Bernhard Nill
Occupation Corset-weaver
Born ca. 1846

May 11, 1885(1885-05-11) (aged 38)
Oberhausen, German Reich

Cause of death Suicide
Attack information
Date May 10/11, 1885
Location(s) Oberhausen, German Reich
Target(s) Family
Killed 6
Weapon(s) Axe

Bernhard Nill was a German corset-weaver who killed his mother and his five children in Oberhausen, a village near Bodelshausen, German Reich during the night from May 10 to May 11, 1885.[1][2]

Nill, whose wife was reportedly in a psychiatric hospital, had returned from America some time prior to the murders. He was described as industrious, though poor, and was known as an argumentative person throughout the village. On May 10 he was at an inn, where he got into a conflict with several civil servants. When he was told that his rants were uncalled for, since his children were supported by the community, he yelled in rage: "You don't have to care for my children any longer!"[3][4]

Around 11 p.m. Nill returned home, took an axe, and killed his 72-year-old mother, as well as his five children, aged 2, 5, 7, 8, and 10 years, by cleaving their skulls. Afterwards he threw the six bodies on a bed and tried to set it ablaze, but due to the amount of blood the fire could not spread. The 38-year-old then made his way to the home of his parents-in-law and broke open the door to murder them in the same manner, but was deterred by his brother-in-law, who threatened him with a rifle. Nill fled and eventually committed suicide not far from the village by cutting his own throat.[3][5][6][7]


  • Schauerlicher sechsfacher Mord verübt zu Oberhausen, Oberamt Rottenburg, durch den Weber Bernhard Nill, an der eigenen Mutter und seinen 5 Kindern; Jünginger's Verlag, 1885.


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