Does it matter that Hitler had traces of Jewish ancestry?

Debra Flax

It has long been suspected that Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party and voice behind the extermination of 11 million “misfit” people, was a descendant of Jewish stock. The simple story goes that Adolf’s papa, Alois, was the illegitimate offspring of a young maid named Maria Schickelgruber and a 19 year-old Jewish man named Frankenberger.

Scandalous? Yes. True? Possibly. Still, many believed that the story was just a story that made Hitler look even more foolish. Depending, of course, on that being possible.

Earlier this week, however, Belgium’s Knack Magazine reported that after tracking down and DNA testing 39 relatives of the Fuhrer, both in Europe and the United States, a chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 showed up in the family samples. The chromosome, which is rare in Western Europe, is most common in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and is one of the major founding lineages of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

Ha! … I mean, hmm, very interesting.

Not only was the man most likely related to the people he hated most, but the results showed the outlying possibility that he could have just as well had African ancestors.

During his initial years in power, Hitler ordered the deaths of nearly 5 million assorted persons who did not fit the Aryan model (e.g. blacks, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally challenged, the physically handicapped, etc). He did this to bide his time while developing his complete answer to the German problem of the Jews, believing they were truly to blame for the downfall of the Fatherland.

This new information now makes me wonder what the impetus really was behind his overly fervid plan to terminate the entire Jewish population. Had he known, it would make sense that the Final Solution proposer would want to cloud his questionable ancestry.

Can you imagine how embarrassing that would have been at the office Monday?

“Hey guys. Um, great job. Stellar, really. Turns out I might be one of them, but, uh, just keep doing what you’re doing. Heil me!”

Yep. I could have seen that meeting going real well.

In all seriousness, though, how could he have been that worried about his bloodline when he outwardly lacked the Aryan ideal he profusely defined anyway? Brown hair, brown eyes, short, weak and in the developing stages of both syphilis and Parkinson’s Disease. He was the poster child for what not to be in a perfect Germany.

I’m quite sure there were those who doubted his ancestry and were shot accordingly. The guy had nothing to worry about.

One commenter on the article wrote, “Boy, the neo-Nazis will be pissed. I’d LOVE to hear what they have to say for themselves and their Jewish-lined idol now that science is in the picture.”

Following that response was a young man who said, “Just goes to show that the worst kind of hatred is self-hatred.”

As reported by an article in Britain’s Telegraph, the Hitler DNA study came out just days after powerful winds and rain tore down the 150 year-old chestnut tree that gave hope to Anne Frank while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. Though she was captured with her family in 1944 and eventually died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March, 1945, Frank and her tree were immortalized in her world-read diary published by her father after the war.

In a moment of mixed sadness for the lost symbol of hope and amusing irony for Hitler’s overdue circumcision, I read through the comments at the bottom of the page. I then stumbled across a posted statement that shattered both my blues and chuckles, replacing them with straight up fear.

“This bullsh-t study is about as pointless as that f—ing Ann Jewberger’s tree falling. Jewish blood or not, Hitler had the right idea. Just wish he were around to finish the job.”

Now isn’t that lovely?

The comment, thankfully marked as offensive, was quickly removed. What bugs me, though, is that it was there and believed in the first place. Definitely a scary thought, not only for a Jew, but also for anyone who recognizes how damaging that kind of loathing can be in our society.

As “up yours”-inducing as the study may be, it really doesn’t matter whether Hitler had traces of Jewish roots in his lineage. It doesn’t take back what he did or what he started. It won’t give life back to the six million Jews or the five million other individuals. And it obviously won’t make a difference to those who already have hate in their heart.

So, Hitler might be kin. It’s not like I had room for him at my Sabbath table anyway.

Debra Flax is a junior majoring in journalism. Her column runs on Thursdays.