Executions · Germany · Political

Woman beheaded by husband after criticizing him for allowing the common people to starve

June 12, 1535
Bishopric of Münster, Holy Roman Empire (modern day Münster, Germany)
Elisabeth Wandscherer is beheaded for criticizing her husband about allowing the common people to starve

Wandscherer was one of 16 wives of Jan van Leiden. Leiden was the self-proclaimed “King of Münster” and attempted to establish a “New Jerusalem” in Münster. He also brought polygamy (for men), killed hundreds, and displayed the bodies of leaders in cages (these cages still exist outside the Lamberti Church).

Wandcherer became distraught that the public was starving while Jan van Leiden and his court lived in luxury, and criticized her husband openly. She returned the jewelry he had given her and asked to leave. He refused, had her arrested, sentenced her to death, and beheaded her himself with a sword.

Painting: Jan van Leiden verstoesst seine Gemahlin Elisabeth Wandscherer by Caspar Goerke, 1852

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