Station: [4] Bad Boy Leichtweiß

F: Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß is famous in Dotzheim and the surrounding area. He arrived in the village in around 1756 at the age of 30 plus, got married and ran the bar and communal bakery at the inn “Zum Engel”. Later, he was even in charge of collecting and accounting for local taxes.

He was over sixty when he became the victim of a miscarriage of justice, or maybe even an abuse of the law. He was accused of burglary and poaching, and thrown into jail. After his release a year later, he didn’t return to the village. Instead, he retreated into the surrounding forest. For almost two years, he lived in a cave in the woods before being re-captured and arbitrarily imprisoned. He died in jail in 1793.

M: In the mid-19th century, with more and more visitors coming to Wiesbaden to take the waters, the town recognized the potential of this tale. The cave where he’d hidden out was redesigned inside, and the alleged poacher Leichtweiß declared a dangerous bandit. Wonderfully gruesome legends grew up around him. The Leichtweiß cave in Nero Valley became a genuine tourist attraction, and the man himself even became a literary figure. His fictional adventures were published in pulp magazines that sold for the equivalent of a few cents. Ultimately, his imaginary life story appeared in book form and filled entire volumes.

F: The exploits of Leichtweiß the Bandit fired the imagination of readers far beyond Dotzheim and Wiesbaden: as recently as 1994, several editions of these tall tales were published in a Russian translation – in the Siberian city of Kraznoyarsk!

The original home of the real Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß is the subject of our next stop – on the transverse wall.