Business Law I
February 10, 2015
Women on Death Row: Anna Hahn
Anna Marie Hahn, also known as “Arsenic Anna” was born on July 7, 1906 in Bavaria, Germany. She moved to America—Cincinnati, Ohio to be exact—in 1929 at the age of 23. Her first marriage was to a doctor from Vienna, whom she had a son with named Oskar. Her husband died shortly after arriving into the United States. She decided to stay with her aunt and uncle in the Cincinnati German District, where she can start fresh on a new path. She met her 2nd husband, Philip Hahn, a telegraph operator, at a community dance at the Hotel Alms. Desperately wanting to leave his job, the Hahn’s decided to open up two delicatessens, and they received the ownership to Anna’s aunt and uncle’s house, which died shortly after the open of the Hahn’s business.
Anna had a strong hunger for money. Quickly becoming tired of working one of the delicatessens, she decided to take the route of trying different moneymaking schemes. Getting her hands onto arson, there were three different incidents of fires. The first one was at the delicatessen she was operating. While there was minimal damage, she still got a good $300 out of the insurance company. The other two incidents of fires took place at her residence on the dates of June 2, 1935 and May 20, 1936. The total amount she managed to collect for both of these fires were $2000. Anna tried to take out a $25,000 life insurance policy on her husband on two different occasions. He refused to allow her to do so. Peculiarly after, he fell desperately ill and was taken to the hospital by his mother (keep in mind, Anna did not want him taken to the hospital). Phillip did live, but the Hahn’s marriage did not and the eventually departed. She then began working as a visiting nurse for elderly patients. This is what leads us into Arsenic Anna’s life.
Anna Hahn was connected to many murders of elderly men, including 78 year old Jacob Wagner. She told the police that she was his visiting nurse and that he had died and left his entire estate to Anna Hahn. His death was listed as heart disease, but a friend of his kept pushing for the police to investigate deeper into the case. It turns out that Anna approached Wagner, saying that she was his long lost niece, when he knew for a fact that he had no living relatives but decided soon decided to let her help him with things around the house. Neighbors of Wagner claimed to have spent several hours in Wagner’s apartment after his death. Moving onto the next victim, Anna befriended Olive Luella Koehler, an elderly lady who lived in the same apartment building as Wagner. Investigators learned that Anna became friends with her, which included her bring her ice cream cone treats. After consuming one of the treats, Mrs. Koehler had to be admitted to the hospital. It is not surely known if the ice cream had anything to do with her becoming sick, but oddly while she was in the hospital, some of her valuables had been stolen from her residence.
As the case is coming along, the investigators suspect Anna that she is poisoning her elderly patients to steal their money and valuables. In the year of 1937, right before Anna was to take a trip to Colorado, another mysterious death had presented. 67-year-old George Gsellman died in his room, suspiciously right after his last visit with Anna. Investigators jumped to the case quickly, taking the opportunity to do a full autopsy to find out the reason of death. Metallic poison was found in his body, croton oil, which was a home remedy back then. It is not harmful when given in small doses, but when abused, it can cause “an intense burning pain in mouth, throat, and abdomen; excessive salivation, vomiting and diarrhea with tenseness and passage of blood" (Stedman’s Medical Dictionary). Anna’s ex-husband Philip decided to come forth with a bottle of croton oil he had found while they were living together. He had hid it at his job since he...
Cited: Lohr, David. "Arsenic Anna :The True Story of Anna Marie Hahn." Crime Library. N.p., n.d.
Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
Stedman 's Medical Dictionary, by Thomas Lathrop Stedman; January 15, 2000, Lippincott,
Williams & Wilkins; ISBN: 068340007X
The Cincinnati Crime Book, by George Stimson; July 1, 1998, Peasenhall Press; ISBN:
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