The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax 

 The Hesshaimer Family and 

 Charles Lindbergh's Secret Life In Germany 

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   Rudolf Schröck • THE DOUBLE LIFE OF CHARLES A. LINDBERGH [ACLU Execution Watch 

 The true story of the American National Hero 

(translated by Siglinde Rach for the LKH website)

He had the reputation of a faithful husband and exemplary father, was considered strict and disciplined. But what do we really know about the legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh, the first man to cross the Atlantic? How could he keep three love relationships and seven illegitimate children secret from the world for decades? Almost 30 years after his death his secret has been lifted: The American national hero led a perfectly hidden double life in Europe. The biography is being written in collaboration with the three German children of Charles Lindbergh. It will contain a selection of love letters written by Lindbergh to Brigitte Hesshaimer and as yet unpublished photos.

MARIETTA  HESSHAIMER, sister to Brigitte Hesshaimer and mother of two other children by Charles Lindbergh,  lives in this chalet at Chemin du Vignoble 21 Grimisuat, Switzerland  with her son Vago.  Vago Hesshaimer is a physicist at Heidelberg University.   The home pictured below is in the Rhone Valley and a mere 50 miles apart from - (and one hour's drive away from) -  the town of Vevey, on Lac Leman, where Lindbergh installed his wife in another custom built chalet at the same time he was sporadically fathering the Hesshaimer children under the pseudonym CAREU KENT. 


 History Today   February 1, 2004 

DNA tests carried out by a university medical centre in Munich have supported the claim that Charles Lindbergh fathered three illegitimate children in Germany.

DNA tests carried out by a university medical center in Munich have supported the claim that Charles Lindbergh fathered three illegitimate children in Germany. 

Lindbergh, portrayed as a happily married man, fell in love with Brigitte Hesshaimer in 1957. It was only when she died in 2001 that the children came forward.

 Lindbergh supported the family financially and visited them regularly


The Independent, London

December 8, 2003 

Andrew Gumbel 

No flight of fancy; Charles Lindbergh had a secret family with a Munich hat-maker. And their German offspring can prove it.

Fans of the pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh have had to swallow a few uncomfortable facts about their hero over the years, such as his sympathy for the Nazis, his campaigning against the United States fighting the Second World War and his anti-Semitism. Now comes a new, seemingly incontrovertible bit of awkward news: DNA evidence confirming that Lindbergh, who made the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, had a secret, second family in Germany with a Munich hat -maker, Brigitte Hesshaimer.

Anton Schwenk, a spokesman for the family, announced last week that DNA tests, done by a highly respected institute in Munich, had established a 99.9 per cent likelihood that Lindbergh was the father of Dyrk Hesshaimer, David Hesshaimer and Astrid Bouteuil. Schwenk said: "They knew all along he was their father because they spent time with him growing up. But it's good to have an iron-clad confirmation. "It's a delightful moment for them because they now have a feeling of belonging."

But "delightful" is not quite the word to describe the reaction of Lindbergh's descendants and defenders in the United States. They had resisted the notion, preferring to idolize their hero along the lines of Jimmy Stewart's straight-arrow performance in the 1957 biopic, Spirit of Saint Louis. Lindbergh's biographer, A. Scott Berg, said in the summer it was "chronologically and geographically possible" but contradicted everything he knew of his subject's character. In many ways, the forced historical revision is reminiscent of earlier DNA tests confirming the long-held claim that Thomas Jefferson had sired children with a slave.

One of Lindbergh's U.S. grandchildren, Morgan Lindbergh, has admitted the German family look "hauntingly familiar." He travelled to Europe to meet the Hesshaimers and agreed to also take a DNA test. The rest of the American family has said nothing in public and probably intends to keep it that way, but Schwenk said an initial frostiness has thawed. There had been "amiable meetings as well as regular contacts with letters and calls" across the Atlantic, suggesting the possibility of new family relationships, he said. "I'd say it's not a happy end to the story but a happy beginning." It helps that the German family is interested only in setting the historical record straight. It is not asking for money -- Lindbergh apparently provided generously for them as they were growing up -- and deliberately waited until after the death of their mother before making the issue public.

The three children of Ms Hesshaimer stood out in the relatively conservative atmosphere of postwar Bavaria because their mother was a single parent. They have strong memories of a tall, greying American who would drop in once or twice a year, cook big breakfasts of sausages and pancakes and tell tales of his travels around the world. Bouteuil explained in a series of interviews that she and her brothers knew this man was their father, but were otherwise clueless about his identity. It was only after Lindbergh's death in 1974 that they began to realize who he was.

In the early 1980s Bouteuil found a stash of 100 love letters to her mother, signed with the initial "C," along with a magazine article about Lindbergh. At that point Bouteuil confronted her mother who acknowledged Lindbergh was the father, but begged her children not to make the fact public while she was still alive. Hesshaimer died in 2001, at the age of 74.

The couple met in 1957 in Munich where Lindbergh was discussing a deal to translate one of his books into German with one of Hesshaimer's friends. Hesshaimer was then 30; 25 years younger than Lindbergh, and in poor health following a bout of bone tuberculosis several years earlier. Dyrk Hesshaimer was born in 1958, Bouteuil in 1960 and David Hesshaimer in 1967. Lindbergh used a pseudonym, Careu Kent, when he was in Munich, and the children believed he was an author because he was constantly writing and carrying papers.

