Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Marie Krueger’s “Man Trap” - Germany, 1924


Note: Presumably the proper German spelling is “Marie Krūger.” The following articles use the spellings “Kruger” and “Krueger.”

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Berlin, Aug. 26. — A new “woman Bluebeard,” who, it is charged, maintained a regular “man trap” to which she lured victims through an extensive marriage advertisement campaign and then killed them in order to inherit their possessions, has been arrested by Berlin police. Police Commissioner Trettin, who has charge of the investigation, asserts that the evidence against her is so overwhelming and her denials so conflicting that he expects a complete confession in a short time.

The formal charge against her is that she murdered three husbands. Her name is Marie Krueger. She is 55 and lived at Hammer, a small town near Berlin. According to Trettin, her victims were old but wealthy men on whom she exerted a fatal fascination in spite of her age. Rendering them willing tools in her hands, she soon separated them from their relatives, induced them to change their wills in her favor, and then murdered them.

Her first victim, according to the police, was her own foster father, whom she married after the death of her foster mother. Her career, although she is, the owner of a palatial villa, has been traced by the police to the darkest recesses of the underworld. It is the study of the untrammeled play of her one dominating passion—greed.

~ On Way to Church ~

In her answers to the police she was sometimes very cynical. When she was arrested she was “on her way to church.”

Born as a “love child” she knew poverty in her youth until she was adopted by wealthy  foster parents named Deckel at Sonnenburg. When she was 18 she ran away from home and started a reckless career at Hamburg.

At Hamburg she was soon able to buy a hotel which became one of the most notorious of the busy harbor town. When her foster mother died, however, she returned home and married her foster mother. But she continued there her reckless life.

Inhabitants recall the wild orgies at her home with soldiers quartered there during the war to whom she was known as “Aunt Mary.” Her husband died within a few months and she became his sole heir.

[“Lady Bluebird Is Arrested in Murder Charge,” The Evening Independent (Massilon, Oh.), Aug. 26, 1924, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of  2): Berlin, Oct. 4. – Marie Kruger, for two years personal housemaid of the Kaiser [William II], is under arrest charged with having murdered her three husbands and other men to whom she was at various times engaged.

Her arrest follows a sensational career since leaving the kaiser’s employ, a series of amazing adventures having been occasioned by her posing as a countess.

Frau Kruger, from her experiences at Berlin and Potsdam, was familiar with all the nobility of Prussia, and it was an easy matter for her to ape their manners and customs. She was known to have carried her pose successfully in Austria, Switzerland and other countries.

When her desire for a roving life left her she bought a small hotel in Hamburg but fell afoul of the police and was forced to serve a term in jail.

It was upon her release she began her hectic matrimonial experiences. The first man to whom she was engaged died a few days before the wedding. Soon after his death, she married a wealthy man of advanced age.

Police have learned that Frau Kruger attempted to kill her husband by hiring a young man to overturn a boat in which they were riding, but the young man refused, and the husband escaped his fate only to die by poison shortly afterwards.

The woman also used poison to kill her second husband.

A first attempt failed and Frau Kruger, believed to have a religious mania, is known to have paid a woman to “pray for his death.”

The prayers or a stronger potion were successful.

Herr Kruger, the third husband, was murdered by having his throat cut by a razor.

[E. A. Mathis, “Kaiser’s Former Housemaid Arrested; Charge Her With Murder Of Three Husbands,” syndicated (UP), The Pittsburgh Press (Pa.), Oct. 5, 1924, Additional Classified Section, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT (translated from German): The Berlin criminal police yesterday arrested the 55-year-old widow Marie Krüger of Hammer in the district of Osternberg, on the basis of month-long research by one of their most diligent detectives, the well-known Berlin criminal commissaire Trettin

~ Faked suicide and burning. ~

On September 18 last year, the 73-year-old farmer Louis Kruger was found dead in his living room with his throat cut. The suicide was discovered by his wife, who came running into the room. At the same time the smoke came from the kitchen, which was aflame like a house of burning twigs.

As it was rumored in the neighborhood that the suicide was merely fictitious and that Mrs. Krüger had killed her husband, the wife was arrested. She asserted that her husband had committed suicide in a fitful derangement, and at the same time decided to set the house on fire. Since there was no evidence against her, she was released.

But as the rumors spread without cease and the Berlin prosecutor was overwhelmed with anonymous letters from the neighborhood of Mrs. Kruger, she entrusted the Criminal Commissioner Trettin with the investigation of the case.

He and Professor Strauch, who had autopsied the corpse, reconstructed the entire incident at the scene and found thereby that Mrs. Kruger's claims could not be based on truth.

Frau Kruger had stated that her husband had either cut his throat first and then lit the fire or vice versa.

The reconstruction of the facts revealed that Krüger could not possibly reach the brushwood piles [kindling] with his throat cut. The fact that he did not light the fire himself is also apparent from the autopsy, because in Kruger’s lungs traces of smoke were found.

When she was given the opportunity Frau Kruger eventually admitted watching her husband's suicide. That she murdered him she stubbornly denied. In addition to the facts, however, the circumstances speak against her: that she has found out a will, that she is the sole heir and that she answered marriage advertisements quite a long while following her husband's death, and only those of very old age.

~ Brothel hostess, hotel owner and wife of her foster father. ~

The investigations into the past life of Mrs. Krüger brought to light very interesting material: she had been at the age of 25 brothel hostess in Hamburg and had soon after bought a hotel with sixty rooms. Later, when her foster mother died, she returned to her foster father, whom she also married.

