The Trial of Käthi Pfisterin at Lenzburg

It is the year 1470 and Jörg Friburger is Bernese bailiff in Lenzburg castle. The bold castle rests on a hill above the city of Lenzburg at the very eastern end of Berne's territory. When Friburger returned to Berne to get new instructions, he was told to enforce Bernese power in a stronger way and to undermine the resistance of Lenzburg against the rule of Berne. Especially the constant refusal to accept Berne's superior voice in cases of law is a constant annoyance for the small council in Berne.

Then in early July, Jörg Friburger heard rumours about a certain Käthi Pfisterin, widow of a baker in the city. She was said to have killed her unborn child in a forced abortion. This was the moment Friburger has been waiting for: a clear case to demonstrate his power! The bailiff acted fast and with decision. He sent his soldiers to arrest the sad Käthi Pfisterin and bring her up to the castle.

The maidservant Aerni Moser is throwing her newborn child into the River (Luzerner Schilling, around 1510)

That move did not sit well among the citizens of Lenzburg and especially the council members who were used to be the judges over Lenzburg; elected since ancient times by the citizens of the city. Getting a bit unsettled, bailiff Friburger called for reinforcements which arrived around the middle of the month, together with a field gun, which he ordered to be fired several times a day. Initially, the judges of Lenzburg refused to join and put Käthi Pfisterin on trial. But a handful of them finally gave in and heard his call to sit down with him in judgement. Käthi Pfisterin had admitted the crime in the meantime - under torture that is - and everything was ready for the trial ...

This is the scenario for our Lenzburg event starting on Thursday this week. If you want to know what will happen to Käthi Pfisterin, then you should come and see the Company live.


By Christian Folini, Veteran Company member.