Tuesday, August 3, 2010

William Zieger

The photograph to the right is John Dillinger, the famous American bank robber of the 1930s.

This post is not about him.

The only reason he is pictured is because I could not find an image of William Zieger.

Zieger was the cook of the Crown Point Jail in Indiana during 1934.  He was a regular guy, in essence a blue collar worker eking out a living during the Great Depression.

Dillinger was Public Enemy Number One who some had bestowed with anti-hero status.  They romanticized his crimes and turned him into a celebrity of sorts.

The two men met on March 3rd of that year.

Dillinger was a prisoner in Crown Point awaiting trial.  If convicted, he faced the electric chair.

Through a common ruse, the bank robber was able to take a guard hostage and secured a tommy gun to assist him with his escape.

At one point, he pushed his captive through the jail's kitchen door and surprised the cook and two guards.

Upon seeing Dillinger armed with his machine gun, the men with Zieger that day gave up without a fight.

William Zieger, on the other hand, a man who cut potatoes for a living, gave John Dillinger and his firearm a once-over before saying,
"I'll take that thing away from you and shove it up your ass."

The story would obviously be a better one if the he had been allowed to follow up on his plan, but he was dissuaded by the three guards who had already surrendered.

But that's not the point.

Everyone knows about or has heard of John Dillinger.  The guy was a coward.

Hardly anyone speaks of William Zieger.  He was courage personified.


  1. Great anecdote...I read a book on Dillinger years ago and that little gem was not included...priceless...

  2. So what happened? Did Dillinger escape?

  3. Yes, he did escape, but he was later - much later- gunned down leaving a movie theater.

  4. Interesting. I'll have to rent the movie with Johnny Depp. Thanks.