THANKSGIVING PROMOTION … DO YOU LOVE BOOKS ABOUT SERIAL KILLERS? NOW’S YOUR CHANCE …

We need to talk about serial killers, and especially this serial killer: Dr Marcel Petiot. I will start by saying that my book about Petiot – DIE IN PARIS – published in February this year (2013) as an e-book, and in April as a paperback, is being discounted from tomorrow, Friday, November 29 until and […]

DIE IN PARIS - the cover

DIE IN PARIS – the cover

We need to talk about serial killers, and especially this serial killer: Dr Marcel Petiot.

I will start by saying that my book about Petiot – DIE IN PARIS – published in February this year (2013) as an e-book, and in April as a paperback, is being discounted from tomorrow, Friday, November 29 until and including Friday, December 6. (I will give the e-book download price below.)

Let me tell you what three newspaper editors and best-selling authors wrote about the book:

(1)  Don Fulsom, veteran UPI and VOA White House correspondent: Marilyn Z. Tomlins had crafted an enthralling and suspenseful page-turner about one of history’s  most fascinating and notorious serial killers. This grisly World War Two era thriller will have you teetering on a slippery edge from beginning to end.

(2)  J. Patrick O’Connor, author of several true crime bestsellers and the creator and editor of the top true crime website, crimemagazince.com: With style, Marilyn Z. Tomlins’ Die in Paris, tells the incredible story of France’s most prolific murderer. Readers will discover a truly psychotic serial killer.

(3)  James Murray, Associate Editor for News of the UK’s Sunday Express: British author Marilyn Tomlins has delved into recently-released French government and police files to expose the evil acts of a monster who could have killed up to 200 people. He wrote this under the headline Horrific Fate of Parisians who tried to flee the Nazis. You can read what Mr Murray wrote here 

But, let me tell you about Dr Marcel Petiot in my own words:

In January 1933, Adolf Hitler, leader of Germany’s Nazi Party became Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.

That month a young French doctor – Marcel Petiot – arrived in Paris.

Dr Marcel Petiot as a young family doctor.

Dr Marcel Petiot as a young family doctor.

Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot, 36 years old, married and the father of a six-year-old son was a handsome man. Born of working-class parents in the wine-producing Burgundy region of France, he had fought in the First World War, and at the end of that war he had begun to practice medicine in the picturesque village of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, also in Burgundy.

In 1926, just 29 years old, Petiot had become mayor of the village.

At the time France was in a pitiful state struggling to overcome the damages of war. One and a quarter million French soldiers had lost their lives fighting the Germans and another 4.4 million had been wounded: France had had 8.5 million men in uniform.  The country had also suffered the loss of 34,000 miles of roads, thousands of bridges, hundreds of railway lines, 812,000 buildings and 21,000 sq miles of farmland.

Petiot had won the mayoral election by promising the constituents – all male over the age of 21 – that he would play a role in the reconstruction of suffering France.

On his arrival in Paris with his wife and their five-year-old son he had already clashed with the law numerous times

The first was in his hometown of Auxerre, when, still a school boy, he was caught stealing letters from mail boxes.  His punishment then was expulsion from his school despite that he was a brilliant scholar.  The other clashes – three – with the law were in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, he, then already the village’s Mayor.  The least serious of the three was when he had gone in the middle of one night to steal canisters of petrol he had ordered from a nearby refinery but which he had not paid for so the station master of the village’s railroad station had refused to let him  have them. The other two were more serious: he was stealing from the town hall’s coffers. All three offences led to criminal charges against him and after the third case to his dismissal as the village Mayor.

Petiot lived on this street in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, and it was in that house where he committed his first murder. (I do not want to point out the house in order to protect those who live there today.)

Petiot lived on this street in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, and it was in that house where he committed his first murder. (I do not want to point out the house in order to protect those who live there today.)

Theft, though, was not the only trouble Petiot had got into in the village. He had also been accused by the villagers of having murdered the village’s bistro owner and two of the village’s women. One of the women was his pregnant live-in lover, the other, the wife of a wealthy businessman, and rumored to be having an affair with him. The bistro owner had begun the rumor having enhanced it by saying that he had seen the doctor walk very fast from the woman’s house on the night of the murder.  The villagers’ accusations had been investigated by the local Gendarmerie (militarized police) chief, but no substantial evidence having been found, the doctor had not been charged.

