Erfurt rampage

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The Gutenberg High School after it closed in 2002
Since September 2005, the redesigned building has been used again for teaching

The rampage in Erfurt took place on the morning of April 26, 2002 at the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt . The 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser shot eleven teachers, a trainee lawyer, a secretary, two students and a police officer. Then he killed himself.

Sequence of events

The act took place on the day of the last written Abitur exams. Robert Steinhäuser probably entered the school unmasked around 10:45 a.m., at that time he was still carrying his weapons and ammunition in his sports bag or backpack. He went to the men's room on the first floor and changed some of his clothes there - among other things, he pulled a black face mask over his head. In the toilet, he left his jacket (with a wallet and papers), his sports bag, his backpack, ammunition and a few other items. He armed himself with the weapons described below and took with him filled magazines for the pistol and some cartridges for the forearm repeater .

Steinhäuser made his way to the secretariat from the toilet. There he shot the assistant principal and the secretary. The director was in the next room; Steinhäuser did not enter this room. The connecting door was still unlocked at this point, only when the director checked the noise and discovered the bodies - Steinhäuser had already left the room - did she lock herself in her office and alert the ambulance service.

After leaving the secretariat, Steinhäuser took the stairs to the first floor. While still on the stairs, he repeatedly shot a teacher in the back who was about to unlock a preparation room. Arrived on the first floor, he went purposefully to room 105 and shot the teacher who was there in front of the pupils. Alarmed by the gunfire, the teacher wanted to see what had happened from the classroom across the street and went into the corridor, where he was shot several times by stone houses.

The perpetrator then went to the second floor. There he first entered the empty room 206, then the room 205, in which there were only a few students, but did not shoot there. Now he crossed the hall towards the north stairwell and fired five times at a teacher. Then he entered room 211 and - again in front of the students - fired five shots at the teacher who was present. His next path led Steinhäuser to the opposite classroom 208, but the perpetrator did not shoot the teacher there (who was similar in size and youthful shape to the surrounding students).

Steinhäuser now went to the third floor, where he shot another teacher in room 307. Here he changed the magazine of his weapon for the first time. Back in the hallway he met a teacher who wanted to inquire about the noise. However, Steinhäuser ignored it. Then he shot a teaching trainee teacher in room 304/310 and another teacher in the hallway. Shortly afterwards, Steinhäuser was identified for the first time because a schoolgirl recognized him despite the face mask. He shot another teacher on the way to the south stairs from Steinhäusers.

Steinhäuser now went back to the southern second floor. The situation was different now, most of the students already knew about what had happened, and many had already fled. The perpetrator met here for the first time in locked and barricaded classrooms. Nevertheless, Steinhäuser found victims here too; he shot a fleeing teacher several times. This fell forward through a half-open door, Steinhäuser climbed over it and fired another shot at the lying woman from the other direction. The perpetrator changed the magazine for the second time. The youthful-looking teacher, who had previously been spared Steinhäuser, had locked herself in with her class in room 208. Stone houses tried to enter the room; after this failed, he shot eight times through the closed door in rapid succession. Two students were fatally injured.

Robert Steinhäuser now went to the first floor, where he fired a shot through the door to a toilet. The shot got stuck in the backpack of a student standing in front of a sink.

Steinhäuser now went to the school yard. There he shot a teacher who took care of the evacuation of the students and who repeatedly urged them to leave the school premises. Steinhäuser now changed his magazine for the third and last time. At this point the first police car arrived at the school. Robert Steinhäuser opened fire on the police officers. One of the policemen shot back once. Nobody was hit in this exchange of fire. Then Steinhäuser went very quickly to the first floor and shot a policeman through a window.

In front of room 111, Steinhäuser met the teacher Rainer Heise. The perpetrator had already removed his face mask, so the teacher could see him. The teacher was at least partially aware of the extent of what had happened in the last few minutes. He also knew that he had the gunman right in front of him. He said to Steinhäuser: "You can shoot me now," and looked him in the eye. However, he lowered the weapon and said: "Mr. Heise, that's enough for today." Heise asked Steinhäuser to come to the next room (room 111, material room art) for a conversation. Steinhäuser followed the request and went to the open door and was then pushed into the room by Heise and locked in it. Shortly afterwards, Steinhäuser shot himself, the shot was heard by a police officer.

