Friedrich Heinrich Karl "Fritz" Haarmann was born in Hanover on 25 October 1879, the sixth and youngest child born to Johanna (née Claudius) and Ollie Haarmann. Fritz was a quiet child, with few friends his own age or sex and who seldom socialized with any children other than his siblings outside of school. From an early age, Haarmann's behavior was noticeably effeminate. He was known to shun boys' activities and instead play with his sisters' dolls and dress in their clothes. He also developed a passion for both needlework and cookery,and would develop a close relationship with his mother who spoiled her youngest child. Reportedly, Haarmann's father married his mother, when she was 41 years old, and seven years his senior, on account of her wealth and the substantial dowry their marriage would eventually bring him. Haarmann Sr. was known to be argumentative and short-tempered who, through several affairs he conducted throughout his marriage, would contract syphilis in his later years.Despite his being an authoritarian who had little time for his children and a notorious womaniser, Haarmann's parents remained together until his mother's death in April 1901. In 1886, Haarmann began his schooling, where he was noted by teachers to be a spoiled and mollycoddled child who was prone to daydreaming. Although his behavior at school was noted to be exemplary, his academic performance was below average and Haarmann had to repeat a school year twice. On one occasion, when he was about eight years old,Haarmann was molested by one of his teachers, although he never discussed this incident in detail.This was a major point on his life,that forever changed him. Haarmann grew into a trim, physically strong youth. With his parents' consent, he finished his schooling in 1894. Upon leaving school, he briefly obtained employment as an apprentice locksmith in Neuf-Brisach before opting, at age 15, to enroll in a military academy in the town of Breisach.His military training began on 4 April 1895. Haarmann initially adapted to military life, and performed well as a trainee soldier. However, after five months of military service, he began to suffer periodic lapses of consciousness which, although initially described by a medical professional as being sudden signs of anxiety neurosis, would subsequently be diagnosed as being "equivalent to epilepsy" in October 1895. The following month, Haarmann discharged himself from the military and returned to Hanover, where he briefly worked in a cigar factory his father had established in 1888. At the age of 16, Haarmann committed his first known sexual offenses, all of which involved young boys whom he would lure to secluded areas?typically cellars?before proceeding to sexually abuse them. He was first arrested for committing offenses of this nature in July 1896. Following further offenses of this nature, the Division for Criminal Matters opted to place Haarmann in a mental institution in the city of Hildesheim in February 1897. Although briefly transferred to a Hanover hospital for psychiatric evaluation, he would be certified as being "incurably deranged, and unfit to stand trial by a psychologist named Gurt Schmalfuß. Schmalfuß ordered Haarmann to be confined at the mental institution indefinitely. Haarmann was returned to the mental institution on 28 May 1897. Seven months later, Haarmann escaped the mental institution. With apparent assistance from his mother, Haarmann fled to Zürich, Switzerland. Here, he lived with a relative of his mother, and obtained employment as a handyman in a shipyard. Haarmann remained in Zürich for 16 months before he returned to Hanover in April 1899. Early the following year, he became engaged to a woman named Erna Loewert,who soon became pregnant with his child.[n 2] In October 1900, Haarmann received notification to perform his compulsory military service.