Hauptmann's Connection with the Aldinger Family
by Judge W Dennis Duggan, JFC
reprinted from The Albany County Bar Association Newsletter
Extradition Hearing in Bronx Extradition Appeal Document
Original Appeal June 1935
Richard Hauptmann's Statement of Innocence
Why Did You Kill Me?
hauptmann's criminal history
Bruno Richard Hauptmann was born in Kamenz, Saxony, Germany on November 26, 1899. (click here to see the Kamenz home as it looks today)
He was involved in the Western Front of WWI as a machine-gunner at age 19.
He was gassed and wounded during the war. Hauptmann and Fritz Petzold, a war buddy, stole three hundred marks and a silver watch from the home of Herr Schierach, a burgmeister (mayor).
A few nights later, they stole two thousand marks in securities, two hundred in cash and a gold watch and chain from leather-tanner Eduard Scheumann. They also robbed two women of their food and food-ration cards.
By the end of March, 1919, Hauptmann and Fritz had been arrested for the four crimes. Hauptmann was sent to prison in Bautzen for five years and one week. Four years later, in March of 1923, Hauptmann was paroled. Soon he was again arrested while trying to sell leather belting strips which were said to be stolen.
He then walked right out of the jail when he noticed an open gate. He ditched his prison clothes at the prison door with a note that said, "Best wishes to the police."
Hauptmann then decided to come to America. He did not have any money so he attempted to stow away on board the SS George Washington. He was discovered when the ship reached New York's Ellis Island and was sent back to Germany. In August, he again tried to board the SS George Washington, but was discovered before the ship took off. He evaded capture and another imprisonment by jumping ship.
For the third time, he boarded the SS George Washington at Bremen, and made it into New York illegally. He entered America in November 1923, a few days before his twenty-fourth birthday.
LIFE AND DEATH IN AMERICA
On January 1, 1924, Anna Schoeffler arrived in New York, but unlike Hauptmann, she entered the United States legally. She was twenty-six. She cleaned offices to make a living and was introduced to Richard by Lena Aldinger, a close friend who had taken Richard into her home as a boarder.
Although there may have been having something of a romance going on between the illegal immigrant and Lena Aldinger, (Rudy Aldinger, usually in a drunken state, eventually threw Richard Hauptmann out of his Upper Manhattan apartment claiming he had been having an affair with his wife.) Though Lena was married with 2 sons it appears that she may actually have been involved romantically with Hauptmann as he made Anna keep a promise that their relationship should be kept secret from Lena and, evidentally, she never knew of the marriage until it took place.
Anna Schoeffler and Richard Hauptmann (he never used the name BRUNO in America - yellow journalism promoted that name as it sounded more ominous and threatening to American readers) were married on October 10, 1925.
On November 3, 1933, their son, Manfried Richard Hauptmann, was born. They called him "Bubi."
He lives today, with his wife, Erika, in the Amish country of Pennsylvania and has not ever come forward to promote or exonerate his father's name. (photo from Sam Bornstein Collection)
Richard Hauptmann was 35 when he was arrested for the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby. He happened to have high cheekbones and a pointy face just like John was described. However, he also was fair skinned and blue-eyed. John supposedly had a red face and brown eyes.
Hauptmann gave up his job as a carpenter shortly after April 1932 and began to trade heavily in stocks with his partner, Isidor Fisch.
The police found money in his garage - $14,600 in gold certificates. The certificates were all from the Lindbergh ransom payment made almost 3 years earlier in a Bronx cemetery.
He told the police the money was not his - it was Isidor Fisch who had left him a shoebox which turned out to contain this money.
The rest of the cache - $30,300.00 in gold certificates - has never been found although a renovation of a Bronx High School is supposed to have unearthed some of it in the 70s.
map on left
1279 East 222nd St, the Bronx
The Hauptmann House
Hauptmann claimed his innocence when he was first arrested and continued to claim his innocence until his death. The Fisch Story has never been disproved and there is much evidence to show that Hauptmann was telling the truth.
Isidor Fisch, before sailing to Europe where he would die of consumption, paid for his ticket with gold certificates. This information, though known to Police at the time of Hauptmann's trial was suppressed by David Wilentz, the Attorney General of New Jersey who prosecuted Hauptmann.
While bugged during conversations with his wife, Hauptmann never said anything to incriminate himself. All of the mail he received in prison was read by police - again, nothing was ever found to incriminate him.
Before his death, he said, "I am innocent. I have never changed my story and I never will." A few people, including Amelia Earhart, Clarence Darrow and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Harold Hoffman, Governor of New Jersey, had strong doubts about the guilt of Richard Hauptmann.
He was rushed to his execution in "Old Smokey" - New Jersey's popular tourist attraction - on April 3, 1936
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