Friday, November 18, 2016
The Family Dynasty and Madame Tussard
The first executioner in the family was Cunrat Grossholz, who was originally a knacker in Zurich. From 1473, the familyGrossholz served over generations as executioners in Zurich, and one of the first persons they executed was Hans Waldmann, on 6 April 1489. Some Grossholzs moved to Baden and Winterthur, and to Alsace and Germany, where they also became executioners.
Cunrat was born in 1435 in Adliswil, Suisse. He moved to Zurich some time around 1460 where he worked as an executioner. I still haven't found any information on who his wife was but we do know that he had twin sons born in 1460 called Jakob and Peter. Jakob died in 1522.
Hans Waldmann (1435 - 6 April 1489) was mayor of Zurich and Swiss military leader. The son of apeasant in Zug, he married well and became Squire of Dubelstein. Waldmann leadthe Confederates in the Burgundian Wars defeating Charles the Bold with an armyestimated at 12,000 men. As mayor of Zurich and a representative of theoligarchs in the Confederacy, Waldmann sought to impose higher taxes onneighboring rural villages which, taken together with a disdain for his reputedaristocratic excesses, led to a peasant revolt. 500 peasants from Knonau aresaid to have toppled Waldmann as mayor in 1489. Waldmann was beheaded on April6, 1489 following accusations of financial corruption, foreign connections andsodomy!
It is unbelievable! Not only did I have a line of executioners in my family but I am also related to Madame Tussard, the wax sculpture and inventor of the wax museum. It seems we have a common relative in our family who was Cunrat or Conrad Grossholz. It seems that "knacker" is a slang word for executioner or killer. Anna Marie Grosholz was baptised in St Pierre Le Vieux Church in Strasbourg on December 7, 1761. Her father Johann Joseph Grosholz who was born on February 16, 1716 was present at her baptism. Johann Joseph who entered the military was born in to Jakob Johann Grosholz an executioner who was by no means poor. His job including killing sick animals, whipped deviants, and made use of the gallows. Johann Joseph replaced his cousin Hans Michel in 1756 and retired in 1761. Anna Marie wanted to separate her self from the stigma that her family endured. Executioners were considered untouchables by society. She relied on her Grandmothers good name for she was Eslie Barbara Fuchs the daughter of a rector, Johann Fuchs Von Rogensburg. This was very unusual for an executioner to marry above his class.