Sometime on the evening of March 31, 1922, six people were killed at a deserted farm in Bavaria. Despite decades of investigations and more than 100 suspects, the case was never resolved. This would come to be known as the Hinterkaifeck murders. Tonight on the train we delve into the crazy that surrounds this case. Who did it? Why did they do it? Incest? That is gross… But also… Yes. There are tons of crazy theories, websites, documentaries and articles that delve into this case. We used two main sources for this episode which are amazing resources for actual information and not just myth and conjecture. They are www.hinterkaifeck.net and www.hinterkaifeck-mord.de. both have incredible amounts of information and discussion. Also pictures cus we know you guys are sick and you like that creepy gross shit. So with all that out of the way… in the immortal words of Michael buffer… Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuummmmmmble!!!!
Kaifeck was a small settlement to the north of Waidhofen, around 50 miles north of Munich in Bavaria, Germany. A mile or so to the north-east of Kaifeck was the village of Grobern. Between them lay the Witches’ Wood. At the north-west corner of the Witches’ Wood stood an isolated farm. Colloquially it was called ‘Behind Kaifeck’, or Hinter Kaifeck in German. This is where our story takes place. Lets run through a timeline of events and then get into the craziness that surrounds the case. Also as a disclaimer we've done or best to sister fact from fiction with this case when it comes to what happened. There may be some things in this episode that are shaky and far as being factually correct as there is tons of information and misinformation on this whole case. Also much of this information was translated from german so there are some odd wordings.
The fact that the chronology does not end with the act, but on the contrary continues to this day, is due to the special fact that the case was never resolved and that it continues to concern people to this day.
The following is a detailed chronology of events from Hinterkaifeck as well as details on the people involved. Some of the details may seem tedious so bare with us!
1849, November 27.
Birth of Cäzilia Sanhueter, later Gruber
1858, November 9th.
Birth of Andreas Gruber.
Birth of Lorenz Schlittenbauer.
1877, May 14.
Cäzilia Sanhüter (later Gruber) married Josef Asam von Hinterkaifeck for the first time. Josef Asam received the property HK from his widowed father Johann Asam on April 24th, 1877, and a notarial marriage and inheritance contract was signed between Cäzilia and Josef Asam. After the marriage, Cäzilia Asam was co-owner of the property.
1886, April 14.
Wedding of Cäzilia (née Sanhüter, used Asam) and Andreas Gruber.
A possible further marriage of Cäzilia Asam / Gruber to a Josef Ostermeier, which was possibly only of short duration and which according to Leuschner (3rd edition) should have existed after the death of Josef Asam, can now be almost ruled out after appropriate research.
Lorenz Schlittenbauer takes over his parents' farm in Gröbern.
This yard is about 500 meters from HK.
At an unknown point in time, LS becomes ´local guide´ in Gröbern.
According to Lorenz Schlittenbauer (interrogation in 1931), 16-year-old Viktoria Gruber tells his first wife - Viktoria Schlittenbauer - that she was seduced / abused by her father.
1914, April 3rd.
Viktoria marries Karl Gabriel from Laag, and the Einödhof is assigned to her beforehand. Allegedly KG leaves Victoria after a short time and goes back to his parents. These are said to have sent him back to Hinterkaifeck. (Note: Unclear source, needs to be checked!)
Karl Gabriel is killed in France near Neuville St. Vaast during World War I.
1915, January 9th.
Birth of Cäzilia Gabriel, the daughter of Karl and Viktoria Gabriel.
1915, May 28.
On May 28, 1915, the district court in Neuburg sentenced old Gruber to one year in prison for incest, his daughter Viktoria to one month.
1918, July 14th.
Viktoria Schlittenbauer, Lorenz Schlittenbauer's first wife, dies.
1918, Aug (?) - Dec (?)
Around this time, Schlittenbauer had an intimate relationship with Viktoria.
According to his information (during interrogation in 1931), LS had sexual intercourse with Viktoria Gabriel about five times, the first time about two weeks after the death of his wife.
Viktoria Gabriel literally “imposed herself” on him after his portrayal.
A statement by the neighbors Pöll and Sigl (April 5th, 22) guarantees that LS wanted to marry Viktoria - possibly during her pregnancy or after the birth of little Josef. The old Gruber had strictly refused this.
Birth of little Joseph.
In the period from 09/13/1919 to 09/27/1919 Andreas Gruber had to go to prison for incest, Schlittenbauer testified against Gruber on 09/10/1919. At the urging of Victoria, he revokes his testimony on September 23, 1919 and also assumes paternity.
It remains to be seen whether LS or old Gruber was the father of little Josef.
1921, March 27.
The maid Kreszenz Rieger gives birth to a daughter in Hinterkaifeck.
1921, 7:05 .
Lorenz Schlittenbauer marries his second wife, Anna Dick (29) from Diepoltshofen, who brings a son Josef (8, born on March 31, 1913) into the marriage. Another 3 children she had before this marriage had already died. They had only known each other for 3 weeks, so it seems to have been an arranged marriage. From this marriage there are 5 children. Schlittenbauer has become debt-free this year and is building a certain wealth. Schlittenbauer's eldest daughter, Magdalena, also gets married that year and moves to Tierham.
At the end of August, the maid Kreszenz Rieger gave notice.
1922 (?) March (?)
