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Getting to Know the Hitlers

Right up there with "Who did Cain from the Bible marry after Abel died?" (hint: it was one of his sisters), the question of "What happened to Hitler's descendants (if there are any)?" has dogged historians for decades. No more; a Telegraph piece delves into the English side of Hitler's family, revealing details heretofore unknown. What I found most interesting was how the article discusses the troublesome enterprise of living with such an infamous name, and the pact the Hitler brothers made to ensure that the Hitler blood line would die out. But on top of all that is the process by which the author, David Gardner, was able to get all the information:

I was about to ask [William Patrick Hitler's] widow the question she had been dreading for 50 years: "Is your real name Mrs Hitler?"

I knew William Patrick would not be answering the door. I had just been to visit his grave, a 20-minute drive away, at the closest Roman Catholic cemetery, where I was given the name and address of his widow, Phyllis. The music stopped and a tall, elegantly-dressed woman peered from behind the screen and spoke with a distinct German accent. Even from behind the grey mesh I could tell the reason for my visit was already dawning on her. She must have envisaged this very conversation countless times over the years.

"Perhaps we will talk about it when the boys are older," she said. "We were married a long time and my husband never wanted anyone to know who he was. Now my sons don't want anything to do with it. It was all too long ago. There has been enough trouble with this name."

Despite my polite attempts to persuade her to tell me more, she was adamant she did not want to talk about her extraordinary family secret. It was only when I drove slowly away from the house that I realised the implications of what Phyllis had told me; that the Hitler line did not die out with William Patrick Hitler when he died in 1987, aged 76. It lived on through her sons. From that first, short conversation with William Patrick's widow through subsequent dealings with her family over a period of three years for my book, The Last of the Hitlers, and a Channel 5 documentary, set to be screened on February 4, I have kept a pledge not to reveal the name adopted by the Hitler family in New York, nor the town where they live.

Hit the Link to read the rest of this article.

Leah: Right you are! Apparently some wires got crossed in my brain and I ended up believing that this was more recent. Apologies to everyone if this is old news to you - I have edited out the "recent" modifier in my post.
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Know you just used the "cain's wife" as a starter and it's not the subject of the piece but... the bible doesn't suggest that "adam & eve" are the only parents of "mankind"...(religious interpretation does). Old time religion doesn't distinguish between the 6th day creation and the 8th day creation. The "adam" and eve written of were the progenitors of Christ, hence all those boring lineages given even up to the New testament. Cain's wife was of another lineage obviously.
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What was odd was the wording of the question: "Who did Cain marry after Abel died?"

So if Abel had lived, Cain would have married him?

Oh, yeah, the Hitlers, whatever.
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All the talk of them "really" having the Hitler surname and carrying on his genes...

If the name Hitler is not on any of their marriage or birth certificates, why identify so strongly with it as their "true" name? Why say there's an "Adolf Hitler" out there if that's not the name he uses or is officially identified by? (Actually, why name the eldest son Adolf in the first place?)

And the sons aren't directly descended from THE Hitler, nor would there be anything inherently "bad" about their genes [even if they were his sons] that not having children should seem logical to them. People are funny creatures with all their bloodline mysticism.
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That would be an awful name to have. I can understand why you'd want to change it.

Still, I don't really see why they'd end the bloodline on purpose. I'm sure not ALL the Hitler genes are bad. There are distant cousins to consider (and Hitler wasn't even a "real" Hitler; his father took the name, probably because it sounded better than Schicklgruber).

Besides, it's how you use what you've got that counts. Imagine if Hitler had used his power for good instead of evil...
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I think that less literal readings of the Bible generally don't involve Cain marrying his sister. According to the footnotes in the Oxford Annotated Bible, the narrative about Cain and Abel Chapter 4 of Genesis was likely based on a Babylonian narrative that has no connection to the Babylonian narratives that the rest of the first few chapters of Genesis were based on. (Funny how I never heard about that in Sunday school.)
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I understand why they would end the bloodline on purpose, and it has nothing to do with genetics, in a scientific sense at least (the idea that the specific behavior of Hitlerian evil is capable of being coded in DNA is nonsense).

Suppose three or four generations down the line, an inheritor of the bloodline becomes involved in fascist ideology. The credibility (among neo-Nazis) conferred by the name might be enough to launch the career of someone who believes he has the "Hitler magic" within him. Given the Nazi's obsession with racial mysticism, it conceivable that they would embrace such a character as a sort of reincarnation of Der Fuhrer.

So I view the choice not to reproduce as an honorable effort to guard future generations. Though if they chose otherwise, I would also understand (they are humans, and within all of our DNA is the potential for great good and great evil).
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So I view the choice not to reproduce as an honorable effort to guard future generations.

They'd be better off having kids and instilling them with good, noble qualities, then. Genes don't make someone a Nazi or any other kind of fascist. And even if by chance some descendant of theirs got into fascism (and was aware of their genetic heritage--why pass that knowledge on?) they'd still be the leader of a group of detested outcasts. Who cares if Neo-Nazis think someone's the bee's knees? They don't matter in the grand scheme of things; if someday Nazis should have power, well... dictators aren't spawned from the aether... social conditions would have to be in very bad shape, in which case it would just be someone else stepping up to the role. It's still just bad, silly, superstitious logic.
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If I were a Hitler -- a legitimate heir, I'd claim all that money in Hitler's bank account and donate it to various charities. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard somewhere that he still has a Swiss bank account with more than a billion dollars in it.
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If you bothered to read my post in its entirety, you would have known that I am already in agreement with you that genes do not lead to Nazism.

As I understand your argument, should conditions favorable to Nazism come about, any number of people might become a Nazi leader, therefore the efforts of the Hitler family are hopelessly in vain.

Perhaps; I don't suppose they believe they are forestalling the possibility, only helping modify conditions that might bring about such a scenario. You mention deteriorating social conditions. Certainly these would be part of recipe, but a glance at the historical record of fascist and revolutionary movements show that other "conditions", namely human factors such as organizational ability and the efficacy of propaganda also play a determining role. While we both may find the bloodline theory superstitious, its propaganda value as a morale booster is indisputable. Movements are energized by figures who can project the mantle of legitimacy.

Disagree with the family if you will, but I'd hope you agree that the choice to reproduce is a personal decision that rests ultimately with them alone. Many people choose to be childless; this overpopulated world is at no great loss because one family decided otherwise.
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I don't believe that being related to Hitler makes someone inherently evil, or prone to it. However, consider what these people must have to go through knowing that their relative was the very personification of evil in the modern world? Can you blame them for wanting to remain childless and out of the limelight?
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Oh yeah, imagine if *you* were related to some blood-thirsty psychopath, like you almost certainly all are. I mean, you're here, you lived, which means you are all related to killers and psychopaths, otherwise you'd be dead, or rather, unborn. These people are just a little more closely related to a very well known psychopath or sociopath.
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