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Junkersdorf Massacre
Part of Cologne War (1583–1588)
Frans Hogenberg, Die Greuliche Morderei bei Jonckersdorff (1586-1588)
Location Junkersdorf, now part of Lindenthal, Cologne
Coordinates 50°55′55″N 6°51′26″E / 50.93194°N 6.85722°E / 50.93194; 6.85722
Date 3 July 1586 (1586-07-03)
shortly after noon
Deaths over 108
Non-fatal injuries
over 100
Victims civilian convoy commanded by Lord von Efferen
Assailants Spanish, Italian and Walloon cavalrymen and German infantrymen
Motive plunder

The Junkersdorf Massacre (3 July 1586) was an incident in the Cologne War of 1583–1588.


On Thursday, 3 July 1586 a convoy of about 800 persons, formed in Bergheim to bring travellers from the Duchy of Jülich to the weekly market in Cologne, was ambushed by marauding soldiers near the village of Junkersdorf (now part of Cologne's Third District).[1] Over 200 were killed and over 100 injured.

In the account of the Cologne diarist Hermann Weinsberg, whose brother-in-law Steffen Horn was injured in the attack, "The ruffians murdered, stabbed and pitifully killed many, plundered the people and the wagons, took some prisoners, horses and booty with them, stripped noble maidens and good folk and left them naked".[2] The perpetrators were soldiers in the service of Ernest of Bavaria, from the garrisons of Worringen and Rodenkirchen.


News of the massacre reached the city of Cologne at 2 in the afternoon of 3 July, causing consternation. Many citizens went out with food and drink to tend to the survivors, and the city council ordered taverns to take in survivors and barber surgeons to treat the wounded. On 4 July the city council ordered the bodies of the slain be buried: 108 bodies were found at the site.[3] On 8 July a spokesman conveyed Ernest of Bavaria's apologies to the city council of Cologne.[4] A number of the leaders of the raid were later hanged, including "a Moor who had before been dear to the Elector".[5]

The Flemish engraver Frans Hogenberg, then living in Cologne, produced a print commemorating the slaughter.[6]


  1. Carl Dietmar, "Greuliche Mörderei bei Junkersdorf", Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 7 Dec. 2011. Accessed 23 Jan. 2015.
  2. "die schelmen haben vil ermort, erstochen und jemerlich umbbracht, die leut und wagen geplondert und beraubt, etliche gefangen, die pfert und raub mitgenomen, jonfern vom adel und gutte leut untbloist und nackt verlaissen", Digital edition of Hermann Weinsberg's autobiographical writings, Instituts für geschichtliche Landeskunde der Rheinlande, University of Bonn, 2003 (last updated 6 Feb. 2009). Accessed 23 January 2015.
  3. "Altero die Amplissimus Senatus Coloniensis misit, qui interfectorum cadavera sepelirent: quorum centum & octo in ipso loco inventa sunt", Michael ab Isselt, "Latrocinium nephandum in terra Coloniensi", in Commentarius Brevis Rerum In Orbe Gestarum (Cologne, 1586), fos. 56v-57v.
  4. Michael ab Isselt, "Archiepiscopus se purgat", in Commentarius Brevis Rerum In Orbe Gestarum (Cologne, 1586), fo. 57v.
  5. "unter andern ein Mohr, der sonst ihr Churfürst, G. sehr lieb gewesen", Gulielmus Maius, Polemographia Belgica Das ist: Niederländische Kriegsbeschreibung (Cologne, 1594), p. 645.
  6. David Kunzle, From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art, 1550-1672 (Brill History of Warfare 10; 2002), p. 294.

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