Allegedly, about two weeks before the night of the murder, Pastor Haas found 700 gold marks in an envelope that had been in the confessional. The money is said to have been deposited by Viktoria Gabriel as a donation for the mission.
(Note: This issue first appeared in a report written down from memory by the police officer Xaver Meiendres in 1948. The truth of the matter - for example, as regards the temporal proximity to the later murders or the amount of the sum - is difficult to assess. The police officer Meiendres is first Was transferred to Hohenwart in 1931 and was not involved in the original investigation.)
1922, March 29.
At the age of only a few weeks, Anna and Loorenz Schlittenbauer's first daughter probably dies of sudden infant death and is born on March 29th. buried. In the church register, "whooping cough" is found as the cause of death.
1922, March 30th
In the morning Andreas Gruber discovers that the lock of the engine house has been broken into. However, through this attached house there is no access to the stable or barn behind it.
There are also traces of an attempted break-in on the door to the feed room.
On the way into the forest, Gruber meets Lorenz Schlittenbauer at 11 o'clock and tells him about the break-in or attempted break-in and a trail in the snow that leads to the farm but not back. Shortly afterwards, Gruber meets the farmer Kaspar Stegmair from Gröbern and tells him about it.
It is said that shortly before the crime, either Viktoria (statement 1951 Sophie Fuchs, classmate of Cilli) or her mother (statement Sophie Fuchs 1984 and notes in the files) ran away in desperation at night. The woman was found crying on the couple. The next morning Cilli was very tired at school and when asked by the teacher why she was doing this, she told them about this incident. During this search, a current edition of the Münchner Zeitung is said to have been found, which so unsettled Andreas Gruber that he asked the postman Mayr on the following day whether anyone in the area was getting this newspaper. That was not the case.
1922, March 31.
In the morning of that day, Andreas Gruber and Viktoria Gabriel are said to have gone shopping in Schrobenhausen. Gruber is said to have reported inexplicable nocturnal noises in the attic in a hardware store and a cattle that was untied / got rid of at night. Supposedly Viktoria also reports about it in another store.
(Note: Neither the date of these purchases nor the exact circumstances are certain. Apparently there are only statements about it ´of hearsay´ by Johann Krammer and Wenzeslaus Bley from 1930.)
At 4.30 p.m. the new maid Maria Baumgartner, accompanied by her sister Franziska Schäfer, arrives in Hinterkaifeck. After an hour the sister leaves the yard.
1922, March 31st, probably between 7.30pm and 9pm / Friday
An unknown perpetrator kills Viktoria first, then her mother, then her father and then her daughter (order assumed / reconstructed) with a so-called Reuthaue (probably in the barn).
Then he kills the 44-year-old maid Maria Baumgartner with the same weapon in the maid's room and then kills little Josef in Viktoria's room.
The murder weapon comes - secured by the testimony of the former Hinterkaifeck farmhand Georg Siegl - from the possession of the Gruber.
1922, April 1st. / Saturday
Little Cäzilia is missing at school. The coffee representatives Hans and Eduard Schirovsky do not meet anyone in Hinterkaifeck during a visit (approximately between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.).
Late in the evening / at night, the carpenter Michael Plöckl walks past the HK property. He is blinded by a stranger with a flashlight. A fire is burning in the oven.
It is uncertain to what extent the animals were looked after and the cows milked until the bodies were discovered.
1922, April 2nd. / Sunday
friends of Victoria want to pick them up for church service, but find Hinterkaifeck abandoned.
[Note: This issue appears for the first time in Hecker's Donaukurier series and is otherwise not proven]
The Grubers are missing in the church. A son of the farmer Sigl from Rachelsbach wants to buy lard at HK and doesn't meet anyone there.
1922, April 3rd. / Monday
The postman Josef Mayer reports in 1952: “As usual, I put the newspaper in the kitchen window. The only thing that struck me was that I didn't see the pram in the kitchen as it usually was when I walked this way. The kitchen door itself was half open. I would also like to say that I watched the child, who always rocked himself in the car, on my deliveries through the kitchen window. "
1922, 04.04. / Tuesday
The fitter Albert Hofner arrived in HK on Tuesday, 04/04/22 at around 9:00 a.m. to repair the cylinder head gasket on the 4 hp diesel engine. Before that, he talked to Mayor Greger in Wangen for about 30 minutes and informed him that he was on his way to HK.
Since the garden door (presumably on the house garden) was locked, he went around the house to check on the residents. There he found the back door locked, looked through the kitchen and stall windows and heard the barking of a dog (inside the house) and the roar of the cattle.
Afterwards he waited about an hour near the house garden under an apple tree (west side) for the HKer to return. In the meantime he whistled through his fingers a few times to attract attention.
Because he couldn't wait any longer, he gained access to the engine shed on the north side of the building and repaired the engine there for about 4.5 hours. He testified that he sang and whistled while he was working and then carried out a test run of the engine to draw attention to himself.
Then he locked the door of the engine hut and then went through the house garden into the courtyard again.
Only now did he notice that the “barn door in all directions” was open. He came within ten feet of the open door but did not enter the building. Then he walked along the house to the front door. At the front door he found the barking dog tied up. The front door was locked now too.
