Sunday, April 3, 2011

Anna Marie Hahn, "Arsenic Anna"

Anna was born in Germany to the parents of Georg and Katharina Filser. She was the last of 12 children, 9 of which were male. As a young girl she had a lot of medical problems. She was hospitalized on many occasions due to numerous illnesses and was even thought to die at a few points. Being the last born, Anna was her mothers favorite and she loved this attention. However, as Anna grew up she began developing more and more disciplinary problems. She began to stray from her parents and would sneak out late at night to go to parties and be with friends. She ended up not finishing high school and was shipped off to live with her sister in Holland, hoping that her disciplinary problems would vanish ("Anna marie hahn," 2007).

Anna immigrated to Cincinnati in 1929, at the age of 23. However, before coming to America she had married an Italian doctor and had given birth to her first child. The family came to America together but her husband died soon after. Anna had family in Cincinnati and she stayed with them after her husband died. She soon met her next husband, Philip Hahn, a telegraph operator. Anna's lust for money soon began to eat away at this marriage. Her hunger for it became so strong that she began turning to arson to gain insurance money. It was then thought that Anna was plotting to kill her husband. She had repeatedly tried to take out a life insurance policy against him for $25,000. However, each time her refused. Phillip soon ended up in the hospital with an unknown illness and Anna refused to take him to the hospital or care for him. Phillip survived the illness and couple soon separated (Lohr).

Even though Anna had no previous experience of training, she began offering services as a live-in nurse to the elderly men in her German district. Her first client was Ernest Koch. When Anna began working with Koch he was perfectly healthy viable. However, soon after he began working with Anna, Koch mysteriously died, leaving Anna his house in his will. Located on the first floor of Kock's house was a doctor's office, which Anna would visit frequently to steal blank prescriptions for her "patients." Anna's next client was Albert Parker. Parker died after only a few days in Anna's care. Instead of fixing Parker's will, she conveniently borrowed money from Parker right before he died, issuing him an IOU, which disappeared right after Parker died. Anna continued to "nurse" these elder men and killing them off, one by one. Each time she gained more and more money from their deaths ("Anna marie hahn," 2005).

Anna's next patient was George Heiss. He was a rare survivor. Heiss' suspicions of Anna grew each day that she worked for him and he did not trust her. He finally realized that she was trying to kill him when one day she brought him a mug of beer and he noticed that flys were dropping dead around it. He then told her to try the beer first and she refused. Heiss fired Anna on the spot and reported his suspicions to the police ("Anna marie hahn," 2005).

Anna's final victim, Jacob Wagner was the one to get her caught. After so many deaths under Anna's watch and reports from many people about theft, there were a lot of suspicions about Anna. The autopsy report showed that he had 4 times the lethal dose of arsenic in his system. She had been poisoning him through his orange juice. Anna was arrested for Wagner's murder on August 10, 1937. The trial began on October 11, 1937 and Anna was called guilty and sentenced to death by electric chair on November 10, 1937. Anna died at 8:13 p.m. on December 7, 1938 at Ohio State Prison ("Anna marie hahn," 2007).


Anna marie hahn. (2007). Retrieved from:

Anna marie hahn. (2005, February 1). Retrived from:

Lohr, D. (n.d.). Arsenic anna: the true story of anna marie hahn. Retrieved from:

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