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True crime. Casually done.

The S-Bahn Murderer: The Serial Killer in Nazi Germany

Written by Arnaldo Teodorani

INTRO

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4th of December 1940.

Night was about to fall over Berlin.

With most men away at the front, women in the city had got used to a new routine.

A new way of life in which every night of sleep could be interrupted by the distant rumbling roar of the British bombers, followed by the wail of air raid sirens.

A new way of avoiding death, in which artificial light was almost completely banished, lest it provided British crews with a clear target amidst an ocean of shadows.

After sunset, blackout measures reigned supreme. Every window had to be covered in black curtains, every lightbulb or headlamp shielded in black shades.

But life still had to go on. Many young women had to work in government offices, hospitals or factories, travelling alone on the Berlin commuter train line, the S-Bahn.

Sitting in dimly lit compartments, with the windows obscured, they hoped for a quiet night of respite from aerial incursions.

What they could not imagine was that another menace, less conspicuous but equally lethal, lurked in the shadows of blacked out Berlin, ready to strike.

4th of December 1940.

Night had fallen over Berlin.

On any other night, total darkness would have engulfed the railway depot at Rummelsburg, Eastern Berlin, near the tracks of the S-Bahn.

But that night, shadows were chased away by the flashlights held by a group of men, some uniformed, some in plainclothes.

Their lights wandered in the night before shining on what they were looking for: the body of a young woman in a nurse uniform, lying motionless on the railway embankment.

The coroner, Dr Weimann,

[Vie – Man]

urged caution, before jumping to conclusions. It could have been an accident, after all!

But Detective Inspector Zach of the Kriminal Polizei already feared the worst. Two women had already been viciously assaulted on the S-Bahn, thrown off the moving train and left for dead. But they had survived by miracle.

But this was different: the mysterious assailant had graduated to murder.

And pressure kept on mounting from above: the heads of the Reich Security Office wanted the case solved.

But the Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels wanted for the investigation to be hushed up.

Inspector Zach and his superior, Captain Luedtke

[Lewd – Kay]

had a tough job ahead of them.

Would they ever crack the case of the S-Bahn Murderer?

A PEST AMONG THE ALLOTMENTS

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Blackout regulations were first imposed to Berliners on the 1st of September 1939, to coincide with the German invasion of Poland.

From that date, women living around the eastern district of Friedrichsfelde

[Freed Ricks Fell The]

started reporting a series of random assaults, taking place under cover of total darkness in the local ‘garden colony’.

To clarify, Berliner garden colonies were similar to the public allotments in many British towns, were citizens can rent a small plot of land to grow vegetables – or to quietly sip a beer in their tool shed.

Young ladies returning home from work would be startled by an unseen man, who jumped from behind one of these tool sheds. The man would normally blind them with his flashlight before hurling sexually laden insults to them.

With time, the severity of attacks escalated.

The sex pest roaming the gardens progressed from insults, to threats of violence, to actual violence. Eventually, he committed his first rape, and more followed.

On most occasions, the victims were not able to provide a description of the cowardly fiend. But some of them noticed an important detail: the pest wore the uniform of a railway worker.

The mysterious railway man racked up a total of 32 offenses of various degree of severity. The file for the Friedrichsfelde attacks had been initially picked up by the OrPo, or Ordnungs Polizei, in charge of lesser crimes. Eventually, it was escalated to the KriPo, or Kriminal Polizei, which dealt with cases of murder, arson and rape.

The Kripo reported to the Reich Security Main Office of the Nazi regime, led by Reinhard Heydrich, affectionately known as ‘The Hangman of Prague’ or ‘The Architect of the Final Solution’.

Quite the gentleman.

Heydrich also oversaw the activities of the Gestapo and the SS. It was common for the Kripo and the Gestapo to cooperate on the prosecution – and persecution – of enemies of the Reich. Some Kripo officers even joined the ranks of the Einsatz-gruppen murdering Jews, Roma and other undesirables.

But many other Kripo officers were not staunch supporters of the regime, and actually had made a career by cracking down on Nazi paramilitary groups before their rise to power.