Comment on the dog: The yellow Spitz is described as a “good and watchful dog” (Pöll) or “a very watchful dog” (Sigl), “who was locked in the stable every evening” (Sigl). On 04/04/1922 the witnesses found the dog in the stable, but with one injured eye, he was disturbed and aggressive towards anyone who approaches him. After the death of the Hinterkaifecker, the dog comes to Laag because it finds a new home there with the father of a Jakob Gabriel (Karl Gabriel Sr.?), According to the Augsburg files.
Hofner went back through the house garden to his bicycle, which he must have parked on the north side of the building, and left around 2.30 p.m. via Gröbern, where he informed the sledge-builder daughters Viktoria and Maria that the engine had been made usable and that it was open Hinterkaifeck nobody was to be found. Johann (16) and Schlittenbauer's stepson Josef Dick (9 yrs., Schoolmate of Cäzilia), are then sent by Lorenz Schlittenbauer about 250 meters to the Hinterkaifeck farm, they do not meet anyone and return home.
Meanwhile, Hofer continues to Kaifeck to see Blasius Lebmeier. On the way back, Hofer reported to Mayor Greger in Wangen that the HKer's engine had been successfully repaired. At 5:30 p.m. he then went home. He reached Pfaffenhofen around 7 p.m. in the evening.
Based on the statements made by the fitter, it can therefore be assumed that a person was either already in the yard at the time the fitter arrived, or only from the south side while the fitter was busy repairing the engine has entered the building. According to this, this person must have led the dog from the stable outside to the front door during the repair time between approx. 10 a.m. to approx. 2:30 p.m. and tied it there and opened the western town gate. After the fitter left at around 2.30 p.m., the dog was led back into the stable and the barn gate was again barricaded from the inside. So the three men Schlittenbauer, Pöll and Sigl found the building around 5 p.m.
When Lorenz Schlittenbauer's two sons returned from Hinterkaifeck after 3:30 p.m. without result, Lorenz Schlittenbauer went to Hinterkaifeck together with his neighbors Michael Pöll and Jakob Sigl and his sons Johann and Josef Dick. The men enter the barn. The sons stay outside in the yard. The three of them enter the building through the open door to the former engine house (note: not to be confused with the attached engine house!), The next door to the barn is locked and must be broken into. Four bodies are then discovered in the barn. Lorenz Schlittenbauer continues alone through the stable, while Pöll and Sigl leave the barn and go through the inner courtyard to the front door.
In the bedroom and in the maids' room they find the other corpses of little Joseph and the strange maid.
After finding the bodies, Pöll and Sigl leave the crime scene with Josef Dick. Schlittenbauer waits in the house for the police to arrive.
Mayor Greger from Wangen is notified and notifies the Hohenwart Gendarmerie.
Another Groeberner is sent to Waidhofen to call the police in Schrobenhausen.
Onlookers visit the crime scene.
6:00 p.m.: The police from Hohenwart and Mayor Greger from Wangen arrive.
18: 15h: A telephone message reaches the Munich criminal police.
The police from Schrobenhausen arrive in Hinterkaifeck. She locks the crime scene. Onlookers can no longer enter and visit the murder site at will.
9:30 p.m.: The Kripo drive from Munich to Hinterkaifeck begins, the six officers (two of them dog handlers) arrive in Gröbern after midnight and go to the house of Mayor Greger.
22:00: The court commission from Schrobenhausen arrives, but does not stay until the criminal investigation department from Munich arrives.
1922, April 5th. / Wednesday
In the early morning, the police officers from Munich go to the crime scene. There the first interrogations take place (Schlittenbauer, Pöll, Sigl, Franziska Schäfer (sister of Maria Baumgartner), Cäzilia Starringer, Bernhard Gruber). The five crime scene photos are taken. A possibly prepared crime scene sketch has not been preserved.
1922, April 6th. and 07.04. / Thursday and Friday
On a provisional table in the courtyard of the Hinterkaifeck estate, the Neuburg Regional Court doctor Dr. Johann Bapt. Aumüller autopsied the six victims. Viktoria Gabriel, Cäzilia Gruber and Cäzilia Gabriel will be autopsied on Thursday, Andreas Gruber, little Josef and Maria Baumgartner on Friday. (Note: A record of this autopsy cannot be found in the files still preserved today.)
1922, April 8th. / Saturday
The transfer of the 6 victims in their coffins from Hinterkaifeck to Waidhofen did not take place until the morning of April 8, 1922 (according to J. Ludwig Hecker 1951, who in turn quotes a contemporary witness).
The victims are buried in Waidhofen with great sympathy from the population. The Schrobenhausener Wochenblatt writes about the funeral in the edition of April 11, 1922 as follows:
“After the judicial commission released the bodies of the six murdered after the dissection, the burial of the six victims could take place on Saturday. The number of participants who wanted to give the murdered their last escort was extremely numerous. 3,000 people came from near and far. It was a harrowing sight when the bridge wagon with the six coffins drove up, accompanied by the entire school youth.After Pastor Haas had made the funeral at the southern entrance of the cemetery, the unfortunate victims of the crime were taken into a mass grave, adults on the right and left, the two children in the middle. In moving words, Rev. Haas described the biblical story of Cain and Abel, what is terrible in God's eyes, and how only a person who has no more faith in God in his heart can allow himself to be carried away to such a terrible deed because one did not shrink back from murdering innocent children. Immediately after the funeral, the first St. Soul service for the murdered in the church. It turned out to be too small to hold all those who suffer. "
1922, June 7th.
