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Joachim Kroll (April 17, 1933 - July 1, 1991) was a German serial killer and cannibal. He was known as the Ruhr Cannibal (Ruhrkannibale), and the Duisburg Man-Eater (Duisburger Menschenfresser). He was convicted of eight murders but confessed to a total of 13.

Born the son of a miner in Hindenburg, a town in Upper Silesia (then Germany, now Poland), Kroll was the last among eight children. He was a weak child and used to wet the bed. His education was poor. (Later psychiatrists found he had an IQ of 76.)

After the end of World War II, Kroll's family moved to North Rhine-Westphalia. He began killing in 1955, after his mother died. Around 1960, Kroll went to Duisburg to find work as a toilet attendant for Mannesmann. Afterwards he worked for Thyssen Industries and went to Laar, a district of Duisburg. At that time he resumed killing people.

On July 3, 1976, Kroll was arrested for kidnapping and killing a four-year-old girl named Marion Ketter. As police went from home to home, a neighbor approached a policeman and told him that the waste-pipe in his apartment building had blocked up, and when he had asked his neighbor, Kroll, whether he knew what had been blocking the pipe, Kroll had simply replied; "Guts". Upon this report, the police went up to Kroll's apartment and found the body of the Ketter girl cut up: some parts were in the fridge, a hand was cooking in a pan of boiling water and the intestines were found stuck in the waste-pipe.

Kroll was immediately arrested. He admitted killing Marion Ketter and gave details of 12 other murders and one attempted murder over the last two decades.

The victims

  • February 8, 1955 - Irmgard Strehl, 19, rape d and stabbed to death. Her disemboweled body was found in a barn in Lüdinghausen
  • June 16, 1959 - Klara Frieda Tesmer, 24, murdered in the meadows of the Rhine.
  • July 26, 1959 - Manuela Knodt, 16, raped and strangled in the City Park of Essen. Slices of flesh were carved from her buttocks and thighs.
  • 1962 - Barbara Bruder, 12, abducted in Burscheid. Her body was never found.
  • April 23, 1962 - Petra Giese, 13, raped and strangled in Dinslaken-Bruckhausen
  • June 1962 - Monika Tafel, 13, killed in Walsum, slices of flesh carved from her buttocks.
  • August 22, 1965 - Hermann Schmitz and his girlfriend Marion were attacked as they sat in a car in a lover's lane in Duisburg-Großenbaum. Hermann - Kroll's only male victim - was killed, but Marion escaped.
  • September 1966 - Ursula Rohling, strangled near Duisburg. Her boyfriend committed suicide after being falsely accused of the crime.
  • December 22, 1966 - Ilona Harke, aged 5, raped and drowned in a ditch in Wuppertal.
  • July 12, 1969 - Maria Hettgen, 10, raped and strangled at Baldeneysee in Essen.
  • May 21, 1970 - Jutta Rahn, 13, strangled walking home from a train station.
  • 1976 - Karin Toepfer, raped and strangled in Voerde.

Kroll said that he often sliced portions of flesh from his victims to cook and eat them, claiming that he did this to save on his grocery bills. In custody, he believed that he was going to get a simple operation to cure him of his homicidal urges and would then be released from prison. Instead he was charged with eight murders and one attempted murder. In April[1982, after a 151-day trial, he was convicted on all counts and was given nine life sentences.

He died of a heart attack in 1991 in the prison of Rheinbach, near Bonn.

In 1993 Belgian artist Danny Devos did an extensive art project about the crimes of Joachim Kroll, visiting crime scenes, collecting newspaper articles and references. The resulting artworks were exhibited in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.


See also

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.