We will meet one of these top detectives later in our story.

At this stage, the Kripo could not do anything to track down the ‘garden pest’, as his attacks had suddenly stopped!

Unbeknownst to the investigators, the attacker had committed an almost fatal mistake. As per the playbook of the perfect coward, the railwayman always picked on lone women, whose husbands had probably been drafted in the military.

But one night, he failed to notice that his intended victim was being escorted at a distance by her husband, and her husband’s brother. When she cried for help, the two men intervened and introduced the sex offender to their personal brand of blitzkrieg, a barrage of punches and kicks.

That night, the railway man found out that fighting two men was not as easy as attacking by surprise a young lady. Who knew?!?

Unfortunately, the weaselly offender managed to evade capture and beat a hasty retreat into the shadows from whence he had crawled.

A FREE UPGRADE

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The bad encounter convinced the rapist to lay low for several months.

It had also taught him a lesson – the wrong one. A notion started forming in his mind: if he wanted to avoid retaliation, he had to silence his victims, quickly and violently.

He also decided to change hunting grounds, as the allotments could be frequented by too many witnesses.

On the evening of September 20th 1940, Gerda Kargoll was travelling home on a third-class carriage of the S-Bahn. Tired from a long day’s work, she fell asleep. When she woke up, she had missed her station.

She immediately dismounted and climbed onto a train travelling in the opposite direction. The problem was that her ticket was no longer valid!

She was visibly nervous when a railway worker approached her and struck up a conversation. She confessed to not having a valid ticket, but the kindly man offered her a free upgrade: how about she sat with him for the rest of her journey in second class? He would vouch for her in case they encountered a ticket controller.

Gerda accepted, and the two moved onto an empty, dimly lit, second class carriage.

Just after 11:30pm, the sympathetic worker revealed his true colours. Without any warning, he assaulted Gerda, wrapping his hands around her neck.

But Gerda fought back! By the time she eventually fell unconscious, it was only three minutes before the train would reach the next stop.

The attacker panicked. What if somebody climbed on the train and found him next to a limp body? The man dragged Gerda’s body by the carriage door, flung it open and tossed her body from the train, travelling at 80 km per hour.

As he did so, an electric wave of pleasure surged through his body. It was a feeling of omnipotence; stronger than any orgasms he could extort from a defenceless woman. As Gerda’ body flew across the Berlin night, the rapist realised that he enjoyed killing.

But fortunately for Gerda, she did not die that night. By an incredible stroke of luck, the woman landed onto a pile of sand by the railway track, which absorbed the impact of the fall.

The morning after she was taken to hospital and questioned by the OrPo.

[Reminder: this is the police division for lesser crimes]

A shocked Gerta was not able to provide much detail and admitted to having assumed alcohol before travelling on the S-Bahn.

This detail convinced the Orpo that Gerta was somehow lying, and her fall was the result of a drunken accident. Her report did not reach the Kriminal Polizei, or KriPo.

The attacker was free to strike again. And soon, he would commit his first murder.

A BROKEN BONE

On the morning of the 4th of October 1940, a worker from the National Socialist People Welfare organisation showed up at the house of Gertrude Ditter, a twenty-year-old mother of two.

The social worker found her lifeless body in the kitchen of her apartment. Her hyoid bone was broken, a sign of strangulation. Moreover, her left carotid artery had been sliced through with a knife, bleeding her to death.

Her two young children were alive, crying for their mum in the nearby room.

The Orpo was first on the scene, initially treating the death as suicide. But they quickly realised this was not the case and called in the Kripo.

Detectives immediately suspected Gertrude’s husband, Arthur, and took him in for questioning. But Mr Ditter was serving in the military at the time, stationed in nearby Potsdam, and was able to provide an alibi.

What neither the detectives not Mr Ditter could suspect is that Gertrude had struck a friendship with a railway worker at the Rummelsburg station, only a few days earlier.

And yes, it was that railway worker.

Gertrude had invited her new friend to visit at her flat. The railway man came knocking on the evening of the 3rd of October, and after some small talk, he decided it was time for action.

