Adolf Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis conducted for a TV documentary.
The Channel 4 programme will claim that Eva Braun, the lover whom the Nazi leader married shortly before they both killed themselves in 1945, was possibly of Jewish ancestry.
The Dead Famous DNA film – to be screened on Wednesday – tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Braun and discovered at Hitler’s mountain retreat.
The führer, behind the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, was 23 years older than his lover – who fell in love with him when she was a teenager – and so worried the relationship would affect his image that he kept her largely hidden away at his Alpine residence, the Berghof.
A team of scientists examined the hair – sourced by presenter Mark Evans – and they found a particular sequence within the DNA, which had been passed down the maternal line – the haplogroup N1b1 – which the channel said was “strongly associated” with Ashkenazi Jews, who make up 80 per cent of the global Jewish population. Many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism in the 19th century.
Evans said: “This is a thought-provoking outcome – I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result.”
Although the programme-makers said the provenance of the hair was strong, the only way to prove it was from Braun would have been to take a DNA swab from one of her two surviving female descendants, but both refused when approached.