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Gesche Margarethe GOTTFRIED






A.K.A.: "The Angel of Bremen"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Poisoner
Number of victims: 15
Date of murders: 1813 - 1827
Date of arrest: March 6, 1828
Date of birth: March 6, 1785
Victims profile: Johann Miltenberg (first husband) / Gesche Margarethe Timm (mother) / Johanna Gottfried (daughter) / Adelheid Gottfried (daughter) / Johann Timm (father) / Heinrich Gottfried (son) / Johann Timm (brother) / Michael Christoph Gottfried (second husband) / Paul Thomas Zimmermann (fiancÚ) / Anna Lucia Meyerholz (music teacher and friend) / Johann Mosees (neighbor, friend and advisor) / Wilhelmine Rumpff (landlady) / Elise Schmidt (daughter of Beta Schmidt) / Beta Schmidt (friend, maid) / Friedrich Kleine (friend, creditor)
Method of murder: Poisoning (arsenic)
Location: Bremen/Hanover, Germany
Status: Executed by guillotine on April 21, 1831. She was the last person to be publicly executed in the city of Bremen

Gesche Margarethe Gottfried, born Gesche Margarethe Timm (6 March 1785 - 21 April 1831), was a serial killer who murdered 15 people by arsenic poisoning in Bremen and Hanover, Germany, between 1813 and 1827. She was the last person to be publicly executed in the city of Bremen.

Gottfried's victims included her parents, her two husbands, her fiancÚ and her children. Before being suspected and convicted of the murders, she garnered widespread sympathy among the inhabitants of Bremen because so many of her family and friends fell ill and died. Because of her devoted nursing of the victims during their time of suffering, she was known as the "Angel of Bremen" until her murders were discovered.


  • 1 October 1813: Johann Miltenberg (first husband)

  • 2 May 1815: Gesche Margarethe Timm (mother)

  • 10 May 1815: Johanna Gottfried (daughter)

  • 18 May 1815: Adelheid Gottfried (daughter)

  • 28 June 1815: Johann Timm (father)

  • 22 September 1815: Heinrich Gottfried (son)

  • 1 June 1816: Johann Timm (brother)

  • 5 July 1817: Michael Christoph Gottfried (second husband)

  • 1 June 1823: Paul Thomas Zimmermann (fiancÚ)

  • 21 March 1825: Anna Lucia Meyerholz (music teacher and friend)

  • 5 December 1825: Johann Mosees (neighbor, friend and advisor)

  • 22 December 1826: Wilhelmine Rumpff (landlady)

  • 13 May 1827: Elise Schmidt (daughter of Beta Schmidt)

  • 15 May 1827: Beta Schmidt (friend, maid)

  • 24 July 1827: Friedrich Kleine (friend, creditor; murdered in Hanover)


Gesche Gottfried, German Serial Killer, Catches Herself Some Mice

By Maria Olsen -

May 13, 2009

Gesche, or Gesina, Gottfried was a German serial poisoner who murdered at least 15 people in Bremen and Hanover during the period 1813 through 1827. Her poison of choice was a mixture of arsenic and fat (called 'mouse butter' as it was usually used to kill mice) and her victims of choice were mainly her relatives and friends.

Called the Angel of Bremen, she was a perverted Pied Piper who lured her loved ones to doom and was also the last person to be publicly executed in Bremen. She was a woman of overriding ambition, and, once she had identified what it was that she wanted she would not let anything - including parents, husbands and children - stand in her way.

She believed in the tortoise's course rather than the hare's and slowly and steadily administered small doses of arsenic to her victims until they died, all the while nursing them and publicly proclaiming her grief over her family members' inexplicable illnesses.

She killed her first victim, her husband Johann Miltenberg, in 1813 when it became clear to her that he was dissipating the inheritance that he had received from his father and which was their only means of support. Thereafter she set her sights on marrying Michael Christoph Gottfried and, during the course of a few months in 1815, ruthlessly and systematically got rid of everyone who may have posed a threat to her union with Gottfried. "Everyone" included both of her parents and all three of the children that she had had with Miltenberg.

Her twin brother, Johann, met his match in a dish of shellfish flavored with arsenic after he unexpectedly returned home in 1816 following a stint in the army and demanded his rightful share of the inheritance that Gesina had received from their parents. Her second husband, Gottfried, joined the list of the lost shortly after he married Gesina and she immediately inherited all of his property. Another seven people were to be added to this fatal list before she was apprehended and almost all of them were her close friends or relatives.

Gesina finally became careless, however, and a strange white substance was found on food that she had prepared for friends. This substance was identified as arsenic by a local doctor and, on March 6th 1828, Gesina was arrested on suspicion of murder. She remained incarcerated for the next three years but was finally sentenced to death for her crimes and was beheaded on April 21st 1831.

A local custom was for the condemned to drink a final glass of wine before stepping into history and, in a surprise move, Gesina took only one sip and then offered the rest to the judges presiding over the execution. Whether or not the glass contained a smattering of 'mouse butter', and whether or not the judges drank from it, was not recorded...


Gesche Gottfried's death mask.



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