German church apologized for burning “witches” after 400 years

German church apologized for burning "witches" after 400 years

The Catholic Church in the German town of Eichstätt apologized for burning “witches” after 400 years of silence.

From XV to XVIII century hundreds of people were brutally tortured and killed in this Bavarian town on suspicion of witchcraft. Only now has the Catholic Church of Eichstet apologized for the murders. The city’s Archbishop, Gregor Maria Franz Hanke, called those events “a bleeding wound in the history of the church” and promised to erect a plaque in memory of the victims.

In all, some 60,000 people were executed in Europe on suspicion of witchcraft, 25,000 of them in present-day Germany. Most of the victims were women, but there were also men and children.

The campaign for the rehabilitation of victims of the “witch hunt” in Germany began in 2011 at the initiative of the priest Hartmut Hegeler. Since then, authorities in more than 50 German cities, including Cologne and Leipzig, have posthumously rehabilitated those executed for witchcraft, erected plaques and monuments in their honor, and in some cases even renamed streets.