It takes away nothing from the moving and beautifully written personal tribute that Harry Miles Muheim has paid to Charles Lindbergh (“My Life With the Lone Eagle,” May/ June issue) to try to straighten out the record on the transfer, at a private dinner in Berlin in 1938, of a medal thrust on the American aviator by Hermann Göring.
Mr. Muheim is distressed that the hero’s image was “tarnished” when he “accepted” the award. In fact, Hugh Wilson, the American ambassador in Berlin, had enlisted his famous guest to help persuade the German leader to allow emigrating Jews to take property out with them. When one is engaged in such a delicate negotiation, one does not kick sand in the face of the person one is trying to persuade.
It must also be remembered that the horrendous anti-Semitic pogroms had not yet started. Three weeks later, outraged at the nightmare known as Kristallnacht, Lindbergh canceled his plans to stay on in Germany, saying he would not remain in a country that treated its own people that way.
It is utterly misleading to imply that Lindbergh’s “acceptance” of the medal, like hundreds of others he received after 1927, in any way represented approval of the granter or what he stood for.