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.”


CHRONOLOGY (3 husbands murdered):
1899 – moves to Hamburg.
1915 – Herr Veckel, husband #1; marries in 1915, Sonnenburg..
1916 – Herr Veckel dies a year following marriage.
1919 – Herr Zippel. (72) husband #2; married 1919,
1919 (or 1920) – Herr Zippel. dies 5 mo after marriage.
1921 – marries Louis Krüger (71), husband #3.
Sep. 1923 – Louis Krüger (73); dies.


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]


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]


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]


FULL TEXT (translated from German): About the already briefly reported criminal case, we receive detailed communications from Berlin, in which horrible details about the crimes of the widow Kruger are revealed. Just as Landru, the French Bluebeard, attracted women, married them, and then murdered them, so too did Mrs. Krueger, with satanic treachery, be able to seduce old men whom she only followed to the altar of marriage once had she was appointed heiress. Each of her husbands died after a short time; they were in one way or another criminally eliminated by the wife. All circumstances indicate that the threefold widow wanted to increase her fortune by a new marriage and a new murder. Her arrest has put an end to this criminal activity.

The recent investigation by Berlin authorities give the following picture of the grisly affair:

The 55-year-old widow Marie Krueger from Hammer was initially arrested on suspicion of having brutally murdered her husband, the 73-year-old farmer Louis Krueger, to exploit his estate. Mrs. Kruger is also suspected of having dispatched her first two husbands, also elderly, for the same reason.

In September 1923, Mr. Krueger, a farmer, was found lying in his living room on the couch with his throat cut through. From the kitchen, smoke filled the room, which came from a house of burning twigs. Mrs. Krueger stated at that time that her husband had committed arson in a fit of mental derangement and then committed suicide.

Although there were various signs of suicide, the local authorities still believed the widow's account and set her free.

Mrs. Krueger has been married three times, oddly enough, always with men much older than herself. When the widow returned to marrying, scarcely a year after the alleged suicide of her third husband, favoring old men again, the authorities became cognizant of her once again.

The authorities in Hammer turned to the Berlin Criminal Police with a request to reopen the investigation. These efforts led to the conclusion that old Krueger must necessarily have been killed by someone else's hand. The repeated examination of the exhumed corpse revealed that farmer Krueger, having cut his throat with a knife, had to be seized by the culprit on the beard, and then held head backwards until he had completely bled out. This is evident from the fact that both the beard and the couch, on which the dead person was recovered, were completely free of traces of blood, while the stool had a large pool of blood. Other details spoke of murder.

~ She held his head. ~

Ms. Krueger, who was brought to the Berlin police headquarters, firmly denies having murdered her husband. But she now admits to having been present when the man cut his throat. Since the head of the severely wounded man had fallen backwards, she had, she claimed, held him. Her new statements contrast with their earlier statements. Mrs. Krueger threw the razor that killed him into the oven. The Criminal Investigation Department has conducted detailed investigation into the past life of Mrs. Krueger, which proffers the following details: She came to Hamburg in 1899 and worked as a housekeeper in various taverns. In this business, she saved so much that she could soon buy a hotel with 60 rooms.

When her foster mother died in Sonnenburg in 1915, she went there and married her old foster father Veckel. Persons who frequented their home at the time gave her the worst possible assessment. After a year-long marriage, the old man died, and at once the rumor surfaced that he had not died of natural causes. The widow, who had become the sole heir, married for the second time in 1919, to the 72-year-old farmer Zippel. He too died after five months in highly suspicious circumstances. Mrs.  Kruger was again sole heir.

In order to escape the rumors spread about her, she bought a house in a village and married old Krueger on the basis of an advertisement in 1921. He made her to the sole heir before the wedding, after he had overturned the earlier will which he had prepared in favor of his relatives.

After his reaffirmation, the female Bluebeard tried again by marriage ads in Berlin to attract new men into her net. Today there is no longer any doubt that Mrs. Krüger murdered both the old Krüger and her first two husbands.

["The Female Bluebeard. She marries "to the old man.- Mourning widow and laughing heiress.- One-part confession." Illustrated Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria) Aug. 31, 1924. p. 10]


FULL TEXT: Aus Berlin wird uns gemeidet:

Die Berliner Kriminalpolizei hat gestern die 55jährige Witwe Marie Krüger aus 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]


FULL TEXT: Ueber den bereits kurz berichteten Kriminalfall kommen uns aus Berlin ausführliche Mitteilungen zu, in denen grauenvolle Einzelheiten über die Verbrechen der Witwe Krüger enthüllt werden. Gleich wie Landru, der französische Blaubart, Frauen zu sich lockte, sie heiratete, um sie dann zu ermorden, so hat auch die Krüger mit satanischer Tücke alte Männer zu betören gewußt, denen sie erst dann zum Traualtar folgte, wenn sie sie zur Erbin eingesetzt hatten. Jeder ihrer Männer ist nach kurzer Zeit gestorben; er wurde auf diese oder jene Weise von dem verbrecherischen. Weibe beseitigt. Alle Umstände deuten darauf hin, daß die dreifache Witwe ihr Vermögen durch eine neue Heirat und durch einen neuen Mord vermehren wollte. Ihre Verhaftung hat diesem verbrecherischem Treiben ein Ende gemacht.