The district court of Schrobenhausen is dealing with the question of whether the Hinterkaifeck inheritance belongs to the Gruber family or the Gabriel family. One of the heirs, Bernhard Gruber - Andreas' brother - has lived and managed Hinterkaifeck since the deed. The two families in dispute finally agree (out of court) that the Gabriel family can buy the property from the Gruber heirs at special conditions. The Gabriel family seems to have been interested in the acquired agricultural land and less in the buildings.
1923, February / March
Karl Gabriel senior and his sons tear down the property with the help of neighbors. The well-hidden murder weapon - smeared with blood - and a rusted pocket knife are discovered.
An - allegedly bloody - “band iron” is also found, which is not mentioned later.
Parts of the building are being transported away for further use.
1925, April 5th,
the teacher Hans Yblagger meets Lorenz Schlittenbauer at the ruins, who bent forward on the cellar stairs and looked into the cellar. (The basement and foundation walls were still there). Schlittenbauer reacted very shocked and said something hitherto unknown: Allegedly, attempts were made to dig one or two holes near the place where the corpses were found, perhaps to bury the corpses in them.
Fire at Schlittenbauer, which also burns papers that are related to Hinterkaifeck. According to a later testimony of Schlittenbauer, these papers also supposedly included the document in which Victoria Gabriel waived maintenance for her son Josef. The fire damage is fully covered by the insurance.
1931, March 30.
After some suspicions against Schlittenbauer have arisen, he is interrogated in Munich. This “second interrogation” reveals a number of contradictions, but these do not give the police any reason to investigate any further.
1941, May 22.
Lorenz Schlittenbauer dies.
A few other things leading up to the murder that were reported but some not substantiated: Six months before the attack, the family maid quit. It has been widely claimed that her reason for leaving was that she had heard strange sounds in the attic and believed the house to be haunted, but this is unsubstantiated; nothing in her statement to the police suggests this. Andreas Gruber found a strange newspaper from Munich on the property in March 1922. He could not remember buying it and thus Gruber initially believed that the postman had lost the newspaper. This was not the case, however, as no one in the vicinity subscribed to the paper. Just days before the murders, Gruber told neighbours he discovered tracks in the fresh snow that led from the forest to a broken door lock in the farm's machine room.
Later during the night they heard footsteps in the attic, but Gruber found no one when he searched the building. Although he told several people about these alleged observations, he refused to accept help and the details went unreported to the police. According to a school friend of the seven-year-old Cäzilia Gabriel, the young girl reported that her mother Viktoria had fled the farm the night before the act after a violent quarrel and only hours later had been found in the forest.
Ok so now that the timeline is set, let's get into the murders themselves and the suspects.
The victims of the murders are as follows:
Viktoria Gabriel, née Gruber (35)
(* February 6, 1887, † March 31, 1922)
Most of the threads run towards Victoria, so her introduction is put in front here. Viktoria was born on Hinterkaifeck and grew up on the farm with 2 older half-siblings. In 1914, at the age of 27, she married the farmer's son Karl Gabriel, 1.5 years her junior, who came from a hamlet just 1.5 km away. 9 months later, their daughter Cäzilia Gabriel was born, but Karl Gabriel had already died in World War I.
In 1919 Viktoria had an illegitimate child, Josef Gruber, who was 2.5 years old at the time of the crime.
Cäzilia Gruber, b. Sanhüter (72)
(* November 27, 1849, † March 31, 1922)
Cäzilia Gruber came from Gerolsbach and moved to Hinterkaifeck after her first marriage with Josef Asam. The two had 4 children together, of which only Martin Asam and Cäzilia Asam survived childhood.
After the death of her first husband in 1885, Cäzilia Gruber stood alone with her two children and, less than a year later, married the servant Andreas Gruber, who lived on the farm, who was 9 years younger. Viktoria Gabriel was the only daughter together who survived childhood.
Andreas Gruber (63)
(* November 9th, 1858, † March 31st, 1922)
Andreas Gruber came from Grainstetten and worked as a farmhand until he married his widowed employer Cäzilia Asam in 1886.
Andreas Gruber had an incestuous relationship with his daughter Viktoria. Both were convicted in a court case in 1915 .
Cäzilia Gabriel (7)
(* January 9th, 1915, † March 31, 1922)
The 7 year old "Cilli" was also murdered. She attended school in Waidhofen and grew up in Hinterkaifeck without a father.
Josef Gruber (2.5)
(* September 7th, 1919, † March 31st, 1922)
Even when he was born, Josef was the subject of arguments. The reason was publicly expressed doubts about his paternity. The widowed neighbor Lorenz Schlittenbauer wanted to marry Viktoria Gabriel and started an affair with her in 1918. When the marriage did not take place, but he was supposed to pay alimony as his biological father, he accused Andreas Gruber of being the real father of Josef. Because of several withdrawals of his testimony, Lorenz Schlittenbauer had become unsuitable as a witness and the subsequent process ended with an acquittal. Maintenance payments were settled out of court.
Maria Baumgartner (45)
(* October 2nd, 1876, † March 31, 1922)
The 45-year-old maid Maria Baumgartner arrived at Hinterkaifeck hours before the crime, in order to start her job on April 1, 1922. Her life has been characterized by exclusion and hard work. She was slightly mentally retarded and a shortened leg made walking difficult. Her sister said the following: "My sister was a little mentally limited, had a short foot and therefore a limping gait" . That was probably one of the reasons why she was passed around and had not been employed for weeks after Candlemas. The position in Hinterkaifeck was ultimately arranged through a Verdinger.
