What were Hitler’s Relatives Up to During WWII and After?
On January 23, 1943 at the Battle of Stalingrad, the Red Army captured a Luftwaffe Lieutenant, one Leo Raubal. That name did not ring any particular bell amongst the Soviet interrogators, just another POW. Except he wasn’t. Lieutenant Raubal himself revealed to his captors the identity of his infamous uncle: Adolf Hitler.
Now, Hitler could hardly be described as a family man and despite persistent rumours, there has never been hard evidence that he fathered any children. And yet, no person exists in a vacuum and Hitler had several siblings and other close family members. So, who were these individuals and what did they get up to during and then after WWII?
Let’s begin by introducing our main characters with a very brief rundown of Hitler’s family tree. As noted in our video, What was Hitler Like as a Child? Adolf’s father, Alois, married three times and had countless affairs and mistresses along the way, siring a number of known children with several women, and probably had some unknown children on top of that. In the end, Alois seems to have taken the credo of every good store shelf stocker “see a hole, fill a hole” very seriously in his personal life.
As for the more well documented offspring, in 1873, at the age of 36, Alois married his first wife, 50-year-old Anna Glasl. The union was for career advancement reasons and ultimately childless and unhappy, in part owing to Alois’ unabashed philandering. The two separated, but didn’t divorce, in 1880, and Anna died on April 6, 1883. Now free of his mariage, the following month, Alois married his long time mistress, 21-year-old Franziska Matzelsberger.
Alois and Franziska had already had a child out of wedlock, Alois Jr, born on January 13, 1882. And when they married, Franziska was already pregnant with a second child, Angela, born on July 28, 1883.
As a little interesting aside here: the very following day, July 29th, a blacksmith and a teacher in Northern Italy welcomed their first child, whom they named Benito Mussolini.
In any event, Franziska, despite her young age, became ill with a lung disorder, and died on August 10, 1884. Alois was now free to marry his latest pregnant mistress who had already taken over care of his children when his wife got sick, Klara Polzl.
Well, not so fast.
You see, Klara was either Alois’ niece or first cousin once removed. Importantly, as far as the Catholic Church was concerned, it was the latter thanks to a birth certificate change that Alois had done when he was 39, with some family members corroborating who he claimed his real father was, as his mother had not owned up to it when she gave birth to him. Either way, such a marriage in Catholic Austria-Hungary required a dispensation from the Pope, which was granted at the end of 1884, allowing for the two to exchange vows in January of 1885.
Alois and Klara ultimately had five children: three of them died in infancy between 1885 and 1887; then came Adolf, born April 20, 1889, Edmund, in March 1894 and Paula, in January 1896. Edmund died of measles in June 1900, because the past was the worst, leaving the Hitler household with four children: Alois Jr, Angela, Adolf and Paula.
The future dictator and Paula both died without offspring – although, again, much speculation has been made about Adolf’s alleged illegitimate children. For example, according to one story, he may have sired a child with British socialite Unity Mitford, sister to celebrated novelist Nancy Mitford. We’ll save Hitler’s alleged children for a topic for another day, however.
In any event, Alois Jr, a rather colourful character as we’ll discuss shortly, married twice. His first marriage was with an Irish woman, Bridget Dowling, in June 1910. They had one son, William Patrick, born on March 12, 1911, who arguably has the most interesting story of all the close relations. Alois Jr later re-married, this time to a woman named Hedwig Heidemann in 1916, welcoming another boy, Heinrich, or ‘Heinz’, born on March 14, 1920.
Angela Hitler, sister to Alois Jr, and half-sister to Adolf, perpetuated what appeared to be a family tradition, and also married multiple times. In September 1903 she tied the knot with Leo Raubal, and the couple welcomed three children: Leo Jr, in October 1906; Angela Maria, known as ‘Geli’, in June 1908; and Elfriede, in January 1910. In August of that year, Leo Sr died unexpectedly, and Angela waited 26 years before remarrying with Martin Hammitzsch, but the two would not have any more children.
Thus, to recap, when WWII started, Adolf Hitler had seven living extremely close relatives: Sister Paula; Half-siblings Alois Jr and Angela; Half-nephews William Patrick, Leo and Heinz; And half-niece Elfriede. Noteworthy, Elfriede’s sister, Geli, who Hitler was allegedly in love with, had committed suicide under mysterious circumstances in 1931 during her quasi-imprisonment in Hitler’s home. We will get to all that later. For the moment, let’s take a look at those relatives who took an active role in WWII.
