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Cologne school massacre

As on 23 May 2013

Taken from: Wikipedia - Cologne school massacre


The Cologne school massacre was a mass murder that occurred at the Catholic elementary school (katholische Volksschule) located in the suburb of Volkhoven in Cologne, Germany on June 11, 1964. The perpetrator, Walter Seifert, attacked the people at the school with a home-made flamethrower and a lance, killing eight students and two teachers, and wounding twenty-two others. When police arrived at the scene he fled from the school compound and poisoned himself. He was brought to a hospital, where he died the same evening.[1][2][3]


On June 11, 1964, shortly after 9 o'clock, Seifert approached the schoolyard of the Catholic elementary school located at Volkhovener Weg 209-211, armed with a self-made flamethrower, lance and mace. The school consisted of one main building and four wooden barracks, each housing two classes with a total of eight teachers and 380 students.

As Seifert entered the school compund through the smaller of two gates he was observed by three crossing guards who mistook him for a mechanic trying to repair the gate's broken lock and asked him what he was doing there. Seifert ignored them and, after blocking off the gate with a wooden wedge, proceeded towards teacher Anna Langohr who was teaching a group of girls in sports at the schoolyard. When Langohr, who knew Seifert, asked him, if he could help them, he ignited his flamethrower and attacked her and the girls.

Seifert then went to one of the barracks, smashed in the windows with the mace, and aimed his weapon at the children in the classrooms, setting them on fire. He continued to attack the people running and jumping out of the burning buildings until his flamethrower ran out of fuel, whereupon he threw it away and stabbed teacher Gertrud Bollenrath with his lance, when she was stepping out on the schoolyard. He then approached the barrack where Ursula Kuhr and Mrs. Kunz were teaching. The two women tried to keep the doors shut, but Seifert managed to tear one of them out of its frame, making Mrs. Kuhr lose her balance who fell down the flight of stairs and landed on the ground in front of the building. Seifert stabbed her in both legs and once between her shoulders.

Seifert then fled the school compund and swallowed E605, a poisonous insecticide, in hopes of committing suicide, but as the substance was diluted he did not die immediately. He was captured by police and brought to the University Hospital in Lindenthal where he was questioned several times, before he died at 20:35 CET.[4]

The attack had lasted for about 15 minutes. Ursula Kuhr died at the scene, while Gertrud Bollenrath succumbed to her wounds in hospital at 13 o'clock the same day. Along with teachers Anna Langohr and Wiltrud Schweden twenty-eight students were brought to hospitals, some of them with burns to 90 percent of their body. Eight of the students succumbed to their wounds in the following weeks.[5][6]


- Gertrud Bollenrath, aged 62
- Ursula Kuhr, aged 24

- Dorothea Binner, 9, died on June 15[7]
- Renate Fühlen, 9, died on June 19[8]
- Ingeborg Hahn, 9, died on June 30[9][10]
- Ruth Hoffmann, 10, died on June 20[11]
- Klara Kröger, 9, died on June 16[12]
- Stephan Lischka, 9, died on June 16[13]
- Karin Reinhold, 11, died on June 20[14]
- Rosel Röhrig, 12, died on June 18[8]


Willi Walter Seifert was born in Cologne on June 19, 1921.[4] On October 7, 1955 he married Renata Urszula[4] and reportedly fell apart when she died in childbirth in 1961; his tuberculosis worsened and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He felt he was being treated unfairly by the government which he claimed was cheating him out of his war pension for his service in the Wehrmacht during World War II.


- Both teachers who died had a school named after them.
- Anna Langohr, one of the surviving teachers, was presented with the Medal Cross by Pope Paul VI as well as other decorations from the city.


1. Maniac Sprays Fire on Cologne Pupils, The New York Times (June 12, 1964)
2. Maniac uses 'flamethrower' on pupils, The Windsor Star (June 11, 1964)
3. German killer hazy on massacre, The Windsor Star (June 12, 1964)
4. a b c Death certificate of Walter Seifert, Digitales Historisches Archiv Köln (p. 167)
5. Der 11.06.1964, Bürgerverein Köln-Volkhoven-Weiler e.V.
6. Das Attentat von Köln-Volkhoven, Ursula-Kuhr-Schule
7. Another child dies of attack by flamethrower, Star-News (June 16, 1964)
8. a b Das 7. Todesopfer in Köln, Hamburger Abendblatt (June 19, 1964)
9. Cologne Maniac's Toll Now 8, The New York Times
10. Das 10. Opfer in Volkhoven, Hamburger Abendblatt (June 30, 1964)
11. Sixth Cologne child dies, The Press-Courier (June 20, 1964)
12. Drei Kinder ringen mit dem Tode, Hamburger Abendblatt (June 18, 1964)
13. 5th Victim Dies After Fire Attacks at School, Chicago Tribune (June 18, 1964)
14. Two children die of injuries, Star-News (June 21, 1964)