Last female executions in Europe.


With special thanks to Christian Schrepper for his invaluable help in compiling this article and to the several kind people who have sent me further information.



The last woman sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Juliane Hummel. She was pole hanged for the murder of her five year old daughter, Anna, on the 2nd of January 1900 at Vienna. There were about 100 women executed by German executioners in Vienna and Graz between 1938 and 1945, but it is not known who the last one was. It is thought that the last woman to die for murder after a normal jury trial was Martha Lowenstein Marek. She was guillotined by the Bavarian State executioner, Johann Reichhart, in Vienna on the 6th of December 1938, for the poisoning of her husband, their baby daughter, an elderly relative, whose money and house she inherited, and finally a lodger in her house.  No further female executions were carried out after 1945, although several women were sentenced to death.



The last women executed in Belgium was 45 year old Florentine Giralt, who had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal for denouncing Belgian agents to the Nazis during World War II. She was executed by firing squad in Brussels on the 4th of June 1949, together with six men. Click here for photo.

The last woman sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Euphrasie-Félicie Deroux, for the murder of her child at the Cour d'assises of the province of Hainaut. She was guillotined at Mons on the 22nd of June 1846.



Elina Zlatanova was executed by a single shot to the head on March 8th 1988 in the town cemetery of Sliven in Southeast Bulgaria.  She had been convicted of the murders of her two sons, Elin and Neven.  She had doused her apartment with fuel and set it on fire. Infant Elin was asphyxiated in his crib, while Nevin tried to escape so Elina Elina stabbed him with a kitchen knife.  Her intention, apparently, was to also perish in the fire, but when the flames got too close, she got out of the blazing apartment.  Her motive appears to be to get back at her husband for his perceived maltreatment of her.



Olga Hepnarova, aged 23, was hanged on March 12th, 1975 in Prague’s Pankrác prison for murdering eight complete strangers at a tram stop by running them over with a truck in 1973 as an act of revenge against the world.  The short drop gallows on which she suffered is preserved in Pankrác prison. Click here for photo.



The last official execution was conducted in Copenhagen on ”Rřdovre Mark” when Ane Cathrine Andersdatter was beheaded by axe on the 21st of December 1861. She had been sentenced to death for the murder of three of her five children.



Ruth Ellis was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint at Holloway prison in North London on Wednesday, the 13th of July, 1955 for the murder of her boyfriend David Blakely, who had refused to see her over the Easter of 1955. She lay in wait for him outside the Magdala pub and when he came out, shot him five times with a revolver. She was arrested immediately by an off-duty policeman. Her execution caused a great deal of public controversy at the time.



Martta Koskinen, was executed by firing squad on an unspecified date in 1943 for espionage and high treason.

Probably the last woman executed after conviction by a civil court was Lena Greta Nystedt, sentenced to death for murder and beheaded by axe at Helsinki on the 20th of April 1819. She was definitely the last person executed at Helsinki.



On the 22nd of April 1949 Germaine Leloy-Godefroy (age 31) became the last woman executed in France, when she was guillotined at Angers for murdering her husband, Albert Leloy, with an axe while he slept at Baugé on December the 10th 1947. Click here for photo.



The very last woman was executed in the eastern part of Germany, (the Communist German Democratic Republic) was 43 year old Helene “Elli” Barczatis, who had been sentenced to death for espionage by the First Criminal Senate of the Supreme Court. She was guillotined in Dresden on the 23rd of November 1955, as was her co-defendant Karl Laurenz. Click here for photo.

The last two women executed in western controlled sectors, before they became Federal Republic of Germany, were Ida Bertha Schreiber and Emma Anna Zimmer. They had been sentenced to death by a British Military Court for Crimes against the Humanity (committed when they were guards at KZ Ravensbrück) and hanged by Albert Pierrepoint at Hameln on the 20th of September 1948.  No other women were executed as result of the other Ravensbrück trials although others received death sentences which were later commuted to prison terms. (see also Female Nazi war criminals)

The last woman executed after being sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Else Ferrazza, condemned for the murder of her husband by the Strafkammer (criminal court) at the Landgericht (superior court) of Essen and guillotined at Dortmund on the 27th of March 1947.

