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Hitler Jewish? DNA Tests Show Dictator May Have 'Had Jewish And African Roots'

First Posted: 08/25/10 03:58 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

Hitler Jewish African
DNA tests suggest Hitler may have had Jewish and African ancestry.

The story of Adolf Hitler could be the most twisted in all of history. Add one more twist.

Responsible for the slaughter of millions of Jews and a hero only to self-avowed racists, DNA tests apparently show that the Nazi dictator may have had Jewish and African ancestry.

Several media outlets have reported on results published last week in Knack, a magazine in Belgium.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph says that saliva samples were collected from 39 Hitler relatives:

A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews ...

Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.

Many victims of Hitler's Holocaust, like Anne Frank, were Ashkenazi.

Another British paper, The Sun, identified more of the people involved and how two of the samples were obtained:

A journalist working for a magazine in Brussels managed to get hold of a sample from Alexander Stuart-Houston, 61, a grand-nephew of Hitler living in America, after picking up a serviette he had dropped.

Reporter Jean-Paul Mulders used the services of historian Marc Vermeeren to find Hitler's Austrian cousin, a farmer called Norbert H, and 39 other distant relatives of the Fuehrer.

Norbert H apparently gave a saliva sample willingly.

"Hitler would not have been happy," said Professor Ronny Decorte in a Google translation of the Knack's web-version of the story. Decorte, a genetics expert from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (a Flemish research university), says that Hitler apparently wasn't "Aryan" -- what the Nazi would have considered "pure." But the research doesn't seem to be conclusive with respect to which groups Hitler may have descended from.

Hitler's preoccupation with ancestry -- including his own -- has caused speculation for many years. New York Daily News points out that this research could validate a historic myth:

Hitler's heritage has been called into question before, with some suggesting his grandfather was Jewish. But this is the first claim with any scientific data to support it.

Similar reports have been made against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust occurred and regularly bashes Israel.

Knack says that Russia possesses artifacts from Hitler that would contain his DNA, and that researchers could end the speculation if they were allowed to test those items.

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Filed by Adam J. Rose  |