Melcher Hedloffs sonst Schütze=Melcher genannt… verübete und begangene Mord=Thaten. Melchior HEDLOFF.

Melcher Hedloffs sonst Schütze=Melcher genannt… verübete und begangene Mord=Thaten.

Wrocław (Breslau), G. Gründer at the Baumann Printing Shop for K. Klosemann 1654.

4to. Frontis., [i], [21]p. Engraved frontispiece of Hedloff armed to the teeth in the woods with scenes of his crimes in the background.


Not up for a good citizenship award.
     First Edition. After extended military service in the Thirty Years’ War, Hedloff returned to civilian life some fifty miles northeast of Wrocław. He married, had a daughter and took up poaching and petty theft. He swiftly descended to exceptionally bloody highway robbery, working with long gun and saber, the former to kill and the latter to mutilate his victims after removing their property. Arrested 2 November 1653, he, his wife and daughter were interrogated and tortured. The women admitted their roles. His wife Anna died under torture and the daughter after being broken on the wheel (she allegedly provided Melchior the heart of a child to eat).
     Hedloff ended his career on 19 January 1654 in the Oleśnica market square in a wild public spectacle. His fingers were torn off one at a time — he was skinned alive and the exposed flesh cauterized to prevent him from bleeding to death. He was then dragged around the square, his bones broken, his heart cut out, his body quartered and pieces distributed to the square’s four corners for “entertainment”.
     The above account follows the fifteen-page chronological list of his crimes — two hundred fifty-one murders in all. The entries record the places where they occurred, the class or trade of the victim and details of the stolen property — cash, horse, firearms, merchandise, clothing…. Three codex versions of this colorful biography have survived (one example outside Germany and Austria). In good condition (paper browned).
¶See VD17 14:018210N & VD17 12:629682R.

Item #11038

Price: $5,500.00