Anna Marie Hahn – Arsenic Anna

Anna Marie Hahn (July 7, 1906 in Bavaria, Germany – December 7, 1938 at the Ohio State Penitentiary) was a German-born American serial killer. The youngest of 12 children, as a teenager she had an affair with a Viennese physician, or so she claimed – no records have been found of a Viennese doctor by the name she gave. They had a son she called Oskar. Her scandalized family sent her to America in 1929, while her son remained in Bavaria. While staying with relatives Max and Anna Doeschel in Cincinnati, she met fellow German immigrant Philip Hahn; they married in 1930. Anna Marie returned to Germany to get Oscar. Philip wanted to leave his job, so the couple saved their money and opened two delicatessens. Anna’s aunt and uncle died and left her their home. Anna and Philip had their share of problems, most of which revolved around Anna’s hunger for money. Anna tired of her duties operating the couple’s delicatessens, and worked on moneymaking schemes.  Arson was Anna’s first choice, as there were three suspicious fires on the books; the first of which occurred at one of the delicatessens. Anna collected $300 from the insurance company.  The other fires both took place at the Hahn residence. Anna collected $2000 for both fires. One of Anna’s schemes required the death of her husband. Anna tried to secure a $25,000 life insurance policy on her husband, but he refused. Philip became ill. Although Philip survived his mysterious illness, the marriage continued to suffer and the couple separated.

Hahn allegedly began poisoning and robbing elderly men and women in Cincinnati’s German community to support her gambling habit. Ernst Kohler, who died on May 6, 1933, was her first victim. Hahn befriended him shortly before his death; he left her a house in his will. Her next victim, Albert Parker, 72, also died after she began caring for him. Prior to Parker’s death, she signed an I.O.U. for $2,000 that she borrowed from him, but after his death the document “disappeared.”  Anna approached Jacob Wagner, 78, and claimed to be a long lost niece. The elderly man knew he had no living relatives but allowed her to help him with his chores. Jacob died on June 3, 1937 leaving $17,000 cash to his “beloved niece” Hahn. She began caring for 67-year-old George Gsellman of Cincinnati. For her service before his death July 6, 1937, she received $15,000.

Georg Obendoerfer, a retired shoemaker and father of three recently separated from his wife.  He was the last to die, on August 1, 1937, after he traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado with Hahn and her son. Family members were also shocked by his sudden death, stating he had been in excellent health.  Anna had known George and the two had been dating. Police said that Obendoerfer “died in agony just after Mrs. Hahn had bent over his deathbed inquiring his name, professing she did not know the man.”  Her son testified that he, his mother, and Obendoerfer traveled to Colorado by train from Cincinnati and Obendoerfer got sick en route. An autopsy revealed high levels of arsenic in Obendoerfer’s body. Confronted with this evidence, Anna admitted she knew George.  She claimed to have met him in a shoe shop, but denied the two were involved in a relationship. Anna claimed she met George on the train and they were to the same place.  According to Anna, she and George shared a room once they got to their destination in Colorado Springs. After arriving at the hotel, George became ill and went to the hospital. Anna claimed to have had no further contact with him after that. Watch Anna Marie Hahn.

62-year-old George Heis came forward to police after seeing reports in the newspaper. He met Anna a year earlier. Heis became suspicious of Anna when he became violently ill after drinking a beer she poured for him.  Exhumations of two of her clients revealed they had been poisoned. Hahn was convicted after a four-week trial in November 1937 and sentenced to death in Ohio’s electric chair, the first woman ever to be executed in Ohio. The day of her execution Anna spent much of her time writing four separate letters, which she later handed to her attorneys. The letters Anna were full confessions: God above will tell me what made me do these terrible things.   I couldn’t have been in my right mind when I did them.   I loved all people so much.   Now I am so close to death. Her emotions became more difficult and she was a wreck by the time prison authorities arrived to walk her down to the death chamber. “Oh heavenly father!   Oh God!   Oh God!   I can’t go!   I won’t go!” she cried out. She was unable to walk to the chamber and had to rely on the guards to help her. As they made their way into the death chamber Anna passed out and collapsed. Officials revived her with an ammonia capsule and then strapped her into the chair.  “Don’t do this to me,” she cried out.   “Oh, no, no, no. Warden Woodard, don’t let them do this to me. Please don’t. Think of my boy. Won’t someone, won’t anyone, come and do something for me?  Isn’t there anybody to help me?  Is nobody going to help me?” The switch was thrown and Anna was pronounced dead at 8:13 p.m. She was buried on unconsecrated ground in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Columbus. Watch Female Serial Killers

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