Was Hitler Jewish?

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According to a testimony given after the war by Hans Frank, Adolf Hitler’s lawyer, Hitler was blackmailed by his nephew, William Patrick Hitler. According to a book by David Lewis the William Patrick also published this story before the war in the 6. August 1939 edition of Paris Soir.

The issue pertains to the biological father of Adolf Hitler‘s father, Alois Hitler, and presently Wikipedia lists three possible biological fathers: “Johann Georg Hiedler, Johann Nepomuk Hüttler, and a Jew named Leopold Frankenberger.”

Hans Frank said that Hitler’s father’s mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, worked for a Jewish family at the time when her son was born, a Jewish Frankenberger family in Graz. Wikipedia writes presently that historians dispute this and claim inaccuracy in the Frank story.

In 2010 Belgian Knack published a story on Hitler’s ancestry. This was circulated in the international press, e.g., The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Austrian Times. See also the web-version of the Belgian story and translation.

According to the story Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders with the help of historian Marc Vermeeren tracked downed a “Norbert H” and 39 other Hitler relatives in Austria. Norbert H gave a saliva sample that could be DNA’ed. According to the reporting they also managed to obtain DNA from Hitler’s grand-nephew, Alexander Stuart-Houston, by tracking him down, following him and stealing a napkin he had used.

There is some strangeness with the story.

The Telegraph writes “A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1”. Now Haplogroup E1b1b1 is not a chromosome. The original Belgian article writes “haplogroep E1b1b”. These haplotypes are not quite the same. Perhaps a typo?

The haplotype is on the Y chromosome meaning you only inherit it from your father. If one look on Wikipedia’s Hitler family tree there are not that many father/son relations in the line of Hitler: Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler, got two sons: Alois Hitler, Jr. and Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler had no surviving brothers. Alois Hitler, Jr. had two sons: the nazi Heinz Hitler, that died on the East front and the possible blackmailer William Patrick Hitler that emigrated to the US. William Patrick Hitler had apparently four sons: Howard Stuart-Houston (1957-1989), Alexander Stuart-Houston (1949), Brian Stuart-Houston (1965), Louis Stuart-Houston (1951).

These three surviving grand-nephews seem to be the only ones that could provide Y-DNA for the investigation of who Adolf Hitler’s father’s father was.

So what has Norbert H and the Austrian relatives to do with it? Are they on the maternal lines and not carrying the Y-DNA. Why are they relevant to the news story? Or are they related to Johann Georg Hiedler – one of Alois Hitler’s possible fathers. The Y-DNA of the Norbert H line seems not able to answer whether Adolt Hitler’s biological grandfather was his (step)father Johann Georg Hiedler or enigmatic jew “Leopold Frankenberger”, so it is unclear with the press reports on this family in connection with the Haplogroup E1b1b

Penetrating the haplotype scientist nomenclature is a pain. The Wikipedia page on Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) is of some help. The Hitler Y-DNA study was apparently made by Ralf Vermeulen. But trying to seek on that name does not help to get further detail.

Another article states that the Austrian and the American sample match on the Y-chromosome. If the Austrian group is on the Johann Georg Hiedler line then it means that Adolf Hitler’s grandfather was the one formally stated as his grandfather, and not a jew.

So does that mean they all have E1b1b? Unclear.

These days media are pushing a new story originating from French Le Point apparently on Adolf Hitler secret possible son, Jean-Marie Loret. Loret has enlisted University of Heidelberg to do some tests. But they are apparently not DNA test, but rather “physionomie comparative”, a test on “groupe sanguin” and graphology tests. The Le Point article links some documents, but to me they show nothing of importance. Some news sources claim that Jean-Paul Mulders already has compared Hitler line DNA with Loret and concluded they were not related.

So the Jean-Marie Loret story seems to be a silly fluke in the media.

It leaves us with E1b1b.

E1b1b is apparently defined by what within this field is called “M215” and E1b1b1 with “M35”. M215 is apparently rs2032654. A number of news sites claim that the E1b1b was related to Nothern Africans Somalis, Berber and Jews. But the notion that E1b1b was Nothern African and Jewish was critized by bloggers back in 2010, see Razib Khan’s Gene Expression blog. There are subgroups within E1b1b. If the genotyping and reporting were more thorough it may have ruled out Northafricans and Jews. Khan comments “the focus on E1B1B as opposed to the subclade seems suspicious to me. like i said, work your way up the phylogenetic tree and fine the clade where hitler and many jews are together, and bingo. i suspect that’s what’s going on.”

I find it interesting that one scientific blogger can make more telling comments that a whole line of churnalists. It is possible that the case is better documented in the paid version of Knack and the web reporting are simply not summarizing the results good enough.

So much trouble for one line in Wikipedia.

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