My version: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, British Espionage
First published: 2015
As the Nazi war machine caused death and destruction throughout Europe, one man in the Fatherland began his own reign of terror.
This is the true story of the pursuit and capture of a serial killer in the heart of the Third Reich.
For all appearances, Paul Ogorzow was a model German. An employed family man, party member, and sergeant in the infamous Brownshirts, he had worked his way up in the Berlin railroad from a manual laborer laying track to assistant signalman. But he also had a secret need to harass and frighten women. Then he was given a gift from the Nazi high command.
Due to Allied bombing raids, a total blackout was instituted throughout Berlin, including on the commuter trains—trains often used by women riding home alone from the factories.
Under cover of darkness and with a helpless flock of victims to choose from, Ogorzow’s depredations grew more and more horrific. He escalated from simply frightening women to physically attacking them, eventually raping and murdering them. Beginning in September 1940, he started casually tossing their bodies off the moving train. Though the Nazi party tried to censor news of the attacks, the women of Berlin soon lived in a state of constant fear.
It was up to Wilhelm Lüdtke, head of the Berlin police’s serious crimes division, to hunt down the madman in their midst. For the first time, the gripping full story of Ogorzow’s killing spree and Lüdtke’s relentless pursuit is told in dramatic detail.
Paul Ogorzow was convicted for 31 sexual assaults, the murder of eight women and attempted murder of six others in Nazi-era Berlin between 1940 and 1941. Ogorzow worked for the German commuter rail system and would threaten, stab or bludgeon his rape victims before sometimes throwing them off the moving train. He was sentenced to death and beheaded two days later.
A serial killer in Nazi Berlin? How did they notice? With so many possibilities to choose from, as it were. Most people’s reaction, I guess. Along with a feeling of ‘so what?’ maybe.
However, for the average, non-Nazi on the street, a kind of ‘normal’ was possible. So a serial killer was still a special threat, over and above the possibility of finding yourself under an allied bomb, or taken to a cellar under Gestapo headquarters. And, his spree was begun and was at its height when the war seemed to be going the right way for the Nazis, or at worst was still too far away to unsettle the average German.
The trick with reading this, is like many others set in this period, getting into the mind frame of the period. We are so used to seeing this sort of crime-spree settled inside an hour (minus adverts), that you forget they hadn’t access to all the hi-tech equipment that would have made fairly short work of this kind of case. Once you’re back in Germany, Berlin in 1940, you’ll get into it. The terror, once it was realised that