In a stunning twist of what can only be called some kind of irony, it appears that the love of Adolf Hitler’s life may have been Jewish. This revelation has been brought to light by the team behind the documentary Dead Famous DNA, which will be broadcast next week by the UK’s Channel 4. The documentary extracts DNA from relics connected to famous people of the past and then attempts to solve mysteries surrounding them at the genome level.
Dead Famous DNA claim to have discovered the Jewish roots of Eva Braun, the lover and short-lived wife of the German dictator. Braun fell for Hitler while she was working as an assistant to his personal photographer. However it was not until two years later that they started seeing each other. She was just 17, 23 years his junior. Reportedly, their affair was kept secret due to fears that the relationship would harm the image of the German leader. She was kept out of the public eye in his alpine residence the Berghof. The pair were married in secret in 1945, a day before they both took their own lives in Hitler’s bunker as the Soviets marched on Berlin. Reportedly, steps had been taken to look into Braun’s background to ensure she was not of Jewish descent. However, it seems that modern-day experts may just have a better handle on background checks.
The team employed by the documentary extracted DNA from a hair found clinging to hairbrush marked with the initials “EB.” The hairbrush had been taken from the Bavarian house where the couple resided, by US intelligence officer Paul Baer. Photographs in 1945 show him holding the hairbrush as a sign of its authenticity. Baer was a German Jew who had come to America in 1929. He was in the CIC, which is what the CIA was built on, and thus he was allowed into certain places in Germany. Whenever a concentration camp was liberated, they sent in Baer. His mother and sister had been sent to the camps, but he was never able to find them.
Baer’s son, sold the hairbrush to a relic dealer, who removed the hairs and sold them on. Mark Evans, the presenter of Dead Famous DNA reportedly brought eight hairs for $2,000. The hair was sent off for analysis to a team to internationally renowned forensic scientists.
The hair was examined and found to have the sequence of the haplogroup N1b1 on the maternal side that correlates with DNA found to be present in Ashkenazi Jews which make up about 80 percent of the Jewish population. According to traditional Jewish Law, the maternal line is the one that passes on Judaism. Makers of the documentary would have liked to test the hair against one of Braun’s surviving descendants, but all those approached refused to allow the tests.
Many Ashkenazi Jews converted to Catholicism in the early 19th century, so it may be that Braun was unaware of her own heritage. However, it is worth noting that Anne Frank was also a Ashkenazi Jew. It seems that Hitler was also unaware of this possibility. Had he known of Braun’s heritage, would he have continued to love her and share his life with her? It would possible that this fact could have changed the entire course of human history.
By Sara Watson