Chapter 6 Transgressing Social Order: Mobile Men and Women

In: Crime, Gender and Social Control in Early Modern Frankfurt am Main
Jeannette Kamp
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The previous chapters have shown that migrant women were among the most vulnerable to be prosecuted in early modern Frankfurt. Historians have shown how the relatively independent position of women in cities contributed to their likeliness of breaking the law. At the same time, as Andrew Lees and Lynn Hollen Lees reminded us, cities were not only places of relative independence, but of discipline and control as well.1 It is precisely this tension between the city as a place of social mobility and relative freedom versus a place of regulation and surveillance that shaped the experiences of female offenders. There were considerable differences, however, in the level of control urban authorities imposed on their inhabitants. The highest levels of female offenders in the early modern period were found in large urban centres with relatively open migration regimes like London and Amsterdam. The urban authorities of these cities were reluctant to impose restrictions on the settlement of migrants because it might have prevented many from moving there, while the cities’ economies depended on a continuous influx of labour.2 A considerable proportion of the incoming migrants were female, many of whom were single, who were attracted to the possibilities of the diverse labour market and relatively generous relief provisions.3 Historians like Peter King and Manon van der Heijden have argued that these migration patterns greatly contributed to the high level of female involvement in crime in these cities.4

Germany, on the other hand, was a region with relative strong institutional control of mobility. More than elsewhere, the right of permanent settlement in cities was connected to the institution of citizenship (Bürgerschaft). For others the right to stay and/or entitlement to community rights was limited or denied completely depending on their legal status.5 At the same time, authorities often imposed moral and religious restrictions on access to citizenship, which was strongly associated with the establishment of a new household. The latter had become increasingly important from the sixteenth century onwards and was perceived by the authorities as the key institution to preserve the urban social order.6 Jan Lucassen and Piet Lourens found that the dues and additional requirements (i.e. proof of legitimate birth) were much higher in German cities than in the Dutch provinces, particularly in Holland, for obtaining citizenship.7 Moreover, Sheilagh Ogilvie found that, because of the stronger social and institutional restrictions, female mobility in early modern Germany was penalised more harshly than elsewhere in Europe. This was closely linked to attempts to regulate independent, unmarried women. Ogilvie stated that while such regulations were also found elsewhere in Europe in the sixteenth century, they were progressively abandoned in the following centuries in contrast to Germany where instead they intensified.8

Thus, to gain a better understanding of differences in women’s involvement in recorded crime throughout early modern Europe, it is crucial to take a closer look at the way mobility was regulated. How did perceptions about gender influence the norms and control mechanisms that were implemented by the authorities to regulate migration over the course of the early modern period? And how did these influence the patterns of prosecuted crime of men and women in Frankfurt? In order to answer these questions, this chapter investigates the way that people who transgressed the mobility norms implemented by Frankfurt’s authorities were prosecuted. The first part of this chapter focuses on the various police ordinances that were issued by the authorities against vagrancy and begging in Frankfurt, as well as on the regulation of migration to the city in general. The chapter then investigates how these attitudes influenced the policing efforts of the authorities, and how this affected the position of migrant men and women. Finally, the last section of this chapter is devoted to understanding how exclusion from communities was gendered by examining the breach of banishment as a case study. Studying this typical early modern crime is particularly suitable to investigate the position of mobile women. Were they more affected by this punishment than men because of the norms that discriminated against independent women?

1 Migration and the Importance of Settledness in Frankfurt

In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to study the framework within which the regulation of migration developed, and how this shaped distinctions between insiders and outsiders of the urban community. From the sixteenth century onwards, mobile poor and travelling groups were increasingly subjected to regulation and criminalisation as a result of growing public and official concern. The growing animosity towards impoverished outsiders was closely linked to major changes in the organisation of poor relief throughout early modern Europe.9 The key aspects of these reforms rested on two principles: first, (centralised) care for the community’s own deserving poor, and, second, the exclusion of (foreign) beggars.10 Between 1522 and 1530 more than 25 poor relief reforms were implemented in German cities, including Frankfurt.11 Moreover, in 1530 an imperial police ordinance was implemented that stipulated that every parish was obliged to take care of the deserving poor within their own community and to allow only their own disabled and feeble members to beg for assistance.12

One of the logical consequences of organising poor relief based on these principles was the necessity to define ‘belonging’. In other words: who had the right to relief and who did not? Joanna Innes, Steven King and Anne Winter differentiated between three different types of leading principles that authorities employed to define belonging in early modern Europe: work-based systems, where settlement was granted based on employment status (e.g. completed apprenticeships, guild membership and so on); residence-based systems, where settlement was granted after a period of continuous and uninterrupted residence; and finally, birth-based systems. In most places, hybrid systems evolved with multiple criteria for settlement and subsequently multiple levels of access to urban provisions, including poor relief.13

One of the characteristics of early modern Germany was that citizenship (Bürgerschaft) was more defining in regulating belonging than elsewhere, and that is was more strongly associated with notions of the well-ordered household.14 German authorities placed increasing importance on belonging and settledness (Sesshaftigkeit). Settledness can be defined as having a fixed place of residency accompanied with legal incorporation into a community, either as a burgher or resident alien. This was closely linked to a model of social order in which everyone was incorporated within a household, preferably governed by a male head of the household, or at least subjected to a legal community in some shape or form.15 Settledness not only meant obligations (paying taxes, etc.), but also that one could put a claim on the authority’s responsibility to provide protection (Schutz) to their members. According to Heinz Schilling, this was one of the basic principles of the Stadtrepublikanismus, or urban republicanism, that existed in the Free Imperial Cities of the Holy Roman Empire.16

In Frankfurt, only citizens and resident aliens (Beisassen) were entitled to communal relief.17 In order to prevent destitute people from being able to have access to the city’s poor relief funds, the city council linked the admission of foreigners to citizenship and the obtaining of settlement as a resident alien to wealth. For new citizens (thus not locally born burgher sons), the required minimum asset varied between 50 Guilders and 100 Guilders in the early modern period. For resident aliens, the requirements were even stricter: they were obliged to have a minimum of 500 Guilders in assets.18 In addition to this, foreigners that acquired citizenship had to guarantee that they would not claim relief for four years. The same applied for resident aliens, who only formed a minority of the city’s inhabitants. According to the Beisassenrecht (law relating to resident aliens) of the late sixteenth century, they were not entitled to poor relief for the first couple of years.19 Foreigners (Fremde) were not eligible to claim structural relief at all. Moreover, various police ordinances either explicitly or implicitly defined who the authorities of Frankfurt considered as deserving the protection (Schutz) of the city, and could therefore call on the city council to protect and defend their rights and personal security.20 All burghers and their families, resident aliens and their families, Jews with citizenship and their families, the city’s soldiers and their families, and, finally, foreigners who had received permission to stay in the city belonged to the city’s protected community (Schutzgemeinschaft).21 Domestic servants and journeymen, on the other hand, were not listed because they were considered to belong to the protection of either the household or the guild. Unless they belonged to one of the categories described above, they had no formal Schutzverhältnis to Frankfurt.22

Differentiating between various levels of belonging required an administrative framework to monitor the movement of people from and to the city, their (possible) settlement and a registration system to examine their legal status. Having employment was a necessary condition for foreigners to be allowed to stay in the city, as it guaranteed that they would be subjected to the authority of the head of the household or the guilds instead of wandering around begging. Foreigners that did not work as domestic servants or journeymen—and were therefore not incorporated in a household—were required to register and ask formal permission from the authorities, otherwise their stay was restricted to a period ranging from three to eight days.23 In 1593, the city council established the Inquisitionsamt, presided by three council members, to oversee the admission of citizenship and residency for registered aliens, as well as reviewing requests of foreigners to stay in the city for a limited period of time. In the eighteenth century, the Inquisitionsamt was incorporated with the Schatzungsamt, the tax office.24 Apart from this office, which was after all only meant to monitor those that settled in the city, the city council implemented a whole set of regulations aimed at controlling migration. These included efforts to control places of arrival (city gates, inns and taverns), requiring the neighbourhood burgher captains to monitor and register local population movements, and the increasing demanded for documentation (registration at the city gates and inns; issuing gate passes; requesting the possession of identification documents).25

These regulations were implemented from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, but intensified from the late seventeenth century. To compare: cities in the province of Holland only started to experiment with the implementation of law to restrict settlement from the second half of the seventeenth century onwards, during a period of economic decline. However, the urban authorities quickly abandoned the restrictions because they were unable to implement them. And in Amsterdam authorities refrained from implementing exclusionary settlement regulations because they feared this would put off migrant labourers from coming to the city.26 Lynn Hollen Lees found that compared to early modern England, German towns employed more developed mechanisms to control and regulate the entry- and residence of strangers.27

Despite the desire to control and restrict the movement of newcomers, demographic necessity meant that early modern cities depended on incoming migration, as they could generally not reproduce themselves naturally before the nineteenth century.28 Data on the geographical background of citizens in early modern Germany demonstrate that the majority were usually born elsewhere.29 Reliable estimates about the size of the burgher population in Frankfurt are only available for the second half of the eighteenth century (table 17). In 1785, the entire citizenry, including female citizens, burgher sons and daughters accounted for approximately 50 percent of the inhabitants. Full citizens (i.e. those that could claim political rights based on their status because they were male) only accounted for close to 12 percent.30 For the most part, burghers did not originate from the city itself: 56.3 percent of the admissions between 1600–1735 were immigrants.31 The Beisassen, who were heavily restricted in their economic and political opportunities, formed only a minority in the city.32 Only about 4.9 percent of the population in 1785 was registered as a resident alien. The third group that was legally incorporated in the city’s community were the Jews with formal rights of residency (Stättigkeit) ca. 8.2 percent of the population.33 Their movement in the city was restricted as they were only allowed to settle in the Judengasse, but they possessed a certain degree of autonomy and self-rule. Outside the walls of the Jewish Ghetto, however, they faced heavy political, economic, and social restrictions and discrimination.

table 17

Composition of the population according to legal status, 1785–1810

Year Inhabitants Full Citizens Resident Aliens Jews
1785 36,400 4,200 11.5% 1,800 4.9% 3,000 8,2%
1795 37,000 4,360 11.8% 1,500 4.1% 2,969 8%
1805 37,000 4,520 12.2% 1,200 3.2% 2,939 7,9%
1810 40,485 4,680 11.6% 994 2.5% 2,214 5,5%
source: roth, ‘blühende handel’, 362

Thus, a considerable proportion of the city’s inhabitants was born elsewhere and had migrated to Frankfurt at some point in their lifetime. Unfortunately, there is little information about the geographical, economic, and socio-cultural background of migrants coming to Frankfurt. In the late sixteenth century, religious refugees from the Low Countries found their way to the city, and boosted the local economy. At the peak of the refugee migration, the Flemish-Walloon community counted approximately 3000 to 3500 people that settled in the city permanently on a total population of 20,000. Although they were initially granted to establish their own church within the city borders, this was later prohibited and they moved their church to Bockenheim, in the vicinity of the city.34 In the seventeenth century, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Frankfurt faced new crowds of religious refugees as approximately 70,000 Huguenots passed through the city on to other destinations. Due to the restrictions on the freedom of worship, Frankfurt was not attractive for permanent settlement, but it offered support and protection for the time being.35 It is known for other cities in Europe, that (migrant) churches were important for migrants as support networks and enabled their integration into the city by providing assistance in times of need.36 Johannes Müller found that in Frankfurt too, religious networks played an important role in the integration of refugees from the Low Countries in the urban community.37

The lion’s share of migration directed towards Frankfurt during this period was life-cycle dependent labour migration: journeymen, day labourers and domestic servants.38 We know even less about the integration patterns and socio-cultural background of regular migrants to Frankfurt, than we know about the religious refugees. Studies have shown that women made up a considerable part of the migration to cities in early modern Germany, and could even exceed male migration.39 According to Rainer Koch, the number of migrant women (excluding those that had acquired citizenship or become resident aliens) in eighteenth-century Frankfurt was about 9,000. This is equal to a quarter of the total population, and more than half of all the foreigners (Fremde) in the city. However, the reasoning on which he based this estimate is unclear.40 More reliable data are available about the percentage of migrant women among new citizens. In Frankfurt, about 8.7 percent of the men born locally who acquired citizenship between 1600 and 1735 were married to a woman who had been born elsewhere, and consequently migrated to the city. The number of migrant men acquiring citizenship who married a non-native woman was slightly higher at 10.4 percent. In total, 31.5 percent of the non-natives that became burghers within this period were women, most of them through marriage but some on their own account.41

Frankfurt’s city council was regularly caught between conflicting interests with regard to the regulation of migration. They needed to consider the majority of the burgher community, who demanded that the city council implement protectionist regulations to preserve the economic position of the guild. Throughout the early modern period, burghers demanded increasing economic restrictions for resident aliens, whereas the authorities at times opted for a more open migration policy to draw in wealthy migrants. This led to tensions between the burgher community and the city council on several occasions.42 At the same time, implementing too many restrictions on entry to the city would also hinder its economy as Frankfurt depended on free access to the city in order to maintain its function as a centre for trade. In general, however, it appears that the city council was keen on implementing and enforcing regulations, although they often lacked the resources and institutional back up to do so.43

2 Vagrancy Laws and the Labelling of Unwanted Mobility

In addition to the establishment of settlement policies that regulated and enforced the differentiation between insiders and outsiders, the local authorities in Frankfurt—like elsewhere in early modern Europe—implemented further methods of control and repression aimed directly at wandering groups.44 At the end of the fifteenth century, the city council of Frankfurt implemented legislation to ban foreign beggars from the city for the first time.45 In order to be able to differentiate between local and non-local beggars, the city council implemented the use of special identification badges.46 The city’s beadles were responsible for policing the streets and expelling foreign beggars from the city. These regulations formed the legal framework for the exclusion of foreigners considered to be undesirable to the urban community by the city council.47 In the seventeenth century, begging regulations became even stricter and in 1679 the city’s poorhouse was established.48 According to the ordinance this was done with the aim of abolishing the shameful begging on the streets (‘umb das schändliche Gassenbettlen abzuschaffen’). From now on, journeymen unable to find work, foreign beggars and other vagrants (‘Bettler und andere Vaganten’) had to report to the poorhouse where—after careful examination of each person’s individual character and circumstances—they would receive some travel money (Viatico/Zehrpfennig) in order to leave Frankfurt. Those that failed to do so were arrested and expelled from the city.49 Throughout the eighteenth century, the city council (re-)issued ordinances against begging repeatedly, a sign that they failed to tackle the problem completely.50

Simultaneous to regulations that were specifically aimed at begging, there was a development in which the mobility of unsettled people in general, and of ethnic minorities (Jews and gypsies) in particular, became subjected to control, discrimination and subsequent criminalisation.51 After the city council issued some general regulations in the early seventeenth century, in which innkeepers were strictly forbidden to house any wandering suspicious people or beggars under penalty of paying a significant fine and even risking the loss of citizenship, the ordinances became of a more repressive and discriminatory nature in the late 1660s and the 1670s.52 This first peak of repressive policing against wandering groups was directly related to the plague epidemic of 1666/67. ‘Beggars, tramps, vagrants, itinerant artists, sick and in general all the loose and riff-raff’ were seen as a massive threat for public health, as their uncontrollable movement meant they could easily have carried the disease from contaminated places to the city.53 Throughout the period, unsettled Jews (Betteljuden) in particular (especially Eastern European Jews) were linked to the spread of diseases.54 The link between controlling epidemics and intensified prosecution of wandering groups was common throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Similar developments, for example are visible in Frankfurt’s neighbouring territory of Kurmainz, and continued throughout the eighteenth century.55

In the eighteenth century, the city council regularly implemented general ordinances that demanded the expulsion of vagrants. In 1706 they ordered the banishment of all ‘useless and masterless scum, […] but in particular the so-called gypsies’.56 Other general ordinances followed in 1708, 1709, 1714, 1717, 1723, 1729, 1738, 1742, 1749 and 1753.57 None of these regulations formulated clear definitions as to who should be prosecuted and who should not. Some of the regulations aimed at a certain group in particular (e.g. gypsies in the beginning of the eighteenth century and Jews in the late seventeenth century). The majority of the ordinances, however, used a more general and all-inclusive terminology, such as Gesindel (scum), Vaganten, Landstreicher (vagrants) and Bettler (beggars). These terms were accompanied by adjectives like leichtfertig (frivolous); liederliche (loose), verdächtig (suspicious), unzüchtig (bawdy), herrenloß (masterless), müssiggehend (idle), gottlos (godless), and verrucht (wicked). What was criminalised, therefore, was not so much an act, but rather a state of being. During the eighteenth century this state of being became increasingly associated with and equated to criminal behaviour. Beggars were associated with property offences, while vagrants and (in particular) gypsies were accused of even more serious offences such as robbery, arson, and—in times of war—espionage.58

On top of the layer of local ordinances issued by Frankfurt’s city council itself was a layer of supra-regional ordinances issued by the Oberrheinischer Kreis.59 General ordinances against vagrancy (Poenalordnungen) were issued by the Kreis amongst others in 1709, 1711, 1722, 1726, 1728, 1748 and 1763.60 They regulated cooperation between the members of the Kreis, and made the prosecution of vagrants a communal effort and obligation, through collective patrols, etc. The ordinances of the Oberrheinischer Kreis used a similar stigmatising semantic towards vagrants as Frankfurt’s city council employed in their local legislation. However, the regulations were much more far-reaching. In contrast to Frankfurt, where expulsion and forced labour were the only punishments formulated in the ordinances, the Poenalordnungen of the Oberrheinischer Kreis stipulated branding and even hanging as punishments for incorrigible vagrants.