It appears that in the late evening, Viktoria Gabriel, her seven-year-old daughter Cäzilia, and her parents Andreas and Cäzilia, were lured to the family barn through the stable, where they were murdered, one at a time. The perpetrator (or perpetrators) used a Reuthaue, which is similar to an adze. No murder weapon was available between April 1922 and February 1922. But it was so close: in the false floor in the attic. There, under a board, the blood-smeared Reuthaue was found just as the yard was being torn down. The examination in forensic medicine had shown that it was the murder weapon; in addition to blood, hair from humans and animals had also been found on it.
The tool itself had some noticeable properties that were consistent with the injury patterns. Prosecutor Ferdinand Renner will write the following about this peculiarity in his report in October 1923 : “This is an old blood-stained reed hoe in which the hoe is strangely attached to the handle by means of a screw. The screw protrudes about 1 cm above the screw nut. This screw apparently caused the previously puzzling injuries , pencil-sized, round holes on the skulls of the murdered people during the blows with the pick . The pick was found carefully hidden in the attic of the house. " The perpetrator moved into the living quarters, where - with the same murder weapon - he killed Josef, sleeping in his bassinet, and Baumgartner, in her bedchamber. They were all beheaded.
Four days passed between the murders and the discovery of the bodies. On April 1, coffee sellers Hans Schirovsky and Eduard Schirovsky arrived in Hinterkaifeck to place an order. When no one responded to the knocks on the door and the window, they walked around the yard but found no one. They only noticed that the gate to the machine house was open before they decided to leave. Cäzilia Gabriel was absent without excuse for the next few days of school and the family failed to show up for Sunday worship.
Assembler Albert Hofner went to Hinterkaifeck on April 4 to repair the engine of the food chopper. He stated that he had not seen any of the family and had heard nothing but the sounds of the farm animals and the dog inside the barn. After waiting for an hour, he decided to start his repair, which he completed in roughly 4.5 hours.
Around 3:30 PM, Schlittenbauer sent his son Johann and stepson Josef to Hinterkaifeck to see if they could make contact with the family. When they reported that they did not see anyone, Schlittenbauer headed to the farm the same day with Michael Pöll and Jakob Sigl. Entering the barn, they found the bodies of Andreas Gruber, his wife Cäzilia Gruber, his daughter Viktoria Gabriel, and his granddaughter Cäzilia, murdered in the barn. Shortly after, they found the chamber maid, Maria Baumgartner, and the youngest family member, Viktoria's son Josef, murdered in the home.
Inspector Georg Reingruber and his colleagues from the Munich Police Department investigated the killings. Initial investigations were hampered by the number of people who had interacted with the crime scene, moved bodies and items around, and even cooked and ate meals in the kitchen. The day after the discovery of the bodies, court physician Johann Baptist Aumüller performed the autopsies in the barn. It was established that a mattock was the most likely murder weapon, though the weapon itself was not at the scene. Evidence showed that the younger Cäzilia had been alive for several hours after the assault – she had torn her hair out in tufts while lying in the straw. The skulls of the victims were removed and sent to Munich, where they were further examined.
The police first suspected the motive to be robbery, and they interrogated travelling craftsmen, vagrants, and several inhabitants from the surrounding villages. When a large amount of money was found in the house, they abandoned this theory. It was clear the perpetrator(s) had remained at the farm for several days: someone had fed the cattle, eaten the entire supply of bread from the kitchen, and had recently cut meat from the pantry.
With no clear motive to be gleaned from the crime scene, the police began to formulate a list of suspects. Despite repeated arrests, no murderer has ever been found and the files were closed in 1955. Nevertheless, the last interrogations took place in 1986 before Kriminalhauptkommissar Konrad Müller retired.
In the inspection record of the court commission, it was noted that the victims were probably drawn to the barn by restlessness in the stable resulting in noises from the animals. A later attempt, however, revealed that at least human screams from the barn could not be heard in the living area.
On the night after the crime, three days before the bodies were discovered, the artisan Michael Plöckl happened to pass by Hinterkaifeck. Plöckl observed that the oven had been heated by someone. That person had approached him with a lantern and blinded him, whereupon he hastily continued on his way. Plöckl also noticed that the smoke from the fireplace had a disgusting smell. This instance was not investigated and there were no investigations conducted to determine what had been burned that night in the oven.
On April 1 at 3 AM, the farmer and butcher Simon Reißländer, on the way home near Brunnen, saw two unknown figures at the edge of the forest. When the strangers saw him, they turned around so that their faces could not be seen. Later, when he heard of the murders in Hinterkaifeck, he thought it possible that the strangers might be involved.
In the middle of May 1927, a stranger was said to have stopped a resident of Waidhofen at midnight. He asked him questions about the murder and then shouted that he was the murderer before he ran into the woods. The stranger was never identified.
Let's get into the suspects now and saw you may have committed this insane crime.
