German born in 1909, Ludke was a petty thief and mental defective who derived sadistic pleasure from torturing animals. At age eighteen, he made the shift to human victims , stalking girls and women who aroused his hyperactive sexual desires. On one occasion, working as a roundsman for a laundry, he allegedly ran down a woman with his horse-drawn wagon, leaving her for dead. The atmosphere of violence in Nazi Germany facilitated Ludke's crimes, and if his own confessions are accepted, he was highly active in the early years of World War II. Arrested on a charge of sexual assault, he was sterilized on order of Himmler's SS, but the operation seemingly had no effect on his libido. On January 29, 1943, Frieda Rosner, age 51, was found strangled in the woods outside Berlin, where she had been collecting firewood. Kriminal Kommissar Franz headed the investigation, beginning with a canvas of known criminals in the nearby village of Kopenick. One of them was Bruno Ludke, who admitted an acquaintance with the victim. When police asked Ludke if he was responsible for Rosner's death, he ran amok, assaulting his interrogators, and was physically subdued. Upon reflection, Ludke made a full confession to the homicide, informing officers that under Paragraph 51 a law dealing with mental defectives - he was immune from indictment. Once he started talking, Ludke could not seem to stop, and his confessions ultimately listed eighty-five murders, committed since 1928. Although his victims were occasionally robbed, Ludke claimed rape as his primary motive. Kommissar Franz spent a year checking Ludke's confessions, emerging convinced that his suspect was guilty of numerous murders; conversely, some critics maintain that police saw the chance to unload open cases on Ludke and thereby save face. Embarrassed by a case that now included the arrest of several blameless men for crimes confessed by Ludke, Nazi prosecutors opted for a cover-up. Immune to prosecution under law, Ludke was dispatched to Vienna as a subject for medical experimentation. He died there, from a chemical injection, on April 8, 1944.