400 years too late, alleged witch gets retrial in Germany

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

In 1627, the German city of Cologne found Katharina Henot guilty of practicing dark arts.  As punishment, they burned her alive at the stake.

Now the panel on the city council whose predecessors found her guilty of witchcraft hundreds of years ago will review the evidence. It is suspected that Henot, head of the city’s post office, fell foul of a deadly game of political intrigue orchestrated by her rivals and detractors.

* **

Between 1500 and 1782 at least 25,000 Germans, mostly women but also some men and children, were executed for witchcraft. Many were made scapegoats for natural disasters or faced accusations because of personal vendettas or just because they failed to fit in with the people around them.

Cologne, by the way, is home to one of Europe’s most beautiful cathedrals.  It is a strange irony that the same religious zeal that went into creating such an amazing monument is also the same force that led to the persecution and murder of so many innocent people.

The retrial is really nothing more than theater, but it seems like a valid and positive exercise.  I just hope she beats the rap this time around.

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~ by siouxsielaw on February 14, 2012.

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