The mystery was heightened by the fact that the children spoke little English and Lindbergh spoke no German. Now that the secret is out, it has led to a media feeding-frenzy in Germany. The news magazine Focus reported in the summer that Lindbergh may have also had an affair with Hesshaimer's sister, Marietta, fathering her two sons, who were brought up in Switzerland. Marietta Hesshaimer, who is still alive, has refused to have anything to do with the investigation. She and her two children have refused to undergo DNA testing.

None of this takes away from Lindbergh's reputation as the quintessential expression of American derring-do in the early days of aviation. He braved the skies repeatedly in planes nicknamed "flying coffins" and had a series of narrow escapes in the test flights leading up to his legendary crossing from Long Island, N.Y., to Le Bourget, near Paris, on May 21, 1927. But it does put a considerable dent in Lindbergh's image as a wholesome family man. He and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, had six children together during a 45-year marriage and garnered considerable sympathy when their first-born, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered under bizarre circumstances before his second birthday.

The Lindbergh baby story turned into a media circus similar to the O. J. Simpson trial six decades later. A German-born carpenter who had fought against the United States in the  World War I was eventually arrested and sent to the electric chair on the most tenuous of evidence.That spawned a mini-industry in alternative theories of the crime, including speculation that Morrow Lindbergh's sister, Elizabeth, killed the baby out of jealousy because Lindbergh had not married her. The celebrated satirist H.L. Mencken described the trial in characteristically biting terms as "the greatest story since the Resurrection."It certainly did no harm to Lindbergh's reputation. The image of him as the terribly wronged father went a long way to allay outrage a few years later when he traveled to Germany on the eve of the Second World War to accept the German Eagle award from Hermann Goering. There were many hints over the years that the Lindberghs kept a less-than-harmonious household. In the last 20 years of his life, Lindbergh was traveling almost constantly, and paid only infrequent visits to the family estate in Connecticut.

He died of cancer in Hawaii. Anne Morrow Lindbergh died in 2001 at the age of 94.

GRAPHIC: Photo: Alexandra Winkler, Reuters; DNA tests proved Lindbergh fathered Dyrk Hesshaimer, left, Astrid Bouteuil and David Hesshaimer in Germany.; Photo: Hamilton Spectator File Photo; Charles Lindbergh's U.S. children had no inkling of his second family in Germany. But one of his U.S. grandchildren has admitted that the German children's faces look 'hauntingly familiar.' There have reportedly been 'amiable meetings' between them.

 The Boston Globe   December 14, 2003 



A COMPLEX life became more so, and opened a crack, too, when recent DNA tests confirmed that Charles Lindbergh was the father of three now-grown children in Germany.

The famed aviator, who soared to global superstardom in 1927 as the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, has never fit neatly into an American icon box. There was his stand against US involvement in World War II, his statements blaming Jews, Roosevelt, and the British for pushing the country into war, and his friendliness with Hitler's regime - in 1938 Lindbergh accepted a medal of honor from Hermann Goering.

Now science, a clutch of love letters, and the children of the late Brigitte Hesshaimer, a Munich hatmaker, have compounded the contradictions with the revelation that he had a secret life, lived in visits to his lover from 1957 until he died in 1974.

While jolting, the news is also welcome, for knowing the truth is almost always better than not knowing. That applies to the public's understanding of historical figures as well as to families coming to terms with extraordinary fathers.

A. Scott Berg, who wrote the 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "Lindbergh," said in a telephone interview that when he talked with the pilot's American family and read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's diaries, he found "not an inkling" of the other relationship.

Still, he was not shocked when the Hesshaimer children - Dyrk, 45, David, 36, and Astrid, 43 - came forward, because they filled what the author called "those holes in the story," providing a reason why Lindbergh traveled so extensively in later life and why Anne was moved to write that she should start living as a widow.

"I always thought he was a deeply troubled man, and this reveals how troubled," said Berg, noting that Lindbergh was raised to be a strict moralist by a mother who shook hands with him when she tucked him in at night. Berg added that Lindbergh forbade Anne to cry in his presence after the kidnapping and murder of their son - and that Anne never saw him cry.

Yet the steel in the man must have kept him focused as he navigated the dark Atlantic with nothing but a compass. His will and skill drove him later to fly the Pacific and Atlantic rims to open commercial airline routes and to press hard for environmental causes.

Curators at museums in Missouri and at his boyhood home in Minnesota say their exhibits about Lindbergh reflect the good and bad of a difficult, charmed life and that they would not be averse to including the Hesshaimer story.

A healthy response, for greatness is rarely one-dimensional. The hero is driven to the summit of his capabilities not only by his gifts but by his imperfections. Lindbergh had both in magnificent abundance.

 CHARLES LINDBERGH: Make Room for Daddy 

LA Weekly (California)


BYLINE: Jerry Stahl

December 26, 2003

Okay, so he's dead. It's a technicality. Last month, America's most heroic Atlantic-crossing Nazi sympathizer was outed as having a secret second family in the Fatherland. 

Lindbergh, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart as the ultimate straight arrow in the biopic Spirit of St. Louis, got the hots for a Munich hatmaker named Brigitte Hesshaimer. 

Frau Hesshaimer bore Lindy three children. Which, while it may tarnish his integrity, in no way impugns his status as heroic Nazi sympathizer. A retro- active fuckup.

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