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]

Pre-unificationEdit

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, 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 Sentenced to life imprisonment 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]
Fleischer, Simeon 16th-century 19 19 Executed 1581 Wool weaver who murdered 19 wives for money; existence is disputed [9]
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 [10]
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 [11][12]
Gossmann, Klaus 1960–1965 7 7 Released 2015 Known as "The Midday Murderer"; committed robberies and murders at noon, hence his nickname [13]
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 [14]
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 [15]
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 [16]
Hagedorn, Erwin 1969–1971 3 3 Executed 1972 Killed three boys in Eberswalde; last civilian to be executed by East Germany in 1972 [17]
Hanebuth, Jasper 17th-century 19 19 Executed 1653 Former mercenary and highwayman who killed people around the Eilenriede forest [18]
Holst, Thomas 1987–1989 3 3 Committed to a psychiatric clinic Known as "The Heidemörder"; tortured and then killed women in south Hamburg [19]
Honka, Fritz 1970–1975 4 4 Died 1998 Murdered prostitutes in Hamburg's red light district [20]
Hopf, Karl 1902–1906 4 4 Executed 1914 Poisoned family members and attempted to kill others in the Frankfurt area [21]
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 [22]
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 [23]
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 [24]
Mayer, Johann 1918–1919 5 5 Executed 1923 Known as "Stumpfarm"; disabled man who shot and killed people with a carbine [25]
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 [26]
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 [27]
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; killed his wife, two sons and then himself in Italy to avoid capture [28]
Pommerenke, Heinrich 1959 4 4+ Died while imprisoned Killed women around Baden-Württemberg; longest-serving prisoner in Germany until his death [29]
Prigan, Bernhard 1947–1952 3 16 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Strangler"; killed women near controlled-access highways and major roads [30]
Reinstrom, Lutz 1986–1988 2 2 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Acid Killer"; sadomasochist who tortured and killed two women in Hamburg [31]
Schiffer, Egidius 1983–1990 5 5 Died in prison Known as "The Strangler of Aachen"; murdered girls and women, sexually abusing three of them [32]
Schumann, Friedrich 1918–1920 7 7 Executed 1921 Known as "The Terror of Falkenhagen Lake"; criminal who killed people in the Berlin area [33]
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 [34]
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 [35]
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 [36]
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 [37]
Tessnow, Ludwig 1898–1901 4 4 Executed 1904 First criminal in history on whom a blood type test was performed [38]
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 [39]
Velten, Maria 1963–1982 3 5 Unknown Known as "The Poison Witch from Lower Rhine"; poisoned her family members and partners with parathion; released from prison at 93, current status unknown [40]
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 [41]
Wichmann, Kurt-Werner 1989 4 21+ Committed suicide Cemetery gardener thought to be responsible for the Göhrde Murders, and other ones as well [42]
Wittmann, Ferdinand 1860–1865 6 6 Executed 1868 Poisoned his relatives with arsenic; youngest serial killer in German history [43]
Wittmann, Manfred 1968–1969 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Known as "The Staffelstein Killer"; sadist who killed underage girls in Coburg [44]
Zwanziger, Anna Maria 1801–1811 4 4 Executed 1811 Bavarian poisoner who killed people with arsenic [45]

Post-unificationEdit

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" [46]
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. [47]
Böhnhardt, Uwe 2000–2007 10 10 Killed by partner Neo-Nazi who killed immigrants throughout Germany, with accomplices Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Mundlos [48]
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 [49]
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 [50]
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 [51]
Hoffmann, Marc 2004 2 2+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Sex offender who sexually abused and murdered two children; suspected of other murders [52][53]
Högel, Niels 2000–2005 106 106+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Male nurse who killed patients in two hospitals in Oldenburg and Delmenhorst [54]
Lemke, Thomas 1995–1996 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Former mercenary and far-right extremist who killed political opponents [55]
Letter, Stephan 2003–2004 29 29+ Sentenced to life imprisonment Male nurse who poisoned patients in Sonthofen [56]
Metzler, Marco 2003–2006 3 3 Sentenced to life imprisonment Truck driver who attacked and killed women along highways [57]
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 [58]
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 [59]
Nölle, Marianne 1993 7 17 Sentenced to life imprisonment Nurse who killed patients in Cologne [60]
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 [61]
Rieken, Ronny 1996–1998 2 2 Sentenced to life imprisonment First German criminal to be captured via DNA profiling [62]
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 [63]
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 [64]
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 [65]
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 [66]
Zschäpe, Beate 2000–2007 10 10 Sentenced to life imprisonment Neo-Nazi who killed immigrants throughout Germany, with accomplices Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos [67]

