22 March 1540 – Hans Kohlhase

Hans KohlhaseVengeance fuelled the lawless activities of Hans Kohlhase in Renaissance Germany. He felt let down by the law in Saxony so he decided to wreck his revenge on the area that had seen his spectacular demise.

Kohlhase is actually said to have been quite an affluent man. A merchant by trade in Brandenberg, Kohlhase was doing ok by all accounts. That was until he was jumped by the staff of a nobleman – Günter von Zaschwitz – who stole his horses and then brazenly proceeded to claim a ransom.

Shafted

Incensed by the injustice of the situation, Kohlhase begrudgingly paid the money, but vowed to pursue the unscrupulous count through the courts. Sadly the courts failed him – the merchant felt shafted by the very laws that should have protected him and so his reign of reckless revenge ensued. He teamed up with other wayward individuals – a motley crew of bandits and petty criminals and together they wrecked havoc all over Saxony, robbing and razing villages to the ground targeting travellers or doing over whole towns.

But finally the lawmen, who’d so singly failed the would-be law-abiding merchant, finally caught up with him and slapped a death sentence on him and his second-in-command – Georg Nagelschmidt. The two were strapped painfully to the breaking wheel in Berlin rendering Saxony a safer place.

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