|Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann
|The Butcher of Hanover
|15 Oct 1879
|15 Apr 1924
|1918 – 1924
|Sexually assaulted, raped, strangeled or bit through throats of boys/young men. Dismembered victims
|Executed by Guillotine
Haarmann was born in Hanover, Germany, the youngest of six children.
Haarman joined the army but only served for about five months before discharging himself after suffering blackouts akin to a form of epilepsy. He returned to Hanover, working in his father’s cigar factory.
In 1896, at the age of 16, he had his first arrest for luring young boys into secluded areas where he could sexually assault them. In 1897 he was placed in a mental institution in Hildesheim for more, similar offences.
In early 1898 he escaped the institution, having been declared “incurably deranged”. He went to Switzerland where he obtained work as a handyman in a shipyard, returning to Hanover in April 1899.
In 1890 he became engaged to Ema Loewert. He was called up for military service the same year. He served in a rifle battalion where he achieved a reputation of as an exemplary soldier and marksman. However, he was medically discharged in July 1902 and returned to his fiancée.
They opened a fishmongers with the financial assistance from his father. His relationship ended with his fiancee and he was forced to leave.
He then began life as a petty criminal, stealing and conning people as well as committing burglaries. He spent most of 1905 – 1918 in prison.
Between 1918 and 1924 he is known to have committed at least 24 murders. He would typically lure males back to his apartment with the promise of food and drink. He killed them either via strangulation or biting through their necks where he would bite through their trachea or Adam’s apple. He would later refer to this as his “love bite.” He picked up many of his victims at Hanover railway station.
Haarmann was arrested when police observed him arguing with a 15-year-old boy called Karl Fromm at the central railway station. Harmaan approached officers insisting they arrest the youth for travelling on forged documents. Fromm revealed he had been living with Haarmann for 4 days and had been repeatedly raped. Haarmann was charged with sexual assault.
Following his arrest, his flat was searched and blood stains were found around the floors, ceiling and bedding. Neighbour reported seeing him at odd hours leaving with concealed sacks and baskets. A large number of items were taken from his flat and put on public display asking for the owners to come forward. Parents of missing boys came forward and identified the property as belonging to their missing sons.
Haarmann eventually confessed to beating, raping, killing and dismembering many boys between 1918 and 1924.
Haarmann’s trial began in December 1924 when he was charged with 27 murders. 190 witnesses were called during the two-week trial. He was found guilty of 24 murders. He was guillotined in the grounds of Hanover prison at 6am on 15th April 1925.
Following his execution, Haarmann’s head was preserved and remained in the possession of Gottingen medical school until it was cremated in 2014.