In a case that shocked the little town of Rotenburg in West Germany, the whole country, and the world during the early 2000s, the apparently-respectable computer repair technician Armin Meiwes was arrested by the police for murder and cannibalism in December of 2002.

A friendly neighbor (you know how these things go) who mowed his neighbor’s lawns, always said hello, and frequently hosted dinner parties for friends and acquaintances, Meiwes also had, by his admission, fantasies about devouring friends since he was around twelve years old.

And so, a year before his arrest, good Armin had done the reasonable thing and placed an ad online, politely “looking for a normally-built 18- to 25-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.”

Surprisingly enough, he got his wish: Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, a forty-three-year-old engineer from Berlin, replied to his ad.

So hop in and keep reading, as we review ten facts about what happened after in this, the story of the Rotenburg Cannibal.

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10 /10 Troubles In The Past

Armin Meiwes was born on December 1st, 1961, in the same city where he would live his whole life and commit his crimes.

His father abandoned Waltraud Meiwes, his mother when Armin was six years old, and soon his half-brothers from his mother’s other marriages followed suit.

Meiwes was left alone with his mother, a bitter and verbally abusive woman who frequently berated him. In later interviews, he explained how “very lonely” he felt when his family had “fallen apart.”

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9 /10 Keep Your Friends Close

By this time, Armin began fantasizing about eating some of his friends at school, so they would “never leave” him.

In a 2005 retrial of his crimes, he remembered how he would play his fantasies as a child by watching documentaries about autopsies and roasting dolls in the family grill, as well as making human limbs out of marzipan and eating them in a sandwich.

As a reaction against his abandonment issues, Meiwes became very reserved and endowed with a court-appointed psychiatrist identified as an “extreme” smugness, though ultimately polite.

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8 /10 Lonesome Me

Attempting to find some companionship and, probably, some external control for his fantasies, Meiwes joined the German Army in 1979 but ultimately resigned and went back to civilian life by 1991.

It was then that an unskilled and unemployed Meiwes started exploring the world of personal computers, who were becoming popular in Germany: he soon became a computer wizard who knew of the potential that the Internet was beginning to offer.

When his mother died in 1999, leaving him alone and unhinged, he knew exactly where to look for satisfaction for fantasies that were becoming stronger.

7 /10 Online Advertising

And so, he went online, more specifically to a now-defunct cannibalism forum named The Cannibal Café, which the police finally closed after his arrest.

He began to post frequent offers of butchering and eating someone equally interested in being butchered and eaten.

To the public and the police’s astonishment, he claimed to have received up to two hundred replies from people interested in being killed by him for this purpose.

Some of these even managed to bring themselves to his house but ended up being frightened as soon as he pulled out the knife. He, of course, let them go without causing any further trouble.


6 /10 Bernd Brandes

It was only in February of 2001 that Meiwes received a message from the person that would become his actual victim, Bernd Brandes, who wrote: “I am 36 years old, 175 cm and weigh 72 kg. I hope you are really serious about it because I really want it.”

Meiwes was interested, and the two started talking for around a month, exchanging messages detailing how they would proceed.

Eventually, on March 9th, 2001, Brandes arrived from Berlin to a soundproofed slaughterhouse that Meiwes had built in one of the rooms of the big house he had inherited from his mother.

5 /10 Chewy

After spending an evening talking about computers, smoking, and drinking coffee, for a moment, it seemed that Brandes wasn’t going to go through with it and requested to leave.

Meiwes accompanied him to the train station, where, just before boarding his train to Berlin, Brandes turned back and suggested that he might be able to do it with the aid of alcohol and sleeping pills.

A few hours later, Meiwes was severing Brandes’ penis and cooking it in a pan: they both tried to eat it but described it as too “chewy.” Meiwes fed it to his dog.

4 /10 A Star Trek Novel

There was no going back from that point onwards, as Brandes had been losing too much blood and growing weaker.

He is seen in a video (that both of them made of the events) consent to his murder until he passes out in a bathtub filled with water and blood.

Meiwes, who had no interest in seeing him die, retired to an adjacent room to read a Star Trek novel until the morning.

Upon returning and seeing that Brandes was still alive, he hesitated, but ultimately, after praying “to God for forgiveness,” he slit his throat in one single movement.

3 /10 Meat For Months

Armin Meiwes took his “friend’s” body, hanged it from a meat hook, and proceeded to cut his flesh, label it and freeze it. For the next ten months, he would eat it with wine, fried with garlic, or accompanied with Brussels sprouts.

Interviewed during his trial, Meiwes stated: “The first bite was, of course, very strange. It was a feeling I can’t really describe. I spent over 40 years longing for it, dreaming about it.”

But it was not enough for him, as he posted new ads online to find his next victim: it was then that his tone particularly upset an Austrian student, who alerted the police about him.

2 /10 Manslaughter Or Murder?

After being arrested during a quick check of his home (he promptly confessed that the meat in his fridge was human and what he and Brandes had done), a curious legal problem arose: cannibalism wasn’t illegal in Germany.

Trying to prosecute him for something, he was accused of manslaughter instead of murder and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in 2004.

The second trial in 2005 saw him charged with murder, however, and sentenced to life imprisonment after the prosecution noted the component of sexual gratification in his actions.

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1 /10 A Vegetarian Cannibal

Since then, Meiwes has become the leader of his prison’s Green Party and organizes fellow violent criminals to help with the Party’s furthering the causes of ecologism and humanitarianism in Germany.

Not content with this, he has expressly discouraged others from following through with similar tendencies, noting that “they should go for treatment, so it doesn’t escalate like it did with me.” News reports have informed that he is now, paradoxically enough, a vegetarian.

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