Jack the Ripper?
A German sailor? Perhaps, or at least that’s the theory of a former British detective. A long-time friend raises the question of how much a German seaman would have stood out in that neighborhood in late 1880’s London.
The locale was poor, what we’d call very seedy now, except it had public houses in place of the drug houses. There would often have been murders and deaths there — it was the evisceration of the victims which stood out against the backdrop of poverty, drunkenness and prostitution.
Great Britain was the Empire then, with far-flung interests and power, and London a commercial hub. I imagine you could hear the languages of the world if you walked on London’s meaner streets, and the limited resources of the people there would restrict their choice of entertainment, pleasure, and targets. I don’t think a German seamen would have stood out any more than an Italian or Greek one. He would have been different from the locals, but largely unnoticed in the giant stew pot of Whitechapel, constantly stirred by departures and arrivals.
The hackney carriage drivers were the taxis of the day — which is why New York cabbies now hold hack licenses — and they would have known where vices could be satisfied. Some things don’t change. If you want a whore, alcohol, drugs or weapons in nearly every city in the world, ask the taxis drivers or the local cops on the street.
A German sailor could have been the Ripper, but was he…..