A "Fischy" Story

On December 5, 1933, during his farewell party, Hauptmann's business partner, Isidor Fisch, left Hauptmann with a shoebox of "important papers" before sailing to Leipzig to visit relatives. 

Hauptmann claimed he had been given this box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and had put it on a high shelf in a closet. 

Fisch had applied for a passport on May 12, 1932, the same day the baby's body was discovered.  He sailed on December 6, 1933.
Isidor Fisch
Hauptmann told Police he had anticipated Fisch's return because he had $7,000 of Hauptmann's money. Fisch died of tuberculosis on March 29, 1934.  He  never returned to America and Hauptmann told Police he had believed his savings were lost forever.  Until he discovered the shoebox.

Hauptmann  also claimed he had made the discovery of the money while cleaning the closet in which a leaky roof made the shoe box fall apart. He  recovered more money - $14,600 - than what he was owed by Fisch. He took his findings to the garage since the bills were wet from the leaking closet. He began to dry the bills and hide them behind some wooden boards in his garage. He figured that since he was owed $7,000 it was okay for him to keep the money for his family.

This sequence of events, told by Hauptmann throughout the trial, was dubbed by police and reporters as "The Fischy Story." On March 1, he said, he had been with his wife. Every Tuesday he went to Christian Fredericksen's bakery on Dyer Avenue, Bronx, where his wife worked. He ate dinner there and took her home at nine. They then went to bed so they could rise early the next morning.

The police also questioned where Hauptmann had been on April 2, the day John met Dr. Condon in the cemetery. The day was a first Saturday in the month. Every first Saturday Hauptmann and his friend Hans Kloeppenburg would meet at Hauptmann's house at seven o'clock. They had what they called a musical night. They would sing German songs. Kloeppenburg played the guitar and Hauptmann the mandolin. Kloeppenburg would leave around midnight. Anna was always with them.

by Ronelle Delmont
Building Where Fisch Spent the Remaining Months of His Life
Handwriting of Isidor Fisch

Confronted with the discovery of the ransom money, Hauptmann said that Isidor Fisch, a German friend who had sailed for Germany the previous December, then died a few months later of tuberculosis, had left some of his belongings with him for safekeeping. When he discovered that Fisch's belongings contained the gold notes, Hauptmann told investigators, he decided to spend it without even telling his wife, Anna.  Investigators had expected Hauptmann to confess.  They were disappointed.

by Douglas Linder
Relatives of Isidor Fisch