How frightful! Dark secrets of Kraków

The Stu Theatre building in the line of facilities at Zygmunt Krasiński Avenue in Kraków seen at night
Kraków, with its picturesque streets, monuments and rich history, attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. However, in addition to the usual tourist attractions, the city also hides some dark, hair-raising places. Have you ever wondered what Kraków is like from the criminal side? Today, we will tell you about some macabre addresses where a person is overcome with fear. What used to happen in Kraków's nooks and crannies? Let's find out!

In the footsteps of an ‘elegant murderer’

Władysław Mazurkiewicz was a serial killer who lived and committed crimes in Kraków. He was charged with six murders and two attempted murders, although he was unofficially suspected of killing more than 30 people. He was ruthless and committed murders mainly for money. His flat was located at 14 Biskupia Street.

He became known to his neighbours as a lovely, caring and charming man. It is hard to believe that he deprived lives by sprinkling cyanide into the sandwiches or tea he served his victims, or by shooting them in the back of the head cold-bloodedly. He was active throughout virtually all of Kraków, although he was particularly fond of Salwator. The place where one could most often meet the 'Elegant Murderer', as Mazurkiewicz was called, was the garage at 49 Marchlewskiego Street (today renamed Beliny-Prażmowskiego Street). This is where he kept his cars and also... the victims bricked into the space beneath the floor. The death sentence (eight convictions) for Mazurkiewicz was passed at 1 Senacka Street, where the Geological Museum is now located.

Crime in front of the STU Theatre

One of the best and most famous theatres in Kraków, located at 16 Krasickiego Avenue, was also the stage on which the great drama took place. Andrzej Zaucha, a man-legend of Polish culture, was shot dead in a theatre car park. The reason for the murder was the two most significant forces governing the human soul - love, and jealousy.

Andrzej Zaucha died at the hands of director Yves Goulais, who shot the artist after discovering that he was having an affair with his wife, Zuzanna. On 10 October 1991, Yves Goulais lurked outside the STU Theatre, waiting for the pair of lovers to finish their performance on stage. The director carried out the crime in a ruthless manner – he fired three shots at Andrzej Zaucha and one at Zuzanna. Then, he walked up to the actor and angrily shot him five more times. It was one of the most tragic deaths in the world of Polish culture.

The cannibal from Kraków – true story or myth?

The story of a German cannibal who operated in the Krakow area is one of the most gruesome tales, which, according to historians, may not be entirely true. It all started when there were disturbing rumours about the sale of cold cuts made from human flesh in the famous Tandeta market.

The case was not taken quite that seriously until two residents of the Małopolska capital came forward with information. They testified about a certain Franz Tham, an NSDAP member living in Kraków, who, together with his girlfriend, lured young girls into a flat, poisoned them and then strangled them with a rope. After committing the crime, he would cut off the victim’s breasts, and cut out the liver and fry it. He ate the fat rendered from his victims with bread... His flat was located at 8 Kielecka Street. During a search carried out, monstrous things were discovered there. Tham and his lover were executed in St Michael's Prison at Senate Street. Today, the site houses the Archaeological Museum.

Karol Kot – the Vampire of Kraków

He is one of the most obscure figures in the Kraków criminal world. Karol Kot was a notorious serial killer known as the Vampire of Kraków. He lived at 2 Meiselsa Street, in Kraków's district – Kazimierz. Since childhood, he showed strange predilections – he drank the blood of animals killed in the slaughterhouse, disembowelled small animals, and adoringly read forensic periodicals.

When knowledge from books is no longer enough for him, he starts hunting... people. He first attacked an elderly woman in the Church of the Convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart at 2 Garncarska Street, then a woman on Skawinska Street. He operated throughout the city, his crimes encompassing today's very popular tourist and recreational sites – Kościuszko Mound, Błonia, and the Vistula embankment in Tyniec. The Vampire from Kraków was sentenced to death by hanging on 16 May 1968.

Criminal Kraków still hides many secrets. Which ones? You will find out soon!

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