In general, Frankfurt did not impose such severe punishments, and there are only a handful of references to offenders who were branded according to the Poenalordnungen of the Oberrheinischer Kreis in the criminal records.61 Although it was rare for the magistrates in Frankfurt to brand offenders or impose the death penalty based on the ordinances of the Oberrheinischer Kreis, the ordinances did form the legal basis upon which Frankfurt expelled many offenders. It also led to increased cooperation between Frankfurt and other members of the Oberrheinischer Kreis in terms of policing. Because these patrols were mainly concerned with controlling the rural territories, they were of little influence on the policing in the city. Sometimes, however, vagrants arrested in the countryside were transported to Frankfurt for interrogation.62 Overall, however, Frankfurt does not appear as an important actor in large-scale operations rounding up beggars and vagrants from the territory. Compared to some of the vagrancy removals known particularly from Southern Germany or Austria, the prosecution efforts of Frankfurt and the neighbouring territories appear to be less excessive.63

The strong institutional restrictions in early modern Germany did not necessarily lead to less mobility (as has been suggested in the past), but it did create a framework with a clearer legal and semi-legal differentiation between insiders and outsiders.64 Due to the territorial fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire and the restrictive settlement laws of urban and territorial authorities, it took very little for people to become ‘unsettled’ legally, compared with more centralised states like France or England. According to Leo Lucassen, itinerant groups were much more likely to be excluded as a result of these settlement regimes and much more vulnerable to criminalisation than elsewhere.65

3 Controlling Male and Female Mobility: Diverging Approaches

A closer look at the settlement regulations and vagrancy laws in early modern Frankfurt, reveals that they produced a gendered labelling of ‘dangerous’ mobility. Moreover, perceptions about gender influenced the way that authorities regulated migration. As a result of this, regulations to control mobility and supress vagrancy worked out differently for men and women. An analysis of the framing of unwanted mobility in the vagrancy laws, and the regulatory framework concerned with migration shows that men were both at the core of images about dangerous mobility, and that at the same time male (labour) migration was much more institutionalised and considered as the norm.

The language employed by the authorities in vagrancy laws (as well as regulations concerning mobility in general) was often written from the perspective that men were the main target that needed to be addressed. Most ordinances used masculine nouns: Landstreicher, Bettler, Vaganten, etc.66 This does not mean that women were excluded from these regulations. On the contrary, authorities apparently felt the need to specifically mention that women were included as well: both in the local ordinances as well as in the ordinances of the Oberrheinischer Kreis. Frankfurt’s begging ordinance of 1729 stated that: ‘no person, young or old, foreign or local, sick or healthy, regardless of their constitution or sex, should be tempted to beg for alms’.67 In the Poenalordnung of 1748, directed at ‘das Land-verderbliche Ziegeuner- Jauner- und anderes Diebs- Raub- Mord- wie auch Herrnlose- liederliche Bettel-Gesindel und Landstreicher’, it was not until the sixth article of the ordinance that it stated that all regulations should also apply to women.68 Apparently the terminology and stereotypes employed made it necessary to explicitly state that these regulations also included women.

Such differences may seem superficial, but were in practice influential. According to Karl Härter, authorities employed different labelling tactics for each gender. They were more likely to frame men who were wandering around in pairs or small groups as organised gangs of robbers, or to attribute labels as gypsy or ‘beggar Jew’ (Betteljuden) and prosecuted them criminally in turn. Women, on the other hand, were less likely to be framed as dangerous criminals, both by the authorities as well as the local population, and could count on support and generosity instead. This gender-specific labelling strategy of vagrancy as a sign of organised criminal activity for men vs. survival strategy for women influenced the age structure of vagrants. In Kurmainz hardly any men aged over 50 were arrested for vagrancy. Härter, argued that this was due to the fact that vagrant men were more likely to be sentenced to capital punishment because the authorities had labelled them as dangerous thieves and robbers, whereas women could count on more mercy.69

Perhaps even more important with regard to gender differences in the regulation of migration was the fact that all the ordinances associated the nomadic existence of journeymen with begging and vagrancy. Or, perhaps to put it more precisely, the ordinances considered the unregulated moving of young artisans in search of work to be a problem that was closely associated with their attempts to suppress begging. The tradition of journeymen moving as part of their apprenticeship and professional life was not only crucial for urban economies in Central Europe, but also shaped gendered perceptions of mobility. As Merry Wiesner stated, journeymen shared a self-identity and ideal of masculinity which was centred on independence and connected to mobility. For women, however, these qualities were not tolerated at all. A sixteenth-century author wrote that ‘one thinks highly of journeymen who have wandered, but absolutely nothing of maids who have done so’.70

Over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, authorities aimed to regulate journeymen’s mobility, as they were increasingly seen as a potential risk for public order. More than any other group of labour migrants, the mobility of journeymen was highly institutionalised and controlled by guilds.71 In Frankfurt, every journeyman entering the city was required to go directly to his Gesellenherberge (a lodging house for his own particular guild) and report to the Stubenvatter. If there was no designated inn for his particular craft, the journeyman was not allowed to choose his lodging freely, but had to report to the senior master of the guild. This master would supervise his search for a new service and make sure the journeymen would not go around begging. In order to prevent unemployed journeymen from staying too long in town, they were only allowed to stay in the lodgings for a restricted period of time, usually—depending on the guild—to eight days.72 In addition to carrying passports, which were increasingly required for everyone in the early modern period, journeymen had to carry written attestations from former employers, which served a twofold purpose.73 First, they functioned as recommendations for future employers, and enabled them to examine the journeymen’s past working experiences. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they served to distinguish journeymen on the road from vagrants. Guild masters were ordered not to employ journeymen if they could not present valid attestations.

Domestic service, the main form of female labour migration, is often compared to the practice of tramping. In older historiography, historians considered domestic service as a form of training for future marital life and household tasks. According to this view, a young girl serving in an alien household was no different from a young man learning a trade through being an apprentice working and living in the household of his master.74 In contrast to the tramping of journeymen, however, contemporaries perceived the mobility of maids as undesirable. Leaving service and moving elsewhere on their own account was a sign of independence that was intolerable in a society with deep-rooted anxieties about women living independently outside patriarchal control. According to Renate Dürr, urban and household authorities treated the migration of domestic servants with much suspicion because their mobility threatened the domestic and social order.75

In contrast to the migration of journeymen, maids received far less assistance in their quest for work and the control over their mobility was far less institutionalised. In contrast to some other cities, like Nuremberg, Strasbourg or Munich, where the authorities had set up systems of employment agents that were organised similarly to the control of journeymen, the domestic service market in Frankfurt was primarily organised by common law, and not institutionalised at all.76 Maids looking for domestic service in Frankfurt depended on informal contacts of family, friends or acquaintances.77 Often they only moved to the city after arrangements for service had already been made, because it was risky to move to the city without having a proper place to stay.

In order to prevent servants from leaving their service prematurely to find a better paid service elsewhere, Frankfurt signed a Taxordnung—which fixed the wages for servants and day labourers—together with the neighbouring territories Kurmainz, Kurpfalz, Hessen-Darmstadt, Nassau-Idstein, Isenburg, the county of Hanau and the Imperial City Worms in 1654.78 Apart from regulating the wages, this ordinance also implemented measures to regulate the movement of labourers, including domestic servants. Masters were required to give their servants a document when they left their service temporarily or permanently, much like the recommendation letters used by journeymen. It was supposed to serve as proof of the servant’s good conduct during service and the fact that the servant had left the service legitimately.79 In contrast to journeymen, however, the use of reference letters was never implemented for domestic servants.

In the eighteenth century, the city council considered the implementation of a servant order (Gesindeordnung) similar to those that were in use in other cities. They argued that such an ordinance was necessary because the city was swamped with masterless people (‘eine menge schuzlose Leute’) who pretended to be servants looking for a position, thereby circumventing the restrictions on foreigners. In order to prevent genuine domestic servants being evicted from the city together ‘with the idle scum’, the authorities considered a better regulated labour market for domestic servants to be indispensable.80

The city council decided to order the Konsistorium to draft a Gesindeordnung. Overseeing the domestic service market, which was ultimately a predominantly female labour market, was apparently most fitting for an office that was in charge of policing morals. Throughout early modern Europe, there are many examples that show how urban authorities considered the regulation of female migration primarily as a matter of maintaining morality.81 As Leslie Page Moch argued previously, this was partially related to women’s reproductive capacities and the fear of becoming responsible for illegitimate children of migrant women.82 Lynn Hollen Lees also considered that the reproductive functions of women were one of the decisive factors that the overseers of the poor took into consideration in the prosecution of female vagrants in early modern London.83 As we have seen, financial considerations were also at the heart of the prosecution of illegitimacy in Frankfurt too. In 1755 the city council issued a decree that ordered that all single foreign mothers should be expelled.84 And as we will see later on in this chapter, women migrating independently were likely to be associated with lewdness and immorality.

The gendered perceptions of authorities with regard to what they considered legitimate reasons for moving are also reflected in the provision of handing out casual assistance to travellers by the city’s poorhouse. In an attempt to control begging and vagrancy, they offered travellers an opportunity for casual assistance (ein Zehrpfennig) in order to continue their journey.85 The main aim of the city council for handing out such casual assistance, was to prevent impoverished travellers, subsistence migrants etc. from staying in town and relying on begging for their daily bread. Before the establishment of the poorhouse, foreigners could find assistance from the city council or the communal poor chest (Almosenkasten).86 The poorhouse published annual reports, listing the number of recipients of care, including the number of people that received a Zehrpfennig.87

Figure 10 shows the number of recipients since the establishment of the poorhouse. In 1680, its first full year in existence, the poorhouse had already provided 6,420 transients with a Zehrpfennig. By that time the city had a population of around 24,000 inhabitants, which means that a number of people as large as a quarter of the total urban population were granted a form of casual relief in order to make sure that they would continue their journey and not stay within the city. The number of recipients was at its highest in the 1710s, as a result of the increasing unsettledness due to the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1715, no fewer than 31,978 transients received assistance. The number of people granted a viatico that year even exceeded the total population of the city, which is estimated at about 26,400 inhabitants at that time.88 By 1730 the total number of transients who had received assistance since the establishment of the poorhouse was 777,196.89 These numbers clearly demonstrate the high level of mobility experienced by a city like Frankfurt.

Figure 10
Figure 10

Number of passanten granted travel assistance (Zehrgeld), 1679–1806

Figure 11
Figure 11

Types of passanten granted travel assistance (Zehrgeld), 1679–1806

source: hess, frankfurter armen-, waisen- und arbeitshaus, supplement 3

After the 1730s, the number of recipients granted travel money decreased remarkably. This decline, however, did not affect all groups of recipients. Until the 1730s women and children formed a considerable share of all recipients, with women accounting for approximately one-third of all recipients (figure 11). Unfortunately, we know very little about the background of the many women and children that were assisted in this way by the city council, but many of them were connected to the military as wives and children of soldiers.90 After the 1730s, however, assistance became almost exclusively reserved for wandering journeymen. So how come the authorities became increasingly restrictive regarding those to whom they granted assistance?

Martin Hess argued in his dissertation from 1921 that the data reflected a decline of people on the move and in need of assistance. The developing proto-industry and new manufactories provided new opportunities for women. Similarly, the rise of standing armies would have provided new employment opportunities for men without any trained skills.91 Such an explanation, however, seems unlikely. First, we do not know whether or not the men and women granted assistance actually came from regions of developing proto-industry, and could thus benefit from the new employment opportunities. Data provided by Robert Jütte on the origin of recipients in the first half of the sixteenth century reveal that poor transients in Frankfurt came from a wide geographical range: more than half originated from places beyond a radius of 150km. Moreover, the majority were not rural migrants, but originated from other cities. Of course, migration patterns are always subjected to change, and it is not possible to draw conclusions for the eighteenth century based on the data of Jütte. Still, they are a good reminder of the fact that migration flows to large cities like Frankfurt were not only comprised of migrants from the surrounding countryside, but also from other cities.

Second, the relationship between declining mobility and expanding female labour opportunities due to proto-industrialisation are not straightforward. In some regions there are indeed indications that cities experienced less inward migration as rural industries developed.92 Oher regions, for example south-west Germany, saw a more complex change in migration flows to the city, and actually witnessed a ruralisation of migration flows in the sense that more people from the countryside actually moved to the city than before.93

Third, there are no indications that the number of mobile poor decreased over the eighteenth century. Rather, as historians have established over the past decades, there was a growth in the ‘army’ of unsettled mobile poor during this period, to which unskilled labourers and impoverished journeymen contributed increasingly. Estimates about the share of mobile people among the population during this period varied from 2 to 10 percent or even 10 to 20 percent, although the latter is often dismissed as too high.94 Moreover, women did not at all disappear from the streets, as their share among those arrested for vagrancy demonstrates: recent studies on German speaking territories have calculated that women accounted for 35 to 40 percent of prosecuted vagrants.95

Thus, the disappearing of people on the move cannot serve as a sufficient explanation as to why authorities no longer granted assistance to people other than journeymen. Rather, the developments should be considered as a reflection of changing attitudes on the part of the authorities. The mobility of women associated with the army, for example, became less tolerated throughout the period. The rise of standing armies during the early modern period had a massive impact on women with connections to the military. Traditionally, women had played an important role in the provisioning and care of armies, as sutlers, laundresses and seamstresses. As the early modern armies became more professionalised, these roles were taken over by the state, who increasingly restricted the role of women in the armies.96 Soldier’s wives and daughters following their husbands and fathers now faced the risk of being labelled as vagrants or prostitutes (see below). In addition to this, access to marriage for soldiers was restricted, as a result of which many women who had children with soldiers found themselves in the precarious position of having to take care of illegitimate children.97 Frankfurt was known as a (European) recruitment centre, and attracted many men looking for employment with female family members and lovers following their tracks.98

The deeply rooted tradition of tramping, on the other hand, not only continued to be tolerated, but was also supported by the government. The practice of providing assistance to journeymen on the move existed throughout the Holy Roman Empire.99 It was not until well into the late nineteenth century that the formal and informal infrastructures aiding this type of mobility were dismantled by the authorities.100 The gendered perceptions of authorities created a complex paradox. Male mobility outside the parameters of legitimate labour migration was labelled as a massive danger to public order and increasingly associated with organised criminality. At the same time, the regulation of male labour migration was highly institutionalised and designed to facilitate (controlled) mobility, while women’s mobility was perceived as a threat to the existing domestic and social order associated with immorality.

The decline in the number of people granted assistance, in particular people moving outside the framework of legitimate tramping traditions, coincided with the increasing criminalisation of mobility and ordinances issued both by Frankfurt’s local urban authorities and the Oberrheinischer Kreis in the period between 1720 and 1760. As we will see below, this period also witnessed an increase in the prosecution of mobility offences by the criminal investigation office. Thus, the city council appears to have changed their tactics regarding the mobile poor. Rather than removing them from the city by sending them on their way with small sums of money, authorities increasingly chose a more repressive approach as the following paragraphs demonstrate.

4 Mobility as a Crime before the Verhöramt

The previous paragraphs have demonstrated how begging and vagrancy were increasingly criminalised through various police ordinances. But how were these ordinances enforced in practice? We know that even though the authorities aimed to strictly control migration into the city, many men and women defied the norms that restricted their mobility. Women did move to the city, and often did so independently or together with other women. Thus, they did so outside the parameters of what was considered legitimate for women. But to what extent were mobility offences prosecuted and sanctioned criminally, and how was this gendered? The following paragraph investigates the prosecution practices regarding begging and vagrancy in early modern Frankfurt.

For the most part, the prosecution and expulsion of foreign beggars and vagrants in the city was the responsibility of the overseers of the poor and other lower policing officials, such as the Gemeine Weltliche Richter. In 1498, the city council employed the first beadles (Bettelvögte) in order to police and oust foreign beggars from the city. They remained in charge throughout the early modern period (in the eighteenth century they were called Armenknechte). Their number increased from two at the beginning of the early modern period to five by the late seventeenth century and increased to a total of ten in the second half of the eighteenth century. They were increasingly accompanied in their task by soldiers of Frankfurt’s army, who patrolled the streets.101

Unfortunately, lists of the number of arrested and expelled beggars have not been preserved in the archives or were lost together with the archives of the poorhouse as a result of the bombings in wwii. Nevertheless, scattered references in other sources allow us to gain an idea of the number of people that were involved. In 1786, 470 beggars were granted Zehrgeld and expelled from the city. A year later, a total of 677 beggars were arrested, while 551 were given Zehrgeld. Another year later, close to a thousand beggars were arrested (970) and 713 were given Zehrgeld.102 During this time, the city had approximately 36,000 inhabitants, which means that the number of arrested/expelled beggars represented between 1.5 and 2.5 percent of the entire population. This corresponds with estimates for other regions during this period.

Despite the increasing intolerance towards unsettled individuals and mobile groups, begging and vagrancy did not belong to the jurisdiction of the high criminal court, but were treated as a petty offence. Neither crime was listed in the regulation of the criminal investigation office of 1788. It merely stated that the Verhöramt should monitor all ‘suspicious’ persons that arrived in the city, in order to prevent crime.103 Although the regulations did not list begging or vagrancy as separate offences, they considered them a state of being that allowed for a differentiated legal treatment by the investigators of the Verhöramt. In cases of petty crimes, the investigators of the Verhöramt had the jurisdiction to impose punishments themselves, instead of having to transfer the case to the city council. If the suspect was a ‘wandering vagrant without a place of residence’, they had the authority to impose punishments of up to three months of imprisonment or hard labour, and to expel the offenders from the city and its territory. However, if the suspects were persons of good standing or citizens, the Verhöramt could only keep them in custody or impose fines.104

Cases concerning begging or vagrancy were usually only investigated by the Verhöramt when individuals were also suspected of other criminal offences like theft or fraud, or if the authorities suspected connections with larger groups of criminals. It may come as no surprise, therefore, that numerically speaking, begging, vagrancy, and other related mobility offences were of little importance amongst the prosecuted crime in early modern Frankfurt. Crimes against the authorities and public order, which included vagrancy and other related offences, made up just fewer than 16 percent of all investigated criminality before the Verhöramt.105 Of the 1,898 public order offences, 431 investigations concerned vagrancy and other related offences, which means that they made up slightly less than a quarter (22.7 percent) of the offences in this category.106 The intensity of prosecution varied considerably throughout the period. Most of the cases are from the period between the 1730s and the 1770s (figure 12). This coincides with a period of intensified prosecution efforts in general: more cases were handled by the Verhöramt in this period than at any other time in the early modern period. The same period was characterised by an intensified association of vagrancy and criminality in the police ordinances, both in Frankfurt as well as in the neighbouring territories.107 Not all mobility crimes, however, were prosecuted with the same intensity at the same time. Collecting alms with false documents, for example, primarily occurred in times of war or other social crises, when it was common to go around and collect alms to rebuild burnt down churches.

