400-Year-Old Witchcraft Trial Reopened


COLOGNE, Germany, Feb. 13 (UPI) — The trial for a woman burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft almost 400 years ago resumed Monday in Germany.

Katharina Henot was burned at the stake in Cologne in 1627 after being found guilty of practicing witchcraft, The Daily Telegraph reported.

She was arrested and tortured before being paraded through the city in an open cart before being tied to a stake and burned.

Now, a panel of city councilmen whose predecessors found Henot guilty of witchcraft hundreds of years ago will review the evidence, the British newspaper said.

The trial was instigated by Hartmut Hegeler, an evangelical pastor and religious education teacher.

It is suspected the Henot, head of the city’s post office in her time, was accused of practicing witchcraft by her rivals, the newspaper said.

“We were taking about the witch trials in class and my students asked me if whether the judgment against Henot had ever been canceled and the answer was ‘no,'” Hegeler said. “Katharina had her own reputation in high esteem; she would want to have it cleared.”

At least 25,000 Germans, mostly women, were executed for allegedly practicing black magic between 1500 and 1782, the newspaper reported.

Towns and villages across Germany are now beginning to exonerate the names of those executed in an attempt to bring a belated justice.

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