This first one is kind of weird as he was reported to have died in the first world war in 1914. He was supposedly killed in a shell attack on Arras, France. There are also reports that his body was never found. After the murders, people began to speculate if he had indeed died in the war. Viktoria Gabriel had given birth to Josef illegitimately in her husband's absence. Two-year-old Josef was rumoured to be the son of Viktoria and her father Andreas, who had an incestuous relationship that was documented in court and known in the village. There are even reports from after the second world war that captives from the Schrobenhausen region who were released prematurely from Soviet captivity claimed that they had been sent home by a German-speaking Soviet officer who claimed to be the murderer of Hinterkaifeck. Later on, some of these men changed their stories which brought their credibility into question. Some theorized that the man who released these men was actually Karl Gabriel sauce there were witnesses that had claimed Gabriel had started he wanted to go to Russia after the first war. But then again, as early as April 1922, the police were investigating the death of Karl Gabriel. One wanted to rule out that he had returned and committed the sixfold murder.
Based on the death notification in the Schrobenhausener Wochenblatt dated December 29, 1914, the Central Office for War Losses and War Graves was contacted, which confirmed the burial of Karl Gabriel on May 2, 1922 in a French military cemetery.
Several war comrades testified to the death of Karl Gabriel. It seems that this theory is one of those false rumors and theories going around, even though it is a pretty cool premise.
Police interrogated Lorenz twice. Once shortly after the murders in 1922 and again in 1931. Schlittenbauer alternately recognized and revoked the paternity of Josef Gruber, who was born out of wedlock , because he had a relationship with the murdered Viktoria Gabriel in 1918. A marriage he wanted was prevented by Andreas Gruber .
In 1926 the house of the Schlittenbauer family was completely destroyed by fire. During this fire, the confirmation that was given to him by Viktoria Gabriel and freed him from all obligations towards Josef Gruber is said to be burned.
Since Jakob Sigl called Lorenz Schlittenbauer the murderer of Hinterkaifeck , the two of them came to an atonement negotiation , in which Jakob Sigl was sentenced to a payment of 40 marks. According to Allmystery, there is even said to have been a civil trial in which Sigl is said to have incited Lorenz Schlittenbauer's son, Johann Schlittenbauer, to perjury.
Lorenz Schlittenbauer appears in the files as a suspect from time to time. When Schlittenbauer and his friends came to investigate, they had to break a gate to enter the barn because all of the doors were locked. However, immediately after finding the four bodies in the barn, Schlittenbauer apparently unlocked the front door with a key and (suspiciously) entered the house alone. A key to the house had gone missing several days before the murders, though it is also possible that Schlittenbauer, as a neighbor or as Viktoria's potential lover, might have been given a key. When asked by his companions why he had gone into the house alone when it was unclear if the murderer might still be there, Schlittenbauer allegedly stated that he went to look for his son Josef. Regardless of any of the above rumor, it is known that Schlittenbauer had disturbed the bodies at the scene, thus potentially compromising the investigation. For many years after, local suspicion remained on Schlittenbauer because of his strange comments, which were seen as indicating knowledge of details that only the killer would know. According to reports in the files for the case, local teacher Hans Yblagger discovered Schlittenbauer visiting the remains of the demolished Hinterkaifeck in 1925. Upon being asked why he was there, Schlittenbauer stated that the perpetrator's attempt to bury the family's remains in the barn had been hindered by the frozen ground. This was seen as evidence that Schlittenbauer had intimate knowledge of the conditions of the ground at the time of the murders, although being a neighbor and familiar with the local land, he may have been making an educated guess. Another speculation was that Schlittenbauer murdered the family after Viktoria demanded financial support for young Josef. Before his death in 1941, Schlittenbauer conducted and won several civil claims for slander against persons who described him as the "murderer of Hinterkaifeck".
The Gump Brothers
In 1941, an elderly neighbour, Kreszentia Mayer, made a deathbed confession, to her priest, that her brothers, Adolf and Anton Gump, were responsible for the Hinterkaifeck farm murders. Apparently Adolf, the eldest brother, had been in an intimate relationship with Viktoria and became violently angry when he found out about the incestuous relationship. It was claimed that Adolf and Anton had murdered Viktoria and Andreas as the result of this. However, they murdered the other household members to ensure that there would be no chance of witnesses that could reveal their crime.
This deathbed confession, of the brothers’ guilt, was not investigated until 11 years later. At this time, they found that Adolf had been dead for eight years and that Anton was an elderly pensioner, who unambiguously denied any involvement in the murders. Despite this, Anton was still arrested but later released without any charges, after spending three weeks in custody.
In the winter of 1919/1920, Peter Weber worked as an unskilled worker in an ammunition plant in Desching near Kösching (Ingolstadt) for the builder Spreng . He shared his room with Josef Betz . According to Betz, Weber spoke of the secluded farm and even knew that it was owned by an elderly couple, who had their daughter and grandchildren living with them. Betz testified in court that Weber had suggested murdering Andreas for the family’s money but when Betz didn’t respond, Weber never spoke of it again. According to Betz, Weber is said to have traded in worn military clothing, women's clothing and tobacco in addition to his labor. The case was dropped and Weber was never convicted of the murders.
Karl S. and Andreas S.
