Case Studies
Szilveszter Matuska: Mass Murderer Who Disappeared & Never Seen Again

Szilveszter Matuska: Mass Murderer Who Disappeared & Never Seen Again

From 1930 to 1931 cities of Austria and Hungary were havoced by the derailment of trains executed by a Symphorophilia person named Szilveszter Matuska. Though failed in his first two attempts, he was successfully able to devastate the next two rails while traveling to their destinations (Berlin Basel Express and Vienna Express) using piped dynamite fitted in suitcases.

It was noted that during Matuska’s earlier attempts there were no casualties but the successful derailments caused severe injuries and death in case of the last devastation. Though initially escaped from police, Matuska was apprehended due to his over-exaggeration in the railway station.

The case is still not closed due to the disappearance of Szilveszter Matuska from prison and the disability of police to nab him again.


After World War 1, the situation in Russia was not so good, especially in Hungary. There were several protests going on by nazi-communists, several riots, fights between parties, economical stress, etc. Including these problems, one of the major problems faced by Hungary citizens was the resignation of the Hungary president.

Slowly and slowly the situation was getting better when the authority took over and tried to balance the state of the country. Meanwhile, a series of destruction was waiting to show up about which people were totally unaware.

There were several rules set for Jewish people by Nazis and the media was focused on covering each and every political news.

Early life of Szilveszter Matuska

There is very little information known about the childhood of Matuska. He was born in Serbia in 1892. While presented in court he confessed about an incident where he got hypnotized in a carnival when he was a teenager which made him think as if he was connected to “Leo”.

He was very much interested in building things hence studied mechanical engineering but unfortunately he was forced to work under the Hungarian army.

With the end of the war, he went to Vienna where he started a normal life, invested in small-company shares, worked, and gained respect.

He got married and his wife delivered a girl child. Everything was going smoothly till the day when he gifted his daughter a toy train set.

He returned to his birth village for a Christmas celebration but his behavior was somewhat changed.

Crimes Committed by Szilveszter Matuska

On Christmas night, he was wandering nearby railway tracks and he loosened the nuts of tracks thinking this could derail the train creating chaos and destruction.

After loosening he hid in nearby bushes and keenly watched the incident. He got disappointed when the train didn’t trip because the loosening didn’t create much impact.

Hence by January 1931, he again tried to devastate a train but due to the early observance of the driver, the train reduced its speed resulting in no loss.

With utter disappointment, he started thinking of new ways to accomplish his desire. He planned that something bigger is required to cause the desirable destruction.

He owned a mine site along with a permit to make explosives. He made dynamites and placed them in suitcases and tried to execute his plan this time consoling that the plan would work efficiently.

In August 1931, he planted his explosives on tracks of the Berlin Basil express. Due to the pressure exerted by the train on suitcases, the train tripped and fell into a ravine but unfortunately, there was no death. Several people were injured and some were severely wounded.

Though this time he was successful he didn’t enjoy the show, hence he recreated the same plan and planted bombs on Vienna Express train tracks. This time the explosion was so successful that the engine along with nine coaches was derailed causing severe casualties. Approximately 120 people were injured, some were seriously wounded and around 26 people died in that incident.

The incident occurred in September 1931 and made Matuska so satisfied that there were tears in his eyes due to the joy.

It was also believed that before these successful attempts there were several attempts made by Matuska to satisfy himself.

Investigation and Apprehension

When investigators came to the first incident scene, they saw a paper depicting communist messages which made them think the incident to be a political riot.

After the second incident police declared a bounty of 100000 reichsmarks so that the culprit can be easily apprehended.

After the September event, to enjoy more he went near the tripped train to look for the destruction caused by him.

Due to the immediate arrival of police investigators, he was deemed to be one of the survivors from the train but his over-emotion created suspicion among the officials.

He said that he is a survivor of the coach that was entirely collapsed and he was also complaining about his missing luggage.

Because of a small suspicion, the police had eyes on him. A forensic examination was conducted on the pants obtained from the crime scene, which served as corroborative evidence against Matuska.

Finally, after gathering solid evidence police nabbed Matuska in Austria railway station where he was asking for a refund for the incident.


After the apprehension, Matuska was interrogated, which made him immediately confess to the crimes committed by him.

During trial, Matuska explained his motive and replied that it was the god who ordered him to do it and the name of the god is “Leo”. Psychologist Dr. John William Money was called to analyze the mental condition which revealed that Matuska was suffering from a disorder namely Symphorophilia.

Psychologists explained that a person suffering from this disorder will feel orgasm when someone screams or dies in front of the patient.

The Austria court sentenced life imprisonment for an attempt to murder. Then using the forensic report from the pants, Hungary police claimed Matuska’s custody. The information about the disorder collaborated with the report provided by forensic experts from the examination of pants obtained from the scene.

The Austrian Court accepted the proposal under the condition that he will not be sentenced to death. As per the condition he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Disappearance and Conspiracies

As per the mutual agreement between Hungary and Austria, Szilveszter Matuska was imprisoned in Vac. During the 1940s there was a huge hustle going on about world war 2. Leading to several riots and political fights.

In 1944, the imbalance in the country due to war paved the way for the escape of Matuska. He escaped from the Vac prison and police were unable to locate him again.

It was believed that he joined world war 2 as an explosive specialist and fought the war. Police even believed that he was involved in the Korean war, where he fought as a Chinese communist.

There are various other rumors that he reentered the country with a false identity and stayed there without anyone noticing him.


Among many challenging cases, this was one of the strangest cases solved by forensic experts and psychologists. Though Szilveszter Matuska escaped from the prison and was never re-apprehended, this case was very popular during that time. The popularity was so high that even movies and interviews were conducted on this case.

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