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I am working on a project regarding the German serial killer Friedrich Schumann (*1893 in Spandau; †August 1921, executed JVA Plötzensee). In my research I found that he supposedly worked at the "RAW in Wusterhausen"- "Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk" a train refitting station.

Here's the problem though:
He was said to have walked to work, and approach his victims in the woods on said walk. If we take Wusterhausen/Dosse, that would make that a 13 hour trip, each way. Somehow I find that highly unlikely, especially in 1916-1920. Furthermore I simply cannot find any data regarding such a station being operated in or around Wusterhausen/Dosse, nor in "Königs Wusterhausen". There was a RAW station planned in Falkenhagen, which would fit the area Schumann was active in, but said station only went online in 1938. 17 years after his arrest and execution. It also didn't really do trains. What I could glean from the archives the RAW in Falkenhagen/Albrechtshof was quickly refitted to repair tanks and trucks.

Schumann's work information, which is repeated by newspapers (example), articles, 'serious' books (example: "Crime and Criminal Justice in Modern Germany", 2009) and podcasts seemingly stems from Blazek, Matthias: "Karl Großmann und Friedrich Schumann: Zwei Serienmörder in den zwanziger Jahren", Stuttgart, 2009, p. 111, who sadly cites no source.

Kriminalrat Gennat only lists him as "locksmith employed by the Bahn" in his "Zentralkartei".

I was able to dig up some newspaper articles of the time, but they didn't really help either.

So I am kind of stuck, maybe someone has some new input or could point me towards an angle I haven't looked at yet?

I think it is most likely he worked at the station in Grunewald, as it is close enough to walk but it does not quite fit the area he was active in.

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The book by Blazek is most probably in error on this detail.

The data given is highly improbable and implausible. That applies to the exact naming of the facility he worked for as well as the exact location and how he is said to have got there usually.

An alternative is presented below, arguing for a conflation between different railraod terminologies for the refitting station itself and as well for the name of the town that belonged to.

Schumann is recorded as having lived at Staakener Straße 6, in Spandau, right next to the train station there.

Wuster_hausen_ and Königs Wuster_hausen_ are indeed simply too far away.

His preferred escape back to nature and it's urges was the Falkensee in Falkenhagen and surrounding woods and forests.

The distance to travel on foot from Staakenstraße to lake Falkensee for his spare time fun is 5–9 kilometers. Well in range for pedestrian entertainment.

The distance to travel on foot from Staakener Straße in Spandau to Wuster_mark_ railway stationj is less than 15 kilometers.

Falkensee is to the northwest, Wustermark to the west of Spandau.

There was a Bahnbetriebswerk Wustermark Bw/Wur operating at the time.

The strange things here are the small inconsistencies we observe:

Obviously, the naming for the location of employment is confounded. There was no 'RAW' in Wustermark — and none in the respective Wusterhausens…

As a railway employee living right next to a station who worked at another railway station 15 kilometers away, it seems very strange for him to have walked the entire distance. He would have had very cheap access to tickets from his employer and the shortest travel path on foot is elongated by detours: the railway tracks make the trip much longer on foot than by train, as the train tracks almost follow a crow's flight while the pedestrian route has to follow some roads and avoid crossing/following the railroads.

It looks like one has to travel to Elstal railway logistics (today: one stop before coming from Berlin to station Wustermark, coordinates: 52°32'50.50"N 13° 0'1.40"E), to see where Schumann was working. If Schuman worked as a locksmith at some railroad refitting facility starting with 'Wuster-' then it was Wustermark. Most probably.