In 1971, a woman named Therese T. wrote a letter citing an event in her youth: At the age of twelve, she witnessed her mother receiving a visit from the mother of the brothers Karl and Andreas S. The woman claimed that her sons from Sattelberg were the two murderers of Hinterkaifeck. The mother said, "Andreas regretted that he lost his penknife" in the course of the conversation. In fact, when the farm was demolished in 1923, a pocket knife was found that could not be clearly assigned to anyone. However, the knife could have easily belonged to one of the murder victims. This track was followed without result. Kreszenz Rieger, the former maid of Hinterkaifeck, was certain she had already seen the penknife in the yard during her service.
The Bichler Brothers
The former maid Kreszenz Rieger worked from November 1920 to about September 1921 on Hinterkaifeck. She suspected the brothers Anton and Karl Bichler to have committed the murders. Anton Bichler had helped with the potato harvest on Hinterkaifeck and therefore knew the premises. Rieger said Bichler talked to her often about the Gruber and Gabriel family. Anton reportedly suggested that the family ought to be dead. The maid also emphasised in her interrogation that the farm dog, who barked at everyone, never barked at Anton. In addition, she reported speaking with a stranger through her window at night. The maid believed that it was Karl Bichler, the brother of Anton. She thought that Anton and Karl Bichler could have committed the murder together with Georg Siegl, who had worked at Hinterkaifeck and knew of the family fortune. Supposedly, Siegl had broken into the home in November 1920 and had stolen a number of items, though he denied it. He did state that he had carved the handle of the murder weapon when he was working at Hinterkaifeck and knew that the tool would have been kept in the barn passage. For his part Karl said the following about the accusations in his statement to police: The night from March 31st to April 1st, 22nd I stayed in the Bergmüller inn in Althegnenberg. Rehearsals had taken place repeatedly beforehand from a play organized by the master carpenter Peter in Althegnenberg, which was performed on April 9th and 17th, in which I participated at Peter's insistence. I don't know whether a rehearsal was held in the night from March 31st to April 1st, in which I participated. But almost every day I went with the builder Michael Huber from Gut Lindahof after work around 6 1/2 a.m. with him in Althegnenberg to the Bergmüller's inn. Both Bergmüller and the local waitress “Tina” can confirm my information.
The murdered in Hinterkaifeck except the servant I have known personally. I helped with the potato harvest there in autumn 1919. The domestic conditions were so well known to me that I only knew about the living room, kitchen and stables. The other rooms were not known to me. It is correct that I knew that the murdered were wealthy and that they also had gold money , which I learned in the economy and from other people.
I found out about the murder from the newspaper. I have no suspicion of the perpetrator or accomplice or instigator.
The information held
before me, according to which I would have commented , -Anl. 2-
How about if one broke into Hinterkaifeck , one would have to put away the old Gruber and the women would give us the money, are untrue. I didn't need a statement like that, but I said that the money from the people behind the scenes would be fine, you wouldn't have to work anymore. Such remarks were not only made by me, but also by other people, said in particular the single butcher Andreas Kaspar von Waidhofen, 25 years old, once in the apartment of the master baker Lang in Waidhofen, “I would already know where the people from Hinterkaifeck get their money”. That I would have asked someone to steal the money with me in Hinterkeifeck does not correspond to the facts.
That I would have said, "I don't work anymore, I'm no longer so stupid that I get my hands dirty, it has to go that way and if I have to get my hands bloody," I deny, especially the statement that I will make my hands bloody. It is correct that I have stated that I no longer want to get my hands dirty. I wanted to express that I was getting on with the trade, back then with the potato trade.
It is true that I was interested in a means that could be used to paralyze a dog.
I frequented the Gütlers Reil and Riedl in Waidhofen and I asked both of them whether they knew the means by which one could make a dog inactive. It was not true that I had asked the shepherd of my employer at the time, Josef Greppmeier, in Steinerskirchen about such a means. On the other hand, the community shepherd of Epenhofen near Schrobenhausen, credibly with the first name “Martin”, told me that he could paralyze any dog. I asked this shepherd to reveal the remedy to me; but he answered me: "not for 1000 M". To this day I have not had such a remedy in my hands and I do not know of any.
It cannot be explained to me that people are suspecting of murder or of inciting or aiding and abetting me, since there are still enough people in Waidhofen who have not worked all winter and drink in the inn almost every day without that they are wealthy or do business. So I would just like to refer to the person of von Pfaffenhofen aIIn the autumn of last year, the single shoemaker Josef Fleck or similar moved to Waidhofen, who also has another brother there who is a tailor. These two also socialize a lot with the butcher Bichler Michael, who z. Currently, works and lives at Unterbräu in Schrobenhausen. This shoemaker mentioned here is said to have bought a building site for 4000M in Waidhofen, although in reality he cannot have a 1000M fortune. From where he got the money to build is inexplicable to me. His brother, the tailor, is a person who always carries a revolver and a dagger with him.
In my opinion, Bichler is a rascal. He stole grain from his father and then sold it. I trust those named here to do this and I ask that the survey be initiated against them.
I firmly deny that I committed the murder, or participated in it in any way, or that I incited anyone to do it. Nobody approached me either to inquire about the situation in Hinterkaifeck.
I would like to mention that the Thaler brothers in Unterkaifeck are not clean either. You've also stolen. I also deny that I was in Schrobenhausen on April 3rd and 4th and asked a Mr. Buchernecker for a map there. I haven't come from the municipality of Althegnenberg since I started working at Gute Lindahof. All of the suspicions against me in this direction are untrue.
