Secret families of Charles Lindbergh
GERMANY: American aviator Charles Lindbergh had three German mistresses simultaneously and seven secret children whom he visited and supported for decades, according to a new book published yesterday.
Eighteen months after genetic tests proved earlier claims by three Germans that Lindbergh was their father, their book, The Double Life of Charles A Lindbergh, says he fathered two more children with their aunt and two with his German secretary.
Lindbergh married Anne Morrow in 1929 and they had six children. In 1932, their first-born baby son was kidnapped and murdered. Lindbergh had become world famous for his daring 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 33 hours. The new book recounts how he started a romance with Munich hat-maker Brigitte Hesshaimer in 1957 when he was 55 and she was 32. As DNA tests confirmed, they had three children.
The book treads new ground with claims that Lindbergh also romanced Brigitte's sister, Marietta, as well as a third woman, an acquaintance of the sisters named Valeska, who was also Lindbergh's German translator and private secretary. "Valeska was an extremely attractive blonde woman," writes the book's author Rudolf Schröck.
Written in co-operation with the now middle-aged children, the book says all three women knew about Lindbergh's romances with the other women but more or less tolerated it.
"It was a secret menage à quatre, a four-way relationship that only Lindbergh knew the exact details about," Schröck writes. "He was a man with three mistresses - and a wife."
Schröck says Hesshaimer's sister Marietta had two sons with Lindbergh - identified in the book only as Vago and Christoph. Valeska had a son and daughter with Lindbergh. Their names are not mentioned. Marietta and Valeska are still alive.
The book, which includes excerpts from 150 love letters from Lindbergh as well as dozens of pictures of him with Hesshaimer and their children, lists the years in which the seven children were born: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1966 and 1967.
It says Lindbergh "came and went as he pleased" during the last 17 years of his life, spending between three to five days with his Munich family about four to five times each year. "Ten days before he died in August 1974, Lindbergh wrote three letters from his hospital bed to his three mistresses and requested 'utmost secrecy'," Schröck writes.
"Marietta and Valeska, now in their 80s, have upheld that vow and haven't given any interviews. Brigitte's three children broke the wall of silence after their mother died in 2001 and revealed the truth about their father," he added.