One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is whether Adolf Hitler was Jewish or had ancestors who were. The idea seems to arise from the remote possibility that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish. Hitler's father, Alois, was registered as an illegitimate child with no father. Alois' mother worked in the home of a wealthy Jew and there is some chance a son in that household got the woman (i.e., Hitler's grandmother) pregnant. Adolf Hitler was not Jewish.
Adolf Hitler is likely to have been descended from both Jews and Africans, according to DNA tests. Samples taken from relatives of the Nazi leader show that he is biologically linked to the 'sub-human' races he sought to exterminate. Journalist Jean-Paul Mulders and historian Marc Vermeeren used DNA to track down 39 of the Fuhrer's relatives earlier this year. They included an Austrian farmer revealed only as a cousin called Norbert H. A Belgian news magazine has reported that samples of saliva taken from these people strongly suggest Hitler had antecedents he certainly would not have cared for. A chromosome called Haplopgroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) in their samples is rare in Germany and indeed Western Europe. 'It is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews,' Mr Vermeeren said. 'One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised,' adds Mr Mulders in the magazine, Knack. Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population. 'This is a surprising result,' said Ronny Decorte, a genetic specialist who agreed that Hitler probably did have some roots in North Africa. 'It is difficult to predict, what happens with this information, both to opponents and supporters of Hitler,' he added. The magazine says the DNA was tested under stringent laboratory conditions to obtain the results. It is not the first time that historians have suggested Hitler had Jewish ancestry. His father, Alois, is thought to have been the illegitimate offspring of a maid called Maria Schickelgruber and a 19-year-old Jewish man called Frankenberger. This would have made the man who inspired the Holocaust one-quarter Jewish. Reports have suggested that Hitler's nephew, Patrick, tried to blackmail his uncle over the issue of Alois Hitler's parentage. Hitler asked his lawyer, Hans Frank, to investigate the claims and he announced just before the outbreak of the Second World War that they were 'without any foundation'. 'Hitler would not have been pleased about this,' added Mr Decorte, of the Catholic University of Leuven. 'The affair is fascinating if one compares it with the conception of the world of the Nazis, in which race and blood was central. 'Hitler's concern over his descent was not unjustified. He was apparently not "pure" or "Ayran".' DNA was also taken from American Alexander Stuart-Houston, 61, a grand-nephew of Hitler. He was trailed for seven days before he dropped a used serviette which Mulders said led him to the cousin in Austria - and the link with Hitler's sworn enemies.