The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax 

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   New! The State of NJ v. Bruno Richard  Hauptmann: FAIRNESS ON TRIAL [ACLU Execution Watch 

 by  Judge W Dennis Duggan, JFC 

  reprinted from The Albany County Bar Association Newsletter  01/04  


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Times of London

Thursday, October 22, 1998

By: Jasper Gerard

SIR LUDOVIC KENNEDY is preparing to fight to save his reputation by confronting an interloping American author in public. The writer, A. ScottBerg, has called into question the intellectual diligence of the veteran campaigner against miscarriages of justice. 

Kennedy (below left) spent three years writing The Airman and the Carpenter, an account of the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh's baby son, concluding that Bruno Hauptmann, executed for the crime, was innocent. But in his new life of Lindbergh (right), the American dismisses this thesis and Kennedy plans aconfrontation at the American Embassy, where Berg will give a talk.

It should be jolly. Kennedy says Berg ignores his point that "from the day Hauptmann was arrested ... there was not a single piece of evidence against him that was not faked, perjured or mistaken" and wonders "whether Mr Berg was too lazy or cowardly to examine the powerful arguments that I have set out. It is a deplorable omission."

Berg's conclusion is particularly galling for Kennedy since the American's book is being turned into a film by Steven Spielberg, with Brad Pitt tipped to play the aviator. Ludo will be fuming in the stalls with his popcorn.

(True Detective photo above was contributed by John Overall)

Long Life 

 Nigel Nicolson  (1998)



The first and most remarkable American I have ever met was Charles Lindbergh. All men's characters and all men's achievements are unique but his character and his achievements were outstanding for a man who owed his immense fame to a single thirty-three -hour act of daring when he was age twenty-five. Throughout his life he would occasionally creep into the Smithsonian Institute to gaze at the Spirit of St. Louis.

 He told the story in a book of the same title which surprised everyone by its narrative skill and intensity of feeling, correcting the legend that he was nothing but an inspired mechanic with charming looks. The flight, (which he would call "my trip to Purris") was the central event of his life. Then came the kidnap and murder of his baby. The story had everything - mystery, pathos, glamour, terror, direction, and, ultimately, for Bruno Hauptmann, the electric chair, a fate, as Ludovic Kennedy demonstrated in his book the Airmen and the Carpenter, which was wholly undeserved. He was framed by the police.

Charles  and his wife Anne were so hounded by the American Press that in 1935 they fled with their second son to England, and rented our Wealdon house, Long Barn, soon after we had left it for Sissinghurst. My father had known the Lindberghs in America when he was staying with Anne's mother and researching the life of her father Dwight Morrow. I met them several times at Long Barn and they lunched twice at Sissinghurst. CAL was reserved, formidable. I was startled by his treatment of his son, Jon, aged 4, whom he would swing by his ankle around his head, while Anne looked on white-faced. "He's got to learn," CAL grimly explained. "He's got to learn."

His reputation was temporarily tarnished by his pro-German, anti-Semitic, isolationist stance before Pearl Harbor, and my father wrote a critical article about him which destroyed their friendship. When Harold's diaries were published in 1966, Lindbergh threatened to sue him for comments about his prewar attitudes, such as "he believes in Nazi theology.... He hates democracy" and for "exaggerations" like "he vaulted through the French windows," when he merely walked through them, and claiming that the Luftwaffe was "ten times stronger" than the RAF. 

He took a literal view of hyperboles natural to a writer and diarist. I was obliged to handle the dispute on my father's behalf, because I had edited the diaries for publication, and Harold, after two strokes, was no longer capable of sustaining an argument. My chief defense, which I was reluctant but obliged to use, was that I had sent the relevant pages of the edited diary to Anne Lindbergh before publication, asking for her approval. She had replied in writing "I do not find anything which need be deleted from our point of view," and was sure that her husband, who was temporarily away from home, would not wish to change or omit anything. For some reason she failed to show the pages to him on his return and, when I met her in New York some five months later, she confirmed her (by implication, their) consent. There was no denying this and my later letters of justification remained unanswered. The correspondence caused all of us much distress. It is the only fight I have ever had with an American, apart from ....


the Pulitzer

I had no problems, except for the fiction prize, which eventually was passed as the jury had proposed, and the drama award to the jury's choice, Teahouse of the August Moon, which was grudgingly accepted. There were, however, unanimous votes for such favorites as A Stillness at Appomattox  by Bruce Catton for the history award, and The Waking by Theodore Roethke for poetry. 