Following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in September of 1939, and the outbreak of WWII, Hitler’s half-nephews were all of the right age to serve in the military – and serve they did, albeit not all on the same side …
Let’s start with our younger character, Heinrich ‘Heinz’ Hitler.
Heinz was unquestionably a strong supporter of Nazi ideology. His uncle Adolf kept most of his family at arm’s length during his years in power and during the war, not willing to dish out favours out of nepotism. The dictator, however, had a soft spot for Heinz, and helped him enrol in the National Political Institute of Education, an elite school for future leaders of the Party and the SS.
Afterwards, however, Heinz was left to his own devices. The ambitious youngster entered the Heer, or land army, as a junior signals officer in the 23rd Potsdam Artillery Regiment. In June of 1941, Heinz joined Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, and distinguished himself in action, earning an Iron Cross 2nd Class.
By January 10, 1942, the Soviet Red Army had launched a counteroffensive around Moscow, rolling back the Axis invaders. Heinz was ordered to collect some radio equipment from an army post, before it was overrun by the Soviets, but the young officer arrived too late. Captured by the enemy, Heinz was transferred to the Butyrka military prison in Moscow.
Surely, the Red Army could not believe their luck when they had seized such a prized prisoner! And yet, Soviet captors could not extract much leverage, as the unlucky Heinz died on February 21 of unclear causes, possibly as a consequence of mistreatment or even torture.
LEO RAUBAL JR
It appears that the younger generation of the Hitler clan had little luck when it came to fighting the Soviets, as a similar fate befell Heinz’s cousin, Leo Raubal Jr.
After graduating from university, Leo Jr made a living teaching chemistry in Salzburg, Austria. During this period, he made sporadic visits to his mum Angela, who was running uncle Adolf’s household in the Berchtesgaden residence. Again, it appears that Adolf quite liked this half-nephew, but did not seek to favour him in any way.
Shortly before the war, Leo had become a manager at the steelworks in Linz, also in Austria. But in October 1939, he was drafted into the Luftwaffe, as a Lieutenant in the engineering corps.
In 1941, he too joined Barbarossa, and was detailed to Friedrich Paulus’ doomed 6th Army. This was the force that fruitlessly tried to capture Stalingrad, suffering enormous losses. Leo was not immune to the carnage, and suffered an injury in January of 1943. Paulus suggested that Lieutenant Raubal be airlifted back home to safety, but Hitler refused, stating that an officer should stay with his men until the end.
That end came on January 23, 1943, when the Red Army captured Raubal and took him to Moscow for interrogation. The relation with the Fuehrer was not evident at first, and it was Leo who actually revealed it to his captors, proceeding to disclose useful intelligence about Hitler’s relatives and especially about his inner circle – information which would prove very valuable after the war, when the Soviets seized some of the top Nazi leaders.
For the time being, Raubal had a glimmer of hope to return home, when uncle Adolf proposed a prisoner exchange. If the Red Army released Leo, the Nazis would release Yakov Dzhugasvili, Stalin’s own son, taken as a POW back in July 1941.
But the Soviet dictator refused categorically, stating that ‘war is war’. Ultimately the refusal to make a swap cost Yakov his life, dying in the camp on April 14, 1943 at the age of 36, though how exactly isn’t clear.
As for Leo Jr, he remained in captivity until 1949, when he was subjected to trial for war crimes. He was found guilty of supporting the Nazi war of aggression and being involved in the crimes of the 6th Army, and was sentenced to spend 25 years in a Gulag labour camp.
Luckily for him, in 1955 West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer petitioned for the release of German POWs. The new Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed, and thousands of servicemen returned home in September – including Raubal.
Leo Jr resettled in Linz, where he resumed his work as a teacher. He died of tuberculosis in the summer of 1977. He was survived by a son, born back in 1931.
Now, Leo’s son is part of the last generation of Hitler relatives who are alive to this day. Their names and general whereabouts are publicly available if you search for them, but we’d rather not disclose them here. As you can imagine, these individuals have attracted plenty of attention as representatives of the Hitler bloodline. However, they have always stated that they have no sympathy for their great-uncle’s ideology, no interest in politics and simply want to get on with their lives. We shall respect their wishes.