All in all, the rampage from the first shot to Steinhauser's suicide took a maximum of 20 minutes. An hour and a half later, Steinhauser's body was found in room 111 by a police special task force (SEK).



Robert Steinhäuser was a student at the Gutenberg Grammar School until the beginning of October 2001. At the end of September 2001, he stayed away from classes for a few days and presented a medical certificate as an excuse. However, it was quickly noticed that it was a fake. Because of this forgery of documents , stone houses were expelled from the school.

In contrast to most of the other federal states in Thuringia, there were no examinations or automatic awarding of middle school leaving certificates after 10th grade. Pupils who did not pass the Abitur or - like Steinhäuser - were expelled from school, did not have a school leaving certificate and thus hardly any professional prospects.

The perpetrator's unjustified expulsion from school, which was later recognized as legally untenable (see p. 306/307 of the report of the investigative committee), and the associated lack of professional prospects are therefore seen as a possible motive for the rampage.

The police investigation revealed that Steinhäuser had conducted internet research into the rampage at Columbine High School and had files relating to the crime saved on his computer.

Weapons used

A Glock 17 ; 9 mm parabellum

Steinhäuser had been a member of a rifle club since 2000 , and he also passed the test required to obtain a weapons possession card (WBK). In the months before the crime, he bought the two weapons, ammunition and various items of equipment (magazines, holsters and the like).

However, the official entries required for acquisition in the gun ownership card as well as the documents provided by Steinhäuser to obtain these entries, the execution of these documents by the responsible association bodies or plant operators and the information provided by Steinhäuser for obtaining the documents did not meet the requirements of the German Weapons Act . Steinhäuser probably knew that the entries in his gun ownership card had been illegally obtained and the purchase was therefore illegal.

The purchase of the two murder weapons took place after later investigations on the basis of the necessary entries in the weapon ownership card of Steinhäuser and was therefore legal from the point of view of the seller . He dutifully reported the resale to the authorities. Due to this report, they should have withdrawn the weapons immediately from Steinhäuser due to the allegedly incorrect entries in the gun ownership card.

Steinhäuser carried two weapons with him in the act. He only used his Glock 17 pistol , for which he carried several magazines of 17 and 31 rounds each. The other gun, a pump action ( shotgun ) Mossberg 590 he carried on his back. It was not used during the crime. At first it was suspected that the weapon was not ready for use due to an operator error, but according to the report of the Gutenberg-Gymnasium Commission, the alleged traces of the operator error may also have emerged later when the weapon was unloaded by officers working at the crime scene.

Suspected inconsistencies

Shortly after the rampage, there were controversial discussions in the media about Rainer Heise's statements, as he made partly contradicting statements. Critics saw in his behavior a self-expression at the expense of the victims. Others, however, defended the educator against the allegations and referred to his state of shock after the killing spree. Students who stood behind Heise were sometimes exposed to massive hostility.

After the fact, the rumor arose that there was another perpetrator besides Steinhäuser. There is no other way to explain the course of the crime and the differentiating hit rate of the perpetrator.

After researching the school massacre, Erfurt lawyer Eric Langer charged that the two students and three teachers only died between one and two hours after they were shot by Steinhäuser. During that time they had not received any medical help.

The Thuringian state government then suspended the so-called Gasser - Commission , which Rainer Heise fully relieved after three months in the official final report of 21 April of 2004. The doubts about the veracity of his statements were rejected. The commission also ruled out the existence of an accomplice, as all victims could be chronologically assigned to the perpetrator's path and weapon. In addition, the victims could not have received emergency medical care or even saved earlier.



The Erfurt cathedral steps two days after the memorial ceremony

Exactly one week after the crime, a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the rampage took place on the Domplatz in the center of Erfurt on Friday, May 3rd . The then Federal President Johannes Rau emphasized that he was also commemorating Robert Steinhäusers himself; whatever a person has done, he remains a person. The family members of Steinhäusers attended the memorial service, screened from the public, from the window of a nearby building.

A total of over 100,000 people took part in this commemoration on Cathedral Square.

Prime Minister Conference Analysis

On June 26, 2003, the Prime Minister's Conference commissioned the institutions German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK) , German Youth Institute (DJI) and Police Crime Prevention (ProPK) with the preparation of a comprehensive expertise based on a large survey in the federal states with recommendations for action to politicians should perform. Under the leadership of the DFK (responsible: Rudolf Egg , editors Norbert Seitz and Manfred Günther ) a detailed text was presented internally to the heads of the state and senate chancelleries on September 20, 2006 . The DJI also developed an "interim balance sheet" with contributions from the various fields of activity of youth welfare, which appeared in the book "Strategies for violence prevention in children and adolescents" in 2007.

