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May 7, 2012
Over a six-year period, Fritz Haarmann sodomized and murdered up to 50 young men and boys in Hanover, Germany, by clamping his teeth on their throats and biting through their windpipes. He then drank their blood.
The Great War was over. After more than four years of hostilities, Germany had been defeated, and there was a hefty price to pay. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, ordered that Germany, which was forced to take the entire blame for the war, would also have to repay the entire costs of the war. The total amount was a staggering 132 billion marks, the equivalent today of $442 billion. It was an amount that Germany would not finish paying until 2010.
The result for the people of Germany was disastrous. Money became worthless, and by the 1920’s inflation had gone through the roof. In 1923, hyperinflation caused the price of a loaf of bread to skyrocket from 250 marks in January to 1,500,000 marks in September.
The wealthy suddenly found that their fortunes had vanished almost overnight. People couldn’t provide for their families, and food shortages became normal. Life for the people of Germany had become an enormous struggle, and the black marketers saw an opportunity to profit from the misery.
With the horrors of war still fresh in the minds of the population, could there be anything that made life any worse?
For the people of Hannover, the answer came in 1924.