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.
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
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Downton Abbey fans outraged at Kindle sponsorship adverts
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave drama after a decade of crime-solving
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God