The Legend

The history of the family Leichtweis began a couple hundred years ago. The most interesting historical writings are from 1750.

The most remarkable legends were about Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß, the thief and his caves, which werde a typical product of the time.

The age of absolutism with ist arbitrary rule was coming to an end.

The majority of people werde living in poverty. The desire to glorify heroism was based on the romantic and unrealistic attitude towards life at the time. That’s why robber novells were very popular during this time. The people saw in the heroes of these novells, men who dared to undertake waht many secretly longed to do themselves, men who didn’t put up with the injustice of the rulers and who took the risk to end at the gallows one day.

How strong the attraction of the Leichtweiß-Stories were, is documented in an 1880 newspaper article from Leipzig in which was reported how even then the Leichtweiß caves were a popular excursion destination: „... in these caves deep underneath the earth lived famous and notorious Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß the daring robber and poacher of the Rhineland. To this day all visitors to the helath resort Wiesbaden stream out to the Leichtweis cave, the most mysterious robber cave of the world....“

The real life of Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß of course looked a little bit different.

Nevertheless his legend inspired the society of robbers, knights and lovers at the time. The Leichtweis cave near Weisbaden never served as a hideout for his subordinated band of robbers or as a storeroom for hoarding stolen goods.He used this cave for the better part of two years to avoid the inclement weather and persecution from the princes’s foresters.

(source „Heinrich Anton Leichtweis“, published by H.G. Seyfried Verlag, Wiesbaden)

You can find more detailed information about this subject in our linklist.

The family history:

Our younger family history doesn’t look quite as turbulent and mysterious as the Leichtweis robber histories which you can read in books.

The oldest documents known to us are about our ancestor Friedrich Leichtweis *1842 +1934.

To our knowledge he lived in the area around Wiesbaden. There he had four sons who's names were Friedrich, Nicolas, Peter and Johann Leichtweis.

Johann was a railway employee and was transfered to Lorraine. Ther he had two sons of his own, Friedrich and Nicolas. Nicolas also founded a family there and the sons Roland and Paul followed.

Friedrich Leichtweiß, born 14.08.1905 in Suffgen, Lorraine left his home in young years. As a learned painter he was at first looking for an employment in Renchen near Offenburg where was living with his aunt. In 1926/27 he moved on and found a job with the painter business Rayling in Pfaffenrot. There he got to know his later wife Karoline Kunz. With her he founded a painter business and pursued a small farm in the village.

Von links nach rechts: Karoline, Heinrich, Ignaz, Walter, Elfriede, Friedrich

Out of this family emerged the following descendants, who founded their own families in the middle of the 20th century in Pfaffenrot:

Heinrich Anton Leichtweis: und Hedwig, geb. Schaar:

  • Helmut
  • Lioba
  • Edith
  • Melitta
  • Michael
  • Reiner
  • Klaus
  • Karin
  • Heike


Rosa Elfriede Leichtweis:

  • Rudolf


Ignaz Johann Leichtweis und Adelheid, geb. Niwergall:

  • Beate
  • Markus


Erich Walter Leichtweis und Doris, geb. Ewald:

  • Claudia
  • Frank


The most descendants of Friedrich still live in and near Marxzell-Pfaffenrot, resp. In the district Karlsruhe (see map above). Here they have in parts already founded their own families.

Editor’s comment: The „sharp s“ (ß) at the end of the name Leichtweiß, which was partially used in older documents, wass to our knowledge possibly lost at one of the offices at the time and replaced with an „s“.

Special thanks for the support with the building of these pages to Elfriede, Doris and Michael Leichtweis. We are always open for textual additions or improvcments.

Your Frank Leichtweis