RELIGION
04/05/2014 10:54 am ET | Updated Apr 07, 2014

Adolf Hitler May Have 'Unwittingly Married A Jew' When He Wed Eva Braun

Adolf Hitler may have "unwittingly" married a Jewish woman when he wed his mistress, Eva Braun, hours before his death in 1945, at least according to a new documentary.

Braun is the focus of UK's Channel 4 documentary titled "Dead Famous DNA," in which DNA from the relics of famous historical figures is extracted and analyzed to help solve mysteries associated with them. A DNA analysis was conducted on hair samples from a brush monogrammed "E.B." that was found at the end of World War II at Hitler's Alpine residence by an American intelligence officer. The brush allegedly belonged to Braun and DNA analysis purportedly showed it "contained the hair of someone who could have had Jewish ancestry," specifically Ashkenazi Jew ancestry, according to Channel 4.

80% of the world’s Jewish population is Ashkenazi, descended from medieval Jews who lived in central Europe, having first settled in The Rhineland. 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.

The son of the American officer who found the brush sold it to a relics dealer after his father's death. That dealer then sold the hair to a hair dealer. Channel 4 purchased eight strands for $2,000. The network attempted to prove the hair was from Braun by getting a DNA sample from two of her surviving female relatives, but the women refused.

Channel 4 came under fire last month after paying thousands of dollars for a lock of Hitler's hair to Holocaust denier David Irving, the UK's Mirror reported. The stunt was called "tawdry" and "disgusting."

Still, this is not the first time Braun's background has come into question.

Hitler met Braun in 1929 at the shop of his personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, according to Eva Braun: Life With Hitler by German historian Heike B. Görtemaker. She was 17 years old at the time; he was 40. "Hitler had her family investigated for Jewish taint," the New York Times noted. She was determined to be of pure Aryan descent.

They married on April 29, 1945, in his Berlin bunker. On April 30, 1945, after hearing about the assassination of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Hitler and Braun committed suicide. Their bodies were burned.

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