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 Ap