Swiss finally clear the last 'witch' beheaded in Europe
Thursday 28 August 2008
Anna Goeldi was executed for being a witch more than 220 years ago, the last one beheaded in Europe. On Wednesday, the Swiss cleared her name. The parliament of the Swiss canton (state) of Glarus decided unanimously to exonerate Goeldi as a victim of "judicial murder", said Josef Schwitter, a government spokesman.
Several thousand people, mainly women, were executed for witchcraft between the 14th and 18th centuries in Switzerland, and elsewhere in Europe. Yet Goeldi's trial and beheading in the village of Mollis was in 1782, when witch trials had largely disappeared from the continent.
Goeldi, a maidservant for a prominent burgher, Johann Jakob Tschudi, was convicted of "spoiling" the family's daughter, causing her to spit pins and have convulsions. Yet Tschudi, a doctor and magistrate, was said to have had an affair with Goeldi; if that had come out, his reputation would have been seriously damaged.
The case was brought to light through a book by a local journalist, Walter Hauser. The move to exonerate came after a long debate in the eastern Swiss region, and was taken after talks with the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. Last year, the canton's executive branch and the Protestant church council refused even to consider exoneration, but the Glarus parliament urged the executive branch to reconsider. In June, the Glarus executive branch asked parliament to ratify the exoneration.
The Glarus government said the Protestant church council, which held the trial, had no legal authority and had decided in advance that Goeldi was guilty. She was executed even though the law at the time did not impose the death penalty for non-lethal poisoning.
A museum featuring Goeldi opened in Mollis last year on the 225th anniversary of her death.
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Jeff Fletcher dead: Britpop guitarist is decapitated by lorry in horrific traffic accident
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Jimmy Ruffin dead: Motown legend, who wrote 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted', dies aged 78
New York snowstorm: Five dead and state of emergency declared as 'wall of snow' buries Buffalo
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...
£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...