 50, the other for 60 PLN. The Podolans, seeing the trunk of a vanity, could not yet realize what had happened, and after a while they remembered that this stranger woman who had poisoned them in their tea had to do it - and informed the court about it. The court ordered a forensic examination, which showed poisoning, and began a search for the criminal.

However, before the criminal was caught, she showed up on September 16 in Mikuliniec, where women, Polinka Krasotycha and Marya Poburka, digging potatoes in the court garden, saw her driving along the route from Mikuliniec to Czartorya around 9 in the morning. An hour later she was noticed walking from Czartorya in the opposite direction. Onyszkiewicz, noticing the beads at the whore, immediately got into a conversation with them. She said that she came from Myszkowce, where she married a local farmer two years ago, she complained about a bad relationship with her husband, as a result of which, although she is a housewife on 30 morga, she has to seek service. She also said that she won 6,000 zlotys by showing a bundle of banknotes and 5 strings of beads. Polinka invited herself to Mary for the night, saying:that she would soon return and bring them a green plum slivovitz, which she had received at the convent, for afternoon tea.

On her way to Mikuliniec, she met the distiller's servant, Hanka Kalińska, whom she also told about her riches, and complaining about the sudden pain in her teeth, asked Hanka to show her a house where she could prepare her booze.

There was no English kitchen in the adjoining apartment where Hanka had failed her, so she asked Hanka to take her to the lady, and there she introduced her as her sister so that you would not be angry that a foreign woman was allowed into the kitchen. Hanka let her into Mrs. Rohozinski's kitchen and let her cook her teeth. Soon after, she went out to town, bought three quarts of spirit, a pound of sugar and 18 rolls, and having collected some Datura seed in the yard, she poured it into a quarter pot and poured it with spirit. After the decoction had boiled, she poured it, adding sugar, to the flask with which she hurriedly left the kitchen, saying that she would go to a woman she knew, whose teeth were aching, and in whom she had her beads and ducats stored. Indeed, she went out to the garden where Krasotycha and Poburkowa worked, and where the farmhand, Jaśko Orłowski, also arrived. He will sit next to them,she opened the flap, took out a dozen or so pieces of sugar and rolls, poured the liquid from the flask into a small cup, and having tasted it, began to treat the strangers: Krasotycha drank half a cup, Poburkowa one, and Jaśko Orłowski three, - then they all felt a sudden dizziness; the first two laughed violently and fell unconscious to the ground, and Orłowski also soon lost consciousness.

At that, a friend of Krasotycha, Franciszka Bogusz, came, and, thinking that the women were getting drunk, she wanted to remove the beads from their necks, for fear that someone might steal them. The stranger, however, who seemed to be a relative of Krasotycha and an acquaintance of Poburkowa, assured that she would guard the beads herself. Franciszka Bogusz left, but returning after an hour, she did not find the stranger there anymore, and both women were still lying on the ground unconscious, but without beads around their necks. A great riot happened, the criminal was chased in various directions.

This time, vigorous searches gave a more successful result. On September 18, 1879, she was held by a gendarme in Monasterzyska at the town of Piotr Orłowski, just as she was soaking her feet after a long and tiring journey. At the sight of the gendarme entering, she jumped into the corn and was caught there. They found 11 strings of beads and a French gold coin.

When taken to court in Monasterzyska, Onyszkiewicz felt evasive, said her name was Malwina Dynowska, she had been a widow for 5 years. When she was shown that she resembled the dangerous poisoner Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz, who ran away from Mary Magdalene, she fastened herself as hard as possible, and even asked herself to be taken to Lviv to convince herself. Her wish was done. In the court in Lviv, Onyszkiewiczowa confessed fully to the crimes committed in Załośce and Mikulińce.

When asked by the chairman of the tribunal, what to say about his acquittal, Onyszkiewiczowa begins to lament that she did not go to steal to make a fortune. Only the nuns at Mary Magdalene are guilty of all misfortune. They made it to what it has become, that's a cripple.

She always said: Old lady, if I don't get lice, I will run away and run away. I had no bad intentions, I just wanted to be admitted to the hospital in Stanisławów. First I was a decent, healthy person (she starts to cry), and now I am a cripple, all the nuns have made all of me so that God ... The chairman shrugs off the accused. This is not about nuns, but just to explain what she was doing in Załośce.

Onyszkiewiczowa. The nuns forced me to flee - I wanted to get to the hospital in Stanisławów.