WILLIAM PATRICK HITLER
Moving on from there, we have the rather interesting case of William Patrick Hitler, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. What the what? You say? Well let’s dive into his story.
It was the winter of 1910. At a horse show in Dublin, Ireland, Bridget Elizabeth Dowling met a young, strapping Austrian waiter named Alois Hitler, Jr. The two entered into a passionate courtship, despite the disapproval of Bridget’s father, William. The lovebirds eloped to London, where they married on June 3, 1910, infuriating Mr Dowling. The father of the bride even tried to have Alois Jr arrested for kidnapping, but somehow he came to accept his son-in-law by 1911.
On March 12 of that year, Bridget gave birth to a boy, William Patrick Hitler. Two years later, however, the toddler found himself fatherless, as Alois Jr dumped Bridget and relocated to Germany. As mentioned earlier, he would remarry in 1916, siring Heinz. This second marriage made him a bigamist, by the way, as he had never legally separated from Bridget.
As per Bridget and William Patrick, they went through a rather long, rough patch, as mum took on several odd jobs in Liverpool, trying to make ends meet.
The boy was educated as an accountant, first in Liverpool, then in Middlesex, and by 1927 he was hired by catering equipment company Benhan & Son in London. In 1928 William Patrick resumed contact with his father, and in 1929 visited him in Germany. On this occasion, Alois Jr took William to Nuremberg, where the two attended a congress of the Nazi Party – not yet in power, but very much on the rise.
This is when William first saw his half-uncle Adolf, but the two met in person only in 1930. The relationship between the two was cordial at first, and William returned to London with an autographed photo of the future Fuehrer.
In 1931 William visited Germany again, on the occasion of his cousin Geli Raubal’s alleged suicide using Adolf Hitler’s gun and in his home, which we’ll get to shortly. After that visit, William sought to capitalise on his family name, releasing a series of articles in England covering Hitler, the Nazis and Germany in an unflattering light. This enraged uncle Adolf, who summoned William back to Berlin and gave him a piece of his mind, demanding for the articles to be retracted.
William could not catch a break: he was persona non grata with his powerful uncle, sure, but soon found himself also blacklisted back in England, in March of 1932 losing his job due to his relation to his uncle.
Strapped for cash, William appealed to his dad to try to sweet talk uncle Adolf into securing him a job in Germany. Towards this end, he travelled once more to Berlin, hoping to reconcile with Hitler. However, all he got from the dear uncle was a letter disavowing any familial connection and refusing any future monetary assistance. Alois Jr doubled down, making it clear that his loyalties were with his half-brother, rather than his son.
Thus William made his way back to London for a time before making another trip to Berlin in October of 1933. By then, uncle Adolf had become the Chancellor and undisputed Fuehrer of the III German Reich. William first approached Ernst Rohm, leader of the brown-shirted SA, who then interceded with Hitler himself.
Surprisingly, the dictator had a change of heart. He gifted his half-nephew with 500 Reichsmarks and even asked his Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess to help William find employment!
William was first hired by a Berlin bank, and then became a car salesman with Opel Automotive. By 1936, however, he had again fallen out of favour, owing to allegedly name dropping his uncle to help secure car sales! As is a theme, Hitler never appreciated any of his family trying to ride his coat tails and this all resulted in the Fuehrer in a fury, leading to William’s work permit being revoked.
Now, if your future job depended on the mood of a murderous dictator, who also had allegedly killed his niece he was apparently in love with, what would you do? Probably not what William did: resorting to blackmail! After the war, during the Nuremberg trials, Nazi official Hans Frank revealed how William had written to Hitler, threatening to expose his complicated and unusual family history. In other words: confirming the rumours that Hitler’s biological grandfather was a Jewish merchant named Leopold Frankenberger. We’ll get to whether there could be any truth to this in the Bonus Facts later.
But for now, both Adolf and Alois Jr went ballistic, and William wisely fled Germany, returning to England and breaking for good with that side of his family. Back in London, he tried his hand at journalism, most notably publishing the article ‘Why I Hate My Uncle’, and later tried to enlist in the British armed forces.