Amendment of the Youth Protection Act

The rampage also led to heated public discussions on the subject of youth and violence , especially in relation to computer games (especially first-person shooters ), so-called " killer games ", and the handling of fictional violence in other media. According to the report of the Gutenberg Commission, the perpetrator owned some violent video films such as Fight Club , Predator or Desperado , as well as first-person shooters such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein , Hitman (the latter was indexed at the time of the crime, the English version of the former was indexed at the time of the crime, the Indexing of the German version was announced a few days after the rampage in the Federal Gazette) or Half-Life . According to the report, Steinhäuser was apparently not interested in the computer game Counter-Strike , which was often mentioned by the media in connection with the rampage. The discussions accelerated work on the new Youth Protection Act , which was passed a few weeks later, and contributed to the fact that it contains stricter regulations for these areas. However, to date (as of 2018), studies have not shown any increased propensity for violence through the consumption of violent video games.

Amendment of the Arms Act

In addition to the Youth Protection Act, the Weapons Act has also been tightened. Although extensive restrictions had already been decided before the so-called rampage and Steinhäuser only came into possession of the weapons he used and remained in their possession because of the negligence of the responsible authorities (he did not register the pistol in due time, he falsified the pre-entry of the shotgun , and despite the seller's request, the authority released the purchase, see the Landtag's investigation report), more were added on the occasion of the events. The minimum age for sport shooters to acquire a large-caliber weapon, with the exception of shotguns , such as those used for throwing disc disciplines, has been raised to 21 years and sport shooters under 25 years of age have been required to undergo a medical-psychological examination . Forearm rifles (so-called pump guns ), which only have a so-called pistol grip but not a buttstock, were banned altogether. Furthermore, the storage requirements for firearms and ammunition have been tightened considerably.

Change of the Thuringian School Act

The Thuringian School Act was also caught in the crossfire of criticism. Since Steinhäuser was already of legal age, the school management was of the opinion not to be allowed to inform his parents about his expulsion from school (which, as the committee of inquiry was later to determine - p. 306/307, see below - had not come into effect at all). The parents did not realize that their son, who left the house every day, was no longer going to school. Also, there was at this time, in contrast to most other German states, at high schools no checks or automatic granting of medium maturity (secondary school certificate) after the 10th grade. Schoolchildren who did not pass the Abitur did not have a school leaving certificate and therefore hardly any professional prospects. In response to the rampage in 2003, high school students were able to take an exam at the end of grade 10 at their own request. Since 2004, this test has been compulsory for all Thuringian high school students as a special performance assessment . In addition, the school part of the advanced technical college entrance qualification can be acquired in accordance with § 82a of the Thuringian school regulations.

Change of state police laws

The state police laws and police training were reformed in most of the federal states. Whereas in the past the police patrols had to wait for a special task force, police officers all over Germany are now given the training and equipment they need to take immediate action against murderers themselves.

Disapproval of the director's decision

The Thuringian state government disapproved of the school director shortly after the crime , but did not inform the public about it at the time and confirmed this in April 2004 after the commission report was presented. The expulsion from school that she pronounced was pedagogically justifiable, but she had exceeded her legal powers. Your statements to Steinhäuser were inappropriate . There were no legal consequences for the headmistress and she continues to work in the same position at the grammar school.


Strongly disputed the alleged "literary documentation" is this day's enough of Ines Geipel . In it, the security forces are accused of failure and the rescue workers of little professionalism during the assignment in the Gutenberg-Gymnasium. However, the Gasser Commission came to the conclusion that the representation of the investigating authorities had largely been confirmed. The measures taken could have been more effective, however, as there were deficiencies in communication between the emergency services, some of which were due to technical reasons. There were also failures to make preparations for the SEK mission. Ultimately, however, these had no serious consequences. The commission also made it clear that in this book, with regard to “his first-person shooter activities [...] a picture of Robert Steinhäuser that does not correspond to reality is drawn” and that “at this point, without any reliable factual knowledge, it was obviously written in the blue, "A friend of Robert Steinhäuser" doesn't know anyone from Robert Steinhäuser's immediate environment with whom the author spoke. "

The initiative Schrei nach Change , which was founded one day after the event from Erfurt students, organized a week later the largest student demonstration in the history of the state capital with 4,000 students participating. Two years after the fact, the initiative officially announced its dissolution.

