Bruno Richard Hauptmann: First Day of Testimony

January 24, 1935

the defendant, called as a witness in his own behalf, being first duly sworn, testified as follows:

Direct Examination by Mr. Reilly:

Mr. Wilentz: If your Honor please, may it appear on the record with the consent of the defense that the guard standing in back of the witness is there by consent of both parties?

The Court: Yes.

Q. You are the defendant in this action, is that correct?

A. It is.

Q. Where and when were you born?

A. 26th of November, 1999,—1899, Germany.

Q. What part?

A. Saxony.

Q. Did you go to school in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. For how many years?

A. Well, eight years public school, and two years, two to three years, like a trading school.

Q. And in the public school did you learn to write German?

A. I did.

Q. In the regular German script, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you learn to write any English in Germany?

A. No.

Q. And after you left school you say you attended a trade school, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And what trade did you study?

A. Carpenter trade.

Q. Any other trade?

A. Yes, machinery, machinery.

Q. Machinery?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you apprenticed at any age?

A. No.

Q. At what age did you begin to work?

A. Fourteen.

Q. Where did you work?

A. In mine home town, Kamenz.

Q. As a carpenter’s helper?

A. Yes.

Q. And for that service you received a salary of how much a week?

A. Well, approximately three marks, three or four marks, beginning.

Q. Of course, I take it that you lived with your people at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you continue to work as a carpenter until the War broke out?

A. Yes.

Q. And how old were you when you went to War?

A. Seventeen and a half years.

Q. And how many years did you serve in the Army?

A. One and three-quarter.

Q. During your service were you wounded?

A. Slightly wounded, gassed.

Q. You were gassed?

A. (Nodding head.)

Mr. Wilentz: Did he say “Yes”?

The Witness: Yes.

Q. When did you come out of the Army?

A. It was around Christmas time, ‘18.

Q. 1918?

A. Yes.

Q. About a month after the Armistice, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And then did you come home to your home town?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you able to get any work at that time?

A. No.

Q. Germany was in a very poor condition, wasn’t it?

A. It was.

Q. Now, during the period of reconstruction in Germany, about 1919 and 1920, you were convicted of some offense there, is that correct?

A. I was.

Q. And when was it?

A. The spring time, 1919.

Q. Beg pardon?

A. Spring time, 1919.

Q. You will have to keep your voice up because this last gentleman, both of them, want to hear you—in the spring time of 1919, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And as a result of that did you serve any sentence?

A. Yes.

Q. Where?

A. Beuthen, B-e-u-t-t-h-e-n.

Q. And afterwards were you paroled?

A. Yes.

Q. By the Parole Board?

A. Yes.

Q. About when? Was it about March the 26th, 1933?

A. Yes, I guess that is right.

Q. And were you admitted to parole on March the 30th, 1923?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you first attempt to enter the United States?

A. Summer time, 1930—23.

Q. You boarded a steamer did you not, as a stowaway?

A. I did.

Q. Came to America and you were discovered on board the ship, were you?

A. Yes.

Q. Taken to Ellis Island, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And returned to Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you next attempt to enter the United States?

A. I guess it was August, the same year.

Q. Same year. And did you successfully enter the United States then?

A. No.

Q. You were caught again, were you?

A. Yes.

Q. And returned to Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. When was the third time?

A. In November, the same year.

Q. Were you successful that year?

A. Yes.

Q. And you entered the United States?

A. Yes.

Q. After entering the United States did you obtain any employment?

A. Yes.

Q. About when and where?

A. About approximate one week after my landing.

Q. About a day after your landing?

A. No, a week.

Q. A week. And in what city?

A. New York.

Q. And what was the occupation?

A. I started as a dishwasher.

Q. Where, down near the South Ferry in New York somewhere?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. How long were you a dish washer?

A. About a month and a half.

Q. How much were you paid a week?

A. Sixteen dollars.

Q. And with what family did you live during that period?

A. With Mrs. Aldinker.

Q. Where?

A. I can’t remember exactly.

Q. What portion of New York?

A. Out 96th and Amsterdam Avenue, around this neighborhood.

Q. In a German neighborhood, wasn’t it?

A. Oh, no, I don’t say that.

Q. Isn’t that a part of Yorkville?

A. No.

Q. It is above Yorkville?

A. It is on the west side of New York.

Q. On the west side. Yorkville is on the east side, is that it?

A. Yes.

Q. Well then, where did you get a position after you left the restaurant where you were a dish-washer?

A. A position as a mechanic.

Q. That was with Washburn & Wild?

A. Washburn & Wild.

Q. As a mechanic. Do you remember how long you worked there?

A. No, I can’t.

Q. Did you take a position after that as a dyer in the dyeing business?

A. Yes.

Q. And after that you worked as a machinist, did you?

A. Yes, in Brooklyn.

Q. And each time you would try to improve your position: is that correct?

A Yes.