But the biography jury's nomination of The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh touched off a brief but uncomfortable silence that seemed for the moment, alas, to stump the chairman, who was also the editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I couldn't help him; in fact, I wondered vaguely whether he might be an interested party to the jury's nomination, but decided not to act unless he voluntarily left the room. 

The book in question featured the aviator's pioneering nonstop trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927, described twenty-seven years later in the book named after the little aircraft he had piloted. But at a quick glance around the table, I saw doubts about the jury's selection, and I'm sure Chairman Pulitzer hesitated for the same reason. 

At a guess, I suspected the reaction had to do with Lindbergh's ambiguous views as an isolationist before World War II; either that, or his undisguised annoyance with American newspapers. Of the former, I had but a vague memory; having covered the 1935 trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the murder of the Lindbergh baby, however, I had a lively recollection of the aviator's antipress attitude. 

At Flemington, New Jersey, the scene of the trial, I remembered that the press photographers had been tireless in their daily pursuit of Lindbergh and his wife, the former Anne Morrow, before and after court sessions. One scene in particular lingered in my mind--Lindbergh backing away between a double line of press photographers, bent down with an overcoat covering his head, until he noticed all cameras were at the feet of the photographers. 

Angrily, he walked off in a huff - scarcely grounds for opposing his book any more than were his prewar visits to Nazi Germany. Whatever the reasons for Lindbergh's often irritating public behavior, particularly toward the Press, the editors swallowed their undoubted prejudices and voted his book the biography award.


"The Book of American Diaries" 

excerpt of H.L.Mencken's Jan 21, 1935 diary entry.

 "Dr. Marjorie Nicolson, Dean of Smith College, was here for lunch yesterday...She has been in Washington attending a meeting of the Smith Alumnae Assoc. With her there was young Constance Morrow, sister to Mrs. Lindbergh....Dr. William A. Neilson, president of Smith, was at Flemington, New Jersey at the time of the opening of the Hauptmann trial and saw a great deal of the Lindberghs.

 He told Dr. Nicolson  that  Mrs. Lindbergh laughed at the newspaper accounts of her heroic bearing on the stand. She said that the kidnapping was now an old story to the Morrow family, and that they had begun to look at it objectively - in fact, they had reached such a point that they made limericks on the names of the witnesses at the trial. All of the shock and sorrow were endured and survived long ago.

Lindbergh, according to Dr. Neilson, goes to the trial as to a show, and is delighted that he has so good a seat. Like his wife, he has absolutely no heat against  Hauptmann. 

The thing, he feels, is now out of his hands, and what interests him mainly is the sheer drama of it."


.....I became, in effect, the Rosenberg attache', charged with receiving delegations that came to the embassy to protest the verdict and the death sentence. This was an extremely difficult task. Contemporaneous newspaper accounts provided us with nothing like the detailed knowledge of the case that we needed to counter the emotional protesters. The last straw for me came when the blind mayor of  Ivry, a worker suburb of Paris and a stronghold of the PCF (Parti Communist Francais), showed up with his buddies, shouting questions, and we still had no material from Washington to answer them.

On a Saturday morning I went to my immediate boss, the em­bassy's public affairs officer, Bill Tyler, for help. Since we couldn't get any help from Washington, why didn't we send our own man-me, obviously-to New York to read the transcript of the entire Rosenberg Trial (and appeals), return to Paris as quickly as possible, and write a detailed, factual account of the evidence as it was pre­sented, witness by witness, and as it was rebutted, cross-examination by cross~examination?. Tyler thought that was a great idea. When could I-should I leave? Right away. Fine, but it was Saturday. The banks were closed and no one had cash for the air fare. "That's all right," said Tyler. "We'll ask Bobby for some francs."