This attempt was unsuccessful. After this latest debacle, both him and mum Bridget boarded the SS Normandie in February 1939 and relocated to the US as the young Hitler had received an invitation from newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to perform a series of lectures in America about the Nazi Party and life in Germany.
Fast-forward to March of 1942 when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was forwarded a letter for his analysis of William by none other than President Roosevelt. The letter, written by William, read in part:
“I am the nephew and only descendant of the ill-famed Chancellor and Leader of Germany who today so despotically seeks to enslave the free and Christian peoples of the globe.
…Everybody in the world today must answer to himself which cause they will serve. To free people of deep religious feeling there can be but one answer and one choice, that will sustain them always and to the bitter end.
I am one of many, but I can render service to this great cause and I have a life to give that it may, with the help of all, triumph in the end.
All my relatives and friends soon will be marching for freedom and decency under the Stars and Stripes. For this reason, Mr. President, I am respectfully submitting this petition to you to enquire as to whether I may be allowed to join them in their struggle against tyranny and oppression?
…I have attempted to join the British forces, but… The British are an insular people and while they are kind and courteous, it is my impression, rightly or wrongly, that they could not in the long run feel overly cordial or sympathetic towards an individual bearing the name I do….
More than anything else I would like to see active combat as soon as possible and thereby be accepted by my friends and comrades as one of them in this great struggle for liberty.”
That’s right. Hitler’s half-nephew was asking directly for Roosevelt’s permission to join the fight against the Axis! Ultimately Hoover looked into William’s background and cleared him for service.
Thus, on March 6, 1944, William was sworn into the US Navy as a hospital corpsman, and was dispatched to the Pacific theatre. Not much is known about his service record, except that he received a shrapnel wound in his leg and he was ultimately discharged after being awarded a Purple Heart.
By then, the full extent of the genocidal atrocities perpetrated by his infamous uncle had been proven definitively and let’s just say regardless of the fact that he’d fought for the U.S. during the war, having the last name Hitler wasn’t exactly ideal. Thus, William finally decided to change his surname to Stuart-Houston. In 1947 he married his German-born fiancée, Phyllis Jean-Jacques, and the two settled in the State of New York.
From then on, the Stuart-Houstons would lead a quiet and uneventful life. They established a medical analysis lab, Brookhaven Laboratories, which they apparently ran out of their home. Beyond this, the couple also had four children, three of whom are seemingly still alive to this day, but none whom have had children of their own.
This is often stated to have been as part of pact to terminate the direct Hitler bloodline. However, there is no corroboration of said pact and all evidence is it is probably just an urban legend. Including at least one these sons explicitly stating this is false.
For example noting one of them was engaged and planned to have children before his untimely death at the age of 32 in a car accident. At the time, his member of the Hitler bloodline was working for the IRS, and we’re pretty sure there will be no jokes anyone comes up with about that…. Further, another of the brothers was apparently briefly engaged before he and his fiance had a falling out over his heritage.
So, that covers the dictator’s nephews who took an active role in the war, but that doesn’t conclude our trip up and down the Hitler family tree. I mentioned earlier how Adolf’s half-brother Alois Jr had quite the backstory …
As children and teens, Alois Jr and Adolf never really got along. Adolf was always his mum Klara’s favourite, who, at least at first, helped shield him from the ire and extreme abuse of dad Alois. As a consequence, at least at this stage, Alois jr often bore the brunt of their father’s many beatings without any such protection. This would, as we’ve noted in our What was Hitler Like as a Child? video, change once Alois left and Adolf became the eldest male child and most primed for the constant abuse regardless of his mother’s efforts to protect him.
But in any event, the young Alois was never given a high-level education, and was sent to learn a trade as an apprentice instead. But it appears that the boy had a rebellious streak, and rather than pursuing an honest career, he took to stealing, and was sentenced for theft on two occasions, in 1900 and 1902. Finally, in 1905, he decided to emigrate to England, where he would later marry Bridget Dowling.
Earlier, I mentioned how their son William Patrick was born in 1911, and how Alois Jr left England in 1913. What I did not mention was that in between those two dates, much like his father before him, Alois Jr often took to the bottle, subjecting both his wife and son to frequent beatings.
