Friday, 26 June 2009

Individualised and State Murder in Nazi Germany

A couple of years ago, I saw a film on SBS about the case of a serial murderer in Nazi Berlin; unfortunately, I was unable to find any further info on the events depicted in the film. Recently, however, I stumbled across an article by the historian, Roger Moorehouse, on his blog and the BBC History Magazine site, in which he detailed the actual events of this long overlooked case. Paul Ogorzow, known at the time, as the 'S-Bahn' murderer, is significant in that his case highlights the tensions that exist when a more individualised form of murder occurs in the context of a State where mass murder is both institutionalised and legitimated by a political/racial ideology determined to remove all its' 'enemies'. In the case of Ogorzow, this meant that his killing spree (eight murders, and numerous attempted murders, within a ten month period) was unacceptable to authorities, particularly, as his crimes were against fellow 'racial comrades'. This case negates the fantasies and fascination of many modern day serial/mass murderers, such as, Ted Bundy, Eric Harris, etc, who saw Nazi Germany as an ideal- type society in which they, essentially, believed that had they lived at the time, they would have been able to run amok and murder at will.

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