Grim Soapy Crimes
- In July 2017, dapper ex-dentist Victor Twartz, 92, devout Seventh Day Adventist, was dubbed the “world’s oldest drug mule” after he claimed he had no idea that soap he brought back from India hid $1 million in cocaine.
- In 1780, the former Holy Innocents’ Cemetery in Paris was closed because of overuse. In 1786, the bodies were exhumed and the bones were moved to the Catacombs. Many bodies had incompletely decomposed and had reduced into deposits of fat. During the exhumation, this fat was collected and subsequently turned into candles and soap.
- The US gangster and con man ‘Soapy’ Smith (1860-98) acquired his nickname through a racket selling bars of soap allegedly containing banknotes.
- Police say twin brothers failed to make a clean getaway after stealing 180 bars of soap from a supermarket in New Jersey.Police say Kenny and Lenny Stewart placed thirty 6-packs of Dove soap into a large bag and bolted for an exit with employees in pursuit Friday but were knocked down when they ran into a trash can. Police say they got on their feet only to end up back down on the ground after running into a shopping cart. And as they turned a corner, the twins came face to face with a police officer who was investigating an accident in the parking looting. The Atlantic City twins were charged with shoplifting!
- An Australian woman was given the death sentence in Vietnam for smuggling heroin in soap bars.
- Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer. Better known as the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”, she murdered three women in Correggio between 1939 and 1940, and turned their bodies into soap and teacakes. She found her victims in three middle-aged women, all neighbours. Sources record that Cianciulli was something of a fortune teller, and that these women all visited her for help.
The first and second victims, were killed with an axe and the bodies cut into nine parts. In her official statement she said, ’I threw the pieces into a pot, added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I had bought to make soap, and stirred the mixture until the pieces dissolved in a thick, dark mush that I poured into several buckets and emptied in a nearby septic tank. As for the blood in the basin, I waited until it had coagulated, dried it in the oven, ground it and mixed it with flour, sugar, chocolate, milk and eggs, as well as a bit of margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. I made lots of crunchy tea cakes and served them to the ladies who came to visit…’ Of her final victim she said, ‘She ended up in the pot, like the other two…her flesh was fat and white, when it had melted I added a bottle of cologne, and after a long time on the boil I was able to make some most acceptable creamy soap. I gave bars to neighbours and acquaintances. The cakes, too, were better: that woman was really sweet.’ Found guilty of her crimes she was sentenced to thirty years in prison and three years in a criminal asylum.
- On July 6, 1940 two fishermen found the well preserved body of a woman floating in the waters of Lake Crescent, Washington. ‘I never saw a corpse just like this one before,’ said Dr. McCaverny. ‘The flesh is hard, almost waxy. She must be nearly as large as when she went into the water. I’d say she is about 5 feet 6 inches in height and that she weighed about 140 pounds when alive.’There was a chemical reason for the relatively good condition of the woman’s body: she had saponified and literally turned into soap. In fact, she had become very much like Ivory Soap, the famous ‘soap that floats’.
- During the 20th century, there were various alleged instances of soap being made from human body fat…
- The Times of London reported in April 1917 that the Germans had admitted rendering the bodies of their dead soldiers for fat to make soap and other products. During World War I it was claimed in the British press that the Germans had a corpse factory in which they used the bodies of their own soldiers to make glycerine and soap. During World War II it was believed that soap was being mass-produced from the bodies of the victims of Nazi concentration camps located in German-occupied Poland. While not mass-produced, the production of soap from human bodies by Nazis was undertaken on small scale.
- During the Nuremberg Trials, Sigmund Mazur, a laboratory assistant at the Danzig Anatomical Institute (modern Gdańsk), testified that soap had been made from corpse fat at the camp, and claimed that 70 to 80 kg (155–175 lb) of fat collected from 40 bodies could produce more than 25 kg (55 lb) of soap, and that the finished soap was retained by Professor Rudolf Spanner.
- In the Independent State of Croatia, a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany and Italy established in part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia, in the Jasenovac concentration camp a small factory for converting human remains into soap was also established.