Did Adolf Hitler marry a Jewish woman? DNA tests ‘show Eva Braun associated with Ashkenazi Jews’

The Dead Famous DNA film tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Hitler's secret lover and discovered at his mountain retreat

Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s long-term lover who married the Nazi leader hours before their joint suicide in his Berlin bunker, may have had Jewish ancestry, ground-breaking DNA testing has found.

DNA analysis of hair samples from a hairbrush claimed to belong to Braun suggests that the fascist dictator responsible for the murder of millions of Jews may have unwittingly married a woman of semitic descent, in one of his final acts as the Third Reich crumbled.

The revelation appears in a Channel 4 documentary, Dead Famous DNA, broadcast next week, in which leading scientists attempt to extract DNA from relics and analyse their genome to solve mysteries associated with them.

Forensic scientists sequenced the hypervariable region of the mitochondrial DNA from a sample of hairs extracted from a monogrammed hairbrush found at the end of the Second World War in Braun’s apartment at Hitler’s Alpine residence, the Berghof in Bavaria, by an American army intelligence officer.

They found a specific sequence within the mitochondrial DNA, a small genome within the mitochondria of the cell that is passed down the maternal line from mother to daughter unchanged over the generations, belonging to haplogroup N1b1, which is associated with Ashkenazi Jews.

A haplogroup is a particular sequence of mitochondrial DNA which is passed down the maternal line and according to traditional Jewish law, Judaism is passed down through matrilineal descent.

Photography assistant Braun fell madly in love with Hitler at just 17-years-old, although he was twenty-three years her senior. Hitler ordered his private secretary Martin Bormann to investigate Braun’s family, who sent Eva to a Catholic school, to ensure that they were “Aryan” and that she had no Jewish ancestors. After being assured there were none, the courtship advanced.

But Hitler, fearful that the relationship would harm his public image, refused to marry Eva and kept her a state secret, hidden away at his mountain-top residence, the Berghof.

Channel 4 used hair initially recovered in the summer of 1945 by Paul Baer, a US 7th Army captain, who was posted to the Berghof and took personal items, including the hairbrush, from Braun’s private apartment. There are photographs of Baer at the Berghof in 1945 and the hairbrush has been authenticated by experts.

Baer’s son sold Braun’s hairbrush to a relic dealer who separated the hair and sold it on to hair dealer John Reznikoff. Dead Famous DNA presenter Mark Evans bought eight strands of the hair from Reznikoff for $2,000. The hair was then sent to an international team of forensic scientists for analysis.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “In the nineteenth century, many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism, so Eva Braun is highly unlikely to have known her ancestry and - despite research he instigated into Braun’s race - neither would Hitler.”

Whilst the results will provide a talking point, they are not definitive. To prove that the hair came from Eva Braun’s head, Mr Evans attempted to get a DNA swab from one of Braun’s two surviving female descendants, but both refused.

Read more: Napoleon had a 'very small' penis, says to C4 show
Was Elvis Presley destined to die early?
C4 criticised for paying Holocaust denier for lock of Hitler's hair

An attempt by the producers to procure Hitler’s hair ended in embarrassment when it emerged that clippings sold by controversial historian David Irving to Channel 4 for £3,000 turned out to be fake.

Mr Evans said: “This is a thought-provoking outcome - I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result. Racism & Fascism – ideas that one racial group is superior to another – made a mockery of by studying dead famous DNA.”

Hitler and Braun became lovers in 1932 when Eva was 20, although Hitler insisted that they never show the slightest affection in public. They were married in a small civil ceremony within the Führerbunker in the early hours of April 29, 1945, witnessed by Bormann and Joseph Goebbels.

Read more: Block on rare Napoleon death mask
Napoleon portrait sold for £15,000

The following day, as the Soviet Army advanced upon Berlin, Eva, 32, bit into a cyanide capsule. Hitler took poison and shot himself in the temple. Afterwards, the two bodies were laid side by side, doused with petrol and burnt.

Dead Famous DNA will be shown on Channel 4 on Wednesday, April 9th at 9pm

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments