May 28, 2009

Es ist mein Teil

The case of Armin Meiwes has become famous over the years with movies, novels and songs to depict the story of the Metzgermeister. Many were fascinated by the fact that both the killer and the victim shared the first bites of the latter's penis as entrée (in culinary terms, it wasn't satisfying; most of the penis - chopped - was later served to Meiwes' dog).

Now though, Meiwes has a follower (sui generis, I should say) in Poland. 


Here's a man, who has bitten off a part of his friend's penis. 

"'He began hitting me with a chain - and then pulled down my trousers and started biting. It was agony,' said the victim (from

Police and medics could find no trace of Marian's missing genitalia, and believe his attacker Wojciech Sowinski - now facing 10 years in jail - may have eaten it. 

'If we'd had the other bit of his penis we could have sewn it back on,' said Dr Adam Domanasiewicz from the hospital in nearby Trzebnica, where Marian is recovering".

Here's the story with more details (in Polish).


Among many songs inspired by Meiwes' story, this one is  probably the most famous: Rammstein, Mein Teil (My Piece; can be translated as My Member as well).

The lyrics translate as (from

'Looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old

to be slaughtered'

The Master Butcher 

Today I will meet a gentleman

He likes me so much he could eat me up

Soft parts and even hard ones

are on the menu

Because you are what you eat

and you know what it is

It is my part – no

My part – no

There that's my part – no

My part – no

The dull blade good and proper

I'm bleeding heavily and feeling sick

Although I have to fight to stay awake

I keep eating while in convulsions

It's just so well seasoned

and so nicely flambéed

and so lovingly served on porcelain

And with it, a good wine

and gentle candlelight

Yeah I'll take my time

You've got to have some culture

Because you are what you eat

and you know what it is

It is my part – no

My part – no

Because that's my part – no

Yes it's my part – no

A cry will ascend to heaven

It will cut through hosts of angels

Feather-flesh will shriekingly fall

from the top of the clouds onto my childhood.

The exact course of events that took place in the old house in Rotenburg an der Fulda, where Meiwes consumed the genitals of Bernd Jürgen Brandes is known from the video, the killer made at the scene of the action. 

source (dpa)

Also Patrick Bateman, the protagonist of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho is videotaping an orgy with two prostitutes. Here a still from Mary Harron's movie based on the novel:

One of them will witness later Bateman bitting off and swallowing another girl's nipples.

May 13, 2009


The 1000 Swiss franc note might not be seen often (it's the equivalent of roughly $900), and the one beneath is no longer in circulation (replaced by a new note in 1998). It gives homage to Auguste Forel (1848-1931), famous Swiss myrmecologist and sexologist. And pioneer of eugenics in Switzerland and Europe. While directing Burghölzli asylum in the 1890's, he favored the sterilization of mentally retarded, disformed or otherwise socially "unadapted". 

Forel's disciple Alfred Ploetz developped eugenics in Germany and coined the term of "racial hygiene". Ernst Rüdin, another Forel's pupil has become a leading Nazi Rassenhygieniker as well. 

As notes Philippe Ehrenström, "sterilization thus became the most common feature of negative eugenics in Switzerland. Introduced in Zurich in the 1890s, it was thought of as a therapeutic measure which did not require explicit legalization. The existing legal framework allowed such an operation to be performed as long as it was in the best interest of the patient. Communes, which were confronted during the 1930s with an ever worsening economic crisis, thought otherwise. The numerous compulsory sterilizations of the poor and the destitute which followed forced cantons to adopt stricter administrative frameworks. The only canton which went as far as to adopt a new statute on the matter was once again the canton of Vaud in 1928.8 It is somewhat ironical that this famous and much vilified example of a eugenic health policy was adopted to protect the mentally insane from the communes’ unrestricted desire to sterilize their poor and destitute".

Auguste Forel's portrait by Oskar Kokoschka 1909/10 (source)

However my point is not to blame Auguste Forel for the consequences of his ideas. Professor Regina Wecker  of the University of Basel points out that he was a pacifist, advocated full equality of the sexes, recognition of unmarried mothers, gay marriages etc. Many of his ideas were revolutionary indeed, but his highly utilitarian and rational outlook was well in phase with modernist philosophyof the time. One must remember, that his advancements in the field of sexology and myrmecology were never questionned.

By the way, it seems that the study of ant colonies might have helped him develop eugenic ideas. Ant colonies - often described as superorganisms - could have served him as a model of perfect society, which in the minds of many eugenicists was more valuable than the lives of individuals (especially if they were "unfit"). It's interesting to note, that his most important work in myrmecology was entitled The social world of the ants compared with that of man (Genève, Kundig, 1921-1923, 5 volumes). 