First, he squeezed her neck hard enough to fracture the hyoid bone. Then, to ensure she was dead, he stabbed her in the neck.

The murderer fled the flat, leaving behind no murder weapon, no fingerprints and two witnesses too young to talk.

The Kripo was thoroughly stumped, and the case turned cold.

A LENGTH OF PIPE

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One month passed by.

At 11pm on the 4th of November, thirty-year-old Elizabeth Bendorf had just finished her shift selling tickets at the Friedrichshagen station of the S-Bahn.

[Freed Ricks Hug En]

She was about to board a third-class carriage to return home, when a friendly co-worker invited her to travel in second-class with him instead.

At that time of the night, the second-class carriages were almost surely empty. More space to sprawl and relax. And less of a chance to run into witnesses.

The two sat across each other for a while, engaging in small talk. When the train pulled away from a station, the railway man produced a thick length of lead pipe and hit Elizabeth on the head.

But Elizabeth was still conscious, she fought back and screamed as loud as she could. The attacker raised and lowered his weapon again and again, until she finally slumped onto the carriage floor.

He then turned away from her, and opened the door, breathing in the fast-moving cold air.

He savoured the night, thrilled to recreate the pleasure of throwing a woman’s body from a moving train.

When he turned again towards Elizabeth, he was surprised to find her still alive. Stunned by the blows, Ms Bendorf was trying to crawl away from her tormentor. The railway man approached her slowly, one step at the time.

Once more, he struck her on the head with his lead pipe.

Miraculously, Elizabeth survived also this last blow. Powerless, she could only watch as the assailant dragged her by the feet towards the open train door.

After a further streak of violent blows, the attacker lifted Elizabeth from the ground and flung her against the wall of darkness.

He then wiped his weapon, the pipe, against his uniform to remove any fingerprints and hid it in the compartment.

Just like any other commuter, the railway man clocked off from his labour of violence and rode the S-Bahn home.

As he entered his flat, he made sure not to make too much noise.

He didn’t want to wake up his wife and two children.

The morning after, Elizabeth Bendorf was found on the embankment by the S-Bahn line. She was in dire conditions – but still alive!

After eight days in hospital, she was finally well enough to speak to the Kripo. She did not remember most of the attack, and was not sure about the physical features of the attacker.

But of one thing she was sure: the man wore the uniform of a railway worker.

Investigators picked up again the file of the previous victim who had survived, Gerda Kargoll. Her testimony had been dismissed by the Orpo, but now it was clear that women on the S-Bahn were being targeted by a malicious predator.

The Kripo detectives searched the crime scene and found the lead pipe, hidden behind the cushions of a second-class carriage. The pipe turned out to be a piece of telephone cable, 2 cm thick and 50 cm long, encased in lead.

The police spoke to telephone company, and found that the cable had been initially laid near the Rummelsburg station of the S-Bahn.

So, an improvised weapon easily accessible to a railway employee.

A profile of the murderer was starting to emerge.

A DOUBLE MURDER

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Another month went by.

On the night of the 4th of December. 26-year-old nurse Elfriede Franke

[El Free Day]

Was sitting in an empty second-class compartment. The S-Bahn had just left Karlshorst station, when an iron rod slammed hard onto her skull.

The railway man was pleased with himself. He had killed his victim with a single, clean blow. He then proceeded to enact his favourite ritual. He dragged Franke by her feet next to the carriage door, pushed it open, and threw the nurse off the moving train.

Half an hour later, the attacker disembarked at Karlhorst station.

His bloodlust was not yet sated, and he felt a rush of excitement as he spotted a teenage girl walking alone. She was 19-year-old Irmgard Freese

[Freh – seh]

The man crushed her skull with three swift blows, ripped her clothes and sexually assaulted her. When passers-by found her later that night, she was still breathing. Irmgard was rushed to the hospital but died without regaining consciousness.

In the meanwhile, also nurse Franke’s body had been found, and the Kripo had been called in.

Dr Weimann and Inspector Zach, huddled by her body, in a scene we have already described at the start of this story.

