Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Großmann (13 December 1863 – 5 July 1922) was a German serial killer who cannibalized his victims. He committed suicide while awaiting the end of the main trial without giving a full confession, leaving the extent of his crimes and motives largely unknown.

Carl Großmann
Karl Großmann.jpg
Großmann mug shot
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Großmann

(1863-12-13)13 December 1863
Died5 July 1922(1922-07-05) (aged 58)
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
Other namesJack the Slaughterer
The Berlin Butcher
child molestation,
Criminal penaltyDeath
Span of crimes
1918–21 August 1921
Date apprehended
21 August 1921

Early lifeEdit

Little is known about Carl Großmann's early life, except that he had sadistic sexual tastes and had several convictions for child molestation. As a young man, he served a 15-year prison sentence for fondling a ten-year-old girl and for brutally raping a four-year-old girl (who died shortly after the judgement)[1].

During World War I, Großmann sold meat on the black market and even had a hotdog stand at a train station near his home. Some believed the meat contained the remains of his victims, as he threw some of their bones and other inedible parts into the river. Pieces of missing women were found in the canal near Andreas Square and off the Luisenstadt Canal [2], sometimes on a daily basis, which led some investigators to suspect that Großmann murdered up to 100 women and girls.


On 21 August 1921, Großmann was arrested at his apartment in Berlin after neighbours heard screams and banging noises, followed by silence. The police burst into the apartment, finding on the bed the body of a young woman who had recently been murdered. Großmann was taken into custody and charged with first degree murder. Neighbours reported that he seemed to have had a steady supply of female companions, mostly destitute-looking young women, over the previous few years. Many went into the apartment, but few emerged from it. How many lives Großmann took is not known. Only the body of his final victim was found, along with bloodstains in the apartment that indicated at least three other persons had been butchered in the few weeks leading up to his arrest. One 1921 report claims Großmann had confessed to about twenty murders over twenty years.[1] A 1922 report claims that Großmann had admitted to killing four women.[3] Some have suggested as many as 50 women entered Großmann's apartment and ended up being murdered and dismembered.

Großmann was not convicted of murder, because he hanged himself in his prison cell before the end of the main trial.[4]


  • Matthias Blazek (2009), Carl Großmann und Friedrich Schumann – Zwei Serienmörder in den zwanziger Jahren, Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-8382-0027-9.
  • Horst Bosetzky (2004), Die Bestie vom Schlesischen Bahnhof, Jaron-Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-89773-078-2.
  • Peter Haining (2005), Cannibal Killers Murderers who kill and eat their victims, chapter: "The Bread And Butter Brides", Magpie Books, UK, ISBN 978-1-84529-792-3.
  • Maria Tatar (1995), Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany, Princeton, NJ (English), ISBN 0-691-01590-2.
  • Masters, R.E.L.; Lea, Eduard; Edwardes, Allen, (1963), Perverse Crimes in History: Evolving Concepts of Sadism, Lust-Murder, and Necrophilia from Ancient to Modern Times, NY: Julian Press


  1. ^ a b "Der Mädchenfänger von Berlin". Die Welt. Berlin: Axel Springer SE. April 6, 2008 – via
  2. ^ "Butcher Held For Killing Twenty Girls And Selling Flesh". The Washington Times. Washington D.C.: Times Publishing Company. September 19, 1921 – via
  3. ^ "German Bluebeard Takes Own Life". East Mississippi Times. Starkville, Mississippi. July 14, 1922 – via
  4. ^ Blazek, Matthias (2009). Carl Großmann und Friedrich Schumann – Zwei Serienmörder in den zwanziger Jahren (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Ibidem-Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 978-3-8382-0027-9.

See alsoEdit