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 [68]
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 [69]
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 [70]
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, leading authorities to believe they were killed by a serial killer [71]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  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). 12. Neue Wernigeröder Zeitung. p. 22.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. ^ Dreyerley Neüwezeitung, pp. 11–15. (in German)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 July 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  12. ^ Wiltenburg ch 1, 2012
  13. ^ Karin Truscheit (27 February 2015). "Back in the future" (in German). FAZ.net. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  14. ^ Willibald Alexis / Julius Eduard Hitzig: Kriminalfälle des neuen Pitaval - Gesche Margaretha Gottfried
  15. ^ "East Mississippi times. (Starkville, Miss.) 19??-1926, July 14, 1922, Image 7". 14 July 1922 – via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
  16. ^ "Slayer of 30 Near Collapse at his Trial". The Southeast Missourian. 15 December 1924. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
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  30. ^ http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2907943, accessed on March 8, 2012
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  34. ^ Central file for the murder cases and teaching materials collection at tools.wmflabs.org [Error: unknown archive URL] (archived 27 August 2013)
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  37. ^ Wagner, Stephen. "The Werewolf of Bedburg".
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  40. ^ Ute Bönnen and Gerald Endres. "The Bilberry Mariechen" (in German). boen-end.de.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  42. ^ ""Göhrde Murders": Perpetrators identified, questions remain" (in German). NDR. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
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  44. ^ Signs without disease value (in German). Spiegel Online. November 21, 1971. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  45. ^ Dan Norder, Wolf Vanderlinden and Paul Begg, Ripper Notes: Madmen, Myths and Magic, Inklings Press, 2004, p. 17
  46. ^ Karoline Beyer (May 5, 2013). "Charité's "Angel of Death" - visit to a murderer" (in German). Berliner Morgenpost.
  47. ^ "Murder cases in Bodenfelde: Near Höxter: "Black Widow" lured victims into death trap by ads". Focus Online (in German). 2 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  48. ^ "Döner-Mörder: Waren sie Einzeltäter oder gibt es ein Netzwerk?". Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2011.
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  50. ^ "Prostitute killer found dead in his cell in Germany". Typically Spanish. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2018.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  51. ^ "Monster oder Mensch" (in German). Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  52. ^ Mordfall Levke – „Er war einfach nicht gesegnet" Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, Stern, 2004, April 1, 2012
  53. ^ Gerichtsurteil – Höchststrafe für Kindermörder Hoffmann Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, Stern, 2005, April 1, 2012
  54. ^ "Nurse 'killed patients because he was bored'". The Local. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  55. ^ Gisela Friedrichsen (24 March 1997). "Refuge with the Nazis". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 19 December 2015.
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  57. ^ Three women killed. Lifelong imprisonment for "Brummi Killer": Verdict - WORLD. RP-Online, June 4, 2007
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  59. ^ "Fahndungserfolg: Verdächtiger im Fall Dennis gesteht Morde an drei Kindern" (in German). spiegel.de. April 15, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  60. ^ Stephan Harbort - Kriminalist & Autor
  61. ^ «The" Ghost of Kehl "admits his crimes» Article by Geoffroy Tomasovitch published on May 19, 2005 in Le Parisien
  62. ^ Hans-Werner Loose (20 November 1998). "Rieken described how he murdered Christina". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  63. ^ Berlin district court imposed a double life imprisonment; in: Berliner Zeitung on March 6, 1996
  64. ^ Becker, Claudia (July 16, 2013). "Der Serienkiller darf sich ein bisschen frei bewegen" [The serial killer may move a bit freely]. Die Welt (in German). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  65. ^ Maintower Kriminalreport Extra: The serial killer from Schwalbach.
  66. ^ Redaktion neues deutschland. "Alleged murderer should be extradited" (in German). Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  67. ^ "Döner-Mörder: Waren sie Einzeltäter oder gibt es ein Netzwerk?". Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  68. ^ "Riddle about the Rubble Murderer: Hamburg police interrogated more than 1000 people - A hint from Berlin" (in German). Hamburger Abendblatt No. 225. 27 September 1952. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  69. ^ "No bodies and no confession". Die Zeit (in German). 11 March 1976.
  70. ^ Der ungefasste Serienkiller von Hannover.
  71. ^ Film contribution, Kriminalreport Hessen.