Weimann was unsure that this case was connected to the other two women found by the S-Bahn track. Zach, on the other hand, was convinced that the attacks were all related.

What neither could suspect at the time, though, is that these three cases were related to Mrs Dritter, slain in her flat. Or to the string of sexual assaults in the allotment area.

What Zach and his Kripo colleagues knew for sure, though, is that their superiors were clamouring hard for a solution of the mystery. They had to find a culprit, fast. Preferably, a foreign worker, or an undesirable. Surely, no Aryan citizen could commit such heinous crimes!

The Kripo could have used with some cooperation from the press or the radio. For example, by issuing a public warning to all women in Berlin, not to travel alone on the S-Bahn. But Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda had already sent directives to hush hup the crimes: no details could be revealed to the public, lest Berliners thought that the Nazi regime was unable to maintain law and order.

It would take a top detective at the Kripo to tackle this case.

A DETECTIVE ON THE PROWL

On the 5th of December 1940, Inspector Zach was called by his superior, Captain Wilhelm Luedtke

[Lewd Kay]

head of the Serious Crimes Unit.

Luedtke would take the lead from then on.

Born in 1886, this veteran officer had first joined the police in 1910. After WWI he had been a member of the German Democratic Party. As such, he was a staunch supporter of the Weimar Republic, trying to maintain law and order as German society descended into chaos.

Luedtke had no sympathy for those goons in brown shirt and swastika armbands that had been engaging in violent street battles throughout Germany. In fact, as a head of the Political branch in Frankfurt he had actively opposed the violent methods of the Nazi Party, until their rise to power in March of 1933.

In May of 1933, a disciplinary court found him guilty of interfering with Nazi rallies and had him transferred to the Serious Crimes Unit in Berlin.

Even after Hitler’s election as Chancellor, Luedtke had resisted joining the Party. Eventually, he was forced to become a member in 1940.

On that very 5th of December Captain Luedtke and Dr Weimann met to consider all the elements of the recent murders and violent attacks.

The captain reviewed again the reports of the non-lethal aggressions taking place in the allotment area and drew some conclusions.

First: some of the victims had reported that the assailant was wearing a railway uniform.

Second: Gertrude Ditter’s house, where she had been found dead, was in the same area.

Third: the attacker on the S-Bahn also wore a railway worker uniform, and had used an improvised weapon procured next to the train tracks.

Fourth: when the attacks on the train had started, no more offenses had been reported in the allotment area.

His final assumption was that all these crimes were connected, and the perpetrator was the same.

A LIFE WITHIN A LIFE

Citizens of Berlin were now preparing for their second Christmas since the start of the war. Some days before the holiday, another body was found by the S-Bahn tracks.

It belonged to 30-year-old Elisabeth Buengener. The police found a medical note in her pockets, diagnosing her with depression, and ruled the death as a suicide.

But Dr Weiman’s examination confirmed that she had been beaten with a blunt object. The S-Bahn murderer had claimed his fourth victim.

And he would kill again, in rapid succession.

On the 29th of December, it was the turn of 40-year-old Gertrud Siewert

[See Vert]

When rescuers found her, she was still breathing, but died shortly after reaching the hospital.

On the 4th of January 1941, another victim was rushed to hospital. She had been strangled, and then thrown off the train. 27-year-old Hedwig Bauer grasped onto life for a day, before giving up. Sadly, she was pregnant at the time of her death.

Based on where she had been found, Luedtke was able to determine the compartment in which she had likely been attacked. His officers rushed to investigate, hoping to find some leads. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday, the day in which carriages were thoroughly cleaned by the S-Bahn crews. All evidence had been mopped away.

A frustrated Luedtke resorted to setting up a trap. He instructed female officers to travel on the S-Bahn trains at night, hoping to catch the murderer red handed.

The plan almost succeeded.

One night in early February, an undercover policewoman was approached by a friendly, yet creepy railway worker. In a tense moment, she realised he was about to attack.