They must have been relieved when he moved to Germany, where he would remain stuck after the start of WWI. As mentioned, he remarried with Hedwig and fathered Heinz. But on account of the whole already being married thing, he had to stand charges of bigamy in 1924. This charge carried a sentence of six months in prison, but it appears that it was revoked or suspended.
At the end of 1927 Alois Jr joined the NSDAP, and seemingly maintained some contact with his half-brother Adolf, and definitely throughout the 1930s during William Patrick’s visits to Germany.
Alois did not hold any government nor party office after his ambitious relative rose to power, but he did enjoy some perks. In 1933, he opened a small restaurant in Berlin called Cafe Alois, which, thanks to his familial connection, was always replete with high-ranking patrons, including Nazi officials and ministers, often given access to private rooms to conduct delicate business.
Moreover, Alois took advantage of racial laws to evict his Jewish neighbours and take over their properties, thus expanding his premises at very little cost.
Ultimately, in 1937, Alois was able to buy a much larger restaurant in a prestigious location within the German capital. Business was thriving, and in no small measure thanks to his blood ties to the Fuehrer! And it appears that during the war, Alois continued to run his restaurant without incidents of note. However, as the Red Army approached Berlin in April of 1945, the restaurateur decided it was closing time and promptly relocated to Hamburg.
His paper trail has him re-emerging in October of 1945, after the war had ended, when a resident named Alois Hitler sent a letter to the Drehbahn Police Department, asking for his surname to be changed to ‘Hiller’. In his letter, Alois admitted to being the half-brother of the former Fuehrer, but claimed to have no affiliation to the Nazi Party whatsoever. The Hamburg Police believed him, and allowed for the name change.
However, in 1947, just like any other German, Herr ‘Hiller’ was subjected to a ‘denazification’ procedure, initiated by the Allied occupation authorities to purge the country of the vestiges of the old regime. It was at this time that the local police received a testimony from one Walter Herzog, who had known ‘Hiller’ since the late 1930s. Thanks to Herzog, authorities found that Alois had indeed been a member of the Party, had favoured meetings of Nazi officials and had unjustly profited from racial laws. The ensuing investigation even dug up letters sent by Alois to Reich authorities, which had caused the deportation of three individuals to a concentration camp!
Occupation authorities therefore filed Alois Hiller as a ‘Category III’ former Nazi. This category indicated lesser offenders, to be placed on probation for 2 or 3 years, but not to be interned. By the end of 1949, Alois was exonerated from all charges. This coincided with a general period of leniency towards most ‘lesser offenders’, as German society wanted to move on.
Thus, Alois Jr Hitler, now officially known as Herr Alois Hiller, lived peacefully his last years, dying on May 20, 1954, in Hamburg.
Even though Alois was subjected to the denazification process, he escaped the scrutiny of the Allied occupation forces. The same cannot be said for Adolf’s sister Paula, who was interviewed by the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps, CIC, in July 1945.
During her interrogation, Paula recounted how the two were never particularly close during childhood, as she was six years younger than Adolf, stating, ‘He never considered me a playmate.’
After their mother Klara’s death, in 1907, Adolf left home, and Paula knew nothing of his whereabouts and activities until 1921. In that year, Adolf resurfaced in Vienna where Paula was living at the time, and she barely recognised him! The older brother, however, apparently was very charming and affectionate with Paula, and she states, ‘What made the biggest impression on me was the fact he went shopping with me. Every woman loves to shop.’
In the following years, the two had little contact, interacting mainly by correspondence. For example, in one instance Paula would write a letter to Adolf on his birthday, and he would reply with a care package of Spanish ham, flour and sugar. In the late 1920s, Paula found employment in a Viennese insurance company, but her brother’s notoriety attracted the attention of her employers, and in 1930 she was fired. From then on, Paula would receive a monthly allowance of 250 marks from Adolf.
The siblings did meet in person once a year, from 1929 to 1941. On one such occasion, in the summer of 1936, the now Fuehrer instructed Paula to change her surname to ‘Wolff’. As Paula stated to the CIC, this was to ‘maintain the strictest incognito. That was sufficient for me. From then on I kept this name. I added the “Mrs.” as I thought that less conspicuous.’
During WWII, the now renamed ‘Mrs Wolff’ maintained a low profile, working as a typist in a hospital, with Hitler’s blessing.
