Photography project | Crime scenes in the Ruhr area
Presented in stern Crime (Issue 44)
About the photographic project

Tatort Ruhrpott looks at the darker side of the metropolis in the west of Germany. To crimes, disasters and tragedies that are remembered. The focus is less on the deeds themselves and more on the places where they happened.

Tatort Ruhrpott was developed over the entire year 2021, so that the crime scenes fit the season, even if the actual acts took place over decades ago.

Tatort Ruhrpott documents the crime as a short summary, but does not want to describe it in detail or offer a platform to the perpetrators. The only thing in the foreground is the place where the crime was committed.


Tatort Ruhrpott can be controlled by the scroll wheel of the computer mouse or with the up and down keys of the keyboard. On mobile devices, the page can be changed by swiping. In addition, in the upper right corner is the menu, which can be used for control.

Plane crash in the Ruhrauen
Essen | February 8, 1988

At around 8 a.m., a Fairchild Swearingen Metro aircraft is struck by lightning between Mülheim-Menden and Essen-Kettwig, breaks up in mid-air and then crashes in a field in the Ruhrauen.

All 19 passengers and the two crew members were killed in the crash.

Mining accident at Grimberg colliery
Bergkamen | February 20, 1946

The mining accident at Grimberg colliery is still considered the most serious in the whole of Germany. Due to an explosion at a depth of about 900m, 405 miners are killed. The pressure wave destroys large parts of the conveyor even on the surface. Only 64 miners of the 466-strong early shift can be saved.

In 2003, the last facilities were demolished.

Double homicide in Herne
Herne | March 9, 2017

After the perpetrator had killed a nine-year-old neighbor’s boy, he found refuge on the run, with a 22-year-old acquaintance, whom he also killed, like the victim before, with several knife stabs. On the evening of March 9, 2017, the perpetrator turns himself in to the police.

The perpetrator was sentenced to life imprisonment under adult criminal law for two counts of murder.

Murder case Helmut Daube
Gladbeck | March 23, 1928

Early in the morning, the 19-year-old high school graduate and son of the principal is on his way home after a party when his neck is cut with a knife and then his genitals are cut off. These were not found at the scene.

A perpetrator could never be clearly identified until today.

Germanwings disaster
Haltern am See | March 24, 2015

On March 17, 2015, 16 students and two teachers of the Joseph-König-Gymnasium will start a student exchange to Spain. They will not come back again. On its way back to Dusseldorf, the Airbus A320 will crash in the Provencal Alps. 144 passengers and 6 crew members die.

The French investigation authority BEA concluded that the crash was forced by the co-pilot.

Oil king from Wanne
Herne | April 3, 1985

The oil king of Wanne began his career as a coal merchant in Wanne-Eickel and founded the Goldin service station chain in 1956. Its gas stations are always a little cheaper than the competition. This is achieved by smuggling millions of liters of fuel past customs and using fictitious receipts to conceal it from the tax authorities. To date, this was the largest tax loss in German history.

On April 3, 1985, he is sentenced to twelve years in prison for tax evasion. He died in 2004.

Attack on BVB
Dortmund | April 11, 2017

On the evening of April 11, 2017, three explosive devices with metal pins are detonated next to the BVB team bus as it is about to drive from the team hotel to the stadium. One player and one policeman are injured in the explosion. The explosive devices have been placed too high and thus prevent worse.

In November 2018, the perpetrator is sentenced to 14 years in prison for 28 counts of attempted murder.

Mintarder Ruhr Valley Bridge
Mülheim an der Ruhr | May 5, 1994

In May 1994, a twelve-year-old schoolgirl from Essen is kidnapped and held captive in a dark dungeon under the highway bridge. By chance, a worker during routine checks discovers the girl and frees her. The bridge gained sad notoriety shortly after its completion due to frequent suicides.

The bridge is to be demolished in the near future and replaced by a new structure on the same site.

The holiday murderer
Essen | May 27, 1987

The perpetrator attacks nine women in Essen between 1987 and 1989. This mostly on or around holidays. He killed five of the victims, and four others survived the crimes, some seriously injured.
On May 27, shortly after 11 p.m., he assaults a 46-year-old woman at an S-Bahn station, killing her with 48 stitches.

In September 1992, he is sentenced to life imprisonment with concurrent confinement in a sanatorium and nursing home.

Möllemann affair
Marl | June 5, 2003

At noon on June 5, 2003, the politician Jürgen Möllemann parachutes in. He opens the main chute after the freefall phase, but then disconnects it again; he does not open the reserve chute. He dies from the severe impact injuries.
Anti-Semitism accusations, a leaflet affair, a black money affair, party resignations and the lifting of his immunity precede this leap.

