German inquisitor. Born sometime in the first half of the 15th century in Schlettstadt, Alsace. Died 1505, in Bohemia.
Entering the Dominican Order as a young man, his overall competence led to him rising meteorically to the rank of Prior in the Dominican House in his home town. He became a Preacher-General and a Master of Sacred Theology, elevated distinctions within the Order.
Sometime before 1474, he was delegated as inquisitor for Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia, and Moravia. His devotion to his duties in this regard brought him to the attention of Rome, and he was for many years Spiritual Director of the Dominican church at Salzburg, second in command to the Archbishop of Salzburg (who praises him eloquently in a still-extant letter). By 1485, Kramer had written a treatise on witchcraft. This was later incorporated into his magnum opus, the Malleus Maleficarum, published around 1486 or 1487.
The Papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, issued by Pope Innocent VIII on December 5, 1484, delegated Heinrich Kramer and his associate Jakob Sprenger (possibly co-author of the Malleus), by name, as inquisitors to Northern Germany.
Later, in 1495, the Master-General of the Dominican Order, Fr. Joaquin de Torres, summoned Kramed to Venice, to lecture on the subject of witch-hunting. During his stay in Venice, Kramer published arguments in defense of Papal supremacy, confuting the Paduan Antonio degli Roselli's De Monarchia.
By 1497, Kramer had returned to Germany and was living in Rohr, near Regensburg. On January 31, 1500, Pope Alexander VI named him papal nuncio and inquisitor in Bohemia and Moravia, with authority to act against the Waldenses and Picards, and against the witches. He threw himself into the work with ardour, and died on the job in 1505.