Die bisherigen Erhebungen der Berliner Behörde geben über die grausige Affäre folgendes Bild:

Die 55 Jahre alte Witwe Marie Krüger aus Hammer wurde ursprünglich unter dem Verdachte verhaftet, ihren Mann, den 73 Jahre alten Landwirt Louis Krüger in grauenhafter Weise ermordet zu haben, um in den Besitz seines Nachlasses zu gelaugen.  Die Krüger steht außerdem im Verdacht, ihre beiden ersten Ehemänner, ebenfalls alte Leute, aus dem gleichen Grunde aus demWege geräumt zu haben.

Im September 1923 wurde in Hammer der Landwirt Krüger in seinem Wohnzimmer auf dem Ruhebett liegend mit durchschnittener Kehle ausgefunden. Aus der Küche schlug Rauch in das Zimmer, der von einem Hausen brennenden Reisigs herrührte. Die Krüger gab damals an, daß ihr Gatte in einem Anfall von geistiger Umnachtung Brandstiftung verübt und dann Selbstmord begangen habe.

Obwohl verschiedene Anzeichen gegen den Selbstmord sprachen, schenkten die Lokalbchörden dennoch der Aussage der Witwe Glauben und setzten sie aut freien Fuß.

Die Krüger war bisher dreimal verheiratet, merkwürdigerweise immer mit Männern, die um vieles älter waren, als sie. Als die Witwe jetzt wieder, kaum ein Jahr nach dem angeblichen Selbstmord ihres dritten Gatten, auf Heirats anzeigen antwortete und dabei wieder alte Männer bevorzugte, wurde man auf sie erneut aufmerksam.

Die Behörde in Hammer wandte sich an die Berliner Kriminalpolizei mit dem Ersuchen, die weiteren Ermittlungen aufzunchmen. Diese führten zu dem Ergebnis, daß der alte Krüger unbedingt von fremder Hand getötet worden sein muß. Die nochmalige genaue Untersuchung der exhumierten Leiche ergab, daß der Landwirt Krüger, nachdem ihm mit einem Messer die Kehle durchschnitten war, von dem Täter am Barte gepackt und ihm dann der Kopf nach rückwärts gehalten worden sein muß, bis er vollständig ausgeblutet hatte. Dies geht daraus hervor, daß sowohl der Voll»bart, als auch das Ruhebett, aufdem der Tote gesunden wurde, völlig frei von Blutspuren waren, während sich unker dem Stuhl eine große Blutlache befand. Auch andere Anzeichen sprachen für einen Mord.

~ Sie hat ihm den Kopf gehalten. ~

Frau Krüger, die nach dem Berliner Polizei präsidium gebracht worden ist, bestreitet entschieden ihren Mann ermordet zu haben. Sie gibt jetzt aber zu, dabei gewesen zu sein, als der Mann sich die Kehle durchschnitten habe. Da der Kopf des Schwerverletzten zurückgefall en sei, habe sie ihn gehalten. Ihre Angaben stehen aber im Gegensatz zu ihren früheren Aussagen. Das Rasiermesser, mit dem der Mord vollführt wurde, hat Frau Krüger in den Ofen geworfen. Die Kriminalpolizei hat genaue Erhebungen über das Vorleben der Krüger gepflogen, die folgende Einzelheiten ergaben: Sie kam im Jahre 1899 nach Hamburg und war als Wirtschafterin in verschiedenen öffentlichen Häusern tätig. Bei diesem Geschäft ersparte sie sich so viel, dass sie sich bald ein Hotel mit 60 Zimmern kaufen konnte.

Als im Jahre 1915 ihre Pflegemutter in Sonnenburg starb, ging sie dorthin und heiratete ihren alten Pflegevater Veckel. Personen, die zu jener Zeit in ihrem Hause verkehrten, stellten ihr das denkbar schlechteste Zeugnis aus. Nach ein jähriger Ehe starb der alte Mann und in dem Orte tauchte sofort das Gerücht auf, daß, er keines natürlichen Todes gestorben sei. Die Witwe, die die Alleinerbin geworden war, heiratete schon im Jahre 1919 zum zweitenmal, und zwar den 72 Jahre alten Landwirt Zippel. Auch dieser starb schon nach fünf Monaten unter höchst verdächtigen Umständen. Die Krüger war wieder Universalerbin.

Um den Gerüchten, die über sie verbreitet wurden, aus dem Wege zu gehen, kaufte sie in einem Dorf eine Villa und heiratete auf Grund einer Annonce im Jahre 1921 den alten Krüger. Dieser hatte sie schon vor der Trauung zur Alleinerbin eingesetzt, nachdem er das frühere Testament, das er zugunsten seiner Verwandten abgefaßt hat, umgestoßen hatte.

Nach seiner Ernwordung bemühte sich der weibliche Blaubart abermals, durch Heiratsanzeigen in Berlin neue Männer in ihre Netze zu locken. Es besteht heute kein Zweifel mehr dar über, das; Frau Krüger sowohl den alten Krüger, als auch ihre beiden ersten Männer ermordet hat.

[“Der weibliche Blaubart. Sie heiratete zur alte Männer.- Trauernde Witwe und lachende Erbin.- Einteilweise- Geständnis.” Illustrierte Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria) 31. August 1924. p. 10]


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



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