The chairman sees himself compelled to ask her detailed questions which he makes her answer.

The accused testifies that in Pieniaki no postmaster asked her what kind of question, because everyone saw that she was ill. Some military man, also a professional thief, persuaded her to visit Podolanów in Załośce. He gave her instructions on how to speak to Podolanów in order to gain the trust of this family.

Then, always on detailed inquiries, she tells with the greatest calm how she invited herself to the Chronowicz family, how and when she prepared tea from "denderev" at Podolanów. Sometimes she only hides a poor memory, because the nuns shook her head completely. The same with the fact in Mikulińce.

When asked about the cell in which it served these people poisoned tea, Onyszkiewiczowa replies with the greatest calmness. - Well for what to rob them. Anyway, she knew that it wouldn't kill them, just the lost one.

Since we have already given all the significant moments of the crimes committed by Onyszkiewicz, both in Załośce and also in Mikulińce, we will not repeat them here again. She admits everything, and if she answers questions, it is more to correct some circumstances, and not to be acquitted.

During the investigation, she already told the judges: "write whatever you like, I don't want to live anymore, I only want death."

The witnesses of Mary Podołanka, Hryńek Podolan, Palinka Krasołycha, Maryanna Poburka and Jasiek Orłowski were interrogated. Their testimony is in complete agreement with what we have already given. - The stories of these witnesses about the terrible effects of the poison they experienced on themselves, the torments they experienced, did not make any impression on the accused. She says that they wanted to drink themselves, so she gave them a drink. Almost every witness, when asked if he recognized the accused, replies with a curse: may I never know her, or: be damned if she is.

After reading the lékarski inspection reports of the victims, court experts, Dr. Karcz and Lukas, who unanimously stated that the symptoms of the disease in all the injured, namely dry throat, blurred vision and hearing, pupil dilatation, muscle and brain paralysis, and irritation of the digestive tract indicated that they had been given an excessive amount of dandruff with an admixture of henbane which, together with the spirit, enhanced the action of Datura. The amount of Datura used for medicinal purposes is reduced to 1 milligram as a single dose, or 3 mils, according to the Austrian Pharmacopoeia. for day. According to this, due to the fact that the victims have undoubtedly taken more, the experts classify the acts committed by the accused as serious bodily injuries, connected with the danger of life. As for Maryanna Podolanki, there was only a slight injury to her body, because she drank less dandelion tea.

Then the chairman read the list of sins of the defendant and thus:

In 1858 in Chernivtsi she was sentenced to theft for 6 months in prison.

In 1859 in Sniatyn for theft with 20 rods. (The accused, laughing, says: not true).

In 1862, on July 2, in Stanisławów for the theft of rods for 5 or 30 years and imprisonment twice a year.

In 1869 for murder by poisoning for 10 years of hard prison.

In 1872 for 20 thefts and murder by poisoning again for 10 years in prison, a darkroom in September and a hard bed.

The Court asked the jury 6 questions, and the jury replied as follows:

Na 1. Is Cat. Onyszkiewiczowa is guilty that as a result of her actions, although not with the intention of killing, but with some other intention, Hryń Podolan suffered mental irritation and irritation from the nerves (brain), and that he suffered a serious injury to his body, treacherously, and moreover, in such a way and with such and such means that threatened the safety of life - 8 votes yes, 3 yes, excluding serious damage, 1 vote no.

To the 2nd question, with the same content, applied to the accident with Marya Podolan, and with the change "slight damage." 10 votes yes, 1 yes, excluding deception, 1 vote no.

To the 3rd question, every 1 was applied to the accident with Paulinka Krasołycha, Maria Poburka and Jasiek Orłowski. 7 votes yes, 4 yes excluding serious bodily injury, 1 vote no.

To the 4th question, is Katarzyna O. guilty of robbing Hryńek Podolan of things worth over PLN 25. 11 votes yes, 1 vote no.

11 votes to the 5th question relating to the theft in Mikulińce - yes, 1 vote - no.

To the additional question 6, whether the above thefts were boldly, treacherously and deceptively committed by the accused, and whether they indicate compulsive theft, 10 votes yes, 1 vote yes, excluding treacherous and deceptive, and 1 vote no.

On the basis of this verdict, Katarzyna Onyszkiewicz was sentenced to 10 years of hard prison.

[“The Onyszkiewiczowa Trial,” The National Gazette (Lviv), Feb. 28-29, 1880]




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