The reason Petiot had given his family and the family of his wife for moving to Paris was that he wanted a better class of patient than the country bumpkins of Burgundy.

In Paris, Petiot, having bought the practice of two doctors who would, strangely, never again give any sign of life, had quickly become successful and financially secure, no doubt because of claims he made about his qualifications and that he could, and had, cured cancer. Yet, the son-of-a-poor-man complex he suffered from, and that he so much wanted to be considered a member of France’s bourgeoisie, made him want even more money. So, he had begun to deal in drugs and to perform abortions which was then illegal and subject to prison terms. He got away with the abortions, but the drug dealing led to two new court appearances and him having being fined heavily. Both cases had also led to new rumors of murder because in each case the addict to whom he had prescribed the drugs had suddenly disappeared.

Petiot's shingle in Paris - all boasting and lies.

Petiot’s shingle in Paris – all boasting and lies.

Ironically, Petiot’s regular patients, unaware of his drug dealing and the abortions, adored him: they said he was a wonderfully kind and considerate physician. His neighbors, who also had been unaware of the illicit activates, adored him also. Indeed, so did his wife and his son: as she would tell the police later, he had never ever performed abortions and had never ever dealt in drugs. And as for being a murderer, that, she said, was a lie told by people jealous of his success.

The patients had also blissfully been unaware that their doctor had spent long periods in mental asylums: his first such sojourn had been as a soldier in World War One. But, as he would say, and as his wife would also say, he had needed hospitalization because of shell shock. Shell shock and an injury he had suffered.

On September 3, 1939, the Second World War having broken out against Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich as the Weimar Republic had become known, Petiot, enraged at the thought that the Boches, the derogatory name the French had given Germans, had yet again attacked his beloved country, swore that he would fight the German foe at every opportunity. Because of his First World War hospitalization which had resulted in his discharge with a disability pension, he was not mobilized again.

In June 1940, France not only having capitulated to the German foe, but, having agreed to collaborate with it, the country consequently having become an ally of Hitler and an enemy of Britain and her allies, Petiot had angrily watched from the windows of his surgery, which was also the family home, how his compatriots fled from the capital in whatever they could find which had wheels, rather than to have continued to fight the Germans. He was not going to flee; he would continue to fight the Boches, he told his patients.

What Petiot had not said was that he would also continue to reap money through his illicit activities, like he would continue to collect the rents from the apartments he had bought in Paris with that money.  He had even bought an entire apartment building in Paris and a five-floor townhouse close to Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Rue le Sueur where the murder house stood at Number 21

Rue le Sueur where the murder house stood at Number 21

He had also had another idea of how he would make even more money.

Many – certainly many Jews – would want to flee from the Nazis, and he would assist them in doing so. Or rather, he would pretend that he could. He would sell them an escape route which would take them across the oceans and far far away to Argentina.

His escape route would not however lead beyond that five-floor townhouse of his.

There, after the unsuspecting innocents had handed over the large fee he was going to charge them, he was going to kill them, and, with people disappearing every day having been arrested by the Gestapo, who would ever look for those he had killed?  He even had the certainty that the relatives and friends of his victims would not report their disappearance to the police because at the fall of France, the police had accepted the Germans as its master. In other words, any contact with the police was contact with the Germans because at the end of each day the police reported the day’s cases to the feared Gestapo.

Dr Marcel Petiot put his plan into operation at 11 a.m. on Christmas Day 1941.

On that day, a neighbor, a Jewish man, called on Petiot to discuss taking his escape route to Argentina.

For some time the neighbor had known that because of the Nazis – the German ones as well as the French ones – he would have to flee.  He had first discussed such a flight with his wife in 1940 when, acting on behalf of the Germans, the French puppet government under Marshal Philippe Pétain had started to introduce the Jewish Statutes: a series of laws that excluded Jews from French public life.