Counting Germany as a single country, the last woman executed and sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Andrea Kalz, who was shot together with her husband (Detlef Kalz) at the prison of Bützow-Dreibergen on the 21st of October 1947. They had been sentenced to death by the Schwurgericht (assizes) at Schwerin for murder and robbery. That was in the part of Germany which later became the GDR.



The last woman executed was Ekaterini G. Dimitriou who was put to death by shooting for murder at an unknown place on the 10th of April 1965.



Probably the last woman executed was Lena Greta Nystedt, sentenced to death for murder and beheaded by axe at Helsinki on the 20th of April 1819. She was definitely the last person executed at Helsinki.
Unfortunately I don't have a complete list of executions of Finland.



The last confirmed female execution was that of 36 year old Teresa Szabó Simon on the 14th of August 1962, who was hanged for child murder.

Possibly the last woman executed in Hungary was Erzsébet Beszéné Bigló who was hanged for murder on the 6th of February 1969, if this indeed the correct year.

Hungary appears to have used the pole method of hanging up to abolition and the pole is preserved in a museum at 60 Andraszy Boulevard in Budapest.



The last Icelandic executions were of Fridrik Sigurdsson and Agnes Magnúsdóttir for double murder on the 12th of January 1830, by beheading at Hunavatnssyslur.  The execution block and axe have been preserved by the National Museum of Iceland. A memorial stone has been erected at the execution site.



Annie Walsh was hanged at Dublin’s Mountjoy prison on the 5th of August 1925, together with her nephew, Michael Talbot for the murder of her husband, Edward.  Click here for photo



The last woman executed in Italy was probably Laura D'Oriano, (age 30) who was sentenced to death for espionage for the Allies by the TSDS (special court for the defence of the state) and executed by shooting at Forte Bravetta in Rome on the 16th of January 1943.  The last female execution for murder was that of Columba Dagrumo who was shot by firing squad together with her male co-defendant on the 21st of January 1939 in Trani, for kidnapping and murdering a five year old girl.



The last person executed in Liechtenstein was a woman. 42 year old Barbara Erni was convicted of theft from 17 inns in Vaduz and was beheaded by sword at Güdigen, in the municipality of Eschen, on the 26th of February 1785.



The last female execution here was of Françoise Valjan, who had been sentenced to death for murder by the Cour d'assises of the Département des Foręts. She was guillotined on the 3rd of December 1806.



No woman was executed in Malta in either the 19th or the 20th century.



The last woman executed in Holland was Ans van Dijk, a 42 year old Jewish woman who was sentenced to death by the Bijzondere Gerechtshof (special court) for having betrayed about 100 Jews.  She was shot at Fort Bijlmer on the 14th of January 1948.

The last woman executed after having been sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Sara Janse Geldof, who was garroted at Middelburg on the 24th of September 1838. Male criminals were hanged at this time. Sara had killed a thirteen-year-old girl to rob her golden finery on her bonnet.



Sophie Johannesdatter was beheaded by axe on the 18th of February 1876 on the Porsneslřkken near Halden for having poisoned three persons of her employer’s family to conceal a theft.  Click here for photo.



The last confirmed female execution in Poland was that of 44 year old Halina Żurowska for espionage (probably the last woman executed in Poland).  She was a soldier in the AK (Home Army). She was sentenced during the Stalinist period in Poland.  She was executed by a single shot to the back of the head on September 21st, 1949 in Rakowiecka Street 37 Prison in Mokotów, Warsaw. The communist authorities refused to release the body to family and her burial place to this day not been found.  At least four and as many as twenty women were executed in Stalinist period 1945 - 1949, mostly for treason and espionage. Their convictions were politically motivated.

The last woman executed in Poland for war crimes was 46 year old Elizabeth Lupka who had worked in the KZ Ravensbrück and KZ Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camps. She was hanged on January 8th, 1949 at 7.05 a.m. in the Montelupich Street 7 Prison in Krakow. Her body was taken to the Medical School at the University of Krakow for use as an anatomical specimen by the students.