Figure 12
Figure 12

Number of prosecuted mobility offences per decade, Frankfurt 1600–1806

source: ifsg, criminalia 1600–1806
table 18

Men and women prosecuted for ‘mobility offences’, Frankfurt 1600–1806

Offence Men Women
Begging/vagrancy 119 75.8% 38 24.2%
‘Acting suspiciously’ 71 66.4% 36 33.6%
Illegal return/breaking banishment 100 48.8% 105 51.2%
Collecting alms with false documents 78 75.7% 25 24.3%
Gypsies* 12 26.1% 34 73.9%
Total 380 61.5% 238 38.5%
source: criminalia, 1600–1806

Gypsies were not the only ethinc/religious minority that faced criminalisation during the early modern period. In many police ordinances published in the eighteenth century, poor Jews (Betteljuden), particularly from eastern Europe, were increasingly associated with criminality. They are not listed separately here, because, unlike with gypsies, being Jewish was not a criminal offence. The cases in this table only relate to cases in which individuals were prosecuted simply for being labelled as gypsies. There are other cases in which individuals who were prosecuted for theft, for example, were labelled as gypsies, but these are not listed here.

When comparing this number to the total number of beggars expelled from the city in a single year, it becomes clear that the Verhöramt investigated only a fraction of all sanctioned mobility in Frankfurt during this period. Despite the fact that these cases only represent a minority, they allow us to trace the increased anxieties of the authorities. After all, they reflect when, why and how authorities considered a case to be serious enough to be investigated by the criminal investigation office. They are therefore particularly suitable to trace gendered perceptions of unwanted mobility.

Table 18 shows that women had a relatively large share of 38.5 percent among mobility offences, but it varied considerably per type of crime. Close to a quarter of all prosecutions concerning begging, vagrancy and collecting alms with false documents involved women. Moreover one-third of the individuals arrested as ‘suspicious foreigners’ (verdächtige Fremde) were women, and more than half of the violators of banishment. The total number of prosecutions against gypsies was very low, and the cases were concentrated in time between the 1730s and 1760s, eventhough people labelled as gypsies faced intense criminalisation and were prohibited to stay in the entire Oberrheinischer Kreis, including Frankfurt. Leo Lucassen has argued that the intensified prosecution of vagrants and gypsies was connected to pressure on military recruitment markets and the need to match the demand for manpower.108 Cities were considered too risky for men to enter, which is why families often sent the women to the city instead.109 They were less likely to be arrested, and if they were, they were more likely to receive favourable treatment. The numbers therefore reflect a division of labour which was directly influenced by the security policies of the authorities.110

Among all mobility related offences, the share of women was the lowest for begging and vagrancy. Working on the issue of gender and vagrancy in the early modern period, scholars initially argued that women hardly played a role when it comes to vagrancy, arguing that the majority of vagrants were young and male.111 According to Carsten Küther (and others), women were less likely to have to resort to a life on the streets out of economic need, because they were more likely to be considered as deserving poor, and therefore receive communal support.112 Robert Jütte argued that as wives, daughters, and domestic servants women were more bound to the home and the settled community than men, both economically as well as legally. He stated that in times of need women therefore experienced more pressure and social control to remain settled.113 Both Robert Jütte and Helmut Bräuer considered this ‘pressure’ on settledness as a manifestation of existing moral norms, which put more pressure on women than it did on men. Illegitimacy was one of the main causes for women to be sentenced to a life on the road, while for men it had less of a discriminatory effect.114 Otto Ulbricht argued against explanations based on a supposed ‘moral pressure on settledness’ for women. Sexual norms had only little validity among the lower classes, as the high illegitimacy rates during this period demonstrate. Instead, Ulbricht considered that a better, more general explanation was the traditional orientation of women on home and household, while men were more oriented towards the outside world.115 As a result of this (supposed) rootedness in the home, women were less familiar with the world of the road and therefore may have encountered more difficulties in making the transition to life on the road in contrast to men who had experienced this as soldiers, journeymen or other labour migration.

More recent studies on early modern Germany, however, have estimated a female share of 35 to 40 percent, and accepted a ratio of 2 to 3.116 Vagrancy was not a ‘male’ offence, as has long been assumed. Compared to these figures, the contribution of women to these offences in Frankfurt appears to be quite low. The data for early modern Germany is mostly based on a different type of source: Gauner- and Diebslisten. They contained information both of individuals that were actually prosecuted as well as individuals who were identified during the interrogations of others, but who were never formally prosecuted. Gauner- and Diebslisten served to facilitate the policing efforts of the authorities and were intended to function as a reference list.117 Thus, these sources are significantly different from the investigation records of Frankfurt. In the latter case, property offenders who were labelled as vagrants are not considered in the calculation, while in the case of Gauner- and Diebslisten they were. In the eighteenth century, roughly 20 percent of the property offenders in Frankfurt were identified as beggars or vagrants.118

More importantly, however, the investigation office only examined a fraction of all mobility offences. It is likely that the share of women was higher before lower policing institutions because the authorities were less inclined to transfer their case to the Verhöramt. Women arrested as vagrants were considered as less of a threat to public security than men. These considerations are clearly demonstrated in a case from 1718. A group of vagrants, consisting of two families, including seven women, four men and seven children, was arrested just outside the city at the Galluswarte by a general patrol. The case was transferred to the Verhöramt because the authorities suspected that some of those arrested, in particular the men, might be connected to a wanted gang of robbers. But not all those arrested were investigated by the Verhöramt. Three of the seven women were released together with their children, given a warning not to enter the city’s territory again and escorted across the border. The other four women and their husbands, however, were interrogated by the Verhöramt. After a first round of interrogations, the investigators proposed to the city council that the women and children should be released because they could no longer be held in custody without further ‘inconvenience and costs’.119 For the men, however, they sent out correspondence to neighbouring cities to see if they could be connected to other street robberies. Apparently, in the eyes of the authorities, the women did not require further investigation, even though they were married to men they suspected of robbery and other criminal activities.120

The sources of women arrested for vagrancy or other mobility-related offences demonstrate that a mobile (and unsettled) life was certainly not the prerogative of men. They show that early modern female mobility was much more diverse than the migration of domestic servants, and marriage or family migration.121 Many women defied gender norms that dictated a settled life at home. The following biographies serve as an example to illustrate the diversity of women arrested for vagrancy. The road did not just belong to young single women: the sources include women of all ages, different marital status, and at all stages of their life. Women moved alone, together with casual acquaintances, and spouses or other family members. The first example is perhaps closest to the image of early modern female migration encountered in the literature: that of young single migrant women responding to the demand for domestic servants in the city.122 In 1765, nineteen-year-old Margaretha Neubertin from Würzburg was arrested together with a woman called Anna Maria Seibelin, for sleeping in one of the garden sheds outside the city, on Frankfurt’s rural territory close to Bockenheim. They had previously worked together as servants, taking care of the animals of the innkeeper of In dem Grünen Baum. After he had dismissed them because there was no further work for them, the two women agreed to spend the night in the garden shed, as the city gates were closed and they would not be able to enter the city without paying a fee. According to Margaretha’s testimony, she had previously worked in Mainz for six months on a farm, helping out during the harvest season, after which she had come to the Frankfurt area in the hope of finding service. She knew the city well, as she had already served as a domestic servant for a year with a baker in Sachsenhausen.123 Anna Maria’s mobility patterns were largely concentrated within the same region and determined by the availability of labour. She depended on knowledge and acquaintances she had gathered along the way, and her mobile life was ‘interrupted’ by longer periods of settledness.

More examples of female mobility are revealed in a case from 1764, when several people were arrested as ‘suspicious foreign vagrants’ during the Herbstmesse, and interrogated by the investigation office.124 Among the seventeen suspects were four women, each with a different profile and mobility background. Magdalena Müllerin, aged 26, was born in Berlin and according to her statements she earned a living sewing and knitting. She did not have a fixed residence, and had previously stayed in the region around Cologne. Magdalena also had an illegitimate child of a year and a half, whose father was a French soldier.125 The second woman that was interrogated was Maria Kleeberin, aged 24 and born in Maastricht (Netherlands). She had been married to a Nassauischer soldier, who had passed away. Maria stated that she made a living knitting and washing and that she had come to the city to visit her sister.126 The third woman, Dorothea Louisa, née Wieherkin, from Lubin (Poland), was arrested together with her husband Gottfried Henrich Castrop, 54. According to their statements Gottfried and Dorothea were settled in Emden, where they ran a business. The couple were able to show a passport from Emden, and declared that they had come to the city to purchase wine for their business.127 Finally, the last woman was Anna Sophia, 28, a baptised Jewess from Mainz, who was arrested together with her husband Mattheus Schwaller from Trier, aged 36. The couple earned a living as pedlars, as a result of which they were often on the road, although they were domiciled in Ammerbach. They, too, had come to Frankfurt to purchase merchandise. In the end, all four women (and their husbands) were ordered to leave the city, and, with the exception of Anna Sophia and her husband, they were escorted out of the city gates by the city’s militia, and warned not to return.

These examples are not exhaustive of the diversity of female mobility demonstrated in the sources. What they show is that women were on the move as singles, as breadwinners for their family, or together with their husbands as a working couple. A considerable number of females prosecuted as vagrants in Frankfurt were connected to the military.128 Generally speaking, female mobility was more regional than that of men, although there are many examples of women travelling considerable distances, defying the formal restrictions imposed on their mobility (map 2).129 Anna Margretha Metzgerin from Wormbs was arrested four days after her arrival in Frankfurt for begging with false papers. During her interrogation she declared that she had obtained the papers from a woman called Rothe Liese or die Maijnzerin during an earlier stay in Frankfurt and that she had used them to go around begging in Hessen. Moreover, she had previously attempted to travel to Holland with another false document, but could not make it passed Bonn, where her documents were ripped into pieces by the authorities.130

Map 2
Map 2

Origin of vagrants arrested, eighteenth century Frankfurt

sources: criminalia based on references in this chapter, uva-kaartenmakers, castricum

Only few of the men and women prosecuted before the Verhöramt can be characterised as permanently homeless and truly unsettled. Many found temporary employment, which allowed them to stay in a place for a least a period of time or travelled as itinerant workers and artisans. In many cases, they also remained connected to their home community, to which they occasionally returned. Even families or groups that can be considered as wandering more or less permanently had connections within the settled community.131 Often their mobility followed established routes driven by seasonal labour opportunities or the prospect of alms, through places where they were sure to find a place to stay.132 During Jewish holidays, for example, alms were handed out to impoverished Jews in Frankfurt’s ghetto, attracting many poor to the city.133

Certainly not everyone who could formally be considered as unsettled by the authorities was indeed prosecuted. Although anti-begging laws demanded strict enforcement and heavy punishments, they were not always carried out rigorously. Despite centralised regulations, local authorities tried to differentiate between ‘harmless’ and ‘harmful’ wandering. In certain cases, suspects arrested as suspicious foreigners were able to clear their name and continue their journey, sometimes even without having a formal place of residence.134 The local population continued to assist illegal beggars and there are several examples of altercations between beadles and locals trying to free arrested beggars.135 Nevertheless, the regulations created a legal framework that increased the precariousness for foreigners either visiting only for a couple of days, or looking for a position with the aim of staying for a longer time.

5 Precarious Independence

The consequences of the authority’s attempts to control migration (in particular of the mobile poor and travelling groups) through vagrancy regulations, poor laws and the implementation of security policies went beyond the mere prosecution of vagrancy and begging.136 Leading a mobile life, not (yet) having a permanent place of residence or being sufficiently incorporated in the urban community could be enough for authorities to consider an individual to be a potential criminal. Contrary to locals, who could not be punished based on a mere suspicion, migrants could be punished with the so-called Verdachtstrafe. This was a proceeding in which an offender who could not be found guilty, but whom the authorities highly suspected, could be expelled from the city without a formal conviction for a criminal act.137 This increased the precarious position of migrants in early modern towns.

Historians have often highlighted the marginal and hazardous positions of migrant women in early modern towns, and have cited this as one of the explanations for the relatively high level of female involvement in criminality during this period.138 In a city with strong formal control measures against outsiders, women had fewer opportunities to settle independently. This had a rather contradictory effect. On the one hand, it meant that more women were incorporated in social support networks. The strong regulations meant that cities like Frankfurt provided less relaxation of paternalistic, patriarchal control than women in more open cities might have enjoyed. At the same time, the position of women outside the controlling structures of the household was even more precarious because they could constantly face prosecution and expulsion from the city.

The story of Christina Drachin is exemplary for the way that early modern policies of exclusion could marginalise migrant women and made them susceptible to control by the authorities. Christina, born in Umstadt (some 37km from Frankfurt) and aged 26 or 27, was accused by a crowd that had gathered around her as she passed the Römerberg, of having stolen someone’s watch and wallet.139 In the middle of this consternation, the Armenknecht Mevius joined the scene, and arrested and imprisoned Christina in the poorhouse, after which she was brought to the Verhöramt for interrogation. Being asked for the reason of her arrest, it becomes clear that Mevius and Christina were no strangers to each other. She stated that she did not know why she had been arrested, but that the Armenknecht did not like her.140

So how had Christina and Mevius become acquainted with each other? During the interrogations, Christina was asked if she had been arrested before and had been ‘escorted through the city’s gates?’—to which she replied that this had happened twice before.141 The first time she was expelled on orders of the Löbl. Schatzungsamt—the office in charge of supervising the settlement of strangers. The second time she was arrested because she had returned to the city despite the orders of the Schatzungsamt, and lodged at a women’s house on the Breitengasse. This time Christina was not escorted out of the city immediately but imprisoned in the poorhouse for a short period first. When the interrogators asked her for the reasons for her expulsions, Christina answered tellingly: ‘because, as a stranger, she was not tolerated in the city’.142 The Examinator of the Verhöramt also wanted to know if she had been investigated by the Konsistorium at any point, to which Christina answered in the negative. So, the reason the Armenknecht Mevius and Christina were already acquainted with each other was that he had whipped her in the poorhouse during her previous arrests, as well as escorted her through the city gates when she was told to leave town.

At the point when Christina was arrested by Mevius she had already been in the city again for over a year. During this period, she worked as a maid for a baker, who had let her go because he accused her of stealing and lewd behaviour, staying out every night until 11 or 12 and walking the streets. Finally, despite not being convicted for theft or lewdness, Christina was ordered to work in the poorhouse for more than two months, after which she had to walk through the Wachtparade for two days before she was expelled again.

The case of Christina is important because it highlights several of the key aspects in understanding the impact of mobility on early modern female crime in Frankfurt. It shows how the settlement regulations and attitudes to the foreign poor made it difficult for women like Christina to settle in Frankfurt and make a living. Several institutions, ranging from the taxation office and the Konsistorium to the criminal investigation office were either actually involved, or considered to be responsible. Despite these difficulties, Christina eventually managed to find employment, but due to her previous encounters with the authorities she was closely watched and monitored, which made it more likely for her to be arrested. Foreigners like Christina, who could not legitimate their stay in the city and provide evidence of some level of employment, were not allowed to stay in Frankfurt and could be expelled even without being convicted of committing any crime.

6 The Malefizbuch, an Example of Gendered Framing of Unwanted Mobility

The example of Christina demonstrates how, compared to locals, foreigners were more likely to be subjected to formal social control by the authorities. They were often mistrusted and ran the risk of being associated with criminality. These associations were frequently based on gendered stereotypes, which are reflected in the prosecution practices. One source that allows us to study the way that unwanted foreigners were perceived and framed by the authorities is the so-called Kleine Malefizbuch, or as it was written on the title page: a register of suspicious people (Verzeichnuß verschiedener verdächtig geschienener Personen). This was a book in which the Verhöramt recorded offenders or other suspicious people who had been expelled from the city, mostly after only limited investigation. One of the purposes of this record was, as we can see from various cases, to check whether or not arrested offenders had been denied the city earlier.143 Unfortunately the Malefizbuch has only survived for the years between 1751 and 1771.144

Despite its importance in the investigation process, the record was kept irregularly. In 1753, for example, the Malefizbuch contained only three entries, while there were 44 in 1755. The record did not only contain cases that were investigated by the Verhöramt, but by other institutions as well, in particular the Konsistorium. In slightly under two-thirds of the cases in the Malefizbuch (63 percent), the offenders can also be traced in the Criminalia. There was a total of 379 entries in the record, relating to 350 individuals. This relates to just over 16 percent of all the offenders investigated by the Verhöramt during this period, and (although it is not possible to determine the exact share) even a smaller share of all migrants that arrived in Frankfurt at some point during these years. Despite the incompleteness of the register, it offers the possibility of tracing the way authorities in Frankfurt framed ‘unwantedness’. After all, they reflect cases in which, for one reason or another, it was considered necessary to make the effort and record the respective person in the registry.

table 19

Types of mobility offences registered in the Malefizbuch by gender, 1751–1771

Category Men Women
Theft 85 65% 46 35%
Suspected person (Verdacht) 43 70% 18 30%
Lewdness (Liederlichkeit) 4 13% 27 87%
Vagrants 21 81% 5 19%
Stay (Aufenthalt) 15 60% 10 40%
Illegal return 15 62% 9 38%
Gambling 11 100% 0 0%
Begging 8 80% 2 20%
Violence 4 100% 0 0%
Suspected infanticide 0 0% 4 100%
Gipsy 2 67% 1 33%
Other 5 56% 4 44%
No reason 26 54% 22 46%
Total 234 62% 145 38%
source: ifsg, das kleine malefizbuch 1751–1771

As we can see in table 19, the majority of ‘offenders’ registered in the Malefizbuch had been suspected of committing theft. Often, however, there was no concrete evidence that the suspect had actually committed such an offence. Rather the fact that they were suspicious, known to the authorities from previous encounters, or simply fit the profile of criminal poor, had been enough to arrest them and oust them from the city. Others were arrested simply for being ‘suspicious’ (als verdächtig eingezogen). Distinctions between the various categories are not straightforward and perhaps even create a reality that in the eyes of the investigators of the Verhöramt did not exist as such. There is for example no clear indication why some were characterised as ‘suspicious’, others were characterised as vagrants, others as disorderly (Liederlich), or why in some cases the registers specifically referred to a person’s stay in the city as suspicious, and not the person itself.

