Book Look: A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin

SerialKillerNazi“The chilling true story of the S-Bahn Murderer.”

This book gets a strong rating of ☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆,  and is recommended particularly for amateur criminologists and fans of WWII history.

Scott Andrew Selby’s account of the S-Bahn Murderer is a fast read, a fascinating study in how the Nazi regime’s absolute control of the press and love of appearing all-powerful interfered with the most important criminal investigation of wartime Berlin.

The “S-Bahn Murderer” was one of Europe’s worst serial killers (not counting Adolf Hitler and his friend, Joe Stalin). Paul Ogorzow attacked fourteen women out of the darkness during wartime blackouts in Berlin. The Nazis liked to believe that Berlin and the entire Reich were a stronghold of collectivist might, but they couldn’t catch Paul Ogorzow.

This failure embarrassed Reich Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels to the point that he forbade publication of the fact that a serial killer was at work in his very own gau. This made it almost impossible for Wilhelm Luedtke, the police official in charge of the investigation, to get help from the public.

Gradually escalating his violence from frightening women to vicious attacks, Ogorzow ultimately killed eight of his last nine victims. When the police were unable to stop him, public officials set up a system of providing trusted men, often Nazi Party members, to accompany women safely home. An amusing wrinkle is who one of those escorts was.

I found it easy to keep reading A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin, and finished it in less than a day. It’s thoroughly credible, well-researched, well-edited, and indexed. If the book has any flaws, they’re occasionally stating the obvious or repeating material already covered. 8 ☆s/10.

ISBN-13: 978-0425264140
320 pages
2014, January

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