Somehow, also the murderer realised that this was not a helpless victim and backed off at the last moment. The officer – according to Berlin police regulations – was unarmed. But gave chase nonetheless.

The train was slowing down as it was approaching a station. The sneaky assailant took advantage of the situation, flung open the carriage door and jumped outside.

The spook had vanished in the blacked-out night, and the officer had not been able to clearly see his face in the dimly lit compartment.

Another dead end!

The scare with the undercover officer apparently did not deter the murderer from striking again.

On the night of the 11th of February 1941, 39-year-old Johanna Voigt was waiting for her train at Karlshorst station. Even though the newspapers were forbidden from publishing stories about the murders, she had heard some rumours about a vicious killer prowling the train lines.

She was alone, and scared, in the dark.

Luckily, she spotted an S-Bahn employee and asked him if he could accompany her on the train. She only had to get down at the next station. Sure, the man answered. He would gladly be her chaperone. And how about a free upgrade to second-class?

As soon as Johanna took a seat, the iron bar struck her on the head, over and over again. Before the train had reached the next station, her body had landed on the embankment. Her heart stopped beating as she struck the ground. Shortly afterwards, another tiny heart stopped beating inside her: she was three months pregnant.

Captain Luedke was furious. If only he could publicise the events, he could prevent more women from being mercilessly beaten to death by that scumbag!

Eventually, he somehow managed to have a notice published on the Valentine’s Day edition of newspaper Der Westen.

The article featured a description of Johanna Voigt’s murder and invited members of the public to provide any valuable information leading to the capture of the S-Bahn murderer. In exchange, they would receive a reward of 13,000 Reichsmarks. That’s almost $100,000 in 2022 money, so understandably the Kripo offices were flooded with 15,000 tip-offs!

Far too many to be properly followed up. Finally, the police captain took the most obvious decision: he instructed Inspector Zach and his men to question the railway employees in Berlin, all 5,000 of them!

A TRAIL OF FOOTPRINTS

As the officers worked their way through the roster of rail workers, the immediate effect was that the attacks stopped. Clearly, the murderer had been cowed by the intense police activity and was restraining his urges.

On one hand, Luedtke was pleased. On the other, he feared that the blanket questioning would lead nowhere. He had to lure the killer out in the open if he wanted to catch him.

On the 1st of July 1941 the captain decided to take a gamble. He asked his detectives to spread the rumour that police monitoring was to cease, as it appeared futile.

Two days later, a group of nine co-workers unboarded the train at Rummelsberg. Unbeknownst to them, someone was watching.

One of them, 35-years-old Frieda Koziol walked away alone from the station, tentatively finding her way home in the pitch-black night.

A voice startled her. It was a man. He introduced himself as a railway employee and offered to walk her home. Frieda must have been annoyed by the attention. Since most men were away training, or fighting on the Eastern Front, every male left in Berlin felt he had the chance, nay the right! to chat up ladies.

Frieda shrugged him off and kept walking.

The next thing she heard was the sound of her own skull, cracking under the swift blow of an iron bar. Frieda collapsed on the pavement, and the attacker climbed on top of her, raping her as she gasped her last breaths.

Luedtke had failed.

He had hoped to spring a trap on the perpetrator, catching him red handed. But he felt responsible for causing yet another murder.

The detective had not been beaten yet, though. He and his team found a trail of footprints in the dirt, close to Frieda’s body.

Forensic analysis determined the footprints to belong to a man’s pair of shoes, 39 and a half in size. They likely had been left by a pair of special boots with extra thick soles, manufactured at the time only by the Salamander company in Berlin.

The Kripo was in luck, as war-time rationing regulations demanded that companies kept a list of customers for this type of special garments.

Luedtke reviewed the list, crossing out men serving in the Wehrmacht and those who lived too far from the crime scene.

He was left with just one name: one Herr Heimann.

[Hi Man]

Heimann lived close to the site of the attack. Moreover, he had a criminal record as a sex offender, more precisely as a peeping tom who liked to spy on couples making love in the open.

The Kripo took Heimann into custody and confiscated his shoes: they matched the footprints found in the dirt.

