15 April 1925 – Fritz Haarmann

Fritz Haarmann

The Germans may like their meat. But maybe not in Hanover in the early 1920s, when a shed load of male prostitutes and down-and-outs were rumoured to have made it on to the menus. Literally.

Meat is murder

Serial killer Friedrich Heinrich Karl Haarmann is said to have offloaded chunks of his victims to the locals, blagging that it was pork. We’re not sure if that’s true or not, but this much is. He was a vicious serial killer who’d prey on the vulnerable, enticing them back to his place where he’d set upon them with visceral ferocity, often biting out their necks as he forced them to have sex with him. This method of slaughter earned Haarmann the nickname The Butcher of Hanover, as well as the salacious tags of werewolf, vampire and sexual psychopath. And to be fair he deserved every one of them.

Born to a rich but simple mother and an abusive father, he had an uneasy childhood, often at loggerheads with his dad. He apparently went on to abuse fellow school children and eventually found himself banged up in an asylum for his crimes. But all too soon he was let loose. Luckily for all though there then followed a career in the army and he did well by all accounts until a descent into epilepsy cut his service short.

There followed another spell in an asylum before he turned to petty crimes, such as burglary and smuggling. But the sexual depravity was bubbling under.

He’d target young men by pretending to be a policeman and lure them back to his where he’d sexually abuse them, torture them and finally kill them. There is also one story where he is even said to have pimped one out. But his first love was murder and he would kill, then get rid of the bodies of evidence.

Worse for wear

He wasn’t alone in his crimes – Haarmann was often goaded into it by his partner, who encouraged him to target good looking victims, some say he even set the targets because he coveted what they were wearing. In a slick double act, live-in lover, Hans (some sources says Albert) Grans would then sell on the victims’ clothes, while Haarmann is said to have peddled their remains as meat.

The police eventually caught up with him after the bones of his victims started getting washed ashore on the banks of the river Leine in Hanover. And it was not a moment too soon. The authorities dredged the river with shocking results. It turned out he’d bitten out the necks of 24 young men before the authorities nabbed him. But there are reports of up to 50 victims.

The offal truth

After seven days of intensive questioning Haarmann eventually cracked and confessed all. People apparently even came forward to admit they’d bought clothes and meat off the duo. And so came the details of how and where.

“I’d make two cuts in the abdomen and put the intestines in a bucket, then soak up the blood and crush the bones until the shoulders broke. Now I could get the heart, lungs and kidneys and chop them up and put them in my bucket. I’d take the flesh off the bones and put it in my waxcloth bag. It would take me five or six trips to take everything and throw it down the toilet or into the river. I always hated doing this, but I couldn’t help it — my passion was so much stronger than the horror of the cutting and chopping.”

When asked why, he is said to have put it down to ‘blood lust’. Haarmann was tried for 24 murders and found guilty of all 24 crimes, for which he received 24 death sentences. His lover also got the death penalty for goading him into murdering one of his victims.

Haarmann was made up, and had even asked to be executed in public, but he was denied his final moment of glory – he was beheaded within the confines of the prison in Hanover aged 45.

Grans was also due to be executed, however it transpired that Haarmann had written letters which were discovered posthumously. The letters categorically stated that Grans was not guilty of murder – Grans was awarded a lesser sentence of 12 years, and died a free man in 1980.

Eerily, Haarman also stated in his last letters that ‘You won’t kill me; I’ll be back — yes, I shall be amongst you for all eternity’. And he wasn’t wrong. His sexploits do indeed live on. Fritz Lang’s film ‘M’ stars Peter Lorre and is largely inspired by Haarmann as well as another German serial killer, Peter Kürten.

Also on this day

15 April 2005 – Richard Longworth

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One Response to “15 April 1925 – Fritz Haarmann”

  1. monique Says:

    This is some messed up ish

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