As I wrote in one of my previous posts, I don't try to prove, that the popularity of eugenics among Western societies of the early 20th Century could serve as the explanation for Karl Denke's killings. Nevertheless it seemed more than likely that the widespread reception of eugenics catalyzed atavistic behavior, which in this case took the form of killing vagabonds, beggars and homeless - people regarded as unfit by the eugenicists. Also the fact that none of the killer's neighbors had ever noticed Denke's crimes seems highly symptomatic.

I will come back soon with more posts about the reception of eugenics.

May 9, 2009

Warte, warte nur ein Weilchen...

The oginial version of the popular song by Walter Kollo Warte, warte nur ein Weilchen... (look here for the alternative versions) is on YouTube at last (thanks to RetroMarkD):

Unfortunately I couldn't find any information about the singers Ina Broscow & Rudolf Scherfling on internet.

May 7, 2009

Haarmann's Sausages part 2

A comic entitled "Kiełbasy Harmanna" (Harmann's Sausages) by Sara Sapkowska & Bartek Biedrzycki has just been published in Kolektyw#4 magazine. The story has little to do with real Fritz Haarmann (except the name of the character and the city of Hannover). In general, it was based on a song by Polish rock band T-Love (take a look at my previous post). It seems a little odd, as the factual story of Haarmann was way more surprising and interesting, than what the song describes (according to the latter, Haarmann was a butcher, who used to make sausages out of people). 

I made a very brief interview with writer Bartek Biedrzycki

Foodfirstblog: what was the source of inspiration for your comic? I presume, the song by T-Love, but anything else?

B.B.: In fact, this was the result of my readings about the Weimar Republic and its fall. When working on the comic, I was freshly after "The Black Obelisk" by Erich Maria Remarque. This is where my interest in that particular legend and these times came from. The dialogues and constant references to bankruptcies and suicides were inspired by the book. 

Foodfirstblog: When did you get the idea for the story?

B.B.: During works on Kolektyw #3, which was about urban legends. The comic was ready by then, but somehow it wasn't included in the magazine. 

Foodfirstblog: How did you work on the script? Did you research the archives, old newspapers or other sources?

B.B.: As far as I remember, we have seen just a picture of the street, that we used as a model. Otherwise we didn't do any research. I only checked some facts about the "Butcher of Hannover", who has little to do with the character from the song by Staszczyk [T-Love's leader].

Foodfirstblog: Were you interested in the real Fritz Haarmann?

B.B.: Yes and no. I was intrigued by him in the context of my minimal interest in serial killers, like for instance the "Vampire of Rostov". But this interest is really negligible, a spin-off of my research concerning interesting historical figures.

Foodfirstblog: Did you research on other similar stories from the 1920's?

B.B.: No.

Foodfirstblog: Do you know other works (comics, movies etc) about Haarmann or similar stories?

B.B.: No.

May 5, 2009

Haarmann's Sausages part 1

Just some links to other works inspired by Fritz Haarmann.

Haarmann's Sausages: Hamburg based group Reel Banditos included this instrumental piece on their CD Raspberry Ripples. Listen here.

Kiełbasy Harmanna (Polish for Haarmann's Sausages, although the killer's surname is a little misspelled): a song by Polish rock group T-Love. Listen here (hat tip to Maciej K. and Maciej Z. for this link).

The Oi group Rabauken published a CD entitled Warte, warte nur ein Weilchen... in 1993. With the picture of Fritz Haarmann being conducted to the prison on the cover and an Oi version of the well known song.

The American extreme metal group Macabre went even further by recording two songs about the "Werewolf from Hannover": Fritz Haarman The Butcher in 1989 and Fritz Haarmann der Metzger in 2003 (this is not a German version of the previous song, but rather yet another paraphrase of the already classic Warte, warte...). 

And last not least, Wumpscut's leader Rudolf "Rudy" Ratzinger (also founder of Beton Kopf Media) seems obsessed with Fritz Haarmann and other cannibal stories. In fact the label's logo uses a picture of Haarmann:

And obviously Wumscut quotes the famous lines in one of its songs: Warte, warte nur ein Weilchen...

Guido Zurli's movie The Mad Butcher (1970) starring Victor Buono has sometimes been described as inspired by the story of Fritz Haarmann, but its plot is rather an amalgam of mythicized biographies of Carl Grossmann and Adolph Luetgert with many other aditions.

Mikita Brottman's Meat Is Murder: An Illustrated Guide To Cannibal Culture is an excellent read if someone is interested in more cannibal related movies.