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Unlike most other cases, the Church had no part in the Witchtrials at Lindheim. On the contrary,

KONRAD HÖLKER the Vicar of Lindheim offered support and comfort to all the pitiable people,

who were accused being witches. Actually, it was the deed of a couple of men, who in their acqui-

sitiviness found a way to enrich themselves with the properties of the victims, namely the Bailiff

GEORG LUDWIG GEIS,who was both prosecutor and witchjudge, the lay assessor KRIEGER and

the hangman.

tower.jpg (16400 bytes)                     The Lindheim Witchtower

Thanks to the diary of Vicar Hölker, we have not only the names of the victims, but also

informative background material, especially about his good friends, the SCHÜLER family.

 

The Miller JOHANNES PHILIPPE SCHÜLER was a wealthy and warmhearted man,

generally highly respected for his aid to the poor of the Lindheim Community. He was married

to MARTHA, sister of Weilburg`s Vicar FRECH. MARTHA, described as a young, educated

woman with a nice appearance, was the mother of six children, namely JOHANNES,

ELISABETH, ADAM, MARGARETHE, CYRAKUS and little KATHARINA.

The Witchjudge GEIS had planned to get rid of the Schülers for quite some time, but could

not find any witnesses ready to accuse JOHANNES SCHÜLER to be a witchmaster.

At last, he could not control his desire for the Miller´s property and he arrested MARTHA,

who under torture of indescribable cruelty admitted to be guilty of having killed, together

with her midwife and five other woman, her newborn baby and prepared a witch-ointment

from the body. The truth was, that Martha had given birth to a dead child and her

innocence could also be established by opening the grave, where the body of the baby still was

found in the coffin. These facts were neglected by Geis and as soon as JOHANNES returned

to Lindheim after having informed the supremacy about GEIS´outrages, he was imprisoned

by KRIEGER and GEIS and thrown into the Witchtower together with his wife.

mill.jpg (11050 bytes)                Johannes Schüler´s Mill at Lindheim ( Rosenbach´sche Mühle)

With the help of the Vicar and his friends, JOHANNES escaped from the Tower, but MARTHA,

too weak after the torture and terrible treatment was unable to follow him. JOHANNES

SCHÜLER hesitated to leave his wife behind, but he was persuaded to do so, as he might have

a chance to put an end to the cruelties by contacting higher Authorities. A.o. he appealed to the Supreme

Court at Speyer and he also received a Letter of Protection from the Authorities represented by

HEINRICH HERMANN von OYNHAUSEN.

However,before he could return to Lindheim, he received the message, that MARTHA had been

sentenced to death by GEIS and burnt inside the Witchtower, on Feb.23rd around seven o´clock*).

JOHANNES feared to return to Lindheim and found probably a hiding-place in a cave near

Steinberg, still known as "the Miller´s Home".

As practically every family of Lindheim had lost a member or suffered from one of the most cruel witch-

persecutions known at that time, the people of Lindheim began organizing resistance against GEIS

and his equals and finally the higher Authorities put an end to the "Terroryears of Lindheim".

Before GEIS could be sentenced for his cruel deeds and theft of the victims´properties, a "higher Power"

ended his life, when he was thrown from the back of his horse and broke the neck.

kirche.jpg (10338 bytes)               The Church at Lindheim around 1650

JOHANNES SCHÜLER moved from Lindheim together with his children, which the Vicar and his wife

had taken care of. JOHANNES and Vicar HÖLKER had contact with eachother until  HÖLKER died

after 36 years as Vicar in Lindheim, but some time before his end he had the pleasure in making

following entrance in the Churchbook " married Oct.17th, JOHANNES SCHÜLER (JR), son of

Lindheim´s former Miller and ANNA BARBARA, daughter of mine,  Vicar of Lindheim".

*) acc.to researches made by Karl E Demandt, Martha Schüler might have been executed 
    by decapitation on March 1st,1664.   

by Peter Heisser,
descendant of Martha and Johannes in the 10th generation

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