Q. Then did you finally obtain a position as s carpenter?

A. Yes.

Q. And was that at Sixth Avenue and 40th Street, New York?

A. Yes.

Q. And did you receive a salary of approximately a dollar an hour?

A. Yes.

Q. That would be how much a day?

A. Eight dollars a day.

Q. And do you recall how long you worked as a carpenter in the first place, the place you were getting a dollar a day, eight dollars—a dollar an hour, rather—eight dollars a day?

A. In the first place, approximate two months.

Q. Now, you were a professional carpenter, weren’t you? You studied in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. You got, you say, as much as eight dollars a day for your services?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, when did you first meet the lady that afterwards became your wife?

A. In 1924; 1924.

Q. 1924?

A. Yes.

Q. And was that while you lived with the Aldingers?

A. That is the time I lived with Aldingers.

Q. And her name, your wife’s maiden name, was what? Anna—

A. Anna Schoeffler.

Q. Anna Schoeffler?

A. Yes.

Q. And Anna Schoeffler at that time, who did she work for?

A. Mr. and Mrs. Rosenbaum, Riverside Park.

Q. Now, after meeting Miss Schoeffler did you move to Yorkville?

A. No, I moved first on 156th Street, before Yorkville.

Q. Well, did you finally live in some house in the neighborhood of 88th Street?

A. 88th Street, yes.

Q. Between Park and Lexington Avenue, is that it?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, that is Yorkville?

A. That is Yorkville.

Q. And Yorkville is a German colony, isn’t it?

A. Yes.

Q. How long did you live there?

A. Oh, about two or three months; 88th Street.

Q. Now, one of the men, when you came over on the different ships that you tried to enter this country on, was his name Albert Diebig?

A. Yes.

Q. How do you pronounce that, Dee-big?

A. I pronounce it Die-big.

Q. Die-big. And did Diebig finally get into America?

A. Yes; he came over when I went to this colony on this second trip, when I was successful.

Q. Well then, you and he lived together for a while, didn’t you, at 154th Street?

A. Yes.

Q. Between Parkway and Amsterdam Avenue, is that right?

A. That is right.

Q. Then did you and Diebig move to an apartment on 97th Street on the East Side?

A. Yes.

Q. Well now, while you were living on 97th Street on the East Side, what were you working at?

A. I was working as carpenter.

Q. Carpenter?

A. Yes.

Q. Now do you remember obtaining a position as a carpenter in Lakewood, New Jersey?

A. Well, I get this position through the newspaper.

Q. Yes. And was that in October, 1924?

A. That is right—October.

Q. And did the position end the day before Christmas, 1924?

A. This position ended on Christmas Day.

Q. Christmas Day?

A. (Nodding head.)

Q. How much did you make a week on that job?

A. Around fifty dollar a week.

Q. Well, now, were you spending all the money you made or were you saving it?

A. Well, I spent very little I say.

Q. About how much a week would you spend out of fifty dollars?

A. I say around twelve dollars.

Q. Did you open a bank amount at any time or did you keep the cash with you?

A. I opened right in the beginning a bank account, United States Bank.

Q. When?

A. Must be around the end of ‘20 or ‘23.

Q. By the United States Bank, do you mean the Bank of the United States?

A. Yes, Bank of United States.

Q. Was it a savings bank account?

A. savings bank, yes.

Q. Do you recall the branch in which you opened that account, where it was?

A. Well, this was downtown district, right under the bridge, I can’t remember the street any more.

Q. Downtown Manhattan, New York?

A. Yes, downtown Manhattan.

Q. When you were working as a carpenter in 1925 do you remember what your average wages per day were?

A ‘25? Well, I always get my union wages, this time I guess it was a ten and a half dollar day.

Q. Had you joined a union?

A. Yes, I joined it.

Q. After that did you work for some man near Bronx Park as a carpenter?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you get the union wage for that?

A. No, not from this man; I got one dollar, near Bronx Park.

Q. How many hours a week did you work?

A. Forty-four.

Q. Did you save some of that money every week?

A. I did.

Q. Then did you work for Heinselmann on East 9th Street, between First and Second Avenue?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you work for him until you were married?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you and Anna Schoeffler marry?

A. The 10th of October, 1925.

Q. October 10th, 1925?

A. Yes.

Mr. Reilly: Now, General, thanks to your courtesy, may I call that witness and have this witness suspend for a moment? Is that agreeable to your Honor?

Mr. Wilentz: May it appear that by agreement at the request of Mr. Reilly, in order to take care of two witnesses from New York, this witness steps down and will be recalled immediately after the next two witnesses. Is that correct?

Mr. Reilly: Thank you.

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