Ludke had strangled or stabbed his victims before having sex with their corpses
Born at Kopenick, Germany on 3 April 1908, the fourth of the six children of Otto and Emma, Ludke was a teenage rapist, necrophiliac and murderer. His father, who suffered from throat cancer, died in 1937.
The upheaval of the Second World War gave Ludke the cover to carry out his fiendish work. In January 1939 the Third Chamber of the Erbgesundheitsgericht in Berlin ordered that Ludke be sterilized because he was a suspected rapist but mainly because he was insane.
After his sterilization, on 22 May 1940, he relocated to a small village outside Berlin where he carried on raping. On 29 January 1943 he was arrested, after the body of 51-year-old Frieda Rossner was found strangled near his home. Kriminalkommissar Franz interrogated Ludke who confessed to the murder and admitted to 85 more, dating back to 1928. Ludke had strangled or stabbed his victims before having sex with their corpses.
There is some debate as to whether Ludke did, in fact, commit the murders since all of them had different modus operandi. No fingerprint evidence linked Ludke to the murders and there was a belief that Kriminalkommissar Franz used Ludke to clear up a number of his unsolved cases. Another investigator wondered how a mental defective like Ludke could evade capture for 20 years and yet get caught stealing a chicken.
Ludke told his captors that because he was insane, under Nazi law he could not be indicted. Instead the Germans put him in a Viennese hospital where he was experimented on. On 8 April 1944 he died after being injected during one such “experiment”.