Women made up 38 percent of the offenders registered in the Malefizbuch, which is substantial considering that their share among all registered offences was much lower. The Malefizbuch highlights some important gender differences when it comes to the framing and policing of what was perceived as unwanted behaviour of strangers, which is also supported by a more qualitative assessment of the Criminalia and other sources. In both cases, unwanted migrants were primarily associated with property offences. This corresponds with other studies in early modern Germany, which have demonstrated that vagabonds and the mobile poor were often associated with theft, and other related property offences.145 Similar to what we have seen in the paragraph above, female foreigners were less likely than men to be labelled as beggars or vagrants by Frankfurt’s authorities. While women comprised 38 percent of the offenders registered in the Malefizbuch, their share among those specifically referred to as beggars or vagrants was much lower: 20 percent and 19 percent respectively. Instead, female mobility, it appears, was considered more of a moral problem. Among those arrested for lewdness (Liederlichkeit), women made up 87 percent of the registered persons.

In the Deutsche Wörterbuch by the brothers Grimm, Liederlichkeit is defined as carelessness with regard to the future, levity (Leichtsinn); neglect of duties (Nachlässigkeit); living disorderly (ausschweifende art, unordentliches leben).146 The Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch defines it in general as a behaviour that does not correspond to the societal norms (ein Verhalten, das den gesellschaftl. Erwartungen nicht entspricht) and more specifically as squandering, extravagance and illicit sexual behaviour (Verschwendung, Unzucht).147 In short, liederlichkeit referred to all kinds of unacceptable behaviour. Ordinances regulating the mobility of marginal groups framed them as all kinds of loose scum (allerhandt liederliches Gesindel).

If we look at the use of the term in the criminal records, it becomes clear that it much more gendered than one would assume based on entries in the dictionary. In the Malefizbuch, only four men were described with the adjective Liederlich, and mostly this was accompanied with another term. The notorious Blumenstock and Johann Jacob Dircks were both arrested in 1771 as ‘vagrants and highly suspicious and wanton fellows’(‘vagabunden und höchst verdächtige und liederliche Pursche’), expelled from the city and handed over to recruiters for the imperial army.148 A year before, Nicolaus Keßler was arrested as a ‘debauched fellow and a deceitful player’(‘ein liederlicher pursch und betrüglicher Spieler’).149 And finally, in 1756 Christoph Rheinwaldt was released after four months of hard labour in the trenches for his lewd lifestyle (‘liederlichen lebensart’).150 In none of these cases did the term have the connotation of illicit sexual behaviour, but rather referred to disorderly and illicit conduct in general. A similar picture emerges from the criminal investigation records.151

The opposite, however, was true for women. Whenever authorities referred to arrested women as liederliche Dirnen, Weibspersonen or Weibsmenschen, they suspected them of immoral behaviour, extramarital sex and prostitution. Mobile women in particular ran the risk of being branded and prosecuted as such. These associations were based on more general attitudes towards women, which feared (and criminalised) women living independently outside the male patriarchal control.152 Ulinka Rublack has demonstrated how in seventeenth-century Württemberg independent women (Eigenbrödlerinnen) were connected with lewdness and illegitimacy.153 The mobility of domestic servants was contested in moral tracts, because it was considered as a sign of women seeking independence and placing them outside the sphere of male control.154 In Frankfurt, too, control over the mobility of domestic servants was closely associated with moral issues and financial concerns, and the Konsistorium considered the institution to be primarily responsible for this. The connection of female mobility and immorality is also demonstrated in the way authorities described non-martial relationships among vagrants. As Gerhard Ammerer demonstrated for eighteenth-century Austria, in the case of women even longstanding and stable partnerships were described in pejorative terms, associating them with lewdness, promiscuity and immorality. The same relationships were described much more neutrally in the case of men. There authorities spoke of ‘marriage-like’ relationships.155

In the majority of cases, the women that were investigated and expelled from Frankfurt as suspected prostitutes were never formally convicted of this offence because of a lack of proof. Most of the women shared similar characteristics: they were young and independent, and often had only casual employment histories. In 1750, for example, a patrol arrested six women as liederliche Dirne (prostitutes) in the forest close to the city.156 Their stories are exemplary of many of the women arrested as immoral or suspicious. The first woman who was interrogated was Catharina Franckin, a soldier’s daughter of 24 years old. She was born in Rosenau in Austria (some 560 km from Frankfurt) and married to a soldier of the imperial army. Her husband deserted three years previously near Maastricht in the Netherlands, after which she had not seen him anymore. After his desertion Catharina had worked as a servant, but for the past year and a half she had stayed with relatives of her husband, and had just recently travelled to Frankfurt with the aim of finding an opportunity to travel to Ludenberg near Düsseldorf. When she was asked by the interrogators ‘if she prostituted herself’ (‘ob sie nicht auff hurerij sich zugelegt’), she vehemently denied this.

The stories of the women who were arrested together with her are remarkably similar. Anna Maria Castin was 20 years old and was born in Hallgarten (approx. 83 km from Frankfurt). She had worked as a domestic servant in Mainz for about a year, but became sick and was forced to leave, after which she had travelled to Frankfurt and on to Hanau where she had worked for a gardener. She had only recently returned to Frankfurt together with one of the other arrested women, Anna Catharina Zahnin, with whom she had planned to go to the Pfalz. There they wanted to earn some money by cutting grain to buy new clothes, so that they could find a new service (‘da sie sich hernach mahl wieder Verdingen wollten’). The latter originated from Gemünden am Main (85 km east from Frankfurt) and, just like Anna Maria Castin, she had worked in Mainz as a domestic servant and in Hanau with gardeners.

The fourth woman, Albertina Louisa Krebsin, 20, from Darmstadt (approx. 30 km south of Frankfurt) had already been disciplined for loose behaviour on an earlier occasion by the Konsistorium in Frankfurt. Next to her name in the criminal investigation record it was written that she had already been sanctioned to the donkey (shaming punishment) in front of the Hauptwache (‘diese bereits vor 4 wochen an den Esel gebunden worden’).157 According to her statements, she had tried to earn a living by knitting for the people on the Sandhof (a manorial estate just outside of Frankfurt). When she was asked if she lived her life as a prostitute (‘ob sie nicht dem hurenleben nachgegangen’) Albertina Louisa replied: ‘not much, just with one soldier—otherwise she’d rather go begging’.

The fifth woman, Anna Margaretha Wissnerin, aged 23, from Neustadt an der Aisch (170 km south-east from Frankfurt) had come to the region because she had a relative living in Offenbach, who had promised her to help her find a position as a servant. Finally, Maria Catharina Lampesin, aged 19 from Gießen (ca. 60 km north of Frankfurt) had previously worked in Frankfurt as a domestic servant for a year, and just returned to the city after a stay with her relatives in Darmstadt, hoping to find a new position. Only two of the six arrested women, Anna Margaretha Wissnerin and Maria Catharina Lampesin, managed to clear their name of any suspicions and were released without further punishment. The remaining four, however, were expelled from the territory and warned not to return again. Unfortunately, the records do not reveal why the authorities considered two of the women harmless and allowed them to stay, while the other four were expelled, particularly as their stories were very similar.

Just like the story above, women that were arrested on suspicion of prostitution were often arrested just outside of the city, close to the ramparts, walking on their own, together with casual acquaintances, or in small groups of women. The women often stated that they were travelling in search of work.158 Whether or not this was an excuse or the truth, it reflects the double standards in relation to (labour) migration. Whereas the mobility of women was met with moralising disapproval, male labour migration in the form of tramping was institutionalised and assisted.159 Young women travelling in the company of soldiers, in particular, ran the risk of being labelled as harlots.160 Local women were certainly not spared from such associations. Unlike migrant women, however, they were not banished in the first instance, but only after repeated arrests.161 In some cases, foreign girls managed to clear their name and were allowed to continue their stay in the city. However, this was always accompanied with the strict condition that they should find an honest household to stay in.162 Independence, in other words, was not accepted.

Some historians have considered this moral pressure as one of the main causes of female vagrancy in the early modern period.163 The cases in Frankfurt, however, portray a more complex picture. Although there are many examples of women in the sources who were expelled based on moral grounds, it is not always possible to discern from the criminal records if, in fact, lewdness and extra-marital sexuality were the root causes of female unsettledness. There are examples of women whose ‘career’ on the road started after they had been prosecuted and expelled for prostitution or illegitimacy, but these were usually not women that had been strongly rooted within a community to begin with.164 It is very unlikely that illegitimacy alone drove women onto the streets. While Otto Ulbricht certainly had a point by stating that not all female mobility was equated with immorality by the authorities, it was a specific, gendered way of framing unsettledness that reflects the double standards concerning sexuality in this period.165

Engraving 3
Engraving 3

Punishment of prostitutes in early modern Bern

source: engraving printed in george alexander cooke, modern and authentic system of universal geography (london 1802)

Men wandering around did not risk being prosecuted based on their mobility being associated with improper idependence and promiscuity. However, they faced other stereotypes which endangered their mobility in a different way. One of the most striking features of the men registered in the Malefizbuch was the high number of foreign Jewish offenders among them. 43 percent of the men listed as verdächtig geschienener Personen were labelled as Jews, compared to only 3 percent of the women. Frankfurt was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in early modern Europe, and as such it formed a major locus of attraction for Jewish migrants. The city was connected to other Jewish communities through family networks, ranging from Prague to Amsterdam.166 To a certain extent, the lower number of Jewish women is a reflection of the fact that Jewish women faced even stricter patriarchal control than Christian women and were less likely to be on the move independently. Although this is reflected by the fact Jewish women had a much lower share among registered offenders than their Christian counterparts, there are examples of female Jewish migrants committing offences in Frankfurt.167 However, they were less affected by stereotypes of male Jewish criminals, which explains their low number among suspects in the Malefizbuch, compared to men.

Framing Jews as dangerous and criminal had a longstanding tradition. Older stereotypes of Jewish criminality were concerned with accusations of ritual murder, poisoning wells, eating Christian babies, or killing entire Christian communities.168 However, these older stereotypes had mostly ceased to exist by 1700, and they no longer played a role in the framing of Jews as suspicious in the Malefizbuch and the Criminalia of the eighteenth century.169 By this time, popular accounts firmly established the association of Jews roaming the countryside as organised bands of robbers. Earlier studies on banditry implicitly took over some of the eighteenth-century stereotypes regarding Jewish criminality, highlighting their role among criminalised gangs.170 Most of the Jews registered in the Malefizbuch were suspected of theft, either individually or as part of a larger gang. In 1752 Meijer Salomon from Prague was expelled because he was suspected of stealing.171 In 1762, Callmann Lazarus of Amsterdam experienced a similar fate and was expelled from the city after performing forced labour in the trenches.172 According to Karl Härter, labelling Jewish strangers as suspicious based on their religious background was strategically used by the authorities so that they could associate them more easily as robbers or members of criminalised gangs, thereby reinforcing the existing stereotypes.173

Despite the dominant association of Jews and criminality, local Stättigkeitsjuden were not overrepresented among property and violent offenders in the eighteenth century.174 In fact, in the latter case they were even underrepresented in relation to their overall share among the population, which was probably related to the high degree of autonomy that the Jewish community in Frankfurt had in terms of conflict regulation within their own community. Thus, it was particularly the combination of being male, foreign and Jewish which fostered the anxieties of Frankfurt’s authorities.

7 Penal Exclusion and the Importance of Banishment in Early Modern Criminal Justice

The Criminalia and the Malefizbuch revealed that women featured prominently among those that returned illegally to the city after conviction. Banishment was one of the most commonly executed criminal punishments in the early modern period throughout the Holy Roman Empire.175 Jason Coy defined penal migration (mobility as the result of banishment) as an ‘engine of mobility’ that ‘helped shape larger patterns of migration in early modern Germany’.176 Penal migration certainly only affected a small percentage of people on the move during this period. Nevertheless, it is a clear example of the exclusionary regulations by authorities during the early modern period affecting foreigners in much greater numbers than locals. Studying banishment, therefore offers an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the way that the precariousness of mobility in the early modern period could be gendered.

Frankfurt was not the only city in the modern period where one can observe a marked female predominance among offenders who returned illegally after banishment.177 Scholars have related this to the fact that women were more dependent on settledness and experienced more difficulties faced with a life on the road than men. Women, it is argued, were more compelled to defy their sentence, because they were less likely to make a living being isolated from their social support networks than men.178 Carl A. Hoffmann, on the other hand, argued quite the contrary. He claimed that women would have found less difficulty making a living than men after expulsion. For them there was always the possibility of entering domestic service. He based his assumption on the fact that there was a strong emphasis on honour in early modern guilds, leaving expelled journeymen excluded from that segment of the labour market.179 Such a view ignores the fact that there were more casual employment opportunities available for men, even with a tarnished reputation, for example in military service, than there were for women. Thus, the question remains: how can one explain the female predominance among violators of banishment? Were the reasons for men and women to return to the city different? Or are these differences a sign of gendered prosecution policies of the urban authorities?

Before we can study the gender dynamics of violations of banishment, it is necessary to study how banishment was implemented by Frankfurt’s authorities, and with what aims. In early modern Frankfurt various urban institutions possessed the authority to expel a person beyond the city borders and/or its territory. This stems from the fact that expulsion or banishment was both a petty police penalty as well as a penal sentence. Banishment fulfilled various functions within the early modern legal system: as a punishment on its own; as a possibility to mitigate sentences for crimes where the legal code demanded the death penalty; as Verdachtsstrafe; as a policing effort.180 Only the city council, which functioned as a high court, was authorised to execute banishments as a penal sentence and object offenders to swearing an oath.181 The Peinliche Verhöramt, could, as we have seen, expel people in case of minor offences without the consent of the city council. When it came to the policing of vagrancy and begging, the city’s poorhouse and hospitals were authorised to apprehend any wandering and masterless person and escort them out of the city. Frankfurt’s soldiers patrolled the city and its territory with the same purpose. Likewise, the institutions in charge of moral policing (the Sendamt in the seventeenth century and the Konsistorium from 1728 onwards) could expel any loose, idle and disorderly people. This particularly affected women who were suspected of prostitution or illegitimacy.

Providing an overview of how many people were indeed expelled from Frankfurt during the early modern period is not possible, as there are no sources available that allow for a calculation of the number of expelled persons per institution. In the late eighteenth century alone, more than 500 beggars were expelled on a yearly basis.182 It remains unclear how many people requesting permission to stay in the city at the Inquisitionsamt were denied access and ordered to leave the city. An overview of the number of foreign, unmarried, pregnant women expelled by the Konsistorium is equally lacking. Fortunately, the criminal records offer the opportunity to study the prevalence of expulsion in early modern Frankfurt at least to a certain extent.

Figure 13
Figure 13

Share of banishment on penal punishments, Frankfurt 1562–1696

source: van dülmen, theater des schreckens, 187

Of all recorded sentences in the Strafenbuch, banishment had a share of 68 percent, relating to 891 offenders banished between 1562 and 1696 (figure 13). The records also show that banishment became increasingly important throughout the seventeenth century: in the second half of the sixteenth century banishments ‘only’ made up 53 percent of all punishments recorded, but by the second half of the seventeenth century this had grown to 83 percent. The number of death penalties decreased simultaneously.183 Banishments were not only exclusionary punishments, but also served a public function for the authorities to demonstrate the boundaries of accepted behaviour.184 They were therefore often imposed in combination with other shaming rituals or corporal sanctions. The Strafenbuch only listed all the penal punishments (peinliche Strafen) but did not record cases that were sentenced with petty penalties such as fines, short imprisonment, verbal admonishments or simple expulsions. In the eighteenth century too, Frankfurt’s authorities mainly imposed banishment sentences. The Criminalia show that banishment still made up a significant proportion of the sentences: in 62 percent of the records with a reference to a final outcome, offenders were expelled from the city.185 Towards the end of the century ‘modern’ prison sentences became more common, but the authorities still relied heavily on expulsion. It was not uncommon that offenders were sentenced to perform forced labour either in the poorhouse or in the trenches first, and were expelled from the city after the completion of their sentence. Magdalena Fallerin from Elsass, for example, was sentenced to eight days of Trassklopfen in the poorhouse before being expelled for life (für ewig) for stealing three neckerchiefs from a shop (Trass is tuff which was used to make plaster—it was common for offenders to be sentenced to grind these rocks).186 It is not always specified in the sources, however, whether the expulsion was part of the sentence or if they were ordered to leave town because their right to stay in the city was revoked. Either way, the result was the same.