But during this time, Paula met and fell in love with a medical officer with the SS, Erwin Jekelius, involved in the infamous Aktion T4- the Nazi euthanasia program. Paula informed Adolf of their intention to marry, and this time he did not give his blessing. The Fuehrer feared that this prospective brother-in-law may lay a claim on a future succession, and thus botched the wedding by transferring Jekelius to the Eastern front. Eventually, he was captured by the Red Army and died in a Gulag in 1952.
As noted, at the end of the war, Paula was interrogated and later released by the CIC. In her statements, she denied knowledge of the atrocities perpetrated by her brother’s regime, and even felt that Hitler himself hadn’t known of them, as well as expressing admiration for her brother, and sorrow for his eventual downfall, despite their at times fractured relationship. In her own words: ‘The personal fate of my brother affected me very much. He was still my brother, no matter what happened. His end brought unspeakable sorrow to me, as his sister.’
After being released from US custody, Paula moved back to Vienna, and then to Berchtesgaden in 1952, where she would be closely taken care of by former SS officers.
In 1959, she agreed to be interviewed by Peter Morlery, a British reporter working for ITV. In her interaction with Morley, Paula reiterated her admiration for her older brother, and once again stated that she did not believe he could have done anything horrible as so many said.
This would be Paula’s first and last public interview. The following year, on June 1, she died at the age of 64.
ANGELA, GELI AND ELFRIEDE
During her interrogation at the hands of US intelligence services, Paula also had some kind words for her half-sister Angela: ‘I especially remember (…) Angela as a beautiful girl.’ It seems like young Angela was surrounded by wooers, all of whom were thoroughly vetted by her father Alois: ‘He was examining every wooer with the strict demand that only a civil servant was allowed to marry her.’
Dad must have been happy, then, when Angela married revenue officer Leo Raubal in 1903. As mentioned earlier, the union was short-lived as Leo died in 1910. Following his death, Angela and her three children moved to Vienna, where she would work as a cook for the Mensa Academica Judaica Association of Jewish Students.
Interestingly on this one, according to the famed 1943 OSS report A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler: His Life and Legend, written by psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer, while working at the boarding house, “Some of our informants knew her during this time and report that in the student riots Angela defended the Jewish students from attack and on several occasions beat the Aryan students away from the steps of the dining hall with a club.”
Much like in the case of Paula, Adolf and Angela Hitler had little contact during the years of WWI and in the early 1920s. Then, in 1925, Adolf hired Angela to run his household in Munich. She accepted the offer and relocated to the Bavarian city, bringing along her 17-year-old daughter, Geli.
From their very first meeting, the future dictator was immediately obsessed by the younger girl, becoming possessive and controlling.
Some of Hitler’s then political opponents described the relationship as scandalous and sexual in nature, although whether there is any truth to this isn’t totally clear. It appears, however, that Uncle Adolf was infatuated with Geli, and the girl partially reciprocated this affection.
In 1927, Hitler asked Angela to relocate to Berchtesgaden, on the Bavarian Alps, to manage his larger, private residence, the Berghof villa. But Geli was to remain with him in his Munich apartment. It is not clear if Geli accepted of her own volition, or was forced to accept by the domineering Adolf. What is known is that for the ensuing four years, uncle and half-niece would live together in Munich.
In December of 1927, Hitler’s chauffeur, Emil Maurice, confessed to his boss that he was having a relationship with Geli. The furious future Fuehrer forced an end to the love story and removed Maurice from his post. From then on, Hitler would strictly regulate Geli’s activities, dictating whom she could and could not associate with, and preventing her from applying to a music school in Vienna, as well as any time she wished to go anywhere and he decided to let her, having her chaperoned by one of his men.
Despite the extreme restrictions, according to her mother Angela, by 1931 Geli had somehow initiated another relationship, this time with a man from Linz. But Hitler also put an abrupt end to this romance.
This all leads us to September 18, 1931, when Hitler and Geli had a furious argument, during which Adolf forbade her once again from going to Vienna. Hitler then left town, heading to Nuremberg for a party meeting. But the next day, he was hastily recalled to Munich. Geli had been found dead in their apartment, lying in her bedroom in a pool of blood. The cause of death: a gunshot wound to the chest, apparently fired from Hitler’s own pistol, lying next to Geli.
