The Man Who Ate The Lover He Met Online

In 2001, Armin Meiwes, also known as the “Rotenburg Cannibal,” murdered and consumed a willing victim, Bernd Brandes and then kept the remains for 20 months in a secret freezer.

German fairy tales were something Armin Meiwes consumed a lot of in his youth. His favorite character in Hansel and Gretel was the wicked witch who kidnapped two kids to fatten them up for the butcher. Meiwes discovered a willing participant online who consented to have his penis cut off and eaten. Meiwes has had a longstanding craving to consume human flesh.

Germany was shocked by the horrific occurrence in March 2001, and Meiwes became known as the “Rotenburg Cannibal.” Meiwes was a computer repairman who also assisted friends with their cars and threw enchanting dinner parties. He even mowed his neighbor’s lawn. But because his father had abandoned him as a child, he developed a fascination with serial killers and a craving for human flesh.

The 39-year-old posted an advertisement seeking a “young, well-built male who wants to be devoured” on the now-defunct forum The Cannibal Cafe after his mother passed away. Meiwes concurred after Bernd Brandes, a 43-year-old engineer, responded with interest. Brandes took 20 sleeping tablets to ease the pain of the amputation before leaving his home in Berlin for Meiwes’ residence in Rotenburg.

Meiwes’ house, where he carried out his crime.

In an interview with The Independent in 2016, Meiwes remarked, “It was a feeling I can’t really describe. I’d spent over 40 years longing for it, dreaming about it. And now I was getting the feeling that I was actually achieving this perfect inner connection through his flesh. The flesh tastes like pork but stronger.”

How Armin Meiwes got to be known as the “Rotenburg Cannibal”

On December 1, 1961, in Essen, Germany, Armin Meiwes was born. On his father’s side, he had two half-brothers, but the patriarch and his two favorite kids left Meiwes when he was five years old. Waltraud Meiwes, his single mother, raised him in a 44-room farmhouse, where he developed an obsession with carnal taboos and true crime.

He described his struggles as the newly appointed “man of the house” and how, as a young child, he had first considered devouring his peers. Meiwes created Franky, a fictional sibling, so he could discuss his cannibalistic ideas with someone. The Irish Times claims that while his interest rose as he got older, it really peaked in 1999 after his mother passed away.

His obsession got worse with his mother’s passing.

Meiwes spent the entire year reading biographies of serial killers because he now had complete control over the vast property. After he established a “second life” online with like-minded individuals, his impulses only intensified.

Armin Meiwes found gay males who had cannibalistic fantasies by posting on The Cannibal Cafe as “Antrophagus” or “Franky.” Meiwes met numerous guys in hotel rooms to practice the act, but none of them were willing to carry it out. According to The Daily Mail, Meiwes even refused a man who asked to be beaten to death because he thought it was “strange.”

However, on March 6, 2001, he had a chat with a member by the name of “Cator99,” who expressed a desire to be killed and have his penis bit off. Bernd Jürgen Brandes, a Siemens engineer, was that user, and he was ready to die. Harper’s claims that he accepted Meiwes’ proposal, which included the following:

“I’ll take you out after you’re dead and expertly carve you up. There won’t be much of you left, save for a set of knees and some fleshy rubbish (skin, cartilage, tendons). Soon after, I’ll dry out the knees and grind them up. Hopefully, you won’t be the last. I’ve already thought of picking up a kid off the street.

The Rotenburg Cannibal Eviscerates His Victim

Bernd Brandes and Armin Meiwes continued to communicate passionately online until March 9, when Brandes took the day off. Before the big day, he had sold everything he owned, including a sports car, and deleted his hard drive. He purchased a round-trip ticket to Kassel, where Meiwes was ready to pick him up and take him home.

Bernd Brandes sold all he had before meeting Meiwes in his home

The men traveled to Meiwes’ home and engaged in sexual activity after stopping at a drugstore for painkillers, according to The Daily Mail. Brandes briefly reneged on the deal but afterwards downed 20 sleeping pills, some cough medicine, and a bottle of schnapps to carry it out. Brandes instructed Meiwes to begin filming the incident as he said, “Now do it.”

Only the subsequent events have been witnessed by state officials and daring internet sleuths. Armin Meiwes first attempted to comply with Brandes’ order to bite off the penis but was unsuccessful. He next attempted to feed Brandes with a kitchen knife, but it was too hard for him to chew. After that, Meiwes fried it in Brandes’ own fat while adding salt, pepper, wine, and garlic.

Bernd Brandes ultimately only swallowed one mouthful. He was losing so much blood constantly that he was going in and out of consciousness. Meiwes mistakenly set fire to the penis, then crushed it up and gave it to his dog. After giving Brandes a bath, he went to read a Star Trek novel while keeping an eye on him every 15 minutes.

Meiwes described his first meal by saying, “I set the table with lovely candles.”

At the time, murder was a crime in Germany even though cannibalism wasn’t. Meiwes prayed for Brandes to wake up, but he then fatally stabbed him in the throat. Meiwes cut up his body into meal-sized pieces, dismembered it on a butcher’s block, and put the flesh in his freezer to drain.

Meiwes described his first meal by saying, “I set the table with lovely candles.” I made what I call princess potatoes, sprouts, and a piece of rump steak (a piece off his back) using my finest dinnerware. I cooked my lunch and then I ate it.”

How Armin Meiwes Got His Prison Sentence

By burying Armin Meiwes’ skull and other inedible body parts in the garden, he kept his pledge to Bernd Brandes. The Rotenburg Cannibal consumed 44 pounds of his flesh over the following 20 months. Additionally, Meiwes had recorded the entire four-hour mutilation, which the authorities would use as proof in one of Germany’s most horrifying post-war prosecutions.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Boris Roessler/EPA/Shutterstock (8170203e)
The So-called ‘Cannibal of Rotenburg’ Armin Meiwes Enters in Handcuffs the Courtroom of the District Court of Frankfurt Main

Meiwes wasn’t discovered until December 10, 2002. Up until an Austrian student denounced him to the authorities, he had persisted in looking for victims online. They discovered pounds of flesh and a false bottom in his freezer when they broke into his house. Meiwes said it was wild boar meat, but the police also discovered video of the crime.

NBC reports that despite Meiwes’ offenses suggesting insanity and his schizoid personality disorder diagnosis, he was found to be competent to stand trial. Armin Meiwes was found guilty of manslaughter on January 30, 2004, following a trial that started on December 3, 2003. He was given an eight years and six months in prison sentence, and he is now a vegetarian.

After prosecutors claimed that Meiwes should have been tried for murder, a German court ultimately retried him in April 2005. Meiwes was given a life sentence on May 10, 2006, according to 9News, but as part of his rehabilitation, he has lately been given permission to stroll the streets in disguise.


  1.  “Cannibal trial reveals perverse intimacy” 19 January 2004.
  2. ^ Michael H. Stone & Gary Brucato. The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of
  3.  “German ‘cannibal’ tells of regret”BBC News. Europe.

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