Although it is always difficult to compare such numbers due to the heterogeneity of the legal systems and the sources, similar trends appear in other cities throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In every city banishment was either the most executed type of punishment or accounted for a significant share. In sixteenth-century Augsburg and Ulm, authorities sentenced offenders to banishment in more than 50 percent of the cases.187 In Cologne, the city authorities expelled one out of five offenders at the turn from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, making banishment the majority of all punishments. By the end of the seventeenth century, banishment had become even more significant: 58 percent of the offenders were now punished with exclusion.188

Authorities did not apply banishment sentences randomly. In his study of banishment in sixteenth-century Ulm, Jason P. Coy characterised banishment as an instrument to mark the socio-spatial boundaries of the urban community.189 A central characteristic of banishment sentences throughout the cities of the Holy Roman Empire was that authorities were more likely to sentence foreigners to this type of punishment than citizens or settled resident aliens.190 Depending on the local jurisdiction, efforts of authorities to purge the city from undesired individuals were particularly directed towards offenders who were prosecuted for property offences, vagrancy, and moral offences. Violent offences, on the other hand, were far less likely to be punished with banishment as authorities preferred to opt for fines and reconciliations. As Joachim Eibach pointed out, violence was apparently not considered as a type of behaviour that threatened the urban community in the eyes of the authorities, whereas immoral conduct and property offences were.191

Women often featured prominently among those excluded from the city. In the first half of the sixteenth century the share of women amongst banished offenders varied between 67 percent and 29 percent in Augsburg.192 In Freiburg they accounted for 63 percent of all banishments between 1681 and 1780, and 47.7 percent of the offenders banished for theft between 1629 and 1762.193 In Cologne the female share of those expelled was 52 percent (1698–1712),194 and finally in Schwäbisch Hall (1760–69) it was 46 percent.195 In Frankfurt too, women were represented disproportionately. Looking at the absolute numbers, the share of women amongst banished offenders in Frankfurt in the Strafenbuch and Criminalia was 36 percent, which was disproportionately high compared to their share among overall offenders.196 The chance of female offenders being banished was higher than for men: in the Strafenbuch, 89 percent of the recorded sentences for women were banishments and in the Criminalia this was 68 percent. Men, on the other hand, were ‘only’ banished in 73 percent (Strafenbuch) and 59 percent (Criminalia) of the cases.

On the one hand this divergence is the result of the reluctance of authorities to impose the death penalty on women, and the fact that certain types of punishments, such as military service, were not given to female offenders.197 Regardless of the severity of their recidivism, female thieves were hardly ever put to death. Men faced the risk of being branded as dangerous robbers and professional criminals, and were consequently hanged.198 More importantly, the divergence is a result of gendered crime patterns. Unlike men, women were hardly ever prosecuted for violent offences, a crime which was often sentenced with monetary fines. But women were often in the majority when it came to the prosecution of moral offences, and they were more likely than men to be expelled for fornication, illegitimacy and other related crimes. The preoccupation of authorities with maintaining financial stability and preserving moral order within the urban community helps to explain why in some other Free Imperial cities the share of banished women was also disproportionally high (compared to their general proportion among offenders).

Although banishments are often perceived as relative mild sentences within the early modern criminal justice system, they were in fact quite severe and perceived as such by contemporaries. They excluded offenders from their social networks within the city and branded them dishonourable. In a society where honour and social standing were crucial for building op social networks and economic connections, this was a particularly devastating sentence, and often resulted in a life of unsettledness, precarious and crime. Johann Philipp Orth, a patrician and jurist in eighteenth-century Frankfurt, commentated that for this reason many offenders perceived banishment sentences as much crueller than a capital sentence. He considered banishment as a delayed death penalty, because offenders would inevitably end up before a criminal court again because they had been ‘excluded of the community of honest people’ and forced to resort to crime to survive.199 Banishments, therefore, particularly impacted offenders that were settled and established in the community, both legally and socially.200

8 The Practice of Returning—a Reflection of Female Settledness?

Despite the efforts of the urban authorities to regulate mobility and exclude unwanted individuals from the community, many people defied their sentence and returned to the city illegally, and women featured prominently amongst those that did. About half of the prosecutions for infraction of banishment concerned women. These numbers of course only represent illegal returns that were investigated by the Peinliche Verhöramt and not those that were dealt with by other institutions. We must also consider that there were presumably many cases in which offenders were simply escorted out of the city, again without a proper investigation. And, of course, not every returnee was detected and some managed to return to the city and stay under the radar. There are multiple references in the interrogation records in which offenders recall earlier occasions that they had returned to the city without getting caught.201

Furthermore, a sample of half of all banishment prosecutions in the Criminalia reveals that if we take recidivism into account, the share of women is even more significant. 31 of the 96 offenders in this sample had ignored their expulsion more than once and of these 31 recidivists only 9 were men and 22 were women. Thus, women were more inclined to defy their sentence repeatedly than men. Data for other regions seem to confirm this image as well.202 Not only did women return to the city more often, they also appear to have returned to the city sooner. The data in table 20 show that the majority of women were arrested within six months after their banishment, whereas men were more likely to return after a longer period of time. It must be noted that the time of arrest did not necessarily correspond with the time of return to the city. However, there are only a few examples of offenders who returned to the city almost immediately after their expulsion and managed to stay in Frankfurt for a couple of years before being detected.203 More often, offenders were caught the same day or at least within a week after their return to the city. They were often apprehended by the Gemeine Weltliche Richter, beadles, or staff members of the poorhouse. In effect, the very people that knew that they had been expelled because they were part of the judicial system and recognised them from the time they were imprisoned in the poorhouse, or because they had escorted them out of the city personally.204 The more notorious an offender was, the more likely it was that he/she would be recognised by either of the disciplinary officials. One of the Gemeine Weltliche Richter even stated that he kept a personal administration of all the people he had escorted out of the city.205

table 20

Time between banishment and arrest for infraction of banishment (in months)

Time between banishment & arrest Total Men Women
< Month 5 2 3
1–6 months 31 11 20
7–12 months 13 6 7
13–24 months 12 4 8
> 24 months 29 15 14
sources: sample criminalia infraction of banishment cases

In the eighteenth century, authorities repeatedly voiced their concern about the increasing numbers of offenders who ignored their banishment. In their minds, this was a problem with female offenders in particular. In 1790, the head of the Verhöramt recalled that during the year and a half that he had been in office, hardly a week passed by without a women being arrested for the violation of her banishment (‘gebrochener landesverweisung’), while he only remembered one man being arrested for the same offence during this period.206 The women were framed by the Kriminalrat as headstrong and incorrigible, and having repeatedly insulted ‘God and the authorities’ (‘Gott und die Obrigkeit’) by ignoring their oath. These concerns were not new in the 1790s, but had been ongoing throughout the period. Between 1724 and 1731 Maria Margaretha Rücklerin from Herborn was arrested for infracting her banishment on three different occasions. In the legal advice, the syndics considered that Maria should be punished severely and made an example because the ‘violations of banishment were out of control’ (‘die violirung der urphed gantz überhandt nehmen’), particularly among such loose harlots (‘dergl. ruchloosen dirnen’), meaning women who were suspected of being prostitutes, fornicators or unwed mothers.207

The high level of women among violations of banishment could therefore be related to gendered prosecution practices, instead of actual behaviour patterns. As we have seen earlier, the anxieties of the authorities towards loose women were not only fostered by moral considerations, but by financial concerns as well. They were unwilling to carry the burden of children and their (foreign) mothers who could not support themselves. It is unlikely, however, that the overrepresentation of women among infraction of banishment cases was only due to the fact that authorities were more likely to police and detect (future) unwed mothers out of financial concerns. Prosecutions for fracta urpheda peaked in the 1720s and 1740s, whereas concerns about illegitimacy and expelling unwed mothers based on financial grounds peaked in the 1750s. If anything, the former inspired the latter and not the other way around.

Men and women often provided similar excuses for their infraction. Some claimed to return to the city to care for family members or collect belongings they had to leave behind when they were sentenced, while others stated they needed to enter the city for services or supplies that were unavailable on the road such as medical experts.208 A particularly devastating tale is that of locally born Anna Justina Heintzebergerin, 30 years old. Both her parents passed away when she was still young and Anna was raised in the poorhouse. Her life was characterised by encounters with the law for property offences and immoral behaviour before she was banished in 1740 for theft. After her expulsion, she moved to Mannheim where she found employment working as a day labourer in a tobacco factory. But Anna was no longer tolerated there after her ‘whole body became unclean (am ganzen Leib gantz unrein geworden)’ and was forced to leave. What followed subsequently was a life of begging and roaming the countryside. As her disease progressed and she became verminous (‘von dem ungezieffer fast aufgefressen worden’) Anna decided to return to Frankfurt only to buy a cap to cover her head so her physical appearance would not repel people too much. But before she was able to leave the city, Anna was apprehended by the Gemeine Weltliche Richter Winkler close to the Affentor and taken into arrest. Her pitiful situation did not move the magistrates to mercy and Anna was sentenced to the pillory and banished again.

Other simply stated that they were unaware of the precise conditions of their banishment or simply passed the city on their way elsewhere. These excuses were often accompanied by explicitly mentioning that they would not stay the night.209 Moreover, the boundaries of Frankfurt’s relatively small territory were quite complex (Map 3). This made it easy for offenders to stay close to the city. At the same time, it also increased their chances to be detected as they (supposedly) unknowingly entered the territory. In 1723, Johannetta Schrader from Mainz was arrested by a patrol on the high road close to the Friedberger Warte, one of the defence towers of Frankfurt’s countryside. A year and a half before, Johannetta had been expelled for fornication and was now asked by the interrogators to justify her presence on the city’s territory. She replied that, according to her own knowledge, she had stayed on the ‘free and public roads (offenen freijen Strassen)’ and had not entered the city’s territory at any time.210 The authorities decided to expel Johannetta again, with the explicit warning that she should keep a further distance from Frankfurt and its territory or else she would face the Staupbesen (the whip).

Map 3
Map 3

Sovereign territory of eighteenth-century Frankfurt am Main

source: engraving of the sovereign territory of frankfurt by johann baptist homann, with a correction of the territorial boundaries by friedrich bothe, circa 1712, wikimedia commons

The profile of the offenders that violated their banishment reveals that we cannot consider the relative high proportion of women for this crime as a result of female settledness alone. Urban authorities were particularly inclined to expel foreigners without any formal residency and were very reluctant to banish citizens and, to a lesser extent, resident aliens.211 In seventeenth-century Frankfurt 64 percent of the offenders punished with banishment were foreigners, and 78 percent in the eighteenth century.212 The share of locals among offenders violating their conviction was more significant. More than 38 percent of the women and 43 percent of the men who returned to the city illegally originated from Frankfurt or one of the villages under the dominion of the city.213 It is clear that the pull of the city was slightly greater for locals than for foreigners, and the proportion of locals among returnees was higher among men than among women. These mostly concerned (previously) well established citizens who mainly returned to the city once, or twice at the most, to settle some practicalities. Settledness, therefore, appears to have been more of a characteristic for male violators than for women.

On 15 March 1721, burgher Wilhelm Ohler was banished for ten years for stealing and handling stolen goods after the great fire in the Jewish Ghetto (Judengasse) of 1721.214 It did not take long for Wilhelm to return to Frankfurt: in September of the same year he was arrested for infraction of banishment. Wilhelm stated that he would not have returned to the city if it were not for his old and sick father who had requested his help during the autumn fair. Both Wilhelm and his father had sent petitions to the city’s magistrate for permission to return to the city prior to his return. But, since these requests were denied, Wilhelm saw no other option than to return to the city illegally. As a result, Wilhelm’s banishment was extended to a total of twelve years by the city council. Considering his circumstances, the authorities refrained from any additional sentencing, such as condemning him to the pillory or whipping, which was the normal response to people who broke their banishment.

The situation was different, however, if children were involved. Johann Henrich Seiler, a local soldier, had been banished for ‘suspicious housekeeping’ (verdächtiges Haushalten—i.e. keeping a brothel or housing prostitutes), leaving behind his wife and children in Frankfurt. After his expulsion, Johann’s wife fell ill and passed away with no one to take care of their children. To prevent these four small children from becoming a financial responsibility and burden to the city, the magistrate cancelled his banishment under very strict conditions in order for him to take care of them.215 In this case, the possible negative financial consequences of Johann’s banishment for the city’s poor relief system outweighed the magistrates desire to purge the community of immoral individuals.

Moreover, there are indications in the sources that seem to suggest that men were more successful in settling permanently elsewhere. In 1702, Anton Dietrich was expelled from Frankfurt cum reservation fama for insulting the city’s mayors. Within two weeks he managed to become a citizen in Hanau and he returned to Frankfurt to sell his ‘Burgundy wines and other securities (Burgunder Weine und andere Effecten)’ so he could set up a new shop in Hanau with the profit.216 Forty years earlier, Philipp Jacob Knauss was banished for insulting the local clergymen and calling them ‘Hurenmeister’. Again, his banishment did not seem to have had any marginalising consequences for Knauss: he returned to the city on behalf of his new employer, the count of the neighbouring territory of Isenburg, who had employed him as a scribe.217 And there are more occasions when male returnees carried written attestations of employers whom they had worked for after their banishment.218 This must be related to the fact that the general population of male exiles was less uniform from the outset. Although the majority still belonged to the marginal poor, others were more established. It was this group that faced the least marginalisation after banishment.

Although the share of locals returning was higher among men than among women, there is still a dominant local and regional connection in case of female returnees as well. For most local people Frankfurt remained their primary economic and social lure. This was where they knew their way around and where there were family members that could provide shelter and a place to stay. Remaining close to the city, and only entering it on occasion, was a very common tactic employed by offenders after their banishment. In 1770 it was reported to the Schatzungsamt that Maria Catharina Dreherin, a local soldier’s widow, had been seen in the city at her daughter’s house, despite her expulsion eleven years before. During her interrogation it was revealed that she returned to the city repeatedly to collect wool to spin from the weaver Idstein, as she was unable to gather wool outside ‘but still depended on it to make a living’.219 But Maria never returned to the city with the objective of staying, knowing very well that she was forbidden to do so. Instead she remained very close and stayed in places like Offenbach (8 km from Frankfurt), Ginnheim (6 km from Frankfurt) and Rödelheim (7 km from Frankfurt). The map of Frankfurt shows that it was relatively easy to move around in the proximity of the city, without actually entering Frankfurt’s territory.

Local connections were not only important for offenders who were once members of the legal community of Frankfurt, but als played a role among foreigners. Table 21 shows the distance from the places of origin of offenders in km to Frankfurt. The data in the table indicate two important things. First, both male and female returnees tended to originate from places closer to Frankfurt than the overall population of banished offenders. Second, women had a much smaller mobility radius than men and more often originated from cities and villages that were closely connected to Frankfurt’s regional network, like Hanau, Mainz and Darmstadt. While women predominantly moved around in the broader region of Frankfurt, they were not restricted to it. Susanna Rothin who originated from Oberrad, one of the villages in Frankfurt’s territory, excused her banishment by stating that she had gone to Holland in order to try to find an honest living. However, as she lacked the right connections, she was unable to find a position there and returned home.220

table 21

Places of origin of banished offenders compared to violators, in km to Frankfurt

Distance to Frankfurt Banished women (N=88) Female returnees (N=27) Banished men (N=98) Male returnees (N=19)
> 25 km 20.5% 22.2% 9.2% 10.5%
25 > 50 km 18.2% 37.0% 8.2% 5.3%
50 > 100 km 22.7% 22.2% 13.3% 31.6%
100 > 150 km 13.6% 11.1% 16.3% 10.5%
150 > 200 km 4.5% 3.7% 11.2% 21.1%
200 > 250 km 4.5% 0.0% 13.3% 10.5%
250 km > 15.9% 3.7% 28.6% 10.5%
sources: ifsg strafenbuch; ifsg criminaliaa

The number of banished offenders is based on the Strafenbuch sample of every first six years of each decade and the Criminalia for the years 1700; 1720; 1740; 1760; 1780. The number of returnees is based on the sample of infractions of banishments.

Previous survival strategies and related mobility patterns seem to offer a better explanation for the relative high level of women that returned to the city illegally than a supposed female settledness. Earlier in this chapter, it was demonstrated that women were mostly prosecuted for their mobility because it was framed by the authorities as loose and immoral, and connected to prostitution and illegitimacy. It may not come as a surprise, therefore, that the majority of women who violated their banishment (32) had originally been banished for moral offences like prostitution, illegitimacy or leading a loose and immoral life in general (ein liederliches leben führen).221 This is striking, considering the fact that moral offences were not normally dealt with by the Verhöramt. The image of the prostitute returning to the city after banishment because she depended on her local clientele is dominant in popular literature.222 However, studies on prostitution in the early modern period have indicated that it was a highly mobile profession: women moved around from city to city both on their own, as well as in more organised networks of procurers, brothel-keepers and prostitutes.223 In the case of Frankfurt too, regional patterns of migration appear to have existed among women arrested for prostitution, though it is unclear to which extent these were organised via networks of brothels and procurers, or if the women simply followed other existing regional migration networks. A large number of women, for example, were connected to the military milieu and followed the armies.224

The example of Anna Maria Krammerin is illustrative for these patterns. Over the course of two years, Anna Maria Krammerin, a young girl from Steinheim (now part of Hanau), illegally returned to Frankfurt on at least four occasions. In between her returns she had worked as a servant in Hanau and Mainz and carried tobacco as a day labourer. But she also continued to supplement her income with prostitution. Throughout the entire period, Anna remained connected to a network of prostitutes and brothel keepers that appeared to operate primarily in Frankfurt. On three out of four occasions she was arrested with another woman, Anna Kleinköpffin from Darmstadt, with whom she had stayed in several brothels. Before her final infraction of banishment that can be traced in the sources, Anna was living in the countryside near Hanau with one of her former brothel-keepers who had also been banished.225 The example of Anna indicates that the attraction to the city must have been at least partially related to the existing regional networks, whether these were the reflection of organised structures or not. The majority of the women, both local and foreign, caught for infractions of banishment had led a life in the margins that was characterised by deviance, mobility, an economy of makeshift and previous encounters with the law long before their expulsion. Thus, it appears to have been a particular group of women who were prosecuted for returning to the city illegally.

