FRANKFURT, Germany -- Three children of a German hat-maker claim their father was Charles A. Lindbergh, citing excerpts from more than 100 letters the famous pilot purportedly wrote their mother from 1957 to 1974.
In Saturday's edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, the three described Lindbergh as a dedicated, although infrequent, father who regaled them with stories of his African adventures during visits to their Munich home.
Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister, Astrid Bouteuil, offered no concrete proof.
A member of the Lindbergh family, contacted by Marlene White, executive director of the Anoka, Minnesota-based Lindbergh Foundation, declined to comment on the report.
''These kind of things surface periodically," White said.
Lindbergh made his groundbreaking solo and nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, had six children. The oldest, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in 1932 at 20 months of age.
In the final decades of his life, the pilot roamed the globe, only rarely visiting his Connecticut home.
It was during this time, beginning in 1957, that the Hesshaimers claim Lindbergh met their mother, Brigitte, a Munich hatmaker.
''It was a very close, very warm relationship," recalled Dyrk, the oldest of the three.
A. Scott Berg, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, ''Lindbergh," cast doubt on the claim. He said that while the timeframe of the purported relationship seemed possible, ''it's an inconsistency with his character."
Only rarely in the 112 letters does the author speak as the father of the children. The newspaper reported his response to photos Brigitte sent him of her first-born.
''Isn't he a wonderful baby? And of course, you are to be given great credit for it," read one letter. ''Although, I also deserve a bit. You wouldn't have been able to do it alone."
The children said their mother threatened to cut off contact with Lindbergh if their secret became known. It wasn't until two years after her death, the newspaper said, that they decided to go public.
The newspaper said the handwriting in the letters was found to match Lindbergh's. It did not say who analyzed the letters.