Number of victims: 4+
Date of murders: 1801 - 1811
Method of murder: Poisoning
Born in Bavaria in 1760, Anna Margaretha Zwanziger was known as the German Brinvilliers after the infamous French noblewoman, Marie de Brinvilliers. Whether or not Zwanzinger deserves that epithet is open to conjecture. Only four victims have definitely been linked to her, whereas Brinvilliers was responsible for at least 50 deaths. Nonetheless, Zwanzinger was an inveterate poisoner, someone who referred to the vial of arsenic she always carried, as “my truest friend.”
Anna first took to poisoning while working as a maid. Her intention was to curry favor with her employers by giving them just enough arsenic to make them ill, and then nursing them back to health. Inevitably however, she overstepped the mark. At least four victims died at her hands between 1801 until 1811, one of which was a baby. Several other people were poisoned and became seriously ill, but survived.
Zwanziger was eventually arrested after several members of a household became ill. As she had been seen tampering with a salt cellar, the police tested it and found that it contained a copious amount of arsenic.
Tried and found guilty of murder, Zwanzinger was sentenced to death and executed by beheading on September 17, 1811. Just before her death, she said that it was probably a good thing she was to be executed, as she was addicted to poisoning and did not think she could stop.
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