Karl Denke

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Karl Denke
Karl Denke.jpg
Only known photograph of Karl Denke, after his suicide
Born (1860-02-12)12 February 1860
Oberkunzendorf, Münsterberg, Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia (now Ziębice, Poland)
Died 22 December 1924(1924-12-22) (aged 64)
Münsterberg, Weimar Germany
Cause of death Suicide by hanging
Other names Father Danke
Motive Cannibalism
Victims At least 42
Span of crimes
21 February 1909–21 December 1924
Country German Empire/Weimar Republic
Date apprehended
20 December 1924

Karl Denke (12 February 1860 – 22 December 1924) was a Prussian serial killer and cannibal.


Denke was born in Münsterberg, Silesia in the Kingdom of Prussia (now Ziębice, Poland), but little else is known about his early life.[1] Denke ran away from home at the age of 12, and in adulthood he worked as an organ player at the local church, and was well-liked in his community. Denke quit his membership in the church 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 stored in huge jars of curing salt. A ledger contained the details of at least 42 people whom Denke had murdered and cannibalized between 1914 and 1918.[2][3] It is thought he even sold the flesh of his victims at the Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) market as pork.[4]

Two days after his arrest, Denke hanged himself in his cell.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

  • Béla Kiss, a Hungarian serial killer during the same time period. Also known to pickle victims.


  1. ^ "Centipede: Nice enough to eat; Cannibals of the 20th century". The Guardian. May 20, 1993. p. 12. 
  2. ^ Corke, Jonathan (December 7, 2003). "Cannibal's victim in cold packs; Exclusive pleased to meat you". Daily Star. p. 21. 
  3. ^ "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. 
  4. ^ Robbins, Martin (September 8, 2010). "What does human meat taste like?". Guardian Unlimited. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. 

External links[edit]