Fritz Honka was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1935. His mother struggled to cope with nine children and young Fritz was sent to an orphanage. His father - a firefighter and a communist - was an alcoholic, who often beat Fritz during his rare visits to the family home. His father died in a concentration camp during World War II, but had left a lasting mark on the psyche of the young boy. Fritz followed in the footsteps of his father later in life, losing himself to alcohol.

There is not much known about the early years of Fritz’s life.

Due to a speech impediment as well as his appearance, he was bullied and often received scathing comments from other children.
Fritz had difficulty in adjusting to the school routine.
In 1950 he tried to earn some extra money with as an apprentice bricklayer, but discovered that he had a severe allergy to cement.
In 1951 Fritz left Leipzig and moved to the west, where he found work as a farm labourer. In 1956, at age 21 he settled in Hamburg, where he got a well paid job in a shipyard.

A year later, he met Inga Bossleman and they were almost immediately married.
Inga, like Fritz, was an alcoholic.
Together they spent a lot of time in the bars and pubs of Hamburg, which often ended up in arguments, and sometimes even brawls.
Inspite of this turbulent relationship the couple had a son.
When the violence and trouble caused by the alcohol abuse got out of control they lost their home and started spending nights in the city shelters.
Finally Fritz lost his job and after Inga learned that he had an affair she left him for good.

After Inga’s departure Fritz returned to work in the shipyard as a night watchman, so that he could afford to live in a small one-room flat near the red-light district.
He immersed himself further into alcoholism, in smoke-filled pubs where he found the company of smokers and drinkers.
He wallpapered his room with pornographic photographs and to achieve sexual fulfillment he used a rubber doll.
The only contact he had with women was with cheap prostitutes whom he met in seedy bars. Because of his alcoholism, Fritz was losing more and more of his friends and so sought solace in the arms of these prostitutes. Fritz felt as if they were his soulmates.

At this time Fritz would often succumb to the alcohol, remaining intoxicated for several days. He managed to persuade prostitutes to spend the night who would accept intercourse for a few glasses and a roof over their head, even with such an unattractive man as Honka, who had a few missing teeth and a flattened nose.