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Third copy located of a murder pamphlet: the text of a speech delivered just after the execution of Swiss child murderer Johann Arnold von Wykon.


Johann Arnold "lived in sin" with Anna Wollemann, who was pregnant with another man's child. After she had given birth to the child, Johann Arnold murdered it and "continued their sinful relationship". He was subsequently decapitated in Luzern (Switzerland) on February 21, 1846.


The pamphlet is a so-called "Standrede", a speech delivered by a cleric after the execution of a criminal to promote Christian virtues and to warn against a life of crime. Many Standreden were delivered at the very place of execution. Indeed, in the present case the murderer was still laying "im Blute", as the author notes.


Rickenbach argues that "Unzucht" (lust) reduces the sinner to an animal state, inevitably leading to moral decline and, ultimately, to murder. This metaphor, comparing the criminal to a savage animal, was apparently a popular trope in Standreden.

Child murderer Johann Arnold von Wykon decapitated in Luzern

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  • Melchior Rickenbach.

    Anrede, gehalten auf dem öffentlichen Richtplatze zu Luzern nach der Hinrichtung des Mörders Johann Arnold v. Wykon, den 21. Wintermonat 1846.

    Luzern, Gebrüder Räber, 1846. 

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