Jewish Embarrassment: The Leopold and Loeb Case of Child Murder

The Leopold And Loeb Case

The 1924 ‘ Thrill killing ‘ of Bobbie Franks


Leopold And Loeb – Two Wealthy Jewish Homosexuals

Nathan Leopold, Jr., is the son of the millionaire president of the Fibre Can company, and Richard Loeb, father is a vice-president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.


Loeb Poses In The Car Used To Kidnap The Child


Clarence Darrow Was Their Lawyer


They Thought They Would Get Off

18-year-old Loeb and 19-year-old Leopold



The World in Which These Two Jewish Criminals Lived:

South Shore Country Club




Hollywood Stars performed for them

Julius Rosenwald who owned Sears was their neighbor


Life of privilege

This was the wealthiest area of Chicago. Leopold and Loeb had yearly allowances of the 2004 equivalent of $ 25,000 They were raised by governess, chauffeurs, butlers, etc. They went to Harvard preparatory.

Their weekends and summers were spent at the South Shore CC where they lorded over Chicago’s working class


Loeb’s Country Estate

1600 acres in Michigan. Leopold was referred to as the ‘Prince’

Chicago’s Jewish elite even had special schools

Leidel Grammar School

University of Chicago

Jewish families in Chicago swarmed to special schools and soon controlled them

University of Michigan 

Loeb graduates at 15


A Fraternity of Privileged Children

Zeta Beta Jewish Fraternity


University of Chicago

These two had just graduated at the age of 18 and 19. On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold met his friend Richard Loeb after their post graduate classes at the University of Chicago. Nathan was studying law. Richard was studying history.

The Beginning of the Crime

The two drove in Nathan’s Willis Knight, to a Rent a Car on South Michigan St. where they rented a Green Willis Knight. They rented the car under the name Morton D Ballard using an elaborate false identity they had earlier created. They then drove to a local restaurant where they put side curtains up on the rented car and had lunch with a friend, Dick Rubel ( thought to be involved but never charged )

Murder Weapons

ether, Hydrochloric acid, Rope and gun

After lunch they returned to Leopold’s home. They dropped off Nathan’s car, after transferring their “gear” From Nathan’s red car to the rented car. These included a pair of rubber boots, some ether, hydrochloric acid, rope, some gags, and a chisel.


Loeb Mansion

At this time, Nathan asked the Leopold family chauffeur, Sven Englund, if he could do something about the squeaking brakes. Nathan commented he’d rather hit someone than have squeaking brakes.

Driving Around Preparing The Weapons

They ended up in Jackson park, where one of the boys- seemingly Leopold after Loeb showed him how, taped the metal end of the chisel- to use as a grip. Their weapon would be the wooden handle of the chisel, their blunt object. Loeb referred to this weapon as his “Toy.” The boys were also armed. Leopold had a 38 and Loeb a 45.

During the 45 min wait, until the local schools let out, Loeb preformed oral sex on Leopold.


Waiting Outside a School

They had a victim in mind; Johnny Levinson.

The victim fit their profile of young ( he must be small so they could easily overtake him ) and have wealthy parents. He must be someone they knew, so he would come willingly into the car and not make a scene. They caught sight of Levinson and began trailing him. However, they later lost him.

Levinson Was Their First Choice

The two had picked Levinson because he had a full athletic build, and Leopold thought he would be ‘Well endowed’. After an hour Levinson had not reappeared, so they chose a Bobby Franks.

Richard Loeb knew Bobby.


Richard Loeb called to Bobby, “Bobby, you want a ride home?”

Bobby Franks

Bobby said he’d just as soon walk. His house was not far. “Wait. I want to ask you about that tennis racket you were using last week. I was thinking of getting one for Tommy.” Bobby got in the car, beside the driver, in the front seat.

As he got in, Richard introduced Bobby to Nathan. “You know Babe? This is Bobby Franks. Do you mind if we drive around the corner?”

Bobby said he didn’t mind.


The Murder

The car rounded the corner and Bobby was hit over the head with the chisel. The plan had been to knock him unconscious – go to the dump and the strangle him. The plan dictated each hold an end of the rope and they both pull, to share equally in the guilt.

Leopold, grasped the captive with a hand over his mouth and then swung the steel chisel on his head. The boy moaned. To stifle the sound, according to official quotations from the confessions, a hand was kept over his mouth until a rag could be stuffed in and got blows on the head that caused death.

