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"Peter Kurten"
Personal Information || Victims || Modus Operandi || Motives || Quotes || Comments || Links
Peter Kurten (The Dusseldorf Vampire)
"A life of violent, ever-escalating death..."

A unique case of a serial-killer being both vicious and brutally opportunistic, from the normally tender age of 5 years old. Peter Kurten brought a swift end to many lives, and shocked a whole nation with his secretive activities...

Personal Information
Name Peter Kurten
Aliases "The Dusseldorf Vampire"
Location Dusseldorf - GERMANY
Born 26th May, 1883 : Cologne-Mulheim
Died 2nd July, 1931 (Death sentence carried out by guillotine)
Status Deceased

Unknown (?) Died circa 1892

Kurten confessed his responsibility in drowning 2 friends, at the age of 5.

Unknown (?) Died circa 1900

Strangulation experiment while having sex in the woods at Graffenberger. No body ever found, so presumed she survived.

Christine Klein (8) Died circa 1913

Throat was slit after molestation. Dropped his embroidered handkerchief during the burglary.

Unknown (?) Died circa 1913

Kurten attacked two strangers with an axe, saying that he derived sexual pleasure from watching the blood flow.

Unknown (?) Died circa 1925-1929

Exact number unknown. Intermittent attacks for self-gratification. Death by strangulation.

Unknown (?) Died 3rd February 1929

Attacked a woman walking home and stabbed her 24 times with a pair of scissors. She survived the attack.

Rudolf Scheer (45) Died 13th February 1929

Repeatedly stabbed in the head and neck, while on his way home from a beer cellar.

Rosa Ohliger (8) Died 9th March 1929

Undisturbed activity whilst he dragged the girl behind a hedge and stabbed her 13 times. Returned to the crime scene to burn the body.

Unknown (?) Died early August 1929

Two women and a man attacked on their way home late at night. They survived.

Luise Lenzen (13) Died 24th August 1929

Lured with Gertrud Hamacher to a meadow where he strangled and stabbed Luise, and slit Gertrud's throat.

Gertrud Hamacher (5) Died 24th August 1929

Refer to the previous entry.

Gertrud Schulte (?) 24th August 1929

Attacked on the same afternoon as Lenzen & Hamacher murders. Stabbed many times before escaping. Managed to give the police their first good description of the man they were seeking.

Maria Hahn (20) Died late 1929

A Servant girl who had been stabbed 20 times and buried on the banks of the Rhine. Body undiscovered until late-Autumn. Intentions to crucify the body to shock passers-by were compounded by the weight of the body.

Ida Reuter (31) Died 29th September 1929

Servant girl, raped and battered to death with a hammer in a wood just outside Dusseldorf.

Elizabeth Dorrier (?) Died early October 1929

A half-gypsy servant girl suffers the same fate as Ida Reuter.

Gertrud Alberman (5) Died 7th November 1929

After 2 bungled attempts, the last of his many murders took place. Strangled and stabbed 36 times with scissors. Notoriety akin to that of Jack the Rippers "Autumn of Terror" in the 1880's.

Maria Budlies/Budlick (?) Died circa May 1930

An extraordinary situation where Kurten willingly released a victim. Kurten was apprehended soon after, bearing almost striking similarities to the case of the Boston Strangler.

Modus Operandi

In can't be said that there was any efficient, systematic approach Peter Kurten used when targeting his victims. From various accounts of his life, it is suggested that the attacks came about due to an insatiable sexual-appetite which Kurten had, with them being the driving force behind his murders.

In terms of method of attack, he would use a variety of methods to kill his victims, which included strangulation on physically inferior targets (such as the numerous children he killed), and strangulation & bludgeoning when waiting in ambush for an opportunity to present itself.

Unusually, his victims were not all women since his motivation was not always for self-sexual gratification.

Peter Kurten's name entered the annals of criminology through the fact that, after his conviction, he became the first serial killer ever interviewed in-depth by a psychiatrist.


To be absolutely brutal in the classification of his motive, it would be listed under those normally associated with a "Sex-Maniac". However, his reasons for killing indiscriminately, and not exclusively to one gender, was because the activity created sexual pleasure for Kurten, rather than the victim themselves. Although molestation occurred in some of his victims, it was only so that he may elevate the experience to an even more euphoric state for himself.


When questioned by the police psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Berg (Later obtaining Professor status) whether he had any regrets about his life of perpetual murder, his response came out almost like an epitaph...

"I have no remorse. As to whether recollection of my deeds makes me feel ashamed, I will tell you. Thinking back to all the details is not at all unpleasant. I rather enjoy it."


The case of Peter Kurten gets even bigger the more times I read about it. For someone to be able to murder for so long, and so indiscriminately among his fellow human beings can only go to show that his perception of his victims, prior to being murdered, was one of absolute abstraction. Kurten was able to see a person, determine if they would be sexually stimulating (depending on the method of attack he employed upon them). All this in the time it takes for the victim to walk towards him. And yet, Peter Kurten is the kind of man who is able to marry, and still keep his activities a secret from his extremely tolerant wife, until he decided to confess to her. After he was called in by the police for routine enquiries regarding the Maria Budlies/Budlick incident, realising his capture was imminent, he suggested that his wife should turn him in to the police so that she may claim the (now substantial) reward for the murderer, setting her up comfortably for life.

One striking feature in this case is the ability for someone so young to be able to kill so easily (He was only 5 when he purported to have killed two schoolboy friends whilst rafting). This could be attributed to his childhood, as his violently drunken father would often force his wife to have sex in front of his children. Born from a family of 13 children, he often mimicked his father's actions, regardless of the moral implications. Such a case occurred when his father was arrested for attempting to molest his daughter. Kurten repeated the attack as he had seen it.

The seed of violence, as sown by his father's actions into his mind, was further nurtured by a local dog-catcher who moved in as a lodger when his father was in jail. He taught young Kurten how to masturbate dogs, and torture them. This led up to his early experiences with bestiality which he regularly practiced.

One question which has remained unanswered, is his attitude to what would have been his final victim, Maria Budlies/Budlick. Why would he willingly allow her to escape, knowing that she would have been able to provide a near-perfect description of him?. What with the current media-enhanced atmosphere in the wake of his numerous atrocities, the police were sure to act on whatever tip-off they received. One possible reason was that he was so sure of his ability to continue without interference (given that he had been able to murder for nigh on 40 years) that he did not feel threatened by victims being released, alive.

To sum up such an individual, I quote the psychologist, Professor Karl Berg, who in conclusion of a lengthy study of his patient, described Kurten as being "A king of sexual perverts" and a "narcissistic psychopath".


Links soon to follow.

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