List of German serial killers

A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant period of time between them.[1][2] The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines serial killing as "a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone".[2][3]


Name Years active Proven victims Possible victims Status Notes Ref
Bartsch, Jürgen 1962–1966 4 4 Died during castration surgery Known as "The Carnival Killer"; killed boys aged 8–13 in Langenberg, with one managing to escape [4]
Beck, Ernst-Dieter 1961–1968 3 3 Died while imprisoned First murderer in German history on whom a chromosome test was applied [5]
Bingelhelm, Simon 16th century 26 26 Executed 1600 Known as "The Thousand Devils of Halberstadt"; robber who confessed to multiple murders in the present-day area of Saxony-Anhalt [6]
Boost, Werner 1953–1956 1 5 Released 1990 Known as "The Couples' Killer"; along with accomplice Franz Lorbach, murdered couples in the 1950s, but only convicted of one murder [7]
Denke, Karl 1903–1924 30 42+ Committed suicide in police custody Cannibal who killed homeless vagrants and travellers in Prussia; allegedly sold his victims' flesh as meat to unsuspecting customers [8]
Eichhorn, Johann 1931–1939 5 5+ Executed 1939 Known as "The Beast of Aubing"; raped numerous women around western Munich, killing and mutilating at least five of them when they resisted him [9]
Fleischer, Simeon 16th-century 19 19 Executed 1581 Wool weaver who murdered 19 wives for money; existence is disputed [10]
Gatter, Arthur 1990 8 8 Committed suicide before sentencing Known as "The Hammer-Killer of Frankfurt"; killed people with a hammer in Frankfurt city parks [11]
Genipperteinga, Christman 1568–1581 964 964 Executed 1581 Possibly fictitious bandit who kept a registry of all the people he had killed, tallying up to 964 [12][13]
Gossmann, Klaus 1960–1965 7 7 Released 2015 Known as "The Midday Murderer"; committed robberies and murders at noon, hence his nickname [14]
Gottfried, Gesche 1813–1827 15 15 Executed 1831 Poisoned people with arsenic in Bremen and Hanover; last person to be publicly hanged in the city of Bremen [15]
Großmann, Carl 1918–1921 26 100+ Committed suicide while imprisoned Known as "The Berlin Butcher"; killed women and later sold their flesh on the black market [16]
Haarmann, Fritz 1918–1924 24 27+ Executed 1925 Known as "The Butcher of Hanover"; murdered young men and boys before dismembering their bodies; allegedly sold some of the flesh as contraband meat [17]
Hagedorn, Erwin 1969–1971 3 3 Executed 1972 Killed three boys in Eberswalde; last civilian to be executed by East Germany in 1972 [18]
Hanebuth, Jasper 17th-century 19 19 Executed 1653 Former mercenary and highwayman who killed people around the Eilenriede forest [19]
Holst, Thomas 1987–1989 3 3 Committed to a psychiatric clinic Known as "The Heidemörder"; tortured and then killed women in south Hamburg [20]
Honka, Fritz 1970–1975 4 4 Died 1998 Murdered prostitutes in Hamburg's red light district [21]
Hopf, Karl 1902–1906 4 4 Executed 1914 Poisoned family members and attempted to kill others in the Frankfurt area [22]
Imiela, Arwed 1968–1969 4 4 Died in prison Known as "The Bluebeard of Fehmarn"; fraudster who lured and killed women in Fehmarn after gaining access to their bank accounts [23]
Kimmritz, Willi 1946–1948 4 4 Executed 1950 Known as "The Horror of the Brandenburg Forest"; raped and robbed women in the forests around Berlin, killing some of his victims [24]
Kroll, Joachim 1955–1976 14 14 Died while imprisoned Known as "The Ruhr Cannibal"; raped and killed mostly women in and around the Ruhr region, eating parts of their flesh afterwards [25]
Kürten, Peter 1913–1929 9 9+ Executed 1931 Known as "The Vampire of Düsseldorf"; responsible for numerous sexual assaults, murders and attempted murders in Düsseldorf [26]
Lehmann, Christa 1952–1954 3 3 Released 1977 Poisoned family members and the family dog; initially sentenced to life imprisonment but released after 23 years
Ludy, Franz Josef 1952–1968 4 4 Sentenced to life imprisonment Serial child abuser who murdered two children and a couple [27]
Mayer, Johann 1918–1919 5 5 Executed 1923 Known as "Stumpfarm"; disabled man who shot and killed people with a carbine [28]
Niers, Peter 16th-century 544 544+ Executed 1581 Reputed bandit and gang leader who killed numerous people with his accomplices
Ogorzow, Paul 1940–1941 8 8+ Executed 1941 Known as "The S-Bahn Murderer"; SA sergeant who killed women in wartime Berlin [29]
Pleil, Rudolf 1946–1947 10 25 Committed suicide while imprisoned Known as "The Deadmaker"; killed one salesman and nine women in the Harz mountain range, but confessed to killing more [30]
Poehlke, Norbert 1984–1985 6 6 Committed suicide to avoid apprehension Known as "The Hammer-Killer"; police officer and bank robber who killed people during his crimes in Baden-Württemberg; killed his wife, two sons and then himself in Italy to avoid capture [31]
Pommerenke, Heinrich 1959 4 4+ Died while imprisoned Killed women around Baden-Württemberg; longest-serving prisoner in Germany until his death [32]
Prigan, Bernhard 1947–1952 3 16 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Strangler"; killed women near controlled-access highways and major roads [33]
Reinstrom, Lutz 1986–1988 2 2 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Acid Killer"; sadomasochist who tortured and killed two women in Hamburg [34]
Schiffer, Egidius 1983–1990 5 5 Died in prison Known as "The Strangler of Aachen"; murdered girls and women, sexually abusing three of them [35]
Schumann, Friedrich 1918–1920 7 7 Executed 1921 Known as "The Terror of Falkenhagen Lake"; criminal who killed people in the Berlin area [36]
Seefeldt, Adolf 1908–1935 12 12+ Executed 1936 Known as "The Sandman"; travelling watchmaker who poisoned and then sexually assaulted young boys in their sleep [37]
Steinwegs, Kurt-Friedhelm 1974–1983 6 6 Committed to a psychiatric institution Known as "The Monster from Lower Rhine"; juvenile delinquent who killed six people [38]
Sternickel, August 1905–1913 7 7 Executed 1913 Petty criminal who killed his employer in 1905; while on the run for authorities in the next years, proceeded to kill other people for profit [39]
Stumpp, Peter c. 1564–1589 18 18 Executed 1589 Known as "The Werewolf of Bedburg"; farmer and accused cannibal who killed people in the 16th-century [40]
Tessnow, Ludwig 1898–1901 4 4 Executed 1904 First criminal in history on whom a blood type test was performed [41]
Ursinus, Sophie 1796–1803 3 3 Died 1836 Poisoned her family members with arsenic; her trial led to a method of identifying said type of poisoning [42]
Velten, Maria 1963–1982 3 5 Died 2008 Known as "The Poison Witch from Lower Rhine"; poisoned her family members and partners with parathion; released from prison at 93 [43]
Wiese, Elisabeth 1902–1903 5 5 Executed 1905 Known as "The Angel Maker of St. Pauli"; poisoned her grandchild and other children with morphine, burning their bodies in the stove afterwards [44]
Wichmann, Kurt-Werner 1989 4 21+ Committed suicide Cemetery gardener thought to be responsible for the Göhrde Murders, and other ones as well [45]
Wittmann, Ferdinand 1860–1865 6 6 Executed 1868 Poisoned his relatives with arsenic; youngest serial killer in German history [46]
Wittmann, Manfred 1968–1969 3 3 Released 2013 Known as "The Staffelstein Killer"; sadist who killed underage girls in Coburg [47]
Zwanziger, Anna Maria 1801–1811 4 4 Executed 1811 Bavarian poisoner who killed people with arsenic; executed by decapitation in Kulmbach [48]


