Dubbed "the Beast of the Black Forest" by sensational journalists, Pommerenke was born at Mecklenburg in West Germany, in the village of Bentwich, near Rostock. Driven by violent sexual appetites and frustrated by his own introversion, he boasted of seducing his first girl at age ten. By fifteen, he was waiting outside local dance halls, knocking girls down and attempting to rape them before he was driven away by their screams. Fearing prosecution on a sex charge, he fled from Germany to Switzerland in 1953, but was deported after serving time in a Swiss jail. From 1955 to 1957, he lived in Hamburg, committing at least seven rapes before he was jailed on a robbery charge. A year later, in Austria, he assaulted two English tourists, but the women were saved when bystanders intervened. Pommerenke killed his first woman in the spring of 1959, after sitting through a screening of The Ten Commandments. Disgusted by scenes of women dancing around the golden calf, he decided that females were the root of all worldly evil. Exiting the theater intent on "teaching them a lesson," he met 18-year-old Hilde Knothe in a nearby park, raped her there, and finished his lesson by slashing her throat with a razor. On June 1, 1959, Pommerenke assaulted 21-year-old Dagmar Klimek on a German train, pushing her off and leaping after her, stabbing his victim to death as she lay beside the tracks. A week later, he strangled 16-year-old Rita Waltersbacher, afterward raping the body. While sex remained the root of his problem, Pommerenke also dabbled in other crimes, including burglary and robbery, with the latter leading to his ultimate arrest. In the summer of 1960, he accidentally left a parcel containing his pistol at a local tailor's shop, and the gun was delivered to police, who matched it with the bullets fired in a recent bank robbery. On arrest, Pommerenke was charged with ten sex murders, 20 rapes, and 35 other felonies, all of which he freely confessed . According to his testimony, racy films made Heinrich feel so tense that he "had to do something to a woman." He had initially intended killing seven, but the game got out of hand and he could not restrain himself. On October 22, 1960, he drew six life terms in prison, amounting to a minimum term of 140 years behind bars.