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Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Human trafficker - Rape - Robberies
Number of victims: 5 +
Date of murders: 1948 - 1951
Date of arrest: September 1951
Date of birth: October 14, 1891
Victims profile: Men and women
Method of murder: Shooting - Baton strikes to the head
Location: Plzeň, Czech Republic
Status: After his capture, Pilčík committed suicide in a prison in Plzeň on September 9, 1951
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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 Škoda 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 childless.

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).



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