The suspect was interrogated eight times over three days. It emerged that he had no connections to the S-Bahn, except as a passenger. But Luedtke pressed on, until the man confessed.

Not to the murder, though.

He confessed he had been hiding near the site of the sexual assault, spying on as the actual murderer was taking advantage of a dying woman. Only after the killer had left, he had realised that the woman was dead, and he had fled the scene.

Luedtke believed him. This was not his man.

It had been another failure, but the hound was not far from a breakthrough.

A MODEL CITIZEN

In July, Zach and his officers resumed their questioning of the S-Bahn crews. The question that finally yielded some results was:

“Have you noticed anything suspicious about any of your co-workers?”

A railway employee did report something unusual, very unusual indeed. He had spotted one of his colleagues, an assistant signal man, as he quit his post during work hours. He would climb the fence by a railway yard, walk away in the night and return before anyone could notice – or so he thought.

The Kripo had already spoken to this particular signal man. He was well-regarded by superiors and colleagues, who considered him to be a serious worker, a devoted husband and loving father.

Moreover, he was a German born and bred, a staunch follower of National Socialism, and a veteran of the Sturm Abteilung, or SA – the infamous ‘brown shirts’.

Plus, some of the crimes had occurred while he was supposedly at work, and so he was cleared of suspicion.

But this new piece of information changed everything. Apparently, this guy was able to leave at will and return to his post undetected.

On the 12th of July 1941, at quarter to seven in the morning, a Kripo detective picked up the new suspect at his apartment. His name was Paul Ogorzow.

[Pah ool Ogor Zov]

Luedtke questioned him about his escapades, and Ogorzow denied leaving his post. Had he done so, his superiors would have surely reprimanded him!

Luedtke did not believe him, and eventually Ogorzow admitted that he had been playing truant. He claimed he had been sneaking out to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair, while her husband was at the front.

The Kripo spoke to Ogorzow’s lover, and she admitted to the tryst.

Was this another dead end?

It could have been, had not Luedtke ordered to confiscate his suspect’s uniform. Forensic analysis of the fabric revealed that the tunic and trousers contained traces of blood. The largest quantity was found around the crotch area.

Confronted with this evidence, Ogorzow claimed that some of the blood came from a cut to his finger, while the rest belonged to his wife, who had been unwell lately.

The interrogators did not buy the story and kept pushing for answers.

Eventually, Ogorzow cracked under pressure.

His first confession related to the assaults perpetrated in the allotment area, Friedrichsfelde.

[Freed Ricks Felde]

Kripo detectives took him to the district and asked him to retrace the landmarks of his unglorified career as a sex pest. On the occasion, they brought along two of the women who had suffered his early attacks. One of them recognised him instantly.

On the way back to police headquarters, Ogorzow asked to speak to the lead investigator. He wanted to tell his story to a high ranking official, probably hoping that someone like Luedtke could help him, on the back of his shining Nazi credentials.

WHO WAS PAUL OGORZOW?

This would be the right time to introduce the back story of our chief suspect.

He was born in September 1912, in the village of Muntowen, East Prussia. At birth, he was registered as Paul Saga, after his mother’s surname. His father was recorded as ‘unknown’.

At the age of 12 he changed his name when he was adopted by the Ogorzow family, and moved to the Havelland district, near Berlin.

Not much is known about his early years, except that they were, well, normal. It is a recurring theme of this show that serial killers suffered horrible abuse as children. And that they displayed the early signs of psychopathic or anti-social tendencies, such as harming animals, setting property on fire or bed-wetting.

But this was not the case for Paul.

As a teenager, he first worked as labourer in the farm of his adoptive father, then took a job at a steelworks’ blast furnace.

At the age of 19, in 1931, Paul joined the Nazi Party, and the following year he enlisted in the SA, the Brown Shirts, rising to the equivalent rank of Sergeant.

On the 30th of June 1934, the SA were violently purged by members of the SS, under Hitler’s instructions. The episode, known as ‘Night of the Long Knives’, led to a massive downsizing of the paramilitary group.

