The amount of source information on the criminal events and the functioning of the justice system in Wrocław in the first decades of the 18th century is quite limited. When reconstructing such events we have to rely on sources such as diaries and journals, especially those kept by representatives of the judiciary at that time. The diary by Otto Wenzel von Nostitz-Rieneck, Starost of Wrocław Duchy 1726–1741 is a great example of such a source. Two volumes of the diary are kept in the National Archives in Wrocław under the Rep. 135 No. 573 559 pages and 574 736 pages. They cover the period from November 6, 1726 to October 26, 1729 and from November 9, 1737 to December 31, 1744. The first part of the journal deals with the time when the author was the highest representative of the judiciary in the Wrocław Duchy. His position allowed him to have contact with convicts. He was also interested in the process of execution, which he mentions in his notes. The other time Nostitz describes in his diary is the period between 1737 and 1744, when Silesia was under Prussian rule, while he himself stopped being the Starost of the Duchy. The break of Wroclaw’s neutrality in August 1742 and the city’s occupation by the Prussian army resulted in various excesses, such as brawls and thefts, that involved military men. Nostitz reported on the executions of deserters, and especially the women accompanying them; he wrote about suicide and crimes committed by the military and by civilians.
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