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Monday, December 18, 2023

The Crime Of The 20th Century Was Committed By An Illegal Alien

     In July 1923 Bruno Richard Hauptmann, when he was 23 and living in Germany, stowed away in the hold of the North German liner Hanover. He fled the country because he was wanted by the German police for armed robbery and burglary. When the ship docked in New York City he was discovered and handed over to the immigration authorities. Under the false identity of Karl Pellmeir, Hauptmann appeared before a special tribunal and shortly thereafter was shipped back to Germany.

     A month after his first attempt to get into the United States, Bruno Hauptmann stowed away on the same ship but was discovered before the vessel left the pier. He escaped arrest by the German authorities by diving overboard.

     Two months after his second attempt, Hauptmann made it to America as a stowaway on the S. S. George Washington. He stepped ashore on his 24th birthday with no passport and two cents in his pocket.

     In New York City Mr. Hauptmann was taken in by an immigrant he met on the street and within a few days found work as a dishwasher. He later obtained a job as a mechanic, then became a dyer's helper before finding work as a carpenter.

     On October 10, 1925 Hauptmann married a German-born waitress named Anna Schoeffler, and eight years later they had a son, Mannfried. They lived on the second floor of a rental house on 222nd Street in the Bronx.

     At nine o'clock on the night of March 1, 1932, Bruno Richard Hauptmann drove from the Bronx, New York to outside Hopewell, New Jersey where the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh lived with his wife Anne and their 20-month-old son, Charles Lindbergh Jr.. Hauptmann placed a three-piece homemade wooden extension ladder against the house, climbed into the second story nursery window and made off with the baby. Hauptmann left behind a ransom note in his own handwriting asking for $50,000.

     Following several more ransom documents, Charles Lindbergh's intermediary, on April 2, 1932, paid the $50,000 ransom to a shadowy figure in a Bronx cemetery. Pursuant to Lindbergh's orders, the police were not there to make an arrest and Hauptmann escaped into the night.

      On May 12, 1932 the Lindbergh baby's remains were found along a road two miles from the Lindbergh estate. He had been bludgeoned to death.

     The Lindbergh kidnapping and murder case went unsolved until September 1934 when police officers arrested Hauptmann in New York City in possession of a ransom bill. A search of his garage in the Bronx turned up $14,000 in the Lindbergh ransom money. Handwriting experts identified Hauptmann as the writer of the ransom documents and a wood expert connected the crime scene ladder to the suspect through his carpenter tools and a missing board in the attic to his house.

     Bruno Richard Hauptmann was tried for murder in January 1935 in the Hunterdon County Court House in Flemington, New Jersey. Following the six-week trial the jury found Hauptmann guilty as charged. Since he had not confessed and there were no eyewitnesses, the case against him, based principally on physical evidence connecting him to the crime, was circumstantial. The trial judge sentenced him to death.

     On April 3, 1936 Bruno Hauptmann died on the electric chair at the state prison in Trenton, New Jersey. To the very end he maintained his innocence. This illegal alien from Germany committed one of the most infamous crimes in United States history.


  1. I highly recommend Mr. Fisher's two books about this case: The Lindbergh Case and Ghosts of Hopewell.

  2. Well, Mr. Fisher, much as I enjoy all the literary comments and diatribes here, I think pretty simply... Either it's a good book or it ain't. And the fact is you do good books.

  3. Agreed. The belief that Hauptmann was framed is a triumph of emotional wish-fulfillment over evidence-based reasoning and deduction. I will treat myself to your two books this Xmas, Jim.