To this day, it has not been proven beyond doubt whether it was an accident or suicide.

Missing person case Annette L.
Marl | June 25, 2010

At June 2, 2010, the former Police officer and mother of four Annette L. last seen alive in Gelsenkirchen. Her husband, also a police officer, reports her missing 5 days later. Probably on June 3, the burned mattresses from the marriage bed are found at a dump in Gelsenkirchen. The completely burned-out car is found in a wooded area in Marl on June 25, 2010.

There is still no trace of the missing person.

Bochum | July 9, 2002

The university phantom is a sex offender who is said to have committed up to 21 sexual offenses, first in the Ennepe-Ruhr district and later in Bochum, mainly in the university area.
On July 9, 2002, at about 01:00, a 19-year-old woman is walking home from work. She takes a shortcut through the forest. A short time later, she notices a person behind her. This is followed by a rape.

Despite DNA traces, no perpetrator could be identified until today.

Murder case Karen O.
Dülmen | July 13, 1983

The 25-year-old veterinarian Karen O. is found dead in an oat field near Dülmen. The young woman was strangled, then the perpetrator had committed a crime against her.

The search for the perpetrator lasts almost 20 years until he can be convicted through a DNA match. He is sentenced to life in prison. As a result of further acts, he was sentenced in France in 2011 to 22 years’ imprisonment with subsequent preventive detention for rape and murder.

Loveparade disaster
Duisburg | July 24, 2010

At the 19th Love Parade, 21 people are killed and at least 652 others are injured, some seriously. Over the eastern main ramp in the access area, there is a massive pressure situation among the visitors when there is a crowd. The site was not designed for the large mass of people.

The criminal proceedings will be discontinued in May 2020 without a verdict.

Funfair killer
Velbert | August 6, 1965

In a former air-raid shelter, between 1962 and 1966, the perpetrator kills four boys between the ages of 8 and 13, commits a crime against them, and then dismembers their bodies with a butcher knife.

The perpetrator is sentenced to life imprisonment on December 15, 1967. He dies in April 1976 during an operation.

Gladbeck hostage drama
Gladbeck | August 16, 1988

On August 16, 1988, two perpetrators rob a Deutsche Bank branch in a shopping center in Gladbeck. The escape of the two ends after about 54 hours and claims two victims who had previously been taken hostage.

The two perpetrators are sentenced to life imprisonment on March 22, 1991.

Cannibal of Duisburg
Marl | September 13, 1966

He murders up to 14 people, mainly women and young girls, throughout the Ruhr region between 1955 and 1976. In some cases, he cuts strips of flesh from his victims. On September 13, 1966, he strangles a young woman in a wooded area in Marl. Her boyfriend commits suicide after being wrongly suspected. He will be followed by others who were also wrongly suspected.

The cannibal of Duisburg is sentenced to nine life sentences in 1982. He dies of a heart attack in Rheinbach Prison in 1991.

Moped killer
Dinslaken | October 17, 1954

In a wooded area between Dinslaken and Kirchhellen, the perpetrator lies in wait for his victims, chases them on his moped and hits them on the back of the head with a hammer before raping them.
On October 17, 1954, he went one step further and shot a 25-year-old woman in the back from behind and fled immediately after. Since not all of his previous acts came to a conclusion, the victims were able to describe the perpetrator.

In December 1955, the murder trial against him began. The sentence was: life imprisonment, loss of honor for life and preventive detention for life.

Rhine-Ruhr Ripper
Rheinberg | October 22, 1996

Between 1994 and 1998, the Rhine-Ruhr Ripper murders at least four women. He always places these in places that are easy to see.
On October 22, 1996, he kills his second victim. He had taken the 34-year-old woman at the main train station in Essen and later shot her in the back of the head. He draped the severely mutilated body on a country lane, and threw the severed head into the Rhine from a ferry dock.

On September 21, 2000, he is sentenced to life imprisonment by the Duisburg jury court for four counts of murder.

The Aldi kidnapping
Herten | November 29, 1971

At the end of November 1971, two perpetrators lie in wait for the entrepreneur and founder of Aldi Nord in front of the company’s then headquarters and kidnap him. The kidnapping lasts 17 days and ends with the payment of a ransom of seven million marks.

Both perpetrators are arrested less than a month later and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison each. About half of the ransom is never found.

„Dead we are first,
if we are forgotten."
Dedicated to the victims and their families.