Hitler's mentally ill relative was sent to gas chamber

The Holocaust unleashed by Adolf Hilter even touched his own family, it emerged yesterday, as evidence was uncovered that one of the Nazi leader's relatives was murdered by the German state.

The Holocaust unleashed by Adolf Hilter even touched his own family, it emerged yesterday, as evidence was uncovered that one of the Nazi leader's relatives was murdered by the German state.

The woman, identified only as Aloisia V, was the great-grandchild of the sister of Hitler's paternal grandmother. She became one of thousands of mentally ill people exterminated as part of a systematic campaign to eliminate or sterilise those deemed socially undesirable. Aged 49 at her death, Aloisia, who is thought to have suffered from schizophrenia, was gassed to death at Hartheim Castle near the northern Austrian city of Linz on 6 December 1940.

Hartheim Castle was a training ground for the SS killers who later murdered people in their tens of thousands at the extermination camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz. Doctors killed thousands with lethal injections and in primitive coal-gas chambers after Hitler decreed the mentally disabled to be "useless mouths" and "unworthy of life".

Timothy Ryback, an American historian who heads the Obersalzberg Institute in Berchtesgaden, Germany, said the details surrounding the woman's death surfaced last week. They were obtained by a fellow researcher, Florian Beierl, who was allowed access to medical files at a Vienna medical institution where the victim was treated.

An ink stamp on the file serves as "proof of extermination", Mr Ryback said, adding: "It's painful to see what this woman went through. It highlights the cruelty and brutality of that system to an excruciating degree." The American historian also told Focus magazine: "Hitler's secrecy about his family was legendary. After 60 years we know why he really had something to hide".

In fact the susceptibility of Hitler's extended family to mental illness was known within the higher reaches of the Nazi party. A 1944 secret Gestapo report described Aloisia's line of the family as "idiotic progeny". Medical files on Aloisia say she suffered from schizophrenia, depression, delusions and a range of other mental problems. She is said to have told doctors that she was afraid of ghosts and slept with a skull in her bed.

Aloisia, whose treatment included confinement in a caged bed, is also said to have written a letter in which she spoke of being poisoned as liberation from her torture. But researchers have so far been unable to discover whether Hitler was aware of his relative's condition or of her ultimate fate.

Aloisia was the great-grandchild of the sister of Hitler's paternal grandmother and a part of the Schicklgruber side of the family. Her family was close to Hitler's family, and Hitler's father helped her father get a job as a civil servant in Vienna.

Mr Ryback and Mr Beierl now plan to examine cases of mental illness in Hitler's family in greater detail.

Wolfgang Eisenmenger, a forensic medicine specialist involved in the research, said: "An expert on hereditary psychological illnesses could perhaps draw some conclusions from the results of the reconstructed family tree.

"Given the basis of the Nazi ideology and Hitler's own world view, the very notion that congenital insanity exists in a paternal line in Hitler's family itself is interesting, to say the least," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Assistant Management Accountant - Part Qualified CIMA / ACCA

£30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are recruitment for an Assistan...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive - OTE £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Analyst

£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be a part of ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Manager - R&D - Paint

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing successful busines...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea