Who was the most wronged person in history

To qualify they would have had to

Pay for it with their life
Even their family and dear ones did not believe their side of whatever it was
Lost everything they had
Were actually harmless and completely normal person
Had a horrible life because of it
Etc etc

Is there anyone in recent history who was terribly treated by society


There are a very great many people who would meet this description, and no objective way to judge which one was “more wronged” than another. Moving from GQ to IMHO.

How recent are we talking here?

Little is known of her life but her dramatic death at the hands of Christian fanatics is well-documented.
She was the daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last Professor at the University of Alexandria, who tutored her in math, astronomy, and the philosophy of the day which, in modern times, would be considered science.

Wow, that is exactly what I considered posting when I read the OP.

Another item that needs clarification from the OP:

Some people in history do deserve to be wronged forever, as their ideas caused a lot of harm besides being wrong.

Are you looking exclusively for people that did not deserve to be wronged?

I suppose Socrates is well past the statute of limitations of “recent history”.

Job, as I recall, got a pretty raw deal too.

One of the OP’s criteria is:

So Trofim Lysenko is right out.

And he was eventually fired and disgraced, but he definitely didn’t pay for it with his life, and a lot of people did (and some still do) believe his side, so he also fails OP’s first two criteria.

And, if they were actually wronged, by definition, they didn’t deserve it. If they deserved whatever happened to them, they weren’t wronged, by definition.

On the other hand, “completely normal person” would seem to rule anyone famous enough for us to know about how they were wronged, so I’m not quite sure what OP is looking for.

“Nobody has ever been wronged as much as me!”
–You know who.

Yes, the ones who caused no harm to anyone directly or indirectly.

Undoubtedly not the most wronged person in history, but Catherine O’Leary, an Irish immigrant who lived in Chicago in 1871, was widely blamed at the time for starting what became the Great Chicago Fire, when her cow allegedly kicked over a lantern.

The newspaper reporter who wrote the story admitted, decades later, that he made the entire thing up, but O’Leary and her family became scapegoats for the devastating fire, and she spent the rest of her life being blamed and harassed over it.

Ignaz Semmelweis should probably be on the short list:

Before the germ theory of disease and Lister’s work on antisepsis was fully recognized, Semmelweis figured out that doctors were causing untold suffering and death by attending births after examining corpses.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite figure out the actual mechanism, and we now know that some of his ideas about the causal mechanisms were badly wrong. But his data on maternal and infant mortality in wards where the attending physicians regularly examined corpses vs. wards where births were attended by midwives (who didn’t handle corpses) were unassailable. Or should have been. He definitely got assailed.

He wasn’t wholly without support, but by and large the medical establishment rejected his findings, he was roundly criticized and mocked, and eventually had a nervous breakdown. Or at least his colleagues claimed that he did*, and had him involuntarily committed to an asylum, where he was beaten by guards and died 14 days later.

*It’s certainly entirely plausible that he really did have a nervous breakdown: he definitely was under a lot of stress, between the unrelenting criticism, mockery and ostracism from many of his colleagues on the one hand, and his knowledge that thousands of women and infants were unnecessarily dying every year because those colleagues wouldn’t listen to him on the other hand. But there’s been speculation ever since that his colleagues had him committed just to shut him up.

Maybe not most wronged, but Mary Wollstonecraft perhaps deserves an honorable mention for most ironic. A brilliant and complex woman, Wollstonecrafts legacy was tainted for centuries by a memoir her widowed husband apparently published as a sincere homage to her life. His open discussion of his late pre-marital wife’s affairs , illegitimate child, and heterodox views was too shocking for anyone to look past.

She’s more remembered today as the mother of Mary Shelly, but was extraordinary in her own right.

Alfred Dreyfus is a candidate.

As a French Army captain, he was framed for treason (passing military secrets to Germany) and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, later pardoned but only after his health had been severely affected. He was ultimately exonerated after a military coverup was exposed and the true traitor identified. Dreyfus survived an assassination attempt when he was shot by a right-wing journalist, eventually returning to the Army and serving in WWI.

I don’t think his family ever abandoned him though.

Urbain Grandier.

Burned at the stake for witchcraft. May have been a lousy priest, but probably not in league with Satan. Probably killed because he ticked off Cardinal Richelieu.

Subject of Aldous Huxley’s novel The Devils of Loudun

Played by Oliver Reed in Ken Russell’s film The Devils


Probably somebody who got tossed into the sea on the Middle Passage, or something of the sort; and who we’ve never heard of, and never will.

And as for “recent history”: most likely somebody now in an unmarked grave somewhere, who nobody’s looking for, and again who we’ve never heard of and never will.

The first person I thought of was Richard Jewell.

I’m not quite sure I believe all the tall tales about the fella, but there’s this guy named “Jesus” who’d fit that description pretty well.

There was a 13yo girl who’s dad thought she would enjoy starring in a music video as a birthday present, so he set it up, got it done, only to have his teenaged daughter literally dragged by the entire Internet… including, to our shame, us… when it was released.

Just a diminishing moment for all of us.

How about Galileo?

How about all the women accused of witchcraft in Salem?