BERLIN, GERMANY — On July 12, 1941, Berlin’s Kriminalpolizei — the criminal police department of Nazi Germany — captured Paul Ogorzow, 28, a serial rapist and murderer who used the city’s bombing blackouts to reign sexual sadism and grim death on female targets during World War II.
From the time he turned 18, Ogorzow, a Polish-born Berlin transplant, had also been an active member — in good standing! — of the Nazi party. He also earned high compliments for his work as a railway employee on the S-Bahn line, carting around Berliners as effectively as possible during wartime.
These factors are thought to have thrown the police off his trail for some time. The authorities repotedly reasoned that, of course, no “righteous” supporter of Adolf Hitler could possibly engage in such atrocities against his own people.
Thus, while Ogorzow’s casualties piled up, the Third Reich cops looked everywhere but in his direction, pursuing what were literally their usual suspects: Jews, foreign laborers, and anyone they thought might be a British spy.
In addition, press censorship prevented the publication of anything that portrayed the “Nazi paradise” of Berlin as tainted by homegrown violent crime. As a result, the police were unable to warn the public about the monster in their midst, let along ask help in apprehending him.
In August 1939, Ogorzow commenced a nightmarish campaign of rapes, targeting housewives whose husbands were off in combat. The following year, he beat and raped a series of female S-Bahn riders, one of whom only barely survived, with severe injuries. Consistently, the victims said their assailant wore a railway worker’s uniform. Just as consistently, the police believed that the culprit simply had to be an imposter.Ogorzow then upped his horrors to murder on October 4, 1940, stabbing and strangling 20-year-old mother-of-two Gerda Ditter. Officially, then, Ditter became the first victim of the “S-Bahn Murderer,” as Ogorzow came to be known.
The fiend’s modus operandi never changed. Clad in his railway outfit, Ogorzow would approach single female riders on darkened train cars and ask for their tickets. Once the unsuspecting women turned away, he typically slammed their skulls with a pipe and/or choked them. Ogorzow also always committed these homicides along the same nine-kilometer stretch of the S-Bahn.
Two months after his first kill, on December 4, Ogorzow raped and bludgeoned Elfriede Denke and Irmagard Freese, and threw them from a moving train. Freese survived. On the 22nd, he raped and fatally caved in the head of Elisabeth Bungener. Six says later, Ogorzow raped Gertrude Siewert and tossed her from the train. She died from injuries in a hospital.
Ogorzow slaughtered two pregnant women next: Hedwig Ebauer in January and Johanna Voigt in February. He laid low for five months before raping and executing Frieda Koziol on July 3.
Despite the media lockdown, word spread among Berlin citizenry of the attacks on women. The Nazi Party even unofficially dispatched members to escort female train passengers until the killer could be caught.Over the course of the murders, Ogorzow’s behavior on the job increasingly creeped out those around him. He spoke openly of hating women and expressed deep fascination with the idea of taking a life. After Ogorzow hopped a railway fence shortly after the final slaying, one of his coworkers ratted him out.
Unable to look anywhere but at the actual guilty suspect, the Kriminalpolizei finally arrested Ogorzow on July 12, 1941. You can imagine the interrogation that followed.
Initially, Ogorzow said he’d gone nuts after getting a bad gonorrhea treatment from “a Jewish doctor,” saying it rendered him “predatory and sexually aggressive.” Then he tried playing the “I’m an alcoholic” card. The Third Reich, it turned out, proved to be pretty unforgiving.
The Nazi Party booted out Ogorzow after he got busted. Within two weeks, authorities declared him guilty of “criminal violence” and being “an enemy of the people,” and sentenced him to die.
Subsequently, then, on July 26, 1941, Paul Ogorzow lost his head to the guillotine at the Plötzensee Prison. Nazi Germany lost in general four years later.
Main photo: Sittlichkeitsverbrecher, Massenmörder D`S-Bahn-Mörder’Ogorzow wurden acht vollendete und sechsversuchte Morde zur Last gelegt.Porträt o.J. [ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images]