Bobby was Robert Thayer, son of the founder of St. Mark's School, a longtime friend of my mother and father, and the CIA station chief in Paris. He reached nonchalantly into the bottom drawer of his desk and fished out enough francs to fly me to the moon, much less to the Federal Courthouse in the Southern District of New York, and I left that afternoon. This incident caused me some embarrassment years later, when a woman named Deborah Davis argued in a book about Katharine Graham that I had worked for the CIA as an agent. Her "evidence," obtained through a Free­dom of Information request, was an internal CIA document noting that Bobby Thayer had advanced the cash for my air fare.



words submitted by Richard Sloan

Mister Charlie Lindbergh, he flew to old Berlin,
Got 'im a big Iron Cross, and he flew right back again
To Washington, Washington.

Misses Charlie Lindbergh, she come dressed in red,
Said: "I'd like to sleep in that pretty White house bed
In Washington, Washington."

Lindy said to Annie: "We'll get there by and by,
But we'll have to split the bed up with Hoover, Clark, and Nye
In Washington, Washington."

Hitler wrote to Lindy, said "Do your very worst,"
So Lindy started an outfit that he called America First
In Washington, Washington.

All around the country, Lindbergh he did fly,
And the gasoline was paid for by Hoover, Clark, and Nye
In Washington, Washington.

Lindy said to Hoover: "We'll do the same as France:
Make a deal with Hitler, and then we'll get our chance
In Washington, Washington."

Then they had a meetin', and all the Firsters come,
Come on a-walkin', they come on a-runnin',
(Washington, Washington)

Yonder comes father Coughlin, wearin' the silver chain,
Cash on his stomach and Hitler on the brain.
(Washington, Washington)

Mister John L. Lewis would sit and straddle a fence,
'Cause his daughter signed with Lindbergh, and we ain't seen her since
(Washington, Washington)

Hitler said to Lindy: "Stall 'em all you can,
We're gonna bomb Pearl Harbor with the help of old Japan."
(Washington, Washington)

Then on a December mornin', the bombs come from Japan,
Wake Island and Pearl Harbor, kill fifteen hundred men.
(Washington, Washington)

Lindy tried to join the army, but they wouldn't let 'im in,
'Fraid he'd sell to Hitler a few more million men.
(Washington, Washington)

So I'm gonna tell you people: If Hitler's gonna be beat,
The common workin' people has got to take the seat
In Washington, Washington.

And I'm gonna tell you workers, 'fore you cash in your checks:
They say "America First," but they mean "America Next!"
In Washington, Washington.  



"I am innocent! That keeps me the power to stand up."
-Bruno Richard Hauptmann, during trial

"I am innocent. I have never changed my story and I never will."
-Bruno Richard Haupmtann, in response to an offer for his confession

"I am glad that I spoiled (Charles Jr.) last weekend when he was sick and I took him on my lap and rocked him and sang to him. And glad that he wanted me those last days..."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Little men, little pieces of wood, little scraps of paper."
-Bruno Richard Hauptmann, in cell before execution

"He has already been dead a hundred years."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh (May 13, 1932)

"I want the truth and when they find it and I will face it and Justice should be pursued."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"I have never seen such a spiriti of wholehearted sacrifice as is exhibited by everyone working on this."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Woke from a dream of the return of the baby and someone saying 'Why, she hasn't even kissed him yet!' I thought, 'They don't understand- I don't want to kiss him but just put my hand over the top of his curls.'"
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"The baby being lifted out of his crib forever and ever, like Dante's hell."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Personalities change from black to white, faces look different, tones are different, the tempo of the activity speeds up and slows down, but always that high note that got stuck in the organ Tuesday night!"
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"I think this means better things for me."
-Bruno Richard Hauptmann, after granted reprieve

"...comparisons between Lindbergh and Hauptmann --that the two men were very similar in an unbelievable number of ways, physically, through life and family history, etc. . . . it was as though Hauptmann was the dark side of Lindbergh. But, if the latest theories have any validity at all, it seems as though Lindbergh was the real dark side."
-Carol Wilkie

"This is a cry for blood."
-Lloyd Fisher, when the verdit was read

"My heart, my conscience and my sense of duty impel me to grant this reprieve."
-Harold Hoffman, after granting reprieve