Ogorzow left the organisation and took on a more mundane occupation with the maintenance crews of the National Rail Company. After a series of promotions, he got a job as assistant signal man in the Rummelsburg freight yard.

In 1937 he married saleswoman Gertrude Ziegelmann

[Zee Ghel Man]

And the two had two children, a boy and a girl.

The family moved to the Karlshorst district of Berlin, where they led an apparently quiet life. Paul would be often seen at home playing with his kids, watering his vegetable garden, or picking cherries from a tree in the back garden.

But behind the idyll, darkness was brewing. It later emerged that Ogorzow was frequently physically abusive towards his wife, and would seek the attention of other women. Especially lonely passengers, who did not mind being chatted up by a friendly rail man in uniform.

A ROW OF SKULLS

By the time Ogorzow was driven back to the Kripo offices, Luedtke was ready to meet him. High ranking Party members had exhausted their patience, and they demanded that the captain obtain a confession.

He would get it, in the most morbid way.

When Ogorzow was marched into the interrogation room, Luedtke and the coroner Dr Weimann had laid out a macabre display.

The skulls of five of the victims had been carefully cleaned, and neatly lined up in a row, upon the interrogation table.

Confronted by the empty stare of the five dead women, Ogorzow finally confessed.

He was the S-Bahn murderer.

The killer implored Luedtke for help, and the captain assured that he would do what he could, provided Ogorzow gave a full confession.

Ogorzow agreed.

He retold his crimes in fine detail, but he got something wrong on purpose. He said his weapon had been a knife in all his murders.

In Ogorzow’s intentions, planting a wrong detail was a clever tactic to later recant his confession. But the skulls spoke for themselves: Luedtke pointed to the injuries, which clearly hinted at the use of a blunt object.

Eventually, the murderer admitted that he had bludgeoned to death the majority of his victims.

But he was not done with trying to weasel out of a criminal sentence. Ogorzow blamed his deviant acts on gonorrhoea! He had caught it three times: in Berlin in 1934, in Poland in 1940, and in Paris, also in 1940. He had been incompetently treated by a Jewish doctor, which had compromised his state of mind!

It was not his fault after all, so he demanded to be interned in a psychiatric hospital.

Of course, Luedtke did not buy a single gram of that wagonload of bullsh*t.

On the 22nd of July 1941 Ogorzow went on trial, charged with the murder of eight women and the attempted murder of a further six.

On the same day, the court found that he was fully sane, and convicted him on all counts.

The sentence was carried out the following day: death, by means of guillotine.

DISMEMBERED APPENDICES

One.

Apparently, the Nazi judiciary cared much about the proper maintenance of their execution devices. As per regulation, an invoice for the wear and tear of the guillotine blade was sent to the relatives of the condemned prisoner. In this case, Mrs Gertrude Ogorzow.

Two.

I was interested in finding more about Kripo Captain Wilhelm Luedtke, who certainly makes for an interesting character. A 33-page dossier about him can be found on the CIA Freedom of Information Act search engine. Most of it consists of poorly rendered documents in German, which I hope to decipher in the near future.

From the few pages in English, I found out that November 1949, he had submitted a request for his ‘denazification’ to the Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany. In other words, he wanted to be acknowledged as a non-Nazi. The request was – quote

‘denied on the grounds that you are considered to have had more than a nominal participation in the activities of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party’

As a result, he could not resume office in the Police. Luedtke became a private investigator, working for coffee import-export firms in Hamburg and Berlin. In this capacity, he helped the Customs Office in cracking down on the smuggling of coffee from beyond the Iron Curtain.

In July of 1951 the CIA considered him as a potential agent in West Germany, but the assessment found that – quote

‘He is well-grounded in all phases of police-investigative work, but lacks the ingenuity and imagination required of an independent intelligence operator.’

A further document dated 15th of December 1951 includes a note stating ‘Denazified – no punishment’, but there are no records that he re-joined the Police around that time.

Well, he was 65 by that time, so he probably enjoyed his retirement while sipping on a delicious brew of contraband socialist coffee.

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