The yellow Star of David the Nazis made Jews wear

The yellow Star of David the Nazis made Jews wear

The first statute, issued on September 27, within two months of the June fall of France, had ordered Jews to register in a census, and all Jewish shop owners to display the words Judische Geschaft in their windows.  It was a statute which directly concerned the neighbor because he was a furrier and the owner of a shop on Petiot’s street. The second Statute, on October 3, had compelled Jews to have their identity cards stamped with the word Juif. That statute had also defined who was a Jew, and forbade Jews to hold elected posts, work in the civil service, the armed forces and police, or as journalists. Neither had they been allowed to teach. The third, dated October 4, had made it possible for Jews to be interned in special camps, and for foreign-born Jews to be forcibly removed to special living areas. The neighbor hailed from Poland and was such a foreign-born Jew.

Each statute had been signed by Pétain in his capacity of Head of the French state, and had been co-signed by several members of his government known as the Vichy Government.

On New Year’s Day 1942 the neighbor had set off on Petiot’s escape route. After having handed over the doctor’s requested fee of 525,000 francs, which included passage on a neutral freight ship to Argentina, he had bid his wife a tearful goodbye on a street corner. On Petiot’s instructions he had taken with him gold bullion and precious stones, and three mink pelts, and he had sewn into his clothes US dollar notes to the value of a thousand dollars. He had removed, also on the doctor’s orders, all labels and monograms from his clothes.

On Tuesday, January 20, eighteen days later, the Wannsee Conference on Wannsee Lake in south-west Berlin was convened by SS-Obergruppenführer – Lieutenant General – Reinard Heydrich, Head of the RSHA. In ninety minutes, the Final Solution, the Nazi policy to murder eleven million Jews, was drafted. According to the formal minutes of the conference – the Wannsee Protocol – there were some 865,000 Jews in France. (RHSA – Reichssicherheitshauptamt or Reich Main Security Office.)

On Friday, January 30, ten days later, Hitler confirmed the Final Solution speaking at the Berlin Sports Palace.

“The old Jewish law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will be applied,” said Hitler.

It would mean the complete annihilation of the Jews.

In Paris, the Nazi propaganda film about Polish Jews, ‘Der ewige Jude’– The Eternal Jew – directed by Nazi filmmaker, Fritz Hippler, under the supervision of Joseph

Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, was being shown. Polish Jews, therefore Petiot’s neighbor, were portrayed as filthy, corrupt, lazy, physically-ugly and sexually-perverted sub-humans. Thousands of Parisians fell in line to see the film. The neighbor’s wife, discussing a scene from the film in which a rabbi was seen slaughtering a cow in a supposedly bloody ritual, told her husband’s employees that she thanked God for Dr Petiot.  “He’s saved Joachim’s life. The Nazis won’t be able to kill him now,” she said.

She was never to see her husband again.

In this stove in a basement room of his townhouse Petiot burnt some of the bodies of his victims. You will see the human ash on the floor

In this stove in a basement room of his townhouse Petiot burnt some of the bodies of his victims. You will see the human ash on the floor

Petiot, having successfully killed his neighbor, and it having been lucrative, he had continued to kill. He had told those in his entourage who were experiencing financial difficulties about his escape route and he promised them a percentage of his fees.  He had told them that if they knew of anyone, “especially Jewish ones” who wanted to flee the Nazis they should tell them about his escape route. Cunningly, he had pretended to be in the French Resistance and they were not to reveal his real identity to the potential escapee but to give them his nom de guerre of Dr Eugene.

In March 1942, Petiot, home from having been arrested by the Gestapo for running an escape route but the Gestapo having failed to find evidence of such an escape route – of course there was not one – and faced with a townhouse filled with dead bodies, he had decided that he would have to do some cleaning up: he had to get rid of the bodies. He had then begun to destroy the bodies with quicklime and when this had not done the work quickly enough, he had begun to burn the bodies in the furnace of an old stove that stood in the basement of his townhouse. Six days of pestilential smoke pouring from the uninhabited and silent townhouse, neighbors, despite their fear of the Gestapo, had summoned the police.  What the police chief saw in the townhouse he would liken to a scene from ‘Dante’s Inferno’.

More human ash on the floor of another basement room

More human ash on the floor of another basement room

 

Close up of the stove

Close up of the stove

 

These stairs led to  pit where Petiot destroyed the remains of more victims with quicklime

These stairs led to pit where Petiot destroyed the remains of more victims with quicklime

The murder house's inner courtyard protected by the house itself, so no prying eyes.

The murder house’s inner courtyard protected by the house itself, so no prying eyes.