The last known woman executed in Poland for ordinary crimes was 40 year old Józefina Paśnik. She was accused of complicity in the murder of least seven women with her serial killer husband 37 year old Szczepan Paśnik in Warsaw area in the early 1922. They were convicted of only one murder and both executed by firing squad on the slope of the Citadel of Warsaw on April 7th, 1922 at 6.00 a.m. They were buried in an unmarked grave under the wall of the Citadel, where authorities buried all executed prisoners.



The last woman executed in Portugal was 22 year old Luiza de Jesus, executed at Coimbra on the 1st of July 1772. She was a “baby farmer” who collected unwanted children from a charity for which she received money.  She confessed to killing 28 infants, although it is thought that she murdered 33 in total. She was paraded through the streets and then garroted and her body burned.



On Christmas day 1989, Romania’s former president, Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, were shot by firing squad in Targoviste. They were convicted of genocide, undermining the national economy and other offences. Click here for photo.



The last confirmed female execution in Soviet Russia was that of Bella "Iron Bella" Borodkina. Bella Borodkina had risen from a waitress to become head of the food department in health-resort town Gelendzhik. She was accused of corruption and bribery (est. more than 1 million roubles, 850000 in pounds of 1982 ). She was part of a larger criminal ring, but the only one to be executed, in August 1985. 
The last woman executed in the USSR was 45 year old Tamara Ivanyutina, who over a period of more than 10 years poisoned dozens victims with help her parents and older sister. Personally she was accused in 9 murders, including 2 children, and 20 attempts of homicide. She was executed in Kiev, Soviet Ukraine, after 1987.  Altogether the family was responsible for 40 attempts of poisoning and 13 homicides. Her older sister got 15 years in prison, her father 11, her mother 13 years in prison (both died in jail).


Antonina Makarova was the last female executed for war crimes.  Makarova was 19 years old when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. She volunteered for the front as a machine gunner but when the Nazis swept through and destroyed her unit she wandered behind German lines until the SS arrested her and offered her food and shelter in return for her services as an executioner.  She is thought to have executed at least 1,500 people, usually in batches of 27, as this was the capacity of the local prison.  She machine gunned them as they stood in a row on the edge of the open burial pit.  After the war she was able to escape but was finally caught by the KGB - by now a respectable 55 year old woman living with her husband and going by the name Antonina Ginsberg. She was arrested in Bellarus in the summer of 1978 after 33 years of intensive research. She was sentenced death on the 20th of November 1978 in Bryansk, where she was executed by shooting on the 11 of August 1979. Click here for photo



Susan Newell, aged 30,was hanged by John Ellis at Duke Street prison, Glasgow on Wednesday, the 10th of October, 1923. She strangled newspaper boy John Johnston who would not give her an evening paper without the money. Having killed the boy, she wheeled his body through the streets on a handcart accompanied by her eight year old daughter, Janet, whose evidence helped to convict her.



The last female execution (by garrotte) took place on the 19th of May 1959, that of 28 year old Pilar Prades Expósito Santamaria, who was put to death in Valencia for the murder by poisoning, of her employer, Dońa Adela Pascual Camps, on the 18th of May 1955.  She was executed by Snr. A. López Guerra. Click here for photo.



48 year old Anna Mĺnsdotter was beheaded in Kristianstad, southern Sweden on the 7th of August 1890. In Anna's case, the blade of the axe passed through her lower jaw which was left attached to her neck afterwards. She was the last woman to be executed in Sweden and had been convicted of strangling her daughter in law, Hanna Johansdotter. Anna was having an incestuous relationship with her son, Per, who also received the death sentence for his part in the crime, which was later commuted to life in prison. Click here for photo.



The last woman executed in Switzerland was Genevičve Guénat, who was beheaded by sword for murder at Delsberg, in the canton of Bern, on the 7th of September 1861.



Rhoda Willis, also known as Leslie James, was hanged by Henry and Tom Pierrepoint at Cardiff prison on Wednesday, the 14th of August, 1907. Willis, 44, was a baby farmer and was executed for the murder of a one day old girl child by the surname of Treasure. She was the last woman to be hanged for baby farming and the last in Wales.



The last woman executed here was Visnja Pavlovic, who was shot for murder at Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina) on the 26th of November 1973.


There is, unfortunately, no information about female executions in Cyprus, Albania or Monaco.

Should you have any information on the executions of women in these countries, I would be very grateful to receive it.


Back to Contents Page