Case 212

The Forgotten Cannibal

*** Content Warning: cannibalism, suicide ***

On December 21 1924, itinerant beggar, Vincenz Olivier, knocked on the door of an apartment building on the outskirts of Münsterberg in Weimar, Germany. Father Denke, the elderly man who answered the door, gladly offered Vincenz 20 pfennigs to help him write a letter to his brother. Vincenz accepted and was welcomed into Father Denke’s home. 

Two days later, police discovered a gruesome scene inside the apartment that sent shock waves throughout the community.



Casefile Presents



Research & writing – Holly Boyd

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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About criminal dismemberment of bodies – German journal for all forensic medicine (Pietrusky)

The mass murderer Denke and the Trautmann case. A miscarriage of justice – Archiv für Kriminologie (Polke) 

From the dark pages of the history of Ziębice  – Karl Denke mass killer and cannibal – Dr Lycyna Bialy



German mass murderer’s confession – The Scotsman 

A human vampire – The Advertiser 

Butcher who murdered 24 is sentenced – The Evening Independent 

German mass murderer – Aberdeen Press and Journal (Press Association, Foreign Special)

German vampire fate – Nottingham Evening Post (telegraph)

Turning cannibal, German killed 8: Karl Denke, Supposedly Devout Silesian Business Man, Ended His Life When Accused – NY Times 

Six Gruesome Murders bared – Madison Wisconsin State Journal (United Press)

Murderer and Cannibal Too. German ogre eats his victims. Human skin braces – The People 

Braces made of human skin. Worn by wholesale murderer Weekly Dispatch (London)

Cannibal man worked 10 years – Canton Daily News 

Six skeletons are unearthed – Canton Daily News 

Amazing story of German Cannibal. Human flesh sold as goat meat – Nottingham Evening Post 

Everything will be right – Allgemeine Zeitung

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