Joe for Sue
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Sat Jan 12, 2019 16:50

American proves Hauptmann's innocence

The American lawyer Robert R. Bryan (pictured left) has been dealing with the case of the Kamenz emigrant Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was executed in 1936 - according to the latest findings - wrongfully for 30 years. | Photo: Katrin Kunipatz

Kamenz. In the future, the Kamenzer of Bruno Richard Hauptmann should speak as a man who has stood for justice. Anyway, that's Robert R. Bryan's wish. He spoke this week about new findings from today's perspective false condemnation of the alleged kidnapper and murderer of the Lindbergh baby in the 30s. For 30 years, the American lawyer Robert R. Bryan has been dealing with the case of Bruno Richard Hauptmann.

Kamenzer, who immigrated to the United States illegally, was executed in 1936 - probably wrongly. This week, Bryan was in Kamenz to present his findings on the controversial verdict and talk with the Kamenzern about the pros and cons of the death penalty.

A coincidence brought the then young lawyer Bryan 1981 in contact with Anna Hauptmann, the widow of Richard Hauptmann. Robert R. Bryan met the then very elderly lady in a suburb of Philadelphia, where she lived since the execution of her husband. Both had married in the States in the early 30s and were parents of a young son. "She asked me to find out the truth about her husband," reports Bryan.

At this time Richard Hauptmann was considered the kidnapper and murderer of the Lindbergh baby. The then twenty-month-old son of the Atlantic crossing Charles Lindbergh was out in March 1934 kidnapped at home. Lindbergh later passed $ 50,000 ransom through a middleman in a New York cemetery. At the beginning of May 1934, the dead baby was found. For two years, the police worldwide searched for the kidnapper without success. In September 1934, Richard Hauptmann, who had been living in the United States for over ten years, was arrested for paying with a banknote that had been part of the ransom. He was found guilty by a court and sentenced to death by a court. Until his execution on the electric chair in April 1936, he protested his innocence, wrote innumerable letters to his mother after Kamenz and the book "I am innocent, a confession in the death cell", which Paul Ebert published in 1936 in Kamenz.

Already in the thirties there were doubts about the evidence. Even Richard Hauptmann wondered in a letter to his mother why the police had taken his fingerprints. That police and FBI had found fingerprints of the blackmailer on the ransom note had never been disclosed. "Captain was not clear how close he was to that idea, the solution to his case," attorney Robert R. Bryan says today.

Because his and the fingerprints on the ransom note did not match, reports Bryan, who has evaluated in recent years, about 200,000 pages court records on this case. However, Hauptmann was also convicted because the famous Charles Lindbergh - whose word was very important at that time - wanted to have his voice recognized in the courtroom as that of the ransom-receiver in the cemetery.

Previously, however, he had stated in a testimony that his voice could not be identified due to the distance during the night transfer. Robert R. Bryan adds that there are more disagreements. The lawyer is currently working with his wife Nicole on a book to implement Anne Hauptmann's last wish to cleanse her husband's name.

Bryan actually sees opportunities to rehabilitate Richard Hauptmann and correct public opinion. Public authorities have already admitted mistakes made to the lawyer. Robert R. Bryan wants future generations to know the truth about the Kamenzer. "He was a man who stood for justice even though he was threatened with death," he says. Lord Mayor Roland Dantz, can imagine "in appropriate form" at the house of the Kamenzers on "this tragic emigrant fate" point out.

Likewise, the "case of the century" - as a television documentary from the year 1996 is overwritten - shows what problems the death penalty brings. The American Robert R. Bryan expressly opposes this type of punishment. "It's always wrong to kill a human being," he says, pointing out that the death penalty is not just a problem for the United States. For example, in China, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, people are being killed for crimes. "It must succeed in saving innocents from death," demands Bryan.


The Kamenzer Wilfried Wendt let in 1990 in the Bremen news an article about the case Bruno Richard Hauptmann. The editor gave him the address of lawyer Robert R. Bryan. In 1991, Wendt wrote a letter to Bryan, who had been involved in court proceedings for several years. However, the Kamenzer did not receive an answer. Only in August 1993 Robert R. Bryan wrote back and announced his visit to Kamenz. Here he wanted to deepen his research in the archives. Both met in the summer of 1993 and Wilfried Wendt could call with the widow Anna Hauptmann. Wendt is distantly related to Bruno Richard Hauptmann. Richards mother is the sister of his grandmother. In December 2011, Bryan visited again Wendt in Kamenz. This organized a visit to Lord Mayor Roland Dantz. Here the podium discussion was arranged in January. The shooting was also made for a television documentary for the Sky station Spiegel-Geschichte.

  • Wilfried WendtSue, Sat Jan 12 16:10
    Hopefully, this article can also be translated into English! Wilfried Wendt, a Hauptmann relative, saved a copy of Hauptmann's autobiography!... more
    • Google Translate of the Article — Joe for Sue, Sat Jan 12 16:50
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