Name Years active Proven victims Possible victims Status Notes Ref
Becker, Irene 2005–2006 5 8 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Angel of Death from Charité" [49]
Bodenfelde Black Widows 1983–2000 4 4 Sentenced to life imprisonment/12 years imprisonment Lydia L. killed 4 older men with the help of Siggi S. in Bodenfelde. [50]
Böhnhardt, Uwe 2000–2007 10 10 Killed by partner Neo-Nazi who killed immigrants throughout Germany, with accomplices Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Mundlos [51]
David, Horst 1975–1993 3 7+ Sentenced to life imprisonment One of his murders proved to be a milestone in German criminal history, as it was the first 20-year-old crime to be solved with the help of the computer-assisted tracking system of AFIS [52]
Eckert, Volker 1974–2006 6 14+ Committed suicide in police custody Trucker who abducted, tortured and killed prostitutes in Germany, Spain and France; confessed to additional murders, including ones in Italy and the Czech Republic [53]
Gust, Frank 1994–1998 4 4 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Rhine-Ruhr-Ripper"; sexual sadist who killed and subsequently mutilated women in the Rhine-Ruhr region [54]
Hoffmann, Marc 2004 2 2+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Sex offender who sexually abused and murdered two children; suspected of other murders [55][56]
Högel, Niels 2000–2005 106 300 Sentenced to life imprisonment Male nurse who killed patients in two hospitals in Oldenburg and Delmenhorst [57][58]
Lemke, Thomas 1995–1996 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Former mercenary and far-right extremist who killed political opponents [59]
Letter, Stephan 2003–2004 29 29+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Male nurse who poisoned patients in Sonthofen [60]
Metzler, Marco 2003–2006 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Truck driver who attacked and killed women along highways [61]
Mundlos, Uwe 2000–2007 10 10 Committed suicide to avoid apprehension Neo-Nazi who killed immigrants throughout Germany, with accomplices Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Böhnhardt [62]
Ney, Martin 1992–2004 3 4 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Masked Man"; prolific pedophile who murdered children in school camps; additionally suspected of killing French boy Jonathan Coulom [63]
Nölle, Marianne 1993 7 17 Sentenced to life imprisonment Nurse who killed patients in Cologne [64]
Plumain, Jacques 1999–2000 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Ghost of Kehl"; Guadeloupean man who killed two women in Kehl and one in the French forest of La Wantzenau [65]
Rieken, Ronny 1996–1998 2 2 Sentenced to life imprisonment First German criminal to be captured via DNA profiling [66]
Rung, Thomas 1983–1995 7 7 Sentenced to life imprisonment Raped and murdered six women in Berlin, as well as his stepbrother; another man falsely confessed to his first murder [67]
S., Tuba 2016 3 3+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Murdered at least three people in robberies in Düsseldorf and Giessen [68]
Schmidt, Beate 1989–1991 6 6 Committed to a psychiatric hospital Known as "The Beast of Beelitz"; trans woman who killed five women and an infant in Beelitz [69]
Seel, Manfred 1971–2004 5 9 Died from esophageal cancer Known as "The Hesse Ripper"; suspected of killing women in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main and other places; died before crimes were discovered [70]
Wenzinger, Gerd 1991–1996 2 17+ Committed suicide before trial Known as "The Havel Ripper"; tortured, murdered and dismembered prostitutes in Berlin, but also in Brazil [71]
Zschäpe, Beate 2000–2007 10 10 Sentenced to life imprisonment Neo-Nazi who killed immigrants throughout Germany, with accomplices Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos [72]