 

Petiot’s terrible secret having been revealed, he had gone on the run and on the August 1944 Liberation of Paris, providing a fake identity document under the name of Dr Henri Valeri, he had resurfaced to join the newly-formed French Forces of the Interior (FFI) which had combined all the fighting men and women of France which included the Resistance. Never was it established whether a Dr Henri Valeri had really existed, but one of the two doctors he had bought his Paris practice from was a Dr Charles Valéry, and Dr Valéry was nowhere to be found.

Such a good impression did ‘Dr Henri Valeri’ make on his superiors that he was given the rank of captain and put in charge of finding and arresting those French who had collaborated with the Germans.

 Hiding thus with the FFI Petiot had thought that he was safe and once Hitler had either been arrested or had been killed by the Allies, he would drop his mask and admit to being Dr Petiot and that he would say that the bodies at his townhouse were those of Germans and French Collaborators.  He had not killed them, he would say:  his Resistance group had done so.

 

One of the fake identity cards Petiot used while on the run

One of the fake identity cards Petiot used while on the run

And then, the war over, he would be the hero.

Just as he would also be able to enjoy the money he had made from his victims.

However, the hunt for Petiot was still on, and on Tuesday, October 31, he was arrested while waiting for a Métro train to take him to FFI headquarters.

He immediately acknowledged that he was Dr Marcel Petiot and he would, as he had planned, claim that he was a hero having been the head of a Resistance cell and that the bodies found at his townhouse were those of Germans and French Collaborators his cell had justly executed.

On May 25, 1946, Dr Marcel Petiot was guillotined for the murder of 26 people.

The Paris court had classified the 26 as 15 Jews, 9 individuals of dubious character and 2 people who would have given evidence against him in drug trials. The 26 were missing people the police had been able to link to him.

However, judging by the amount of human remains which had been found at his townhouse the police chief thought that he had killed at least two hundred. “To be on the safe side, I will settle on one hundred and fifty,” he said.

Petiot in court

Petiot in court

 

Petiot never confessed. “I am one traveler who is taking all his baggage with him,” he said standing beside the guillotine and referring to the personal belongings his victims had left at his townhouse.

 

1940: Hitler at the Eiffel Tower

1940: Hitler at the Eiffel Tower

 

 

 

Petiot in court: argued his innocence and mocked the witnesses.

Petiot in court: argued his innocence and mocked the witnesses.

The blade of the guillotine as can be seen at Paris's Conciergerie.

The blade of the guillotine as can be seen at Paris’s Conciergerie.

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Here is the discount price list for Die in Paris as from November 29 to December 6.

November 29, 2013 at 8 am (PST) for 32h – Price $0.99  (86% discount)

November 30, 2013 at 4 pm (PST) for 32h – Price $1.99  (72% discount)

December 02, 2013 at 12 am (PST) for 32h – Price $2.99  (58% discount)

December 03, 2013 at 8am (PST) for 32h – Price $3.99   (43% discount)

December 04, 2013 at 4pm (PST) for 32h – Price $4.99  (29% discount)

December 06, 2013 at 12am (PST) Original list price $6.99

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 The Musée Mémorial de la Shoah – Shoah Memorial Museum – at 17 rue Geoffroy L’Asnier here in Paris’ 4th arrondissement has included the book in its study and research centre.

Shoah Memorial Museum in Paris

Shoah Memorial Museum in Paris

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At the moment and until December 8, there is an exposition in Paris for the 100th anniversary of Paris’ criminal police. The expo is at the Champs de Mars and as you will on the photo below just beside the Eiffel Tower.   Petiot is a major attraction at the expo and the organisers allowed me to take photos of the exhibitions. Some of these you will see above.

expo 26

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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DIE IN PARIS

My book

The horrific story of WW2 French serial killer Dr Marcel Petiot, France's most prolific killer.

FOR THE LOVE OF A POET

FOR THE LOVE OF A POET

- For the Love of a Poet - a novel set in the Soviet Union.
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BELLA … A FRENCH LIFE

A love story set in Paris and Normandy, France

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Bella ... A French Life. In Paperback and e-book

Bella … A French Life – The Cookbook

Bella … A French Life – The Cookbook

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Pour L’Amour d’un Poete

French translation of my novel - For the Love of a Poet

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