"Human hypocrisy may go far, but I still have so much confidence in humanity that I believe it will shy from murdering an innocent man."
-Bruno Richard Hauptmann, letter to his mother

"And the affair cannot have, however unjustly, the aspect of the most famous and fortunate man in the world versus a miserable shred of human jestam. And there is too much class hatred in the world already and the passion for bloodshed is too keen." -Ford Madox Ford, novelist

"Did the need for closure subvert the judicial proceedings and system?"
-Damien Jaques

"There is no doubt at all that Hauptmann did the thing."
-Charles A. Lindbergh, after execution

"I come here clear from California. Clear across the country to see Jafsie on that stand."
-Californian Woman, the day Dr. Condon first stepped on the stand

"... the biggest story since the Resurrection."
-H.L. Mencken

"... if you (the police) weren't such a bunch of saps and yaps, you'd have already captured the Lindbergh kidnapers."
-Walter Winchell, during investigation

What was to be of Hauptmann was of "which the dimensions of American justice will be measured by all Americans and the world."
-Harold Hoffman, during his fight to find what really happened on March 1st

"I feel as if it were a poison working in my system, this idea of the crime. How deep will it eat into our lives?"
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh, because of the high publicity of the case

"To insinuate that I knew more about the tragedy than I made known to the court was most unjust."
-Betty Gow, after the trial

"...a magnificent looking man. Splendidly built. But that his little eyes were like the eyes of a wild boar. Mean, shifty, small and cruel."
-Charles A. Lindbergh, at the beginning of the trial

"It is not so! He could not do such a thing!"
-Anna Hauptmann, when first questioned by police

"Willst du immer weiter schweifen
Sieh das Gute liegt so nah
Lerne nur das Gluck ergreifen
Denn das Gluck ist immer da."
(English Translation: "Will you always seek still farther, See the good that lies so near. Learn at once to grasp your fortune, Then happiness is always there.")
-Unknown, said to Hauptmann by Dr. Condon during the police lineup, hoping he would confess

"Mrs. Lindbergh and I have made our home in New Jersey... it is impossible for us to subject the life of our second son to the publicity which... was... responsible for the death of our first. "We feel that our children have a right to grow up normally with other children. Continued publicity will make this impossible..."
-Charles Lindbergh, pleaing to the press for privacy

"For the jammed aisles, the crowded corridors, the noise, the buzz, the idiot laughter, the revolting faces of those of us who are watching are an affrant to civilization."
-Edna Ferber, novelist

 Andre Maurois  for Le Figaro

I am positive nobody consciously intended to inflict such punishment on a man in a death cell at Trenton. But fact is that it has been inflicted on him. Hauptmann was convicted on February 13, 1935, of a crime which deserves no pity. Whether he is guilty or innocent I do not know. But the fact is that a month before the date fixed for his execution the first delay was granted.

Thirty days later came another delay, and on Tuesday, a few minutes before the time for the execution, a third stay of forty-eight hours was announced to the prisoner.

This man, then, has three times awaited death on a date known to him. He has counted days, hours, and minutes. Three times during these fearful days his mind has turned, supposedly for the final time, to the horrible details of the electric chair, to the dreadful scene in that room, to the signal, the final shock and convulsions to follow. The last time his imagination was further stirred by the gruesome preparations in the death chamber, and by the shaving of his head for contact with the electrode.

This is not all. This man has a mother and a wife. For them as well these three frightful rehearsals have taken place. Three times the wife has said her last farewell, and on Monday, while leaving the prison, she saw the workmen hastily installing telegraph equipment for newspaper reporters. Nobody can picture such things without feeling pity.

Whether Hauptmann is guilty or not is no longer the question. The death of a guilty man may be necessary for the good of society. But all civilized people ought to admit that a man who, through play of unexpected circumstances, of doubts and scruples, has had the order of his execution countermanded at the last moment, should not then be forced to die.

 Help make this a more just world for all people - support these organizations: 

Amnesty International The Rosenberg Fund for Children MoveOn.Org James Randi Educational Foundation John Kerry for President American Civil Liberties Union
CSPAN National Public Radio Southern Poverty Law Center True Majority People for the American Way N.O.W.

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