Karl Denke The Cannibal

Karl Denke the Cannibal

An approachable and devout Christian, a talented organ player at his local church and a man known for helping out the poor and needy…

Who also killed over 40 people and pickled their flesh before selling it, under the label of ‘pork’, at the Wroclaw markets.

Meet Karl Denke the cannibal…


Such a Lovely Man…

Denke was known locally as ‘Pappa Denke’ – he was a kind character who you could rely upon if you were in some sort of trouble.

A devout Christian, assistant at Evangelist funerals, church organ player and savior to the poor and needy.

He was born on 12 August, 1870 in a small village in Prussia. He disappeared from the history books when he was about 12 – running away from home, and he reappeared when he was 25, due to his father leaving him an inheritance.

He used this money to purchase a small farm, but failed miserably at it. He then used the remainder of his savings to start up a door-to-door salesman business, where he sold leather belts, shoelaces and boneless pork.

He also opened up a small stall at the local market.

The First World War was not kind to Denke, and by the end of it he had lost most of his savings, and sold his house. He was left with a small apartment with a small shed in the backyard area.

Denke's Property
Denke’s Property

Vincenz Olivier

The 21st of December, 1924, and a homeless man named Vincenz Olivier stumbled into the Munsterberg Police Station with blood all over his clothes. He was shouting hysterically that Pappa Denke had tried to kill him with an axe.

At first the police laughed it off – everyone knew Pappa Denke, and he was certainly not a killer.

But Vincenz was adamant, so the police followed up the claims and paid Denke a visit.

Denke actually came clean and claimed that he did attack the homeless man – but it was in self defence. The police put him in the cells for the night and told him not to worry, they would clear his name by the morning.

Denke was found dead in his cell the following morning – he had hung himself.


The Cannibal Psychopath

When the police searched through Denke’s property – they uncovered a sadistic double life…

It was Christmas Eve, and the police were getting the house ready to hand over to Denke’s relatives…but nothing could prepare them for what they discovered.

The inside of the property resembled a meat processing room, but the meat was human flesh. Various ‘pots’ were found containing remains from various parts of the human body – hair, buttocks, skin, parts of the aorta, bones – the list goes on and on!

The Cannibal Psychopath

They also found a dental collection that contained three hundred and fifty-one teeth.

The police investigation into this madman went on for years and years…the remains of Karl’s victims were turning up still in the late 1940’s.

When the case was eventually closed, it stated that Denke had probably killed over 40 people in his time.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on Karl Denke the cannibal, please leave them in the comment section below.

4 comments on “Karl Denke The Cannibal

  1. Not sure what to say! 

    Papa Denke reminds me of the London barber Sweeney Todd  when I began reading your article.

    How many times in history do we hear of the terrible things people who are pillar of communities actually have lead double lives.

    I do like reading about these stories and can’t imagine what the poor victims went through in their final moments.

    I will look forward to reading more of your mysteries.

  2. Okay, so, the Christian, organ player and helping the needy part I totally get it. That’s cool, but slicing up over 40 people and selling it as pork in the local market, and pretty much collect as a hobby their teeth – that’s just disturbing to say the least. Makes one want to never buy meat at the market.

    The thought alone of eating human flesh makes me physically sick, don’t know how about you guys. I mean didn’t the people buying the meat from him suspect anything? It must have tasted differently than pork. On the other hand, if it really was pickled it might have made the odd taste unnoticeable. Does human flesh taste much like pork?

    When you come to think of it, if the meat was selling well, he must have had regular clientele. Which makes it even more disturbing.

    And also makes one question, how didn’t nobody notice. He might have probably prayed on homeless people or travelers. I don’t know. 

    And I wonder how he came to cannibalism… Childhood abuse, something happened during the war, multiple personalities?

    All in all this story really makes you think, what drives people, and how little can we potentially know about our neighbor or just a random next guy.

    Cheers, Chris! Have a Great One!Matiss

    1. Hi Matiss!

      Yeah, people that are ‘good’ in the community tend to get away with a lot – it’s the perfect camouflage really!

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