Petiot was born 17 January 1897 in Auxerre, France. Later accounts make various claims of his delinquency and criminal acts during his youth, but it is unclear whether they were invented afterwards for public consumption. It should be noted, however, that a psychiatrist diagnosed him as mentally ill on 26 March 1914, and he was expelled from school many times. He finished his education in a special academy in Paris in July 1915.
During World War I, Petiot volunteered for the French army, entering service in January 1916.
In the Second Battle of the Aisne, he was wounded and gassed and exhibited more symptoms of mental breakdown. He was sent to various rest homes, where he was arrested for stealing army blankets, morphine, and other army supplies, as well as wallets, photographs, and letters, and he was jailed in Orléans. In a psychiatric hospital in Fleury-les-Aubrais, he was again diagnosed with various mental ailments but was returned to the front in June 1918. He was transferred three weeks later after he allegedly self-injured his foot with a grenade, but was attached to a new regiment in September. A new diagnosis was enough to get him discharged with a disability pension.
Read more about this topic: Marcel Petiot
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