So, was the wound self-inflicted?
That mystery has never been solved, as no inquest, let alone an autopsy, was ever performed. Rumours began circulating that Geli had suffered a broken nose, in addition to the gunshot to the chest. And that she may have been pregnant! But, again, with no post-mortem, these remained just uncorroborated rumours and noteworthy most of them seem to have been started by Hitler’s political enemies.
That said, for whatever it’s worth, William Stuart-Houston, stated, “When I visited Berlin in 1931, the family was in trouble. … Everyone knew that Hitler and she had long been intimate and that she had been expecting a child – a fact that enraged Hitler.”
Thus, it’s been suggested that in a rage, Hitler killed her.
Whatever the case there, what has been confirmed by members of Hitler’s inner circle, such as Rudolph Hess and Hermann Goering, is that Geli’s death sent Adolf into a deep depression and afterwards he was allegedly more extreme in his ideology. The dictator’s official photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, went as far as commenting that the moment of Geli’s death ‘was when the seeds of inhumanity began to grow inside Hitler.’
Geli’s death must have impacted Angela as well. Nonetheless, she continued working for Adolf at the Berghof residence until September 1935, when she moved to Dresden. Then, in February 1936, she married for a second time with architect Martin Hammitszch. The two continued living in Dresden throughout the war, until the spring of 1945. As the Red Army encroached, Hitler had Angela relocated to Berchtesgaden, while her husband remained behind and eventually committed suicide in May.
Noteworthy, in his will, Hitler left Angela 1,000 Reichsmark per month pension, though it’s not clear if she ever got this. Shortly before his death, however, he did give her and Paula around 100,000 Reichsmarks, presumably knowing his own demise was nearing and wanting to ensure they were somewhat taken care of.
In the summer of 1945, just like Paula Hitler, Angela was interviewed by the US CIC. The report compiled by her interrogators was titled: ‘The very uninteresting life of Hitler’s half-sister’
Allied intelligence services had indeed very little interest in Angela, who was quickly released. Hitler’s half-sister, former housekeeper, and alleged mother of his lover, died of a stroke on October 20, 1949.
This all brings us to the last member of Hitler’s immediate family: Elfriede Maria, daughter to Angela and sister to Geli. And to be honest, there is not much known about her life. We know that she was born on January 10, 1910 in Linz, Austria, and that she married one Ernst Hochegger in June of 1936, in Düsseldorf. Elfriede apparently lived a quiet and uneventful life until she passed away on September 24, 1993. Her son, born in 1945, is alive at the time of writing though likewise little is known of him. And, similar to the other remaining still living descendents, we aren’t inclined to try to dig too deep here on him.
As previously alluded to, one popular hypothesis on the interwebs is that Hitler’s grandfather was a Jewish man by the name of Leopold Frankenberger. However, most historians dismiss this as there is quite literally not once shred of evidence to support the notion outside of the claim of one Hans Frank, who for a time was the Governor-General of occupied Poland where he was overseeing the mass murder of over 4 million people during his time in office there. Shortly before his execution for these crimes, Frank would claim Hitler had asked him to quietly investigate Hitler’s lineage to try to track down who his biological grandfather was. Frank says he did so and claims Hitler’s grandmother was working for a Jewish man named Leopold Frankenberger at the time she got pregnant with his father. And, curiously, that she had received money from him for some 14 years after Alois was born, with it conjectured that he paid her during this time lest she reveal he’d knocked her up. Thus, if this were true, it would make Hitler’s grandfather a Jew.
Naturally, unlike internet commenters, historians since have dug deep on this one, and haven’t been able to find record of anything of the sort, not even of any Frankenberger living anywhere near there during that period, let alone evidence of such a mythical man being Jewish. Not only that, Jews had been expelled from the region for a few centuries up to that point, only permitted to return a few decades after Alois was born, making it even more unlikely that, regardless of name, she was impregnated by a Jewish man. On top of that, several parts of his story have been proven to be incorrect.
But, I mean, if you can’t trust the word of a mass murdering Nazi about to be executed for war crimes few others in history have managed to match, and probably pretty pissed at his former boss for him being in that position at the time, who can you trust?
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