Moreover, another reason for the high level of female recidivists among violators of banishment is likely connected to a gendered division of labour among larger gangs. These gangs often operated regionally and were organised along the lines of family relations. Most of the time, they did not group together, but changed the composition continuously in order complicate their prosecution by the authorities, and prevent the risk of being labelled as an organised criminal gang.226 Historians have shown how they strategically used the gendered attitudes of the authorities towards poverty. Women were much more able to rely on excuse strategies that framed their actions as a result of poverty and destitution. Men, on the other hand, were more likely than women to be framed as dangerous criminals and consequently faced being hanged. In Kurmainz, two-thirds of the death penalties were imposed on offenders labelled as vagrants or on other marginal groups.227 Repeatedly returning to a city from which they were previously banished was too risky for men.

One of the female recidivists was Anna Christina Müllerin, a converted Jewess from Gießen, who was investigated for the violation of her oath on at least five occasions during 1735 and 1741.228 The first time Anna Christina was expelled from Frankfurt this was for prostitution and theft when she was approximately 18 years old. The first time she returned to the city was within two months, in order to visit some of her fellow townspeople from Gießen and collect some clothing. Between the period of her first return to the city and her last (as documented in the criminal records) in 1741, Anna Christina had given birth to three children, of which at least one was illegitimate, and had married a soldier, who had died in service in Holland. She had found casual employment as a maid, with sewing, knitting and washing. However, she was also arrested for theft and the violation of banishment in Frankfurt. But her criminal activities were not restricted to Frankfurt: in Würzburg she was banned and branded for illegally recruiting soldiers, and in Mainz she was banished for theft after being exposed at the pillory.

Another example is that of Anna Barbara Großin, who was arrested for theft and expelled from Frankfurt in 1748, but broke her banishment in 1750 when she was arrested again for suspected theft.229 However, her criminal ‘career’ was not restricted to these two thefts. The criminal investigation records revealed that Anna Barbara’s first encounter with the criminal justice system dated back 26 years, when she was arrested in Königstein for her connections with the Breitfußischen gang of thieves. Her body carried the proof of her past, as she had brandings both from Köngistein as well as from Darmstadt. Finally, Anna Barbara was branded in Frankfurt for a third time and expelled from the city, with the warning not to return again or she would receive the death penalty. Anna Barbara was connected to a much wider group of notorious thieves that operated regionally. Her husband was expelled from Frankfurt in 1726, while two other male members called Heß and Sonnewald were hanged in the same year. Another female member of this group, Anna Maria Wagner, was one of the few female thieves to be hanged in Frankfurt.230

The examples show that these women displayed considerable regional migration patterns. Their lives were not characterised by a moral pressure of female settledness at all. Although they continuously broke their banishment in Frankfurt, they also committed crimes elsewhere in the region. It is difficult to find evidence in these tales that women were more likely to defy their sentence because they were more dependent on the social support networks in the city than men. Rather, we may assume that their violations were the reflection of continuous regional migration and a gendered division of labour. Frankfurt was simply one of the many places in which they stayed from time to time.

Underneath all of the justifications given by offenders when they broke their banishment, one can read the more underlying causes for the return of offenders. Illegal returns to the city offered a (temporary) solution to hunger, poverty and marginalisation. During the interrogations, investigators often inquired after the whereabouts of offenders following their punishment and how they made a living in order to assess their character, whether or not they had improved their ways? In the majority of the cases the answers reveal a life that was characterised by mobility, odd jobs and occasional crime. For many, this was not a lifestyle created by banishment, but a continuation of their previous mobility patterns that were often regionally dominated. Because many offenders already lived a mobile life prior to their arrest, their networks extended beyond the borders of the city. The presence of family members back home or in other places often directed the movement of offenders.231 Even family-like structures among vagrants or networks of prostitution could offer social support on the road and offer valuable connections in other cities or villages.232 The problem was, however, that none of these connections offered long-lasting solutions to the precarious and deprived life of banished offenders. They could offer short-term support but no assistance to settle and escape a life that was characterised by moving from one place to another to find short-term employment.

9 Conclusion

The aim of this chapter has been to map how the increasing criminalisation of the mobility of vagrants and other travelling groups since the sixteenth century was gendered in order to get a better understanding of the position of women in a city which aimed at strictly regulating mobility. As a result of changing attitudes towards poverty, authorities in the early modern period, including Frankfurt, put increasing pressure on the concept of settledness. This chapter has shown that the regulations on mobility not only increasingly associated the mobile poor with criminality, but also that they were based on specific gendered attitudes concerning mobility. Male mobility beyond the parameters of legitimate labour migration was labelled as a massive danger to public order and increasingly associated with organised crime. At the same time and in contrast to female labour migration, male labour migration was highly institutionalised and designed to facilitate (controlled) mobility. Perceptions about female mobility, on the other hand, hardly played a role in Frankfurt’s vagrancy laws. Domestic service remained a labour market that was regulated informally, although attempts were taken to increase control in the second half of the eighteenth century. These attempts demonstrated how anxieties about female mobility were connected to moral issues and the possible disruptions this posed to social order

Authorities approached male and female mobility rather differently. This influenced the position of women in the city, and shows that a different type of city created a different ‘urban factor’ with regard to female criminality in the early modern period, from that which we know for open cities like Amsterdam or London. The position of migrants who were not formally connected in the city was precarious. The laws had created a legal framework in which foreigners risked being expelled on the mere suspicion of having committed a crime. What was considered unwanted behaviour of strangers, however, was different for men than for women. In the latter case, this was framed in terms of anxieties about female independence and sexuality, whereas for men it was about fears of organised criminal gangs. These differences produced an image of male criminal mobility that was more likely to be prosecuted by the criminal courts, whereas women’s mobility featured more prominently before the Konsistorium.

Finally, the study of violations of banishment as revealed interesting patterns with regard to male and female criminality. Previously, many historians have seen the high level of female involvement in this type of crime as a result of the fact that women were more dependent on local connections than men. Although this may have been true in some cases, the profile of the women that returned to Frankfurt illegally suggests that the reality was more complex. Women displayed regional migration patterns which were not only focused on Frankfurt. Additionally, gendered perceptions of authorities about dangerous mobility help explain why women were more likely to return than men.

In early modern Germany, including Frankfurt, authorities imposed stronger control on mobility and settlement than they did for example in England or the Netherlands. The regulation of poor relief was strongly connected to citizenship and legal incorporation into the community. Transients were restricted in their opportunities to stay in the city: after eight days they had to acquire formal consent from the authorities whose primary interest was preventing impoverished people from settling in the city. These principles clearly impacted the opportunities of women (and men) to settle in the city independently without being incorporated in social support networks through the household.


Lees and Lees, Cities, 36–39.


Marco Van Leeuwen, ‘Overrun by Hungry Hordes? Migration and Poor Relief in the Netherlands, Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries’, in Migration, Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500–1930s: Comparative Perspectives, ed. Steven King and Anne Winter (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 190; Joanna Innes, Steven King, and Anne Winter, ‘Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500–1930s: Structures, Negotiations and Experiences’, in Migration, Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500–1930s: Comparative Perspectives, ed. Steven King and Anne Winter (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 14; Kuijpers, Migrantenstad, 332–33; Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 54–55; Lees, The Solidarities of Strangers, 47–51.


Earle, ‘The Female Labour Market’; Eleanor Hubbard, City Women: Money, Sex, and the Social Order in Early Modern London (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 17–23; Ariadne Schmidt, Isabelle Devos, and Bruno Blondé, ‘Introduction: Single and the City: Men and Women Alone in North-Western European Towns since the Late Middle Ages’, in Single Life and the City, 1200–1900, ed. Isabelle Devos, Julie De Groot, and Ariadne Schmidt (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 4; Van de Pol and Kuijpers, ‘Poor Women’s Migration’.


King, ‘Female Offenders’; Van der Heijden, Women and Crime, 2016, 160–63.


Hochstadt, ‘Migration’, 221–22; Andreas Gestrich, ‘Trajectories of German Settlement Regulations: The Prussian Rhine Province, 1815–1914’, in Migration, Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500–1930s: Comparative Perspectives, ed. Steven King and Anne Winter (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 252; Karl Härter, ‘Recht und Migration in der frühneuzeitlichen Ständegesellschaft: Reglementierung—Diskriminierung—Verrechtlichung’, in Zuwanderungsland Deutschland: Migrationen 15002005, ed. Rosemarie Beier-de Haan (Wolfratshausen: Edition Minerva, 2005), 50–71; Lees and Lees, Cities, 37.


Wunder, ‘Gender Norms’, 45–46; Lynch, Individuals, Families, and Communities, 154–55.


Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Zunftlandschaften’; Maarten Prak et al., ‘Access to Trade: Citizens, Craf Guilds and Social an Geographical Mobility in Early Modern Europe—a Survey of the Literature, with Addtional New Data’, BEUCITIZEN Working Paper 1 (2014); Stuart, Defiled Trades, 2–3; Christopher R. Friedrichs, ‘How German Was the German Home Town?’, Central European History 47, no. 3 (2014): 488–95; Bernd Roeck, Civic Culture and Everyday Life in Early Modern Germany (Leiden: Brill, 2006).


Ogilvie, Bitter Living, 312; Dürr, ‘Der Dienstbote’, 116; Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, ‘Paternalism in Practice: The Control of Servants and Prostitutes in Early Modern German Cities’, in The Process of Change in Early Modern Europe, ed. Phillip N. Bebb and Sherrin Marshall (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1988), 179–200; Rublack, The Crimes of Women, 152–54.


Jütte, Poverty and Deviance; Andreas Gestrich and Lutz Raphael, eds., Strangers and Poor People: Changing Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion in Europe and the Mediterranean World from Classical Antiquity to the Present Day (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 2009); Helmut Bräuer, ‘Armut in Mitteleuropa 1600 bis 1800’, in Armut in Europa, 1500–2000, ed. Sylvia Hahn, Nadja. Lobner, and Clemens Sedmak (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, 2010), 13–34.


Karl Härter, ‘Recht und Armut’, in Aktuelle Tendenzen der historischen Armutsforschung, ed. Christoph Kühberger and Clemens Sedmak (Münster: lit, 2005), 91–128; Sebastian Schmidt, ‘“Pleasing to God and Beneficial to Man”: On the Confessional Similarities and Differences of Early Modern Poor Relief’, in Strangers and Poor People: Changing Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion in Europe and the Mediterranean World from Classical Antiquity to the Present Day, ed. Andreas Gestrich and Lutz Raphael (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 2009), 315–42.


Robert Jütte, Arme, Bettler, Beutelschneider: eine Sozialgeschichte der Armut in der Frühen Neuzeit (Köln: Böhlau, 2000), 141; Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge.


Matthias Weber, Die Reichspolizeiordnungen von 1530, 1548 und 1577: historische Einführung und Edition (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2002); Gestrich, ‘Trajectories of German Settlement Regulations’, 252.


Innes, King, and Winter, ‘Settlement and Belonging’, 10–11.


Gestrich, ‘Trajectories of German Settlement Regulations’, 252; Härter, ‘Recht und Migration’, 51–52; Christopher R. Friedrichs, The Early Modern City 1450–1750, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2013), 143.


Härter, ‘Recht und Migration’.


Schilling, Die Stadt, 89–90.


Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge, 214–17; Faber, Topographische, politische und historische Beschreibung, 1788, 1:§ 21 and § 22.


Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge, 214–17; Rainer Koch, Grundlagen bürgerlicher Herrschaft: verfassungs- und sozialgeschichtliche Studien zur bürgerlichen Gesellschaft in Frankfurt am Main (1612–1866) (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1983), 76–90; Roth, Stadt und Bürgertum, 65–88.


Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge, 216–17. The number of years resident aliens were barred from relief is not specified. Jütte simply states ‘several years—‘einige Jahre’. .


For the legal meaning of the Schutz-principle, see the description in: Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch Online, (accessed 01-09-2017).


PO 3632 alle und jede in hiesigem Schutz und Pflichten nicht stehende Personen binnen 14 Tagen aus der Stadt zu schaffen 24.05.1763.


Koch, Grundlagen bürgerlicher Herrschaft, 112, 116; Roth, Stadt und Bürgertum, 84–85.


As part of the extensive criminal investigations against city council member Johann Erasmus von Senckenberg, against whom (amongst other things) investigations were carried out for the rape of his cook Maria Katharina Agricola, many administrative records from his personal records ended up in the Criminalia. These included city council records dealing with the regulation of settlement and illegal foreigners. IfSG Frankfurt am Main, Criminalia 12880 (1756) e.g. folio 153, Ratsedikt, 22.08.1709 ‘Fremde sollen binnen acht tagen sich aus der Stadt und deren dorfschafften begeben’; PO 3356 Fremde Handwerkspursche, die keinen Meister haben, sollen sich daher nicht über die gehörige Zeit aufhalten 25.03.1749.


Johann, Kontrolle mit Konsens, 48–50; Soliday, A Community in Conflict, 54.


Kamp, ‘Controlling Strangers’.


Van Leeuwen, ‘Overrun by Hungry Hordes’, 186–87, 190.


Lees, The Solidarities of Strangers, 47–48.


Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen, ‘The Mobility Transition Revisited, 1500–1900: What the Case of Europe Can Offer to Global History’, Journal of Global History 4, no. 3 (2009): 359–63.


Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 44; MacIntosh, Urban Decline, 165–75; Prak et al., ‘Access to Trade’; Hochstadt, ‘Migration’.


Roth, ‘Der blühende Handel’, 362.


Soliday, A Community in Conflict, 45.


Roth, Stadt und Bürgertum, 81; Koch, Grundlagen bürgerlicher Herrschaft, 86–87.


Roth, ‘Der blühende Handel’, 362.


Karpf, Eine Stadt und ihre Einwanderer, 41–66; Schindling, ‘Wachstum und Wandel’, 224–28.


Duchhardt, ‘Frankfurt am Main im 18. Jahrhundert’, 263.


Van de Pol and Kuijpers, ‘Poor Women’s Migration’, 55.


Johannes Müller, Exile Memories and the Dutch Revolt: The Narrated Diaspora, 1550–1750 (Leiden: Brill, 2016).


Karpf, Eine Stadt und ihre Einwanderer, 67–77; Duchhardt, ‘Frankfurt am Main im 18. Jahrhundert’, 273–77.


Pfister, Bevölkerungsgeschichte, 116–19; MacIntosh, Urban Decline, 166.


Rainer Koch, ‘Frankfurt am Main im 18. Jahrhundert: Topographie, Demographie, Verfassung, Lebens- und Rechtsgemeinschaften’, in Frauen in der Stadt: Frankfurt im 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Gisela Engel, Ursula Kern, and Heide Wunder (Königstein/Taunus: Helmer, 2002), 71.


Soliday, A Community in Conflict, 44–52; for similar figures in other cities: MacIntosh, Urban Decline, 165–75.


Karpf, Eine Stadt und ihre Einwanderer, 42–78; Christiane Reves, Vom Pomeranzengängler zum Großhändler? Netzwerke und Migrationsverhalten der Brentano-Familien im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2012), 231–92; Müller, ‘Transmigrant Literature’, 4.


Kamp, ‘Controlling Strangers’.


The study of vagrants, travelling groups and other ‘unsettled’ people has been important for the history of crime in early modern Germany since the 1970s and 1980s: Margo De Koster and Herbert Reinke, ‘Policing Minorities’, in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice, ed. Paul Knepper and Anja Johansen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 268–84; Leo Lucassen, ‘Eternal Vagrants? State Formation, Migration and Travelling Groups in Western Europe, 1350–1914’, in Gypsies and Other Itinerant Groups: A Socio-Historical Approach, ed. Leo Lucassen, Wim Willems, and Annemarie Cottaar (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), 55–73; Härter, ‘Cultural Diversity’; Küther, Menschen auf der Straße; Danker, Räuberbanden; Ernst Schubert, ‘Mobilität ohne Chance: Die Ausgrenzung des fahrenden Volkes’, in Ständische Gesellschaft und soziale Mobilität, ed. Winfried Schulze (München: Oldenbourg, 1988), 113–63; Norbert Finzsch, Obrigkeit und Unterschichten: zur Geschichte der rheinischen Unterschichten gegen Ende des 18. und zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1990); Rheinheimer, Arme, Bettler und Vaganten; Ammerer, Heimat Strasse; Fritz, Öffentliche Sicherheit; Von Hippel, Armut, Unterschichten, Randgruppen.


Jürgen Menzler, Die Bettelgesetzgebung des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts im Gebiet des heutigen Landes Hessen (Marburg, 1967), 48–56; Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge, 27–31, 203–8; Thomas Bauer, ‘“Es solt yhe niemand unter den Christen betteln gahn”: Zur Geschichte der Bettler in Frankfurt am Main’, Archiv für Frankfurts Geschichte und Kunst 62 (1993): 91–100.


Maria R. Boes, ‘Unwanted Travellers: The Tightening of City Borders in Early Modern Germany’., in Borders and Travellers in Early Modern Europe, ed. Thomas Betteridge (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 107–8.


For similar developments, see: Coy, Strangers and Misfits; Astrid Küntzel, Fremde in Köln: Integration und Ausgrenzung zwischen 1750 und 1814 (Köln: Böhlau, 2008); Lutz Raphael, ‘Grenzen von Inklusion und Exklusion: Sozialräumliche Regulierung von Fremdheit und Armut im Europa der Neuzeit’, Journal of Modern European History 11, no. 2 (2013): 147–67.


E.g. PO 2032 Betr. die abschaffung der Bettler und Colligirung einer Almosen Steuer 25.08.1625. Original: ‘Demnach ein Ehrenvester wolweijser Rath dieser Staat nun eine Zeit hero befunden, dass mit den jenigen personen, welche sich des Bettlen gebrauchen eine merckliche gross Unordtnung in dieser Statt eingerissen, in deme nit allein viele inländische des Bettlens sich befleissen, sondern auch noch ein mehrer Anzahl von frembden Bettler da Jahr Uber sich allhier uffhalten’.


PO 2429 umb das schändliche Gassenbettlen abzuschaffen 04.09.1679.


Jürgen Schlumbohm, ‘Gesetze, die nicht durchgesetzt werden: ein Strukturmerkmal des frühneuzeitlichen Staates?’, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 23, no. 4 (1997): 647–63; Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 1074–80.


Härter, ‘Recht und Migration’, 62–63; Boes, ‘Unwanted Travellers’, 96–98; Leo Lucassen, Zigeuner: die Geschichte eines polizeilichen Ordnungsbegriffes in Deutschland 1700–1945 (Köln: Böhlau, 1996); Härter, ‘Cultural Diversity’, 73–83.


For early examples of ordinances against “Fahrende Leute”, see: PO 1803 Daß niemandt ohne unser deß Rahts, unserer Bürgermeister, oder deren darzu verordneten Rathspersonen Vorwissen und Bewilligung einige frembde anhero kommende Personen […] bei ihme einziehen lassen 02.05.1613; PO 2157 Daß niemand einige frembde Personen hohes oder nidriges Stands, ohne voher erlangte […] außtrückliche und sonderbare Vergünstigung beherbergen 16.06.1635.


PO 2342 Ordnung wornach sich unsere dess Raths der Statt Franckfurt an die Statt Pforten zur Inspection der Feden verordnete Rathsfreunde und zur Wacht bestellte kriegs Officirer, Soldaten und Schreiber in Einlaß- und Abweisung der Fremden zu halten 26.09.1667; PO 2348 eine gewisse Ordnung, wo nach man sich alhie im Einlaß- Uffnehm- oder Abweisung der Frembden zu verhalten habe 04.08.1668.


E.g PO 2770 Was massen die schädliche Seuche der Bestilentz in Bohlen und verschiedenen dahin gränzenden Orten und Landen, dergestallten wiederumb überhand niembt 16.09.1710.


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 951–53.


PO 2712 Daß in denen zu allhiesiger Stadt Bottmässigkeit gehörigen Dorffschafften kein unnützes und herrnloses Gesindlein von Bettlern und andern ihres gleichen nicht geduldet 10.08.1706. Original: ‘kein unnützes und herrnloses Gesindlein von Bettlern und andern ihres gleichen nicht geduldet […] in specie aber so viel die so genannten Zigeuner betrifft noch in verwichenem Jahr den gemessen Befehl dahin ergehen lassen/ daß selbige/ wo sie in unserm Gebieth angetroffen werden mögten […] fortgetrieben werden sollen’.


Faber, Topographische, politische und historische Beschreibung, 1789, 2:57; Martin Hess, ‘Die Geschichte des Frankfurter Armen-, Waisen- und Arbeitshaus (1679–1810)’ (Göthe Universität, 1921), 66.


PO 2905 Demnach die Zigeuner, Bettler und sonst allerhand Vagabunden und herrnloses unnützes Gesind […] in hiesiger Gegend und Nachbarschafft Trouppen weiß zusammen rottiret […] 22.06.1723.


The Holy Roman Empire was divided into several Reichskreise, which were administrative bodies, established primarily to organise a common defence structure and collect imperial taxes. Since the seventeenth century, Frankfurt had been the site of assembly for both the Oberrheinischer Kreis, and the Kurrheinischer Kreis. See: Michael Müller, ‘Die Reichsstadt Frankfurt am Main als Kur- und Oberrheinische “Kreishauptstadt” im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert’, in Die Reichsstadt Frankfurt als Rechts- und Gerichtslandschaft im Römisch-Deutschen Reich, ed. Anja Amend et al. (München: Oldenbourg, 2008), 107–37; Michael Müller, Die Entwicklung des Kurrheinischen Kreises in seiner Verbindung mit dem Oberrheinischen Kreis im 18. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 2008).


The Poenalordnung des Ober- und Kurrheinischen Kreises of 1748 is published in: B. Althammer and C. Gerstenmayer eds., Bettler und Vaganten in der Neuzeit (1500–1933). Eine kommentierte Quellenedition (Essen 2013) 164–171.


Criminalia 3783 (1729); Criminalia 3944 (1731); Criminalia 4210 (1734); Criminalia 4945 (1739); Criminalia 5875 (1747); Criminalia 6520 (1751); Criminalia 6353 (1750); Criminalia 6957 (1754).


E.g. Criminalia 3695 (1728); Criminalia 3845 (1730.); Criminalia 7429 (1788); Criminalia 9233 (1781). On the influence of controlling vagrancy on the development of early modern ‘police forces’ and policing practices: policing, see: Leo Lucassen, ‘“Harmful Tramps”: Police Professionalization and Gypsies in Germany, 1700–1945’, Crime, History & Societies 1, no. 1 (1997): 29–50; Karl Härter, ‘Security and Cross-Border Political Crime: The Formation of Transnational Security Regimes in 18th and 19th Century Europe’, Historical Social Research 38, no. 1 (2013): 96–106; Vincent Milliot, ‘Urban Police and the Regulation of Migration in Eighteenth-Century France’, in Gated Communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities, ed. Bert De Munck and Anne Winter (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 135–57; Clive Emsley, Crime, Police, and Penal Policy: European Experiences 1750–1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 63–73.


Robert Jütte, ‘Bettelschübe in der frühen Neuzeit’, in Ausweisung und Deportation: Formen der Zwangsmigration in der Geschichte, ed. Andreas Gestrich, Gerhard Hirschfeld, and Holger Sonnabend (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1995), 61–71; Lucassen, ‘Eternal Vagrants’, 63.


Härter, ‘Recht und Migration’, 66; Eibach, ‘Versprochene Gleichheit’, 526.


Leo Lucassen, ‘Between Hobbes and Locke: Gypsies and the Limits of the Modernization Paradigm’, Social History 33, no. 4 (2008): 439.


The only ordinance specifically including the female noun, Bettlerinnen, was from 1708 and renewed in 1714. PO 2734 Bettler und Vaganten sollen nicht geduldet werden 02.02.1708.


PO 2984 Gänzliches Verbot des Gassenbettelns 12.04.1729.


Poenalordnung des Ober- und Kurrheinischen Kreises 1748, article vi: ‘Allermassen nun in vorstehenden §§phis, nach unterscheid derer Fällen, gegen die Ziegeuner, Jauner und Vagabunden, männlichen Geschlechts, das nöthige Verordnet worden; also wird auch ein solches, in Ansehung der Weiber und deren Kinder, ohne unterscheid des Geschlechts, welche das 20te Jahr erfüllet haben, anhero wiederhohlet und erstrecket’.


Härter, ‘Prekäre Lebenswelten’, 32–36.


Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, ‘Wandervogels and Women: Journeymen’s Concepts of Masculinity in Early Modern Germany’, Journal of Social History 24, no. 4 (1991): 777; also: Dürr, ‘Die Migration von Mägden’.


Reinhold Reith, ‘Circulation of Skilled Labour in Late Medieval and Early Modern Central Europe’, in Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800, ed. S.R. Epstein and Maarten Prak (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 114–42.


PO 2410 Was massen einige handwercks Gesellen im Land herumb vagiren 30.12.1675; PO 2429 umb das schändliche Gassenbettlen abzuschaffen 04.09.1679.


Brandt, ‘Die Grenzen des Sagbaren und des Machbaren’, 255; on the use of passports in the early modern period: Kamp, ‘Controlling Strangers’; Boes, ‘Unwanted Travellers’, 110; Valentin Groebner, Der Schein der Person: Steckbrief, Ausweis und Kontrolle im Europa des Mittelalters (München: C.H. Beck, 2004); Cornelia Bohn, Inklusion, Exklusion und die Person (Konstanz: uvk Universitätsverlag Konstanz, 2006), 71–94.


Dürr, ‘Die Migration von Mägden’, 117–18.


Ibid., 120.


Kaltwasser, Häusliches Gesinde, 21–22; Koch, ‘Zum Gesindewesen in Frankfurt’.


E.g.: Criminalia 5940 (1747) folio 3; Criminalia 6848 (1753) folio 5–6; Criminalia 8765 (1774) folio 6–9.


Kaltwasser, Häusliches Gesinde, 22.


PO 2265 Mayntzischer Receß […] allgemeiner Taxordnung 01.05.1654.


Criminalia 12880 (1756) folio 11–13: Des Schazungs Consulenten General-Plan zu Eintreibung der Schatzungsrestanten., 17.02.1756.


Marlou. Schrover et al., ‘Introduction: Illegal Migration and Gender in a Global and Historical Perspective’, in Illegal Migration and Gender in a Global and Historical Perspective, ed. Marlou. Schrover et al. (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), 13.


Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 15.


Lees, The Solidarities of Strangers, 58–59.


PO 3445 Daß man die Lapsas, so nicht von hier, mit ihren Kindern fortschaffen solle 18.03.1755.


Similar examples also existed in other early modern cities: G.P.M. Pot, ‘Het beleid ten aanzien van bedelaars, passanten en immigranten te Leiden, 1700–1795’, Leids Jaarboekje, 1987, 89–92; Jeremy Boulton, ‘Double Deterrence: Settlement and Practice in London’s West End, 1725–1824’, in Migration, Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500–1930s: Comparative Perspectives, ed. Steven King and Anne Winter (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 68; Kuijpers, Migrantenstad, 297–98.


Jütte, Obrigkeitliche Armenfürsorge, 144–145.


The reports themselves were lost in wwii, but thanks to the numbers provided in the dissertation of Martin Hess on the poorhouse from 1921, it is still possible to gain an overview. Cross-references to various contemporary sources that also mentioned the number of Passanten for selected years made it possible to prove the reliability of the data provided by Hess.


Roth, Stadt und Bürgertum, 47; Mauersberg, Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, 54.


Hess, ‘Frankfurter Armen-, Waisen- und Arbeitshaus’, supplement 2 and 3.


Ibid., 93–94.


Ibid., 93.


Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 53.


MacIntosh, Urban Decline, 53.


Küther, Menschen auf der Straße, 20–28; Rheinheimer, Arme, Bettler und Vaganten, 16; Ammerer, Heimat Strasse, 15–21; Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 988–89.


Beate Althammer, ‘Roaming Men, Sedentary Women? The Gendering of Vagrancy Offenses in Nineteenth-Century Europe’, Journal of Social History 51, no. 4 (2018): 741.


Beate Engelen, Soldatenfrauen in Preussen: eine Strukturanalyse der Garnisongsgesellschaft im späten 17. und im 18. Jahrhundert und im 18. Jahrhundert (Münster: lit, 2005); Karen Hagemann and Ralf Pröve, Landsknechte, Soldatenfrauen und Nationalkrieger: Militär, Krieg und Geschlechterordnung im historischen Wandel (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 1998); Jennine Hurl-Eamon, ‘The Fiction of Female Dependence and the Makeshift Economy of Soldiers, Sailors, and Their Wives in Eighteenth-Century London’, Labor History 49, no. 4 (2008): 481–501; Thomas Cardoza, ‘“Habits Appropriate to Her Sex”: The Female Military Experience in France during the Age of Revolution’, in Gender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775–1830, ed. Karen Hagemann, Gisela Mettele, and Jane Rendall (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 188–205.


PO 2978 Weibspersonen soll vorzüglich mit Soldaten unzüchtiger Umgang verboten seyn 01.02.1729. E.g.: Criminalia 2482 (1706); Criminalia 6131 (1748); Criminalia 6632 (1752); Criminalia 6986 (1753–54); Criminalia 7744 (1761); Criminalia 10036 (1791).


Kamp, ‘Between Agency and Force’. For examples of soldier’s wives, widows and daughters coming to Frankfurt following their husbands and fathers: Criminalia 2002 (1694); Criminalia 3290 (1723–1726); Criminalia 4227 (1734); Criminalia 4945 (1736–42); Criminalia 6094 (1748–1749); Criminalia 8504 (1770); Criminalia 8790 (1774–1776); Criminalia 10086 (1791); Criminalia 10392 (1795).


Klaus J. Bade, ‘Altes Handwerk, Wanderzwang und Gute Policey: Gesellenwanderung zwischen Zunftökonomie und Gewerberefom’, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 69, no. 1 (1982): 15; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Labour Mobility, Journeyman Organisations and Markets in Skilled Labour in Europe, 14th-18th Centuries’, in Le Technicien Dans La Cité En Europe Occidentale 1250–1650, ed. Mathieu Arnoux and Pierre Monnet (Rome: École française de Rome, 2004), 252; Reith, ‘Circulation of Skilled Labour’, 129–30.


Beate Althammer, ‘Vagabonds in the German Empire: Mobility, Unemployment and the Transformation of Social Policies (1870–1914)’, in Poverty and Welfare in Modern German History, ed. Lutz Raphael (New York: Berghahn, 2016), 78–104.


Hess, ‘Frankfurter Armen-, Waisen- und Arbeitshaus’, 91–92.


Ibid., figs 1, 2; Faber, Topographische, politische und historische Beschreibung, 1788, 1:146.


PO 4346 Verordnung und Unterricht für das peinliche Verhör=Amt der Reichs Stadt Frankfurt 04.12.1788 § 6.


PO 4346 Verordnung und Unterricht für das peinliche Verhör=Amt der Reichs Stadt Frankfurt 04.12.1788 § 34.


IfSG, Criminalia 1600–1806, see figures 4 and 5 for the number of social order offences by gender.


Because some offenders were prosecuted for a combination of offences, the total number is lower than the accumulated number of offenders in table 12.


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 889–90.


Lucassen, Zigeuner, 53; Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 951.


E.g. Criminalia 2299 (1701); Criminalia 3944 (1731); Criminalia 6291 (1750); Criminalia 7409 (1759).


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 992–97.


Von Hippel, Armut, Unterschichten, Randgruppen, 90; Finzsch, Obrigkeit und Unterschichten, 242; Fritz, Öffentliche Sicherheit, 227–29.


Küther, Menschen auf der Straße, 28.


Robert Jütte, ‘Dutzbetterinnen und Sündfegerinnen: Kriminelle Bettelpraktiken von Frauen in der Frühen Neuzeit’, in Von Huren und Rabenmüttern: weibliche Kriminalität in der frühen Neuzeit, ed. Otto Ulbricht (Köln: Böhlau, 1995), 122.


Ibid., 123; Helmut Bräuer, ‘“… weillen Sie nit alzeit arbeit haben khan”: Über die Bettelweiber von Wien während der frühen Neuzeit’, L’Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft 7, no. 1 (1996): 135–43.


Ulbricht, ‘Bettelei von Frauen’, 65–66.


Ammerer, Heimat Strasse, 131; Ulbricht, ‘Bettelei von Frauen’, 45; Fritz, Öffentliche Sicherheit, 228; Jütte, ‘Dutzbetterinnen und Sündfegerinnen’, 132–33; Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 992–93; Küther, Menschen auf der Straße, 29; Wolfgang Scheffknecht, ‘“Arme Weiber”: Bemerkungen zur Rolle der Frau in den Unterschichten und vagierenden Gruppen der frühneuzeitlichen Gesellschaft’, in Hexe oder Hausfrau: das Bild der Frau in der Geschichte Vorarlbergs, ed. Alois Niederstätter and Wolfgang Scheffknecht (Sigmaringendorf: Glock und Lutz, 1991), 94; Ernst Schubert, Arme Leute, Bettler und Gauner im Franken des 18. Jahrhunderts (Neustadt an der Aisch: Degener, 1983), 276; Andreas Blauert, ‘Diebes- und Räuberbanden in Schwaben und in der Schweiz, am Bodensee und Rhein im 18. Jahrhundert’, in Schurke oder Held? Räuber und Räuberbanden, ed. Harald Siebenmorgen (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1995), 60.


Andreas Blauert and Eva Wiebel, Gauner- und Diebslisten: Registrieren, Identifizieren und Fahnden im 18. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2001), 12–31.


Eibach, Frankfurter Verhöre, 56.


Criminalia 9233 (1781) Folio 11. Original: ‘[…]ob es nicht rathsam seijn mögte, die arrestirte Weiber mit ihren Kindern los zu lassen, weil diese ohne vielen Unlust und Kosten nicht wohl länger in Arrest behalten werden könnten’.


Also see: Criminalia 1189 (1660). Original: ‘die weiber mögten aber ohne fernerer straff erlassen und fortgeschafft werden’.


Sylvia Hahn, Historische Migrationsforschung (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2012), 138–51.


Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 15; Kok, ‘The Family Factor’, 225.


Criminalia 8144 (1765).


IfSG, Repertorium 251, 304; Criminalia 8055 (1764). Original: ‘Protocllum Examinis die während der Herbstmesse als verdächtig in arrest gebrachte fremde Landstreicher und dergleichen Weibspersohnen’.


Criminalia 8055 (1764). Original: ‘Sie habe keine sichere Wohnung, ihr Auffenthalt seije bisher in der gegend von Cölln gewesen […] Sie habe ein Kind von einem frantz. Soldaten welches 1 ½ Jahr alt seije’.


Criminalia 8055 (1764). Original: ‘Sie seije an einem Nassauischen Soldat verheurathet gewesen, welcher aber verstorben. Sie nähre sich mit Stricken und Waschen, seije erst in die Stadt gekommen um ihre Schwester aufzusuchen’.


Criminalia 8055 (1764). Original: ‘seijen hierher gekommen um einen Weinhandel zu etabliren, und damit in Emden Wirthschafft zu treiben […] und wolten so balden sie nun ihren Wein hier eingekaufft sogl. wieder von hier wegreisen’.


