Was Hitler Jewish? For someone so obsessed with “ethnic cleansing” and ancestry, Hitler was quite vague about his own descent. In the years following the war, and the ascent of Freudian psychoanalysis in the mid-twentieth century, many rumors circulated that Hitler might have been related to the very people he despised and persecuted; it was a form of self loathing and projection that sadly culminated in the nearly-successful attempt to destroy those people he hated to belong to.

However, none of these rumors have been proven true beyond doubt. Hitler was definitely not a Jew in the true sense of word, but there is a faint possibility that one of his ancestors might have been Jewish.

Was Hitler Jewish? Paternal Grandfather Theory

The identity of Hitler’s paternal grandfather is not known, because Hitler’s father has been registered as an illegitimate child. Hans Frank, a former Nazi official stated that Hitler’s grandmother used to work as a housekeeper for a Jewish family named Frankenberger, in Graz. He claimed that Alois, Hitler’s father, was the result of a sexual relationship with Leopold Frankenberger, the family’s 19-year old son. With further investigation, no records of the existence of a Leopold Frankenberger in Graz have been found, causing historians to dismiss this theory.

Was Hitler Jewish? DNA Test Theory

The Daily Telegraph, a British paper reported in 2010 on a DNA study that was conducted on 39 known relatives of Hitler. Samples showed that these family members of the Fuhrer had a chromosome that is not commonly found in Western Europe. Apparently 18 to 20 percent of carriers of this chromosome (Haplogroup E1b1b1) are Ashkenazi Jews, making this scientific study largely inconclusive. DNA tests of hair found on the hair brush Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress) also pointed to the same chromosome, suggesting that she, too, may have had Jewish ancestry.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Adolph Hitler. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the life of Adolph Hitler.