Only known photograph of Karl Denke, after his suicide
11 February 1860|
Oberkunzendorf, Münsterberg, Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia (now Ziębice, Poland)
|Died||22 December 1924(aged 64)|
Cause of death
|Victims||At least 42|
Span of killings
|21 February 1903–20 April 1924|
|Country||Germany (area now part of Poland)|
|22 December 1924|
Denke was born in Münsterberg, Silesia in the Kingdom of Prussia (now Ziębice in Poland). At the age of 12 he ran away from home; little else is known about his early life. However, in adulthood he worked as an organ player at the local church and was well-liked in his community. Denke quit church membership in 1906.
On December 20, 1924, Denke was arrested after attacking a man at his house with an axe. Police searched Denke's home and found human flesh in huge jars of curing salts. A ledger contained the details of at least 42 people whom Denke had murdered and cannibalized between 1914 and 1918. It is thought he even sold the flesh of his victims at the Breslau (today's Wrocław) market as pork.
Two days after his arrest, Denke hanged himself in his cell.
- "Centipede: Nice enough to eat; Cannibals of the 20th century". The Guardian. May 20, 1993. p. 12.
- Corke, Jonathan (December 7, 2003). "Cannibal's victim in cold packs; Exclusive pleased to meat you". Daily Star. p. 21.
- "Cannibalism: Hard act to swallow; What drives some people to eat others? We examine the body of evidence". The Straits Times (Singapore). December 14, 2003.
- Robbins, Martin (September 8, 2010). "What does human meat taste like?". Guardian Unlimited.
- Blazek, Matthias (2009). "Karl Denke". Carl Großmann und Friedrich Schumann – Zwei Serienmörder in den zwanziger Jahren. Stuttgart. pp. 133–34. ISBN 978-3-8382-0027-9.
- Martingale, Moira (1993). Cannibal Killers: The Impossible Monsters. London: Robert Hale. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7090-5034-8.
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