Anna Maria Zwanziger was a serial killer in the German state of Bavaria who murdered four people while serving as their housekeeper. Her preferred method of killing her victims was arsenic poisoning, which she secretly placed in the food and drink of her victims over an extended period of time. Her crimes were uncovered in 1809 and she was beheaded in July 1811.
Anna Maria Zwanziger was described as being "ugly, stunted, without attraction of face, figure, [or] speech.” Her early life was marked by an ill-fated marriage to an alcoholic husband who drank his inheritance before dying by the time Anna Maria was 40 years old. She soon began to search for a new husband.
Zwanziger became the housekeeper of a judge by the name of Glaser, hoping to win his affection. Glaser was separated from his wife but not yet divorced, presenting an obstacle to Zwanziger’s plans. She orchestrated the reconciliation of the judge and his wife, who soon returned to the Glaser household. Anna Maria Zwanziger began poisoning Glaser’s wife’s tea with arsenic until she died.
After being fired by Glaser, Zwanziger moved on to become housekeeper for several more judges, all the while poisoning one of them and the wife of another, in addition to an infant and a number of servants. The infant died of the poisoning, although the servants survived. The judge ordered an examination of their food, which revealed trace amounts of arsenic. By this time, Zwanziger had already escaped the household.
Anna Maria Zwanziger was arrested after sending suspicious letters to her last employer, and confessed to her crimes after six months of interrogation. She was sentenced to death and beheaded in 1811. Before her death, she stated, “It is perhaps better for the community that I should die.”
Famous Killers: Anna Maria Zwanziger
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