1872: Christopher Marlow, brewer 1540: The Botolph Plotters of Calais, the last English Carthusian, and Thomas More’s son-in-law

1599: Elisabeth Strupp, Gelnhausen witch

August 3rd, 2018 Headsman

The German town of Gelnhausen executed Elisabeth Strupp as a witch on this date in 1599.


Sculpture erected before Gelnhausen’s Marienkirche on the 400th anniversary of Elisabeth Strupp’s prosecution; it is one of five monuments to the victims of Gelnhausen’s witch hunts — all 52 of whom were symbolically rehabilitated in 2015.

The widow of a Protestant pastor,* Strupp is little known for her life. Strupp was probably in her sixties when a preceding accused witch, one Barbara Scherer, served Strupp’s name up to interrogators in a Hexenprozesse.


Illustration of a witches’ sabbat, from the Swiss National Museum.

The usual farrago of gossip and defamation then compiled itself into legal trappings sufficient for execution: a woman who miscarried after Strupp stroked her belly; some foul words exchanged with a maid; a couple of townsfolk who had suffered random injuries that they attributed to Elisabeth Strupp’s influence; and some colorful confessions of black sabbaths. Her rank earned her only the “privilege” of beheading prior to burning.

Elisabeth Strupp is the best-known witch hunted in Gelnhausen, thanks in part to a romantic early 20th century novel by Heinrich Zipf which names her “Maria” and considerably fictionalizes her story. This book is presumably in the public domain, but if it’s available online I have not been able to locate it.

* The Strupp family had been instrumental in the early promulgation of Lutheranism in Gelnhausen.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 16th Century,Arts and Literature,Beheaded,Burned,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Germany,History,Public Executions,Witchcraft,Women

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One thought on “1599: Elisabeth Strupp, Gelnhausen witch”

  1. Monika Maria Koch Strupp says:

    Denke, die Strupphexe ist Elisabeth Maria geborene Deublinger aus Frankfurt am Main, Tochter der Ulmer Hans, Tuchhändler zu Frankfurt, sie heiratete den Huldrich Strupp aus Gelnhausen, Sohn des Peter Strupp aus Gelnhausen, in Grünberg geboren, als er starb, heiratete Elisabeth den Witwer Matthias Ritter, Prediger zu Frankfurt, Freund des Verstorbenen, als Ritter 1588 starb kehrte Elisabeth zu Pflege ihrer Schwägerin Elisabeth Strupp, Frau von Johann Strupp nach Gelnhausen zurück. Nach deren Tod war sie schutzlos den Anfeindungen ausgesetzt, Hilfe von ihrem Schwager Joachim Struppius war nicht zu erwarten. Streitigkeiten welche die Schriften von Matthias Ritter ausgelöst hatten und die Verbindung zu ihrem Bruder Seyfried Deublinger in Frankfurt heizten das ganze an. Das Reichskammergericht Speyer entschied zu spät für Elisabeth.
    1599 würde sie hingerichtet, der Freispruch erreichte sie nicht mehr.

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