History's Deadliest Woman and Other Lesser Known Killers

History’s Deadliest Woman and Other Lesser Known Killers

By Khalid Elhassan

Most people know about history’s greatest murderers – Hitler, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. However, history is full of other horrible human beings who might not have killed as many people as the aforementioned tyrants, but whose body counts, whether they killed retail or wholesale, were shocking. Some of the figures in this list were responsible for a part of the most shocking genocides in history.

Political turmoil seems to create some of the most disastrous events in human history. Some of these infamous figures reached too high for power and did not have any qualms about eliminating those who stood in the way- including innocents. While others in this list did not seem to have any motivation other than to kill. Some of these stories of human experimentation, genocide and death are beyond shocking.

Following are forty unsettling truths about some of history’s deadliest people.

Rozalia Zemlyachka, circa 1919, when she was involved in the Red Terror. Wikimedia

40. “History’s Deadliest Woman”?

This is the story of Russian revolutionary and Soviet politician Rosalia Samilovna Zalkind (1876 – 1947), better known by her revolutionary name as Rozalia Zemlyachka. She often earned the label: “history’s deadliest woman”. Yet, for somebody with such an infamous accomplishment, relatively little is known about her. For one thing, most of her notoriety can be traced to a period of revolutionary upheaval. During this time, record keeping? Spotty at best. On top of this fact, much of what existed was destroyed in the turmoil that engulfed Russia and the Soviet Union during her lifetime. For another, as a woman, neither her own party, the Bolsheviks, nor English speaking Soviet scholars and historians, put that much effort into documenting or digging up information about her.

Russian Revolution

Be that as it may, Zemlyachka was one of the key figures in the abortive 1905 Russian Revolution. Twelve years later, during the Russian Civil War, Zemlyachka emerged as one of the main organizers of the Red Terror after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. In 1920 to 1921, she acted as one of the overseers of the Red Terror in the Crimea. Zemlyachka played a key role in mass killings that claimed the lives of tens of thousands at the low end of estimates, and hundreds of thousands at the high end.