Unidentified serial killersEdit

Name Years active Proven victims Possible victims Region where active Notes Ref
Hamburg rubble murderer 1947 4 4 Hamburg Killed 4 people during the cold winter in Hamburg; convicted serial killer Rudolf Pleil was questioned, but later cleared of these murders [73]
Münsterland murders 1971–1974 4 4+ North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony Kidnapped and killed at least four hitchhikers in the Münster and Bentheim regions [74]
Pirmasens child killer 1960–1967 3 3 Rhineland-Palatinate Suspected abductor and child killer responsible for the disappearance of three children from the town of Pirmasens [75]
Saw-Killer of Hanover 1975–1977 6 6+ Lower Saxony Killed and dismembered at least four women and two men around Hanover, dumping their body parts at various places in the city [76]
Sewer Murders 1976–1989 7 7 Frankfurt Rhine-Main Also called "The Sewage Plant Murders"; the bodies of several young boys and adolescents were discovered near sewage treatment plants in Frankfurt Rhine-Main, leading authorities to believe they were killed by a serial killer [77]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ronald M. Holmes, Stephen T. Holmes (1998). Contemporary Perspectives on Serial Murder. SAGE Publications. p. 1. ISBN 0761914218. Retrieved June 15, 2016. Serial murder is the killing of three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a significant cooling-off period between the murders [...] The baseline number of three victims appears to be most common among those who are the academic authorities in the field. The time frame also appears to be an agreed-upon component of the definition.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Burkhalter Chmelir 2003, p. 1.
  3. ^ Morton 2005, p. 4, 9.
  4. ^ "Der Kindermörder Jürgen Bartsch". Das Erste (in German). May 18, 2000. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
  5. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau of November 5, 1968[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Jonas Eberhardt and Jörg Brückner (2001). A thousand devils, the long Jörg and other bad boys (in German). Vol. 12. Neue Wernigeröder Zeitung. p. 22.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Der Spiegel, article Murderer on the way from July 5, 1971
  8. ^ Corke, Jonathan (December 7, 2003). "Cannibal's victim in cold packs; Exclusive pleased to meat you". Daily Star. p. 21.
  9. ^ Sven Rieber (September 10, 2019). "Johann Eichhorn: Die Bestie aus Aubing" [Johann Eichhorn: The Beast of Aubing] (in German). Archived from the original on August 13, 2021.
  10. ^ Dreyerley Neüwezeitung, pp. 11–15. (in German)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 July 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Herber, p. 1–2.
  13. ^ Wiltenburg ch 1, 2012
  14. ^ Karin Truscheit (27 February 2015). "Back in the future". (in German). Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  15. ^ Willibald Alexis / Julius Eduard Hitzig: Kriminalfälle des neuen Pitaval - Gesche Margaretha Gottfried
  16. ^ "East Mississippi times. (Starkville, Miss.) 19??-1926, July 14, 1922, Image 7". 14 July 1922 – via
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  43. ^ Ute Bönnen and Gerald Endres. "The Bilberry Mariechen" (in German).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  64. ^ Stephan Harbort – Kriminalist & Autor
  65. ^ «The" Ghost of Kehl "admits his crimes» Article by Geoffroy Tomasovitch published on May 19, 2005 in Le Parisien
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  76. ^ Der ungefasste Serienkiller von Hannover.
  77. ^ Film contribution, Kriminalreport Hessen.