The Countess did not work alone
The Countess had a close network of servants who were privy to the activities of the secret inner chambers at Sarvar and her other castles. The first of those servants was Anna Darvolya, known as Darvulia. Darvulia had been a servant of the Nadasdy family for years but became a permanent part of the Countess’s inner circle from 1601 onwards. It is Darvulia who supposedly honed the Countess’s torture skills and instructed her other servants. These pupils later claimed that when Darvulia arrived âthe lady herself became crueler and crueler.”
The other servants consisted of three older women- and one young man. They were: Ilona Jo, the Countess’s children’s former wet nurse; Dorottya Szentes a friend of Jo; an elderly washerwoman called Katalin Beneczky and a boy named Janos Ujvary or Ficzko (âkid’). The women supervised (and terrorized) the young girls in the Countess’s employ. All admitted to participating in Lady Bathory’s torture sessions. However, when Thurzo finally accused her, the Lady herself laid the blame squarely at her servant’s door, claiming she allowed them to do such things because: “even I myself was afraid of them.”
But it was not just servants implicated in the Countess’s crimes. Nobles such as Lady Anna Welyker, Lady Judith Pogan, Lady Szell and others were supposed to have acted as âgirl catchers’ for the countess, traveling to find her new female servants when local supplies âdried up.” Even her youngest, favorite daughter Katalin had allegedly taken part in at least one torture session with her mother at Csejthe, the Countess’s favored residence. The event occurred before Katalin’s wedding.Two young girls were tortured and burnt so badly they later died during the marriage festivities.
All of the servants (except for Darvulia who was dead by 1609) were tried and executed. Jo and Szentes had their fingers torn out before the executioner burnt their bodies. Because of his relative youth, the same executioner beheaded Ficzko while guards removed Beneczky to prison. A local Csejthe forest witch, Erzsi Majorova was implicated in abetting the Countess’s attempts to kill King Matthias and Gyorgy Thurzo by magic. Thurzo had her burnt. But the nobles who acted as procurers and the Countess’s daughter were never brought to book.