|About the Book|
From 1999 to 2000, until they were assumed by a tabloid publisher, I had the privilege of writing for the magazines published by the Detective Files Group. One of the criminals I profiled for those publications was the German serial killer PeterMoreFrom 1999 to 2000, until they were assumed by a tabloid publisher, I had the privilege of writing for the magazines published by the Detective Files Group. One of the criminals I profiled for those publications was the German serial killer Peter Kurten, who had spent the years 1929-1930 terrorizing the German city of Dusseldorf, murdering children as well as adults.Despite the fact the Detective Files Group has suspended publication, I have maintained my interest in the True Crime genre of journalism. Relying on the Internet while maintaining this study of crime, I came across a reference to a 1963 interview with Protokoll magazine wherein the noted film director Fritz Lang answered a query concerning his 1931 classic film M. The interviewer, Gero Gandert, was curious to know if Lang had based the film about a child killer on the then-recent case of Peter Kurten.Lang replied that there were many serial killers terrorizing Germany when he decided to use the subject matter of M. He went on to specify four examples: [Fritz] Haarmann, [Karl] Grossman, [Peter] Kurten, [Karl] Denke.While Fritz Lang may have been able to name four killers plaguing Germany during the years immediately preceding the filming of M, (the killers Lang referred to in his response functioned from1913 through 1924), with his aforementioned string if killings in Dusseldorf, and the notoriety they brought, Peter Kurten was a relative latecomer to the continuity of murder which the other three maintained, beginning with Karl Denke luring a rootless man to his apartment in 1914 to kill him and cannibalize his body.(As I report in the attached work, in actuality, Kurtens first murder took place in 1913.)Denke and Grossman were both arrested for cannibalism and, coincidentally, both committed suicide in prison. Grossman hung himself after his conviction and Denke committed suicide in the same fashion two days after his arrest. Haarmann was convicted of murdering twenty-four men and boys (authorities suspected twenty-seven), yet Kurtens was the only case of a serial killer throwing a city into panic which paralleled the abject fear felt by citizens in the locale in the movie where the killer strikes.How was it that no fewer than four serial killers plagued Germany in such a short period of time? Since John E Douglass and Robert K Ressler would not begin their studies of serial killers until 1970, and the FBI would not form their Behavioral Crimes Unit until 1972, the answer to that question may be too distant to reach. Yet, the insight we might gain is certainly worth the effort so, for that reason, I am revising the earlier work I devoted to the Case of Peter Kurten as I acknowledge the crimes of Fritz Haarmann, Karl Grossman and Karl Denke.