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Multiple Years / German Children of Charles Lindbergh
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh, a virtualy unknown air mail pilot from Minnesota, became a worldwide celebrity with his daring solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean. He remained a beloved American hero until the onset of the Second World War when his isolationist views thinly disguised an admiration for Nazi Germany. Twenty-nine years after Lindbergh died in 1974, Lindbergh's reputation took another beating. It was revealed he had fathered at least seven children with three German mistressess during his many trips abroad in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2003 three of them, the children of Brigitte Hesshaimer, produced 112 letters Lindbergh had written to their mother along with childhood photographs with the famed aviator and their own recollections of the tall, lanky man who they knew as Careau Kent. DNA tests conclusively proved they were Lindbergh's children. The Hesshaimer children, born between 1958 and 1967, said they didn't realize Lindbergh was their father until the early 1980s when Bouteuil, the middle child, began asking questions. After discovering a bundle of letters allegedly written by Lindbergh and addressed to her mother, Bouteuil confronted her and was finally told that Kent was actually Lindbergh. The children promised to keep the secret until both their mother and Lindbergh's widow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, were deceased. Both died in 2001. The revelation stunned Lindbergh's Pulitzer-prize winning biographer, A. Scott Berg, who told the Associated Press when the siblings made their claim, it would have been "out of character for Lindbergh to father the siblings." The Hesshaimers say Lindbergh met their mother, a Munich hatmaker, and fell in love in the mid-1950s when he spent much of his time traveling. Lindbergh would visit the family once or twice a year when the children were young, staying for five days to two weeks, Dyrk Hesshaimer said, and their mother forbade them from discussing their father outside of the family. We quickly built up a close relationship to him, he said. We didn't have the time together with him that other children had with their fathers, but when he was there he concentrated very intensively on us. Bouteil recalled breakfasts where her mother and Lindbergh would talk for hours, and of the people he'd met. I knew he was something special, Dyrk Hesshaimer said. He had knowledge about U.S. politics that wasn't in the news at the time. Their mother received what would be her final letter dated Aug. 16, 1974. It read, I am losing energy everyday. My love to you and the children, all I can send. Brigitte Hesshaimer later read in the papers that Lindbergh had died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974 She told her children simply that their father was dead. Subsequent research by German investigators found that Lindbergh had fathered four other children with two other German women.