However, one year after the marriage, her foster father died.

Even then it was rumored that the much older man had not died of natural causes.

~ She becomes Mrs. Zippel. ~

For three years she remained single and married then for the second time. Her husband became the 72-year-old farmer Zippel.

He also died five months after the wedding, allegedly of colon cancer.

Zippel, like her first husband, had made her sole heir.
 
Since it was rumored here too that her husband's death was not on the up and up, the widow Zippel retired to the Kölschen hamlet, where she bought a villa and lived alone for two years. After two years she married the 73-year-old farmer Louis Krüger, whose mysterious death has now exposed her earlier crimes.

[“Marie Krüger, the female Landru. She killed her men for inheritance.” (Marie Krüger, der weibliche Landru. Sie hat ihre Männer umgebracht, um sie zu beerben.) Der Tag (Vienna, Austria), 26. August 1924, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Aus Berlin wird uns gemeidet:

Die Berliner Kriminalpolizei hat gestern die 55jährige Witwe Marie Krüger aud Hammer im Kreise Osternberg verhaftet, und zwar auf Grund monateiauger Recherchen eines ihrer tilchtigsten Detektive, des bekannten Berliner Kriminalkomminissärs Trettin

~ Fingierter Selbstmord und Brandlegung. ~

Am 18. September vorigen Jahres wurde der 73jährige Landwirt Louis Krüger in seinem Wohnzimmer mit durchschnittener Kehle tot ausgesunden.. Entdeckt wurde der Selbstmord von seiner Frau, die schrelend in das Zimmer gelaufen kam. Gleichzeitig drang aus der Küchedichter Qualm, der von einem Hausen brennenden Reisigs heerührte.

Da man in der Nachbarschaft munkelte, der Selbstmord sei bloss fingiert und Frau Krüger habe ihren Mann getötet, wurde die Frau verhaftet. Sie beteuerte, ihr Mann habe in einem Anfallgeistiger Umnachtung Selbstmord behangen und gleichzeitig verfucht, das Haus in Brand zu stecken. Da man keine Anhaltspunkte gegen sie hatte, wurde sie auf freien Fuss gesetzt.

Da aber die Gerüchtenichverstummen wollten und die Berliner Staatsanwaltschaft mit anonyomen Briefen aus der Nachbarschaft der Frau Krüger überhäuft wurde, betraute sie den Kriminalkommissar Trettin mit der Aufklärung des Falles.

Er und Professor Strauch, der den Leichnam obduziert hatte, rekonstruierten den ganzen Vorfall am Tatort un stellten dabei fest, dass die Behauptungen der Frau Krüger nicht auf Wahrhelt beruhen konnten.

Frau Krüger hatte nämlich engegeben, ihr Gatte habe sich entweder zuerst die Kehle durchschnitten und dann das Feuer angezündet oder umgekehrt.

Die Rekonstruierung des Tatbestandes ergab man, dass Krüger unmöglich mit durchschnittener Kehle bis zu dem Reisighaufen hätte gelangen können. Dass er aber das Feuer nicht selbst angezündet hat, geht auch aus dem Obduktionsbesund hervor, weil man in der Lunge Krügers seine Spur von Rauch fand.

Als man Frau Krüger dies vorheilt, gab sie schliesslich zu, beim Selbstmord ihres Mannes zugesehen zu haben. Dass sie ihn ermordet hat, leugnet sie hartnäckig. Ausser dem Tatbistand sprechen aber auch die Umstände gegen sie, dass sie ein Testament vorgesunden hat, dass sie zur Universalerbin macht und dass sie bereits ganz furze Zeit nach dem Tode ihres Mannes wieder Heiratsannoncen beantwortete, und zwar nur solche von Vewerbern in sehr hohem Alter.

~ Bordellwirtin, Hotelbesitzerin und Gattin ihres Pflegevaters. ~

Die Nachforschungen über das Vorleben der Frau Krüger brachten sehr interessantes Material zutage: sie war mit 25 Jahren Bordellwirtin in Hamburg gewesen und hatte sich bald darauf ein Hotel mit sechzig Zimmern gekauft. Als später ihre Pflegemutter starb, kehrte sie zu ihrem Pflegevater zurück, den sie auch heiratete.

Ein Jahr nach der Ehe starb jedoch hir Pflegevater.

Auch damals munkelte man, dassder viel ältere Mann keines natürlichen Todes gestorben sei.

~ Sie Wird Frau Zippel. ~

Drei Jahre lang blieb sie ledig und heirartete dann zum zweitenmal. Ihr Mann wurde der 72jährige Landwirt Zippel.

Auch er starb fünf Monate nach der Trauung. Angeblich an Darmkrebs.

Zippelhatte sie ebenso wie ihr erster Mann vorher zur Universalerbin engesent.

Da auch hier davon gemunkelt wurde, dass es beim Tode ihres Mannes nicht mit rechten Dingen zugegangen sei, zog sich die Witwe Zippel in das Dörschen Kölschen zurück, wo sie sich eine Villa kaufte und zwei Jahre allein lebte.Nach zwei Jahren heiratete sie den 73jährigen Landwirt Louis Krüger, dessen mysteriöser Tod nun auch ihre früheren Verbrechen ausgedeckt hat.

[Marie Krüger, der weibliche Landru. Sie hat ihre Männer umgebracht, um sie zu beerben. Der Tag (Vienna, Austria), 26. August 1924, p. 5]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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