Marie Margarete (Grete) Beier was a 22 years old Fräulein from Brand - a small town just
Grete was in love with a young man, Hans Merker. Unfortunately her father - the local Mayor
- didn't approve of her love, and forced her into engagement with Kurt Pressler, a richer but
also much older man.
Grete never forgot her love to Hans, and on May 13, 1908 she poisoned Kurt and shot him in
the head making it look like a suicide. She wrote a fake suicide letter according to which she
inherited all his money.
Unfortunately her correspondence with Hans revealed her deeds. Grete had no option but
making a detailed confession and hope for clemency. None was granted, and on July 23,
1908 her head was to fall in the guillotine before the eyes of 190 especially invited gentlemen.
At precisely 6.30 a.m. a strident bell
sound gave the signal to the start
Grete's last way. Everyone's look was
directed to the backside from where,
through flowering gardens, the
condemned was supposed to appear.
Slowly she came along, at her side the
defender in the robe, to her left the
prison parson in his ornat. Grete Beier
kept the hands folded and looked to
the ground, but she walked upright the
head slightly inclined forward. She
was very pale but showed no emotion.
Slowly, almost hesitating she walked
forward. She wore a black dress, that
left her neck completely exposed.
Thus she approached her prosecuter
and the judges, who were standing at
the stairs of the guillotine next to the
executioner, dressed in black.
The executioner and an assistant
slowly led Grete to the scaffold,
whose board had been provided with
an supplementary fifth step, in order
to adapt it to Grete's small stature.
Then everything took place very fast. The buclets closed behind Grete's back. The board
was tilted into horizontal position.
At this point, looking directly into the bucket in which her head will land, she starts to loose
her self control. She cried out in a fearful and almost begging way:
Father, into your hands I lay my soul --- Father..
The ring at her neck was closed, and the blade rushed down.
The executioner took off his hat and announced to the public prosecuter, that the verdict had
been executed. The prosecuter requested the people who were present at the execution to
It took 3 minutes from the time Grete left the prison until her pretty head was off.