Thursday, February 07, 2013

Echoes of Georg Letham

For anyone that has read Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss, be sure to read Helen Rittelmeyer's post The Redemption of Nathan Leopold, Maybe. While the circumstances have important differences, there are some eerie similarities.
In all its externals, Leopold’s life followed the arc of a basic redemption story. He felt remorse for what he had done, unlike Loeb, who only regretted that he had been caught. He devoted his time in prison to service. He reorganized the prison library, he participated in an experimental test of a new malaria drug as both a lab tech and a lab rat (the latter at some risk to himself), and when a young Italian man arrived at Stateville newly blind after a mishap during his last hold-up, Leopold learned Braille so he could teach the man to read. He expanded the course offerings at the Stateville prison school by writing stacks of new lesson plans and grading the papers himself.

Religious faith didn't play a role in Georg Letham's story (as it does in Leopold's), but some of the underlying sentiments sound familiar.

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