Armin Meiwes: Metzgermeister


At the start of his trial in December 2003, Meiwes said his motive for killing and eating his victim, Bernd Juergen Brandes, was born from a desire for this younger brother he never had – “someone to be part of me”.

Armin posted an advertisement on the Internet, looking for a willing victim. The post stated that he was “looking for a well-built 18 to 25-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Bernd Jürgen Brandes responded to the advertisement. Bernd Jürgen Brandes was known for his interest in mutilation and his activity in the homosexual prostitution scene of his home city.

As is known from a videotape the two made when they met in March 2001 in Meiwes’ home, Meiwes amputated Bernd Jürgen Brandes’s penis and the two men attempted to eat the penis together before Bernd Jürgen Brandes was killed. Brandes had insisted that Meiwes attempt to bite his penis off. This did not work, so Meiwes used a knife. Brandes apparently tried to eat some of his own penis raw, but could not because it was too tough and, as he put it, “chewy”. Meiwes then sautéed the penis in a pan with salt, pepper, and garlic, but by then it was too burned to be consumed. According to journalists who saw the video (which has not been made public), Brandes may already have been too weakened from blood loss to actually eat any of his penis. Armin Meiwes read a Star Wars book for 3 hours whilst his victim was bleeding to death in the bath. Meiwes apparently gave him large quantities of alcohol and pain killers, 30 sleeping pills and a bottle of schnapps, and then killed him in a room that he had built in his house for this purpose, The Slaughter Room.

After stabbing Bernd Jürgen Brandes to death in the throat, he hung the body on a meathook and tore hunks of flesh from it; he even tried to grind the bones to use as flour. The whole scene was recorded on the 2-hour video tape. Meiwes ate the body over the next 10 months, storing body parts in his freezer under pizza boxes and consuming up to 20kg of the flesh.

The video tape makes it clear that Brandes consented to the events.

Meiwes has admitted what he has done, and expressed regret for his actions. He added he wanted to write a book of his life story with the aim of deterring anyone who wants to follow his steps. Surprisingly, a number of websites dedicated to Meiwes have appeared, with people advertising for willing victims. “They should go for treatment, so it doesn’t escalate like it did with me,” said Meiwes. He believes there are about 800 “cannibals” in Germany.

In the previous trial, prosecutors say he should have been jailed for life for murder, while his defence team maintains the death was a mercy killing as the victim was a willing participant.

If Brandes consented to all this, does that mean that there was nothing morally wrong here? If there is something wrong with it, does that mean his consent was worthless? What would this imply about the moral value of consent?


4 Responses to “Armin Meiwes: Metzgermeister”

  1. 1 surreybint

    Surely for this to be considered a mercy killing it should fulfill certain criteria i.e. terminal condition, level of pain, and consent. As Brandes did not have a terminal condition, nor from the film was it mentioned he was living with constant pain, then despite giving his consent it should not count as a mercy killing and Meives did not euthanise him.

    Also, in the film it showed franky and cator’s correspondence and cator agreed to being eaten but not to being slaughtered which is in fact what Meives did. Does this not constitute murder?

    Finally, as part of our moral duty are we not required to live our lives to our full potential and therefore we should not be signing away those duties by agreeing to be killed. If, as I believe Fabian said in one of the earlier lectures, we have a moral duty not to sign our rights away to a live a life of slavery, we certainly should have a moral duty not to end that life at all?

  2. 2 tmct0x

    Bernd did actually agree to being killed. He never intended to live through this experience. In the video itself at one point he is seen saying after his genitals were amputated that “if im still alive in the morning we should eat my balls”.

    He must have been a very disturbed person (both of them to be clear) and obviously not in his right mind. Which should be taken into account. If he had received some sort of help or treatment there is no way of knowing if this fantasy of being eaten alive would have remained. I think in a situation like this his consent should be taken with a grain of salt in determining if it is murder or not.

    The fact that even after the pain and experience of losing his penis had subsided he was still insistant on more is frightening. One would imagine that the fantasy of this and the reality would greatly differ and he would have changed his mind after realizing this. Again i repeat they both were VERY disturbed to begin and to finish something of this nature.

  3. 3 cachorrita

    where can i watch the video

  4. 4 Augur

    Honestly with all the ills of the world, I think that this an acceptable arrangement morally. Why is everyone else concerned so much with another person’s personal choice to have a particular set of experiences? Especially when the lines of victim and perpetrator are so clearly defined and manufactured in order to accomplish a specific task. No true harm is done given the consensual nature of the arrangement. Personally if we allow for these mutual expressions to exist I am sure that it would create more “healthy” manifestations of these darker urges within humanity.

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