E.g. Criminalia 2002 (1694); Criminalia 2040 (1695); Criminalia 5279 (1741); Criminalia 7216 (1755); Criminalia 7409 (1759); Criminalia 7691 (1761); Criminalia 7718 (1761); Criminalia 8055 (1764); Criminalia 9900 (1789).


On gender differences in geographic radius of migrants: Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 50; Hahn, Historische Migrationsforschung, 120–21; MacIntosh, Urban Decline, 171; Sabine Kienitz, Unterwegs—Frauen zwischen Not und Norm: Lebensweise und Mentalität vagierender Frauen um 1800 in Württemberg (Tübingen: Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde, 1989), 30; Heide Wunder, He Is the Sun, She Is the Moon: Women in Early Modern Germany (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 133.


Criminalia 2080 (1696).


E.g. Criminalia. 7718 (1761); Criminalia 8055 (1764); Criminalia 8361 (1763).


Gerhard Ammerer, ‘Die “Betteltour”: Aspekte der Zeit- und Raumökonomie nichtsesshafter Armer im 18. Jahrhunder’, in Armut auf dem Lande: Mitteleuropa vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts, ed. Gerhard Ammerer et al. (Köln: Böhlau, 2010), 37–62.


Criminalia 9079 (1778).


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 1082–83.


Eibach, Frankfurter Verhöre, 153–54.


For a similar process in Cologne: Astrid Küntzel, ‘“Hermloses Gesindel” und “Unqualificirte”: Fremde in der freien Reichsstadt Köln im 18. Jahrhundert’, Geschichte in Köln 53, no. 1 (2006): 63–74.


Brigitte Thäle, Die Verdachtsstrafe in der kriminalwissenschaftlichen Literatur des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1993); Härter, ‘Prekäre Lebenswelten’, 489–90.


Beattie, Policing and Punishment, 63–73; Schmidt and Van der Heijden, ‘Women Alone’; Moch, Moving Europeans, 2003, 146; Schwerhoff, ‘Kriminalität in der Reichsstadt Köln um 1700’, 70–72; Kamp, ‘Female Crime’, 1 October 2016, 538–39; Rublack, The Crimes of Women, 66–69.


Criminalia 9196 (1780).


Criminalia 9196 (1780). Original: ‘Die Ursache ihrer Arretirung wisse sie gar nicht. Der Armenknecht Mevius, der ihr nicht gut seije, habe sie am Freijtag Abend gegen 6 Uhr, als sie über den Römerberg gehen wollen ergriffen […]’.


Criminalia 9196 (1780). Original: ‘Ob sie nicht schon einmal im Arrest gewesen und dem Thor hinaus geführt worden?’.


Criminalia 9196 (1780). Original: ‘Weil man sie als eine Fremde Person nicht in der Stadt leiden wolle’.


E.g.: Criminalia 8574 (1771); Criminalia 8790 (1776); Criminalia 9079 (1778); Criminalia 10032 (1790); Criminalia 10161 (1792).


IfSG Frankfurt am Main, Das kleine Malefizbuch, 1751–1771. According to the first page of the Malefizbuch, the record was started ‘pro Officio Examinatorio’ in 1751 and continued until 1765. In the book, however, the entries continued for much longer until 1771. Presumably, more records were kept before the destruction caused by wwii. According to the late nineteenth century index, the city archive held Malefizbücher for the years 1751–1808: R. Jung, Das Frankfurter Stadtarchiv. Seine Bestände undseine Geschichte (Frankfurt am Main 1896).


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 1091–1100.


Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm–Liederlichkeit.


drw—Online Edition: lemmata&term=liederlichkeit&firstterm=liederlich.


Malefizbuch, 180 (20.06.1771); Criminalia 8545 (1771).


Malefizbuch, 171 (24.07.1770). Also: Criminalia 8579 (1771).


Malefizbuch, 50 (19.06.1756).


E.g. Criminalia 2435 (1705) about Bernd Johannsen, an apprentice from Copenhagen, who had “ein sehr liederliches leben geführet”; Criminalia 3328 (1723) about Philipp Jacob Guntermann, who was indicted by his father in law for “einem […] liederlichen und verschwendersichen Leben, wie auch s.v. Fressen, Sauffen und Müssiggang”; Criminalia 6193 (1749) about several Bäckerknechte who had been sentencend to the poorhouse for ‘liederliche Aufführung’ and seducing others to engage in disorderly behaviour.


Beattie, Policing and Punishment, 64.


Rublack, The Crimes of Women, 139.


Dürr, ‘Die Migration von Mägden’.


Gerhard Ammerer, ‘Von “Gutschen”, “fleischlichen Begierden”, und “Ehefleppen”: Partnerschaft, Sexualität und Nachkommen im Milieu der Landstraße’, in Die Gesellschaft der Nichtsesshaften: Zur Lebenswelt vagierender Schichten vom 16. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert, ed. Gerhard Ammerer and Gerhard Fritz (Affalterbach: Didymos-Verlag, 2013), 112–13.


Criminalia 6283 (1750).


Criminalia 6283 (1750). ‘ An den Esel gebunden werden’ was a shaming punishment, usually meted out to disorderly soldiers or women who were punished for illicit sexual behaviour. Offenders were bound on a wooden donkey for public shaming. In Frankfurt the wooden donkey was situated in front of the Hauptwache.


E.g. Criminalia 3698 (1728); Criminalia 4493 (1736); Criminalia 5731 (1744); Criminalia 7559 (1759).


Althammer, ‘Roaming Men, Sedentary Women?’; Dürr, ‘Migration der Mägde’.


Criminalia 5296 (1741); Criminalia 3698 (1728); Criminalia 5004 (1739); 5563 (1743).


Criminalia 5745 (1744); Criminalia 5731 (1744); Criminalia 5882 (1747).


Criminalia 6501 (1751); Criminalia 5916 (1747).


Bräuer, ‘Bettelweiber’, 140; Jütte, ‘Dutzbetterinnen und Sündfegerinnen’, 123.


E.g. Criminalia 7256 (1756); Criminalia 6398 (1750); Criminalia 3960 (1732); Criminalia 4945 (1739).


Ulbricht, ‘Bettelei von Frauen’, 65.


Thorsten Burger, Frankfurt am Main als jüdisches Migrationsziel zu Beginn der Frühen Neuzeit: rechtliche, wirtschaftliche und soziale Bedingungen für das Leben in der Judengasse (Wiesbaden: Kommission für die Geschichte der Juden in Hessen, 2013); Karpf, Eine Stadt und ihre Einwanderer, 33–41.


Kallenberg, ‘Migration und “Intersektionalität”’.


Ulbricht, ‘Criminality and Punishment of the Jews’, 49; Joy Wiltenburg, Crime and Culture in Early Modern Germany (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2013), 100.


On Jewish criminality in early modern Frankfurt: Maria R. Boes, ‘Jews in the Criminal-Justice System of Early Modern Germany’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 30 (2000): 407–35; Kallenberg, Jüdinnen und Juden.


Egmond, Underworlds, 126.


Malefizbuch, 17 (20.10.1752).


Malefizbuch, 89 (05.04.1762).


Härter, ‘Prekäre Lebenswelten’, 36.


Eibach, Frankfurter Verhöre, 212, 299.


Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 52–56; Helga Schnabel-Schüle, ‘Die Strafe des Landesverweises in der Frühen Neuzeit’, in Ausweisung und Deporation: Formen der Zwangsmigration in der Geschichte, ed. Andreas Gestrich, Gerhard Hirschfeld, and Holger Sonnabend (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1995), 73–82; Andreas Blauert, Das Urfehdewesen im deutschen Südwesten im Spätmittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit (Tübingen: Bibliotheca Academica, 2000); Gerd Schwerhoff, ‘Vertreibung als Strafe: Der Stadt- und Landesverweis im Ancien Régime’, in Ausweisung-Abschiebung-Vertreibung in Europa, 16.-20. Jahrhundert, ed. Sylvia Hahn, Andrea Komlosy, and Ilse Reiter (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, 2006), 48–72.


Jason P. Coy, ‘Penal Migration in Early Modern Germany’, in Migrations in the German Lands, 1500–2000, ed. Jason P. Coy, Jared Poley, and Alexander Schunka, 2016, 51–52.


Schwerhoff, ‘Kriminalität in der Reichsstadt Köln um 1700’, 71; Blauert, Das Urfehdewesen, 139; Jütte, ‘Geschlechtsspezifische Kriminalität’, 113; Carl A. Hoffmann, ‘Der Stadtverweis als Sanktionsmittel in der Reichsstadt Augsburg zur Beginn der Neuzeit’, in Neue Wege strafrechtsgeschichtlicher Forschung, ed. Dietmar Willoweit and Hans Schlosser (Köln: Böhlau, 1999), 204, 217; Van der Heijden, Women and Crime, 2016, 134–35; Noordam, ‘Criminaliteit van vrouwen’, 41–42.


Jütte, ‘Geschlechtsspezifische Kriminalität’, 113; Gerhard Ammerer, ‘“durch Strafen […] zu neuen Lastern gereizt”: Schandstrafe, Brandmarkung und Landesverweisung—Überlegungen zur Korrelation und Kritik von kriminalisierenden Sanktionen und Armutskarrieren im späten 18. Jahrhundert’, in Arme und ihre Lebensperspektiven in der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Sebastian Schmidt (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 2008), 328–29.


Hoffmann, ‘Der Stadtverweis’, 217.


Ibid., 198.


Originally the Urfehde was an oath taken to forswear any vengeance after imprisonment and was designed to restore peace and re-integrate the offender into the community. Throughout the early modern period, however, it became a synonym for forswearing a city or a territory.


Faber, Topographische, politische und historische Beschreibung, 1788, 1:146.


Van Dülmen, Theater des Schreckens, 187.


Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 3.


These numbers are based on a sample of all investigation records in the Criminalia for the years 1700; 1720; 1740; 1760; 1780. Total no. of offenders: 369. Joachim Eibach calculated that in the eighteenth century, banishments accounted for 23.3% of all punishments (Eibach, Frankfurter Verhöre, 387). However, in his calculations Eibach did not account for the fact that offenders were often punished with a combination of sentences, for example: banishment and whipping or imprisonment in the poorhouse and chastisement. This accounts for the variation in the calculations of Eibach and myself. Unfortunately, the picture remains incomplete, since there are fewer references to a final outcome in the investigation records concerned with violence or disturbing public order.


Criminalia 5122 (1740). Also e.g.: Criminalia 5076 (1740); Criminalia 5079 (1740); Criminalia 7587 (1760); Criminalia 7650 (1760); Criminalia 9169 (1780).


Hoffmann, ‘Der Stadtverweis’, 204–5; Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 25–26.


Schwerhoff, Köln im Kreuzverhör, 148; Schwerhoff, ‘Vertreibung als Strafe’, 52.


Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 52–56.


Hoffmann, ‘Der Stadtverweis’, 206–7; Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 29–30; Eibach, ‘Versprochene Gleichheit’, 526.


Eibach, Frankfurter Verhöre, 388–90.


Hoffmann, ‘Der Stadtverweis’, 204.


Wettmann-Jungblut, Eigentumskriminalität, 71; Blauert, Das Urfehdewesen, 103.


Schwerhoff, ‘Vertreibung als Strafe’, 58.


Blauert, Das Urfehdewesen, 139.


Sample Strafenbuch every first six years of each decade; Sample Criminalia 1700; 1720; 1740; 1760; 1780.


Richard J. Evans, Rituals of Retribution: Capital Punishment in Germany, 1600–1987 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 29–32, 138–40.


An exception was the case of Maria Elisabeth Wagnerin, a notorius thief and part of a band of thieves, who was hanged in 1725. Criminalia 3416 (1724) and 12790–92 (1724).


Orth, Nötig und nüzlich erachteter Anmerkungen, 1751, 3:877. Original: Endlich ist, bei den alhier gemeldeten strafen der stadtverweisung, so auf ewig geschiehet, und der rutenaushauung überhaupt zu bemerken, daß diese und andere dahin gehörigen arten, mer als z.e. das fingerabhauen, augenausstechen und andere verstimlung der glieder, brandmarken und dergleichen von einigen für viel härter, als die lebensstrafen selbsten, geachtet werden, weil sie einen menschen, durch die ihm zugezogene unausleschliche verunerung oder erlosigkeit, in solchen zustand sezen, daß er aus der gemeinschaft aller erlichen leuten auf einmal ausgestosen, unstät und flüchtig sein, auch wann es ihm an rechter erkantnis des guten, nebst anderen hülfesmitteln, felet, notwendig mit anderen seines Gleichen allerhand verzweifelte mittel ergreifen müste, so lange, bis er doch zulezt dem Scharfrichter wieder in die hände fiele, fals er nemlich in andern ländern, dahin man ihn zu deren überlast, durch die verweisung, getrieben, wegen neuer übeltaten ergriefen worden ist.


Schwerhoff, ‘Vertreibung als Strafe’, 62–63.


E.g. Criminalia 4209 (1734); Criminalia 6257 (1750); Criminalia 8504 (1770).


Schwerhoff, ‘Kriminalität in der Reichsstadt Köln um 1700’, 71; Spierenburg, The Spectacle of Suffering, 166; Noordam, ‘Criminaliteit van vrouwen’, 41–42.


Criminalia 2656 (1711); Criminalia 8049 (1764).


E.g. Criminalia 2158 (1698); Criminalia 2656 (1711); Criminalia 2706 (1712); Criminalia 2709 (1712); Criminalia 2712 (1712); Criminalia 3245 (1722); Criminalia 3316 (1723); Criminalia 3375 (1724); Criminalia 3383 (1724); Criminalia 3385 (1724); Criminalia 3405 (1724); Criminalia 3887 (1731); Criminalia 3956 (1731); Criminalia 4081 (1732); Criminalia 4158 (1733); Criminalia 4209 (1734); Criminalia 5082 (1740); Criminalia 5098 (1740); Criminalia 5153 (1740); Criminalia 5231 (1741); Criminalia 5381 (1742); Criminalia 5456 (1742); Criminalia 5653 (1744); Criminalia 7725 (1761); Criminalia 8578 (1771); Criminalia 8651 (1770); Criminalia 8790 (1774).


Criminalia 5004 (1739).


Criminalia 10032 (1790).


Criminalia 3385 (1724).


Cases of returning to collect belongings: Criminalia 1672 (1685); Criminalia 2327 (1702); Criminalia 2656 (1711); Criminalia 3090 (1720); Criminalia 3129 (1721); Criminalia 3342 (1724); Criminalia 3850 (1730); Criminalia 3946 (1731); Criminalia 3956 (1731); Criminalia 5228 (1741); Criminalia 5456 (1742); Criminalia 6978 (1754). For the care of family members: Criminalia 2630 (1711); Criminalia 2760 (1714); Criminalia 3439 (1725); Criminalia 3932 (1731). For services: Criminalia 2118 (1697); 2630 (1711); 3323 (1723); 5592 (1743); 8046 (1764).


E.g. Criminalia 1483 (1679); Criminalia 3090 (1720); Criminalia 3405 (1724); Criminalia 4158 (1733); Criminalia 5098 (1740); Criminalia 5592 (1743); Criminalia 8578 (1771); Criminalia 8790 (1774); Criminalia 9246 (1781); Criminalia 10161 (1792).


Criminalia 3304 (1723).


Coy, Strangers and Misfits, 30; Eibach, ‘Versprochene Gleichheit’, 526–27.


For the seventeenth-century this number is based on a sample of the Strafenbuch of every first six years of each decade; for the eighteenth-century the number is based on a sample from the Criminalia for the years 1700; 1720; 1740; 1760; 1780.


Out of the 48 male offenders for infraction of banishment 17 originated from Frankfurt; 2 from one of its villages; 19 were characterised as aliens and in 9 cases the place of origin is unknown. As for women: 15 originated from Frankfurt, 3 from one of its villages; 28 originated from elsewhere and only in 2 cases their place of origin is unknown.


Criminalia 3129 (1721).


Criminalia 3090 (1720).


Criminalia 2327 (1702).


Criminalia 1205 (1660).


E.g. Criminalia 2118 (1697); Criminalia 3291 (1723).


Criminalia 8504 (1770).


Criminalia 3932 (1731) and Criminalia 3946 (1731). Original: ‘das sie sich ehrlich zu nehren gesucht und deswegen in Holland gereset, nirgend aber unterkommen, noch unterhalt finden können’ […] ‘Sie hätte auff alle weis und wege gesuchet sich ehrlich zu ernheren, hette aber nirgend unterhalt finden können, wie sie dann wercklich in Holland mit ihrer Schwester gewesen, allen weilen sie unbekandt nicht unter kommen können’.


Sample Infraction of Banishment.


Schneider, Mörder, Diebe und Betrüger, 135–39.


Van de Pol, The Burgher and the Whore, 28, 146; Maja Mechant, ‘Selling Sex in a Provincial Town: Prostitution in Bruges’, in Selling Sex in the City: A Global History of Prostitution, 1600s-2000s, ed. Magaly Rodríguez García and Elise Van Nederveen Meerkerk (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 78–79; Kienitz, Sexualität, Macht und Moral, 81–84.


Criminalia 3698 (1728); Criminalia 3893 (1731); Criminalia 5985 (1747); Criminalia 7569 (1759); Engel, Soldatenfrauen, 438–444.


Criminalia 3090 (1720).


Härter, ‘Prekäre Lebenswelten’, 36–37.


Härter, Policey und Strafjustiz, 1107–17.


Criminalia 4945 (1739).


Criminalia 6353 (1750).


Criminalia 3416 (1722–1724); Criminalia 12790–12792 (1725).


Criminalia 1672 (1685); Criminalia 4212 (1734).


Ammerer, ‘Schandstrafe, Brandmarkung und Landesverweisung’, 328–29.

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