Leopold began to lose his composure, mumbling, “This is terrible. This is terrible!” Richard Loeb calmed him down by talking to him, joking and laughing. Bobby was wrapped in a rug and shoved onto the back floor.

Already things were going wrong. There was a great deal of blood.

Leopold and Loeb Molest The Corpse

They stripped the body from the waist down, and although the evidence is inconclusive, one or both of them probably performed a sexual act on the corpse

They began to drive around, killing time until nightfall. They headed out to Indiana towards a location they had already decided upon. At a deserted spot they stopped the car, removed Bobby’s shirt and shoes, belt and class pin.


Burying the Body

Once it was dark enough, they went to a culvert at Wolf Lake, where Leopold had often gone birding. The culvert was a drainpipe under the railroad tracks that connected two lakes.


Defaced the Corpse

Bobby Franks

Leopold had never noticed it when birding and thought nobody else would notice it either. They completed removing the body’s clothing, dragged it in the robe to the culvert, then poured the acid on the face, the genitals and an identifying scar. . They poured acid on the genitals because Richard was under the impression that a person could be identified by his genitals, believing his brother Tommy had a peculiarly shaped penis.


Police Find The Body

The smell of the acid and the water caused some discomfort, and Leopold did not push the body into the pipe far enough, and one of the boy’s feet protruded.


Their Alibi

They stopped at a lunch stand called the Dew Drop Inn and Leopold ordered them Hotdogs and Rootbeers. They sat eating.

Two Jewesses Were To Provide An Alibi

With the body hidden, they then stopped at a drugstore where Nathan phoned a friend (Susan Lurrie) canceling a date. This is interesting. Leopold had a date with Susan for May 21st, and thus, one could argue, Lurrie gets dragged into Leopold and Loeb’s alibi just as does Dick Rubel.

Leopold and Loeb’s favorite topics of discussion was “What if our friends knew what we really were”. Perhaps there was an added thrill in circumstantially involving these people.


The Two Girls Were To Lie

These two would verify they had dinner at the Coconut restaurant

The two girls planned to say they were with Leopold and Loeb at the time of the murder.


Bobby Frank’s Father

They then called the Franks from another phone at another drugstore. Leopold told Mrs Franks he was George Johnson, they had kidnapped her son, he was safe, and further instructions would follow tomorrow.


Leopold House

They then drove back to Leopold’s home. They parked the bloodied rented car on the street and Nathan retrieved his own car from the garage. He drove his aunt and uncle home while Richard stayed, talking to Nathan’s father. Ten minutes later, Nathan returned. They had a few drinks with Mr. Leopold until he went to bed- at 11:30 PM. Nathan and Richard remained for a while, drank some more, and played two games of Casino (“for fun”). at 12:30 or 1 they drove to the Loeb house and burnt the boy’s clothing in the furnace.

The chisel was disposed of, by being tossed out the window of the car, an action that was witnessed by a night watchman, who retrieved the weapon, covered with blood,  from the gutter to give to the police.

May 22, 1924 – The Ransom Note

The ransom collection plan was as follows. Place a note in the trash can on a certain street corner. Place a note in the telegraph blank box aboard a certain train. . He is to count quickly to five, then throw the box with the ransom as far as he can. The boys would be sitting in an alley in the rented car, and watch the box be thrown from the train, then watch the train speed away. Should Franks have notified the police, should the police have even boarded the train with Franks, they would all be carried away, and not know where the kidnappers were. Should the train stop or slow, well, then they only had not to move to pick up the ransom. It seemed a foolproof plan. They couldn’t get caught.


Body Is Found Before The Ransom Is Paid

Mr Franks had indeed alerted the police, and he forgot the address to where he was to take the cab. Leopold did not tell the cab company where he (he was posing as Mr Franks when he ordered the cab) wanted to go, so the cabbie arrived at the Franks, and nobody knew where to go. And then, an unidentified body had been discovered in a swamp in Indiana . The jig, so to speak, was up.

The boys phoned the drugstore several times. Mr Franks never arrived. They grabbed a paper from the newsstand and read about the discovery of the body. Loeb wanted to quit, to return the car and lay low, sure that the game was over.

Loeb argued against it. It was too risky. But Leopold insisted. They phoned the drugstore again, and again, there was no Mr Franks in the store. And then, then the game was truly over.

At the drugstore, they ran into one of the instructors from the Harvard school, Mott Kirt Mitchell, who would become a suspect. They discussed the tragedy. Leopold then drove Loeb home.