I cannot give any further information about the murder itself ”. Her goes on in the statement to discuss his criminal past and his brother Anton. The full statement can be found online.
The Thaler family
There are many instances where the Thaler family had been brought up as suspects on the killings sometimes with a man named Wendelin Kaspar. Some of those reports are as follows:
February 25, 1924
According to the testimony of an unknown witness but whose name is known to the police, Josef Thaler is said to have been interested in Viktoria Gabriel. A pick from Johann Gall is said to have been stolen some time before the murder in Hinterkaifeck and the Thaler brothers are said to have been suspected of having carried out this theft. After the murder, the "old Thaler" Hinterkaifeck would have liked to buy and it would have annoyed him that the court went to the Gabriels.
April 5, 1924
Josef Fuchs, dentist from Pfaffenhofen, is questioned.
At some point around this time the pastor of Waidhofen must also have testified, whose information, together with those of Josef Fuchs and Anton Strasser, initiated new investigations against the Thalers and Kaspars.
Fuchs tells of the rumor spread in Schrobenhausen and Waidhofen that Wendelin Kaspar was the culprit of Hinterkaifeck. Kaspar was gloomy and would leave the inn as soon as the conversation turned to the murder. He reacts passively to accusations from the perpetrator and does not defend himself.
These rumors could not be confirmed by the police, and those present who were given as witnesses could not testify to the incidents and conversations described.
May 23, 1924
The butcher Anton Strasser gives the police information that Wendelin Kaspar and Andreas Thaler senior, who were good friends before the murder. be referred to in the inns as the perpetrators of Hinterkaifeck; The Thaler brothers are also said to be involved in the murder.
Kaspar and Thaler suddenly became enemies after the murders. Wendelin and Andreas Kaspar were suddenly able to continue building, although construction had previously been stopped due to lack of money. It was also noticeable to him that it was precisely on this construction site that craftsmen were later paid with gold money. Kaspar also paid for flour and his daughter's trousseau in gold.
Essigkrug from Waidhofen had publicly described Kaspar as a murderer, whereupon a libel suit was pending.
March 3, 1925
An anonymous letter is sent in Augsburg, which also brings the Thalers into play as the perpetrator.
The letter arrives anonymously at the Augsburg city police on March 6th.
January 8, 1937
Statement by Josef Thaler in Augsburg. Thaler states that he has been questioned both as a witness and as a suspect in the Hinterkaifeck murder case since it was found. He was asked if he could name a perpetrator. He could not, he could only name those people who were suspected of being the perpetrators in the area. Thaler openly talks about the suspicion against him, his brothers and his father. And against Wendelin Kaspar. Thaler can give his father an alibi for the night of the crime and he doesn't trust his brothers to do the crime either.
Thaler wants to pursue a libel suit because of the renewed allegations.
Thaler also denies ever having been to Rieger's window.
On the day of the discovery, Thaler claims to have gone to Hinterkaifeck with Lebmeier, his father and his brother around 5 p.m. There they found 100 people from Gröbern and the surrounding area. They were free to move around the house and look at the bodies. The Thaler brothers took over night watch on the first night together with a farmer from Gröbern with the first name Josef until 4 a.m.
These three joined the judicial commission at the inspection after it arrived at around 11 p.m. In addition, the commission found a lot of coins in a wardrobe, whereupon they would have ruled out robbery. They had spent the night watch on a bench in front of the bakery. They weren't in the bakehouse itself, there were no traces of blood or burnt clothing to be seen. The night watch had no lamps with them.
Thaler also describes that there were rumors in the area about Lorenz Schlittenbauer, who was the father of the two-year-old Josef. And there were also rumors against Josef Gabriel. Thaler denies, however, that there was enmity between the Gabriels and the Hinterkaifeckern, the two families simply never met.
Thaler confirms the Gabriels' statement that none of the Gabriel family came to the farm for the first few hours after they were found.
There are several more reports, interrogations, and accusations all the way up until at least the early 50s. Nothing ever came off all this as none of the Thalers were ever charged.
Paul Müller(Mueller in american documents)
Paul Mueller is a suspected serial killer in america in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He has been put forth as the orientation of a series of axe murderer in the US during that time period. Author Bill James puts forth his theories in a book called The Man From The Train. He puts all the clues together and links various killings, including the infamous Villisca ax murders, together and links Mueller as the killer. He then brings up the similarities to Hinterkaifeck! The similar murders stopped around 1912. James believes that this is because Mueller believed the authorities were on to him and he left and went back to Europe. There are many similarities to the US crimes and Hinterkaifeck that lead James and many others to believe it could have been Mueller. Since of these include the fact that an entire family was murdered, the weapon used was similar to those used in the US, the blunt side of the weapon was also used in all the murders, the young girls bodies were treated differently, the bodies were stacked and covered, isolated farm houses, and all we're in walking distance to train stations.
There were well over 100 suspects questioned but these are generally postulated to be the most likely suspects.
So who did it? Why did they do it? So many questions are out there still. Was someone living in the attic up until the murders? Did they start there until the bodies were found? So many other strange things went on its hard to tell what really happened. There's a wealth of information on the website we mentioned earlier which is where a beast majority of this information came from. There is much to sift through and if you want to delve into this case more, which we highly recommend, Check out those websites. This is another case we still most likely never get an answer too. But it's a great case to research and head down rabbit holes!!