Slomniki, Poland

In 1674 the peasant woman, Dorota Pilecka, was accused of witchcraft by Krystyna Danielecka who was being interrogated with torture under the suspicion of witchcraft. Dorota was a peasant woman and the wife of the village cobbler. She stood accused of trading Krysyna some peas and turnips for butter. However, after the exchange, the remaining amount of Krystyna’s butter spoiled. Dorota was then tried in the village court of land-holding peasant men and the manorial lord.

In this period after the Deluge when the Polish were suffering from rampant poverty and hunger, Dorota was accused of not only spoiling Krystyna’s butter but other accusations of gathering dew from the fields and giving it to her cattle. Thus, she was increasing the milk output of her own cows while limiting the potential dairy output of her fellow peasants. Other peasants were also mad because if this dew was not consumed by their cattle, it could have provided nutrition to their crops. Therefore, Dorota also stole nutrition from their crops.

After being turned over to the Slomniki town court, as the 1673 judicial decree required (Small courts must issue capital sentences to expert magistrates of larger towns,) she was interrogated with torture. After three rounds of burning with irons she never confessed to witchcraft. Regardless, she was pronounced guilty of practicing witchcraft and breaking the First Commandment. Her crime was deemed more serious, so she was burned at the stake in Krakow.

Ostling, Michael. “Witchcraft In Poland: Milk and Malefice.” In The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft In Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, edited by Brian P. Levack, 318-321. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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slomniki, poland
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