Consequences for the victims and social impact

After the rampage, around 700 students were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and around a hundred of them were still receiving treatment for a year afterwards. Ten years after the rampage, six Witnesses were still in psychological treatment, including four who had initially turned down a follow-up program. These young people had "delayed disturbances such as memory gaps and extreme avoidance behavior".

The Thuringian Unfallkasse as the cost bearer has so far taken care of the victims in the amount of around 5.6 million euros, including around 2.2 million euros as pension payments, for example for survivors' pensions .


  • On July 5, 2005, a 36-year-old free-riders , himself of complicity had been accused in a letter and an e-mail, punishment to a fine in the amount of 1,800 € for faking a crime , because of using anti-constitutional symbols and because Depictions of violence condemned.
  • Die Toten Hosen canceled their Erfurt concert that evening and have since been commemorating the victims of the rampage at every appearance in Erfurt.
  • The rampage was also processed in popular music: The Erfurt metal band Macbeth commemorates this rampage with their song April (2006). A song entitled 17 candles on the cathedral from the album Blutbahnen by the Thuringian dark metal band Eisregen , and the song Laughingstock by the electro band SITD also deal with the fact. The German metalcore / death metal band Zanthropya Ex used a sample of a news report about the deed in their song Blutbad, the 2011 album Emergency Solution Head Shot .
  • On April 26, 2012, the Gloriosa , which usually only rings eight times a year after a strict chime, rang the 10th anniversary of the victims of the rampage at Gutenberg-Gymnasium.

See also


Web links

Commons : Gutenberg-Gymnasium (Erfurt)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Max Sebastian Zettl et al .: Causes. In: Matthias Böhmer (ed.): Amok at schools. Prevention, intervention and follow-up care for school shootings. Springer, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-658-22707-4 , p. 71.
  2. "Times of Fear", Walter Kronenberger, dwj- Verlag, ISBN 3-936632-22-7 .
  3. Final report of the Gutenberg High School Commission of the State of Thuringia (PDF; 3.1 MB)
  5. Holger Witzel: What does ... Eric T. Langer actually do. In: April 23, 2003, archived from the original on May 26, 2015 ; accessed on March 1, 2019 .
  6. 15 years later
  7. ^ New investigations into school massacre possible , Süddeutsche Zeitung , April 1, 2004
  8. ^ Report title: Information on the status of violence prevention in the FRG as well as on central action requirements for its sustainable design
  9. Strategies for preventing violence in children and adolescents , ( Memento from December 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) on, accessed on November 30, 2011 (PDF; 1.9 MB)
  10. ^ Frank J. Robertz, Ruben Philipp Wickenhauser: The crack in the panel. Springer, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-642-11309-3 , p. 206 f.
  12. 15 years after the school massacre - What has changed since the rampage in Erfurt ,, April 26, 2017
  13. ^ An incorrect expulsion ,, April 26, 2004
  14. 15 years later :: Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt: What the rampage changed ,, April 20, 2017
  15. Ines Geipel: That's enough for today. Rowohlt, Berlin, 2004, ISBN 3-87134-479-6 .
  16. ^ Final Rescue Chaos , Berliner Zeitung , February 2, 2004
  17. ^ Report of the Gutenberg High School Commission of the State of Thuringia , p. 292 f. Retrieved November 16, 2015 (PDF file; 2.97 MB)
  18. Report of the Gutenberg-Gymnasium Commission of the State of Thuringia , p. 338. Accessed on November 16, 2015 (PDF file; 2.97 MB)
  19. ^ After the rampage: Students demand fairer school laws ,, May 7, 2002
  20. 10 years after the rampage in Erfurt: "I light the 17th candle" ,, April 21, 2012
  21. a b Focus news magazine, issue No. 15/12 of April 7, 2012, p. 22: "Millions for victims of amok"
  22. Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt - Return to the Place of Terror SPIEGEL ONLINE, article from July 6, 2005. Accessed October 2, 2017.
  23. Zanthropya Ex

Coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 52 ″  N , 11 ° 0 ′ 50 ″  E