Hubert Pilčík (October 14, 1891 - September
9, 1951) was a Czechoslovak serial killer, human trafficker and rural
herbalist. After second world war, Pilčík started smuggling people
across the border from the Czech Republic into Germany. He started
killing his customers in 1948, already in senior age.
After his capture, Pilčík committed suicide in a
prison in Plzeň on September 9, 1951. He was accused of 5 murders,
although the exact number of his victims is unknown and all of the
investigation documents were shredded by the communist regime.
Hubert Pilčík was born on October 14, 1891 in Nový
Hrozenkov, Vsetín District in what is today the Czech Republic. He
went through numerous employments ending up in the koda factory in
Plzeň where he remained until his retirement. He was married with his
wife Antonie being 11 years younger than him. Their marriage was
After the communist party came to power in 1948, up
to 250,000 people emigrated from Czechoslovakia. Many people used
services of human smugglers to go west to Germany or Austria.
In the evening of March 6, 1951, a fire broke out
in an abandoned forestry cottage "Lipovka". Burnt human remains were
found during the next day. The investigators determined that the body
was burnt using accelerants. An autopsy confirmed the remains belonged
to a man who likely burnt while still alive but a definite conclusion
was not reached.
On July 20, children playing in sand near the city
of Senec found a human leg. That led to a discovery of a shallow
grave, containing decaying remains of a younger woman. The female had
a rope around her neck and was gagged. Through a specific dental work,
the female victim was identified as Renata Balleyova, a photographer
from Pilsen. Through interviews of relatives, it was determined that
Renata and her father Emanuel were intending to illegally emigrate
from Czechoslovakia. One of the relatives provided letters from
Bavaria that were "a proof" that Renata, Emanuel and their 12-year-old
niece were in Germany. Soon, the investigators were led to Hubert
Pilčík, a retiree with good reputation. Pilčík was known to be a
nature-lover and claimed to have been a sailor who survived the
Titanic sinking in 1912.
Pilčík was considered dangerous but as there were
SWAT teams, two members of SNB entered his home under the guise of
electricians and arrested him there in September. In the home, four
firearms, numerous items in suitcases (of various victims) were found
and the 12-year-old niece was also rescued. She was kept by Pilčík in
a hidden compartment of a pigsty where she was belted to a structure
that included a double-walled box for the victim's head - to muffle
the screaming. The girl was being held there for most of the day and
was regularly raped. Pilčík also forced her to write letters from
"Bavaria". He then delivered the letters and demanded a payment for
such service (in jewellery).
Pilčík first killed Emanuel in his sleep at
Lipovka, while waiting to be smuggled to Bavaria. Renata was killed
less than two weeks later near Senec where she met him for the same
reason of emigrating illegally. They both were killed by baton strikes
to the head. During his confession, Pilčík admitted he had planned to
kill the 12-year-old, as well as another relative of Balleys and his
wife. Instead, on the planned date of their killing he found himself
in a prison and committed suicide, using two handkerchiefs.
Given the amount of jewellery (the only "currency"
of value to emigrants) found in his house, it was believed that Pilčík
had killed more people trying to jump the Iron Curtain.
In popular culture
The story of Pilčík was used as a basis for one of
the episodes of Thirty Cases of Major Zeman (30 případů majora
Zemana) TV series, filmed in 1975. The episode inspired by Pilčík
is called The Beast (Bestie).