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  • Not just naming. BW to RAW is a gross miscategorization, but indeed, we came to the same conclusion... Also, it would be typical for Railway employees to take a specific, free, train in the morning.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 15:22
  • Thank you so much for your input! The whole "walking" thing seemed odd to me to begin with. A train to the workstation in the morning would make sense, as he could alight the train in Falkensee on his way home and make his way towards the woods, which are within walking distance. I also stumbled across the AEG Werke in Henningsdorf, which would fit his "hunting grounds" in the Spandau forest even closer. After WW2 they were renamed into LEW "Hans Beimler" but that was neither a RAW nor has the Wuster- connection. So what you write seems the most plausible
    – Ydo
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 16:35
  • @Ydo those would not have been part of the railway though. I managed to unearth a lot of the reporting... court files or the original investigator's reports would be better.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 16:48
  • @Trish The report card in the Gennat-Zentralkartei only mentions "Locksmith". I don't know how reliable the leadinvestigators (Kriminalwachtmeister Lahmann) report would be. He was removed from the case for using "violently beating the subject" as his line of interrogation (see Vossische Zeitung 13. July 1920 p. 6) His lawyer Dr. Dr. Erich Frey gives very little insight into the actual case, see "Der Zwang zum Töten" in "Ich beantrage Freispruch" p. 15. He also doesn't state the employer and refers to him as "locksmith"
    – Ydo
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 17:48
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    @Trish During that time, the name and profile of what a Schlosser is changed. Originally, Schlosser was an artisan in a medieval tradition, but industrialization transformed them into skilled factory workers. The diploma my grandfather received in 1918 was awarded by the Handwerkskammer and made him a Schlossergeselle (journeyman). My father received a Facharbeiterbrief as a Maschinenschlosser in 1941, issued by the Industrie- und Handelskammer. In practice, both were working in the same profession, processing metal parts into machinery in a industrial setting.
    – ccprog
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 11:16
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Via Railway Enthusiasts

There's a list of RAWs in 1932. For the area of Berlin, the following are noted:

  • RAW Berlin
  • RAW Berlin-Schöneweide
  • RAW Grunewald
  • RAW Potsdam
  • RAW Tempelhof
  • RAW Brandenburg-West

There is no RAW Wusterhausen denoted. However, the list of Bahnbetriebswerke 1939 has category Berlin 2:

Type Location Short designator employees
Bw Wustermark Wur 200-499

The RAW Grunewald is very close to the Wustermark, as is the RAW Potsdam.

The byname of Schumann is Massenmörder vom Falkenhagener See, which is a location about halfway between BW Wustermark and Grunewald. It is also part of the Spandau district, where Schumann did live.

A part of the former Bw Wustermark, technically located between Wustermark and Dallgow-Döberitz, nowadays serves as a logistics area

Via Newspapers

In 1919, the Boulevard paper BZ did reports about the murders. In 2019, they did a column about their reporting then. It denotes that the circumstances of the arrest and that the case was held in the Landgericht Berlin III, but not his occupation. However, the original archive seems to be not offered by the newspaper. RElevant is, that the arrest was reported on the 21st of August.

However the Berliner Morgenpost of that day IS archived. Page 5 has a column titled "Der Massenmörder vom Falkenhagener See ist Gefasst" - the terror of Falkenhagen Lake is arrested. They declare..

Es handelt sich um den 27jährigen Gelegenheitsarbeiter Otto Schumann aus der Staalener Straße 6 in Spandau.

The MoPo of 1919 does mislabel the first name, and indicates he didn't have steady employment but would be employed wherever, however, and whenever he could. In contrast, the Morning issue of the Berliner Tageblatt und Handelszeitung identifies him on page 5 as "Schlosser Friedrich Schumann aus der Staalener Straße 6", but doesn't indicate the place of work.

The case started 5th of July 1920 and was reported about on page 5 of the Berliner Tageblatt und Handelszeitung. Again on the 7th (page 5, 8th (page 5, morning issue), 9th (page 6, morning issue), 10th (page 5, morning issue), 11th (page 5, morning issue), 13th (page 5, morning issue), and finally 14th (page 5, morning issue). Nowhere in the exhaustive reporting, his place of work is denoted.

Conclusion

Not just is the location, as Lloyd Crowther notes, possibly a misidentification, but also the classification of the location as a RAW is wrong: Wustermark was a service station of the Bahnbetriebswerk level. It is likely the place of work, if the Wuster- part is correct.

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Wustermark is quite close to Falkenhagen and has/used to have a large railway yard.

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