The Boys Get Caught

But Leopold and Loeb were not “supermen”; they had made a couple of key mistakes. First, the body, which was poorly hidden, was discovered the next day. This prompted an immediate search for the killers, which Loeb himself joined.

The typewriter used to type the ransom note was recovered from a lake and, more important, a pair of glasses was found near Franks’ body. When the glasses were traced to the manufacturer, police learned that only three of its kind had ever been produced.

The chisel was found.


Leopold’s Glasses Found Near Body

Two were immediately accounted for and the third belonged to Nathan Leopold, who calmly told detectives that he must have dropped them while bird hunting earlier in the week. This explanation might have proved sufficient, but reporters covering the case soon discovered other letters from Leopold that matched the ransom note.

The typewriter was found in a nearby pond


When confronted with this evidence, Leopold and Loeb both confessed

This was one crime that the press could not be accused of sensationalizing. The public found the straight facts to be almost beyond comprehension, and the defendants’ subsequent courtroom behavior, cocky and jovial, further demonized them.


Jews interfere with investigation

Howard Mayer went to the Loeb mansion and learned from a police officer that Loeb and his friend Leopold were telling conflicting stories. Mayer went to Crowe’s office and was granted permission to talk with Leopold. He relayed Leopold’s message. “Babe said to tell the truth about the two girls,” Mayer told him because “you can’t get in any worse trouble than you are now.”


As They Await Trial

The special handling these killers received irritated ordinary Chicagoans.

The Jewish community thought it was unimaginable that such a crime could have been committed by the brilliant, cultured, pampered children of the Jewish social elite.


Leopold’s and Loeb’s class privilege also inflamed the situation. While awaiting the disposition of their case in the Cook County Jail, they received catered meals from a restaurant, and although Prohibition was in force, liquor was sneaked into their jail cells.


Darrow Wanted Trial By Judge

After Leopold’s father got down on his knees and begged Clarence Darrow to defend his son, the esteemed attorney agreed, and the trial soon became a national sensation. Darrow, who didn’t argue the boys’ innocence, directed one of his most famous orations against the death penalty itself. The judge ,who was under immense Jewish influence , imposed life sentences.

Apparently unsatisfied with the attorney’s work, Leopold’s father later reneged on his contract to pay Darrow.


Loeb’s psychiatrist confirms other murders

Jews were suspected in at least four other murders – Loeb confessed to a psychiatrist ( Hubert Boman ) that they had killed at least four others. The victims were Wolf, Tracy, Ream, and Vicki O’Hare aka the ‘Handless stranger’


The Trial

During Clarence Darrow’s argument to the Judge – Leopold and Loeb acted like giddy school boys.


Giddy and Degenerate Homosexuals

During the graphic description of a hanging – Leopold urinated in his pants and Loeb was so shook they took him out of the courtroom.


Darrow uses psychiatrists 

The defense hoped to build its case against death around the testimony of three psychiatrists, including Sigmund Freud consulted.

The defense presented extensive psychiatric evidence describing the defendants’ emotional immaturity, obsessions with crime and Nietzschean philosophy, alcohol abuse, glandular abnormalities, and sexual longings and insecurities.


The Prosecutor

He referred to the two defendants as “cowardly perverts”, “snakes”, “atheists”, “spoiled smart alecs”, and “mad dogs.” For Crowe, this was a premeditated crime committed by two remorseless defendants, and the appropriate punishment was obvious. The “real defense” in the case, according to Crowe, was “Clarence Darrow and his peculiar philosophy of life.” He wanted the electric chair.



For the murder of Bobby Franks, they got life. For kidnapping the boy, they got ninety-nine years.

Loeb Attempts A Sexual Liaison And is killed in prison

On January 28, 1936, inmate James Day attacked Loeb in a shower , with a straight razor, causing 58 wounds. Loeb naked and covered with blood, staggered out of the shower. Loeb was rushed to the prison hospital for blood transfusions. Leopold watched as prison doctors and two Leob family physicians tried unsuccessfully to save his friend’s life.


Leopold is Paroled

A famous attorney, Nathan Gertz, gets Leopold paroled


Carl Sandberg

The famous Jewish author testified to the parole board.


This Was A Major Embarrassment To International Jewry

Did you ever hear about this case? I bet not


Other Big Jewish Cases


The Leo Frank Case


The Mendel Beilis Case and Jewish Blood Libel