Dear readers, do you have famous relatives? I do, but of late, I have entertained the idea that I may be related to the infamous 15th century inquisitor and witch hunter, Heinrich Kramer, the author of the witch hunter manual, Malleus Maleficarum.
The evidence for any relation of mine to this 15th century cleric is flimsy at best. The best pieces of evidence is the similarity in name with one of my ancestors, Dominik Kramer, and the same region of origin of both my ancestor, and Heinrich Kramer. Heinrich Kramer is said to have come from a lowly background, my ancestors were manorial servants. Not exactly the highest social status but the children of a favourite servant of a good lord could have been set for a career in the Church, the military, in the manufactories, or development projects. I have read several stories of well situated commoners, and impoverished nobility making a mark on World this way.
The surname Kramer is a lowly occupational German name, and means “a petty shopkeeper.” Heinrich Kramer latinised his name to Henricus Insitor, which Google Translate renders as “the peddler” In colloquial Czech, the word “krám” means a shop of any kind. The plural “krámy” is often used to denote “woman’s period” or “junk”. The Czech equivalent of the name Kramer is Kramář.
There are quite a few Jews with that name because trade was their game mostly before the abolition of the guilds, and patents of religious tolerance. The Jewish people of that name would have acquired the name likely in the eighteenth century, or even later. The Nazi regime famously wanted to discredit the writer, Erich Maria Remarque by saying his name “Remark” is Kramer backwards. Remarque proved his name was of French origin. The ironic thing is, I know about my eighteenth century German ancestor because of Nazi racial laws.
I have also demonstrated aptitude in selling petty stuff. Old sneakers, old gadgets. I have also, like Heinrich Kramer, been a firebrand preacher. I work as a tour guide and feel within my element when I am the center of attention. One time in college, I have crashed a gender studies course. When the course devolved into you garden variety feminist indoctrination, I went into a red pill rage, and dropped a counterargument after counterargument. In the end, the lecturer was like: “I’m not gonna teach gender studies again.”
But I digress, another clue is Heinrich Kramer’s region of origin. Heinrich Kramer was born in Sélestat, Alsace, a town south of Strasbourg, on the left bank of the Rhein. My ancestors came from Konstanz, Baden. Southern Alsace was annexed by the Kingdom of France in 1648, so it is very possible my ancestors moved east.
The rest of the evidence is just coincidental. Heinrich Kramer was appointed the chief inquisitor for the Austrian and Czech lands. He died in 1505, in Kroměříž, Eastern Moravia. My ancestor Dominik would emigrate to this exact region roughly 200 years later. Also, my ancestor is named after Santo Domingo, the founder of the Dominican Order, of which Heinrich Kramer was a high ranking member.