June 11, 1964: Guns Do not Kill People; A Flamethrower, a Mace and a Lance Kill People (Cologne School Massacre)

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

A Brief History

On June 11, 1964, World War II veteran Walter Seifert went on a rampage at a Catholic elementary school outside of Cologne, Germany earning him a place on the list of history’s most evil people.  He did not have a gun, but he did have a home-made flamethrower, a mace and a lance!

Digging Deeper

Seifert served in an anti-aircraft unit during World War II and became a policeman after the war.  After he was found to have tuberculosis, Seifert was released from his job and began an odyssey through the government bureaucracy in an attempt to get a subsidized living.

Found to be able to work, but with no will to recover, the “mentally devious” Seifert was also labeled paranoid schizophrenic by government doctors, who also decided he was not dangerous.  (Does this seem like a trend in our articles?)  Seifert also told his brother about a plan to kidnap young girls to keep captive as sex slaves, but apparently still nothing was done.

When Seifert married and lost his young wife who died in childbirth, Seifert blamed the doctors and became even more bitter.  Seeking vigilante “justice” he began making weapons.  The flamethrower was made from an insecticide sprayer, the mace from a pump handle, and the lance a broomstick tipped with a scraper.

As Seifert approached the school on the tragic day, 3 crossing guards assumed he was a repairman and did not stop him or ask him what he was doing.  Using the mace to break a classroom window, he fired liquid flame into the room, setting the kids on fire.  As people rushed out of the building, he fired the flamethrower until it was empty and then attacked with his lance.  Seifert managed to kill 8 children, 2 teachers and wound another 22 people.  Without a gun, by the way.

Seifert then ran from the scene chased by a couple dozen people and attempted suicide by swallowing insecticide, which failed to kill him. When the police arrived, he tried to fight, but was shot in the leg and taken into custody.  Questioned repeatedly at the hospital, the disturbed veteran died there less than 12 hours after the massacre began.  The victim students ranged from 9 to 12 years old, and the slain teachers were 24 and 62.

Once again, History and Headlines describes an incident where a dangerously mentally ill person does not receive the psychiatric attention needed to get better and keep society safe, causing innocent people to suffer and die.  Plus, once again we see that killers do not have to have guns to do their terrible work, although of course in this case a gun was used to stop the murderer.  Today school safety is a hot topic, fiercely debated.  Question for students (and subscribers): What do you think can be done to keep our schools safe?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by liking us on Facebook and becoming one of our patrons!

Your readership is much appreciated!

Historical Evidence

For more information on school massacres, please see…

Welles, Jonathan.  School Massacres.  Ox Books Publishing (OxBo), 2013.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.