The Myth of Hitler’s ‘Jewish Grandfather’

Adolf Hitler’s birthplace, photographed in 1938

by Martin Kerr

HITLER WAS RIGHT: The more enormous and preposterous a lie is, the quicker it captures the public’s imagination and is believed, and the harder it is to dispel.

“[S]ince the great masses of people at the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they fall more easily victim to a big lie than to a little one — since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big. Such a falsehood will never enter their heads, and they will not be able to believe the possibility in others of such monstrous effrontery and infamous misrepresentation; yes, even when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of the claims as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick.”

– Mein Kampf [1]

It is one of the cruel ironies of history, though perhaps not an unexpected one, that having exposed and denounced the technique of the Big Lie to the world, Adolf Hitler himself became the subject of a whole slew of falsehoods and calumnies.

It is not our purpose here to investigate all of the Big Lies which have been propagated about Adolf Hitler, National Socialism and the Third Reich, but rather to focus on one of the most long-lived and pernicious of these lies: that Hitler was of partially Jewish ancestry.

There are a number of variations of the “Hitler was part Jewish” myth, which generally have two things in common: Most are based on the accusation that Hitler’s paternal grandfather was a Jew, and all are thoroughly discredited by the available documentary evidence. That this charge is still repeated today is a testament to the enduring and burning hatred, which Adolf Hitler’s enemies still harbor for him, even now, decades after his death. At the same time, it is a classic example of the contempt for the truth which many anti-Hitler System historians display when discussing the National Socialist Era in Europe.

In point of fact, the Hitler family, including Adolf Hitler’s paternal grandfather, is one of unimpeachable Aryan lineage. Through the records of births, deaths and marriages kept by the Roman Catholic Church, it is possible to trace Hitler’s forebears back hundreds of years.

Adolf Hitler as a baby.

The family, which lived since time immemorial in Upper Austria, was of solid German peasant stock, and Hitler’s immediate ancestors were all either small farmers or craftsmen. (The notable exception to this, of course, was Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler, who was a commissioned official in the Austrian customs service.) The spelling and pronunciation of the family name as “Hitler” is a fairly recent development. Older versions include “Huettler” and “Hiedler,” the former being the original family name from which the other forms were derived. [2]

The sole irregularity in Hitler’s ancestry was the illegitimacy of his father. Because he was born out of wedlock, Alois Hitler bore the maiden name of his mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, for a good portion of his life. Even after his mother finally married his father, Johann Georg Hiedler, Alois retained the name Schicklgruber. Not until he was 39 years old, did he reclaim his proper family name, which he spelled and pronounced in the manner which the world has come to know: Hitler. [3]

Yet this illegitimacy in itself is not significant or even unusual. As the anti-NS historian Bradley F. Smith notes in his well-researched and generally impartial book Adolf Hitler: His Family, Childhood and Youth [1967]:

“Although illegitimacy was frowned upon by the authorities, especially the Catholic Church, it was common in the Austrian countryside. In some districts, 40 percent of births were illegitimate. The figure for Lower Austria as late as 1903 was still 24 percent. An illegitimate child in a peasant household, therefore, was not an unusual phenomenon.” [4]

Unusual or not, the illegitimacy of Alois has served as a crucial factual base for those who seek to spread the falsehood that Hitler had a Jewish grandfather.

Early Smears

As anyone who has firsthand experience in the racialist movement knows, it is common practice for the Jews themselves to attempt on occasion to discredit up-and-coming anti-Jewish personalities by spreading spurious rumors that this or that leader is really a Jew, or a homosexual, or a communist, or a government agent. Indeed, with slanders of this sort even some individuals within the racialist movement will attempt to undercut their political rivals.

Adolf Hitler was the target of such underhanded, contemptible opposition from within the Movement at least as early as July of 1921. A clique of NSDAP members who evidently felt that Hitler was not suited to lead the Party began a whisper campaign that he was of Jewish ancestry.

As is always the case in stories concerning Hitler’s allegedly Jewish ancestors, these conspirators had absolutely no documentary evidence for their claims, and relied instead on false innuendo, unfounded suspicions, and ill will. Their efforts culminated in the circulation of a leaflet by NSDAP member Ernst Ehrensperger, which read in part:

“Hitler believes the time has come to introduce disunity and dissension into our ranks at the behest of his shady backers, and thus promote the interests of Jewry and its henchmen And how is he conducting this struggle? Like a real Jew.” [5]

Although this may have been the first effort to smear Hitler in this manner, it certainly was not the last. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, those hostile to the Fuehrer propagated a number of variations of this tale, including versions that were often mutually contradictory. The London Daily Mirror futilely tried to add some substance to this lie in October 1933 by publishing a photograph of a tombstone of a Polish Jew who had borne the same name as Hitler’s. Two Jewish newspapers, Forward in the United States and Haynt in Poland, quickly took it upon themselves to spread this particular story further, the implication being that the deceased Jew was Hitler’s grandfather.

However, since this specific Jew was born in 1832, he was only five years older than Hitler’s father, which meant that he couldn’t have been the man who sired the illegitimate Alois — unless the Jew in Poland sired the Fuhrer’s father in Austria at age five.

Thus, the first “Jewish grandfather” story was laid to rest. [6]

The infamous anti-National Socialist propagandist Konrad Heiden, himself part-Jewish, also suggested in his venomous biographies of Hitler, published in 1932 and 1936, that Hitler was of Jewish descent. Although these books were highly regarded in circles hostile to the Movement, this one lie was correctly deemed too unlikely to be taken seriously and was generally dismissed. [7]

Hans Frank’s Big Lie Disproved

Strangely enough, the most persistent version of the myth was not widely publicized until 1956, long after the Fuehrer’s death, with the publication of Franz Jetzinger’s Hitler’s Jugend: Phantasien, Luegen und die Wahrheit [Hitler’s Youth: Fantasies, Lies and the Truth], Whereas previous attempts to stigmatize Hitler by accusing him of being part Jewish simply took the form of wild rumors which were as devoid of documentation as they were detached from reality, Jetzinger at least made some effort to back up his case.

Bradley Smith summarizes Jetzinger’s charges:

In the German edition of his book, Hitler’s Jugend (pp. 28-35), and especially in the later English abridgement, Hitler’s Youth (pp. 19-30), Jetzinger argues, with increasing enthusiasm, that Alois Hitler’s father was really a Jew from Graz by the name of Frankenberger.

Jetzinger’s only source for these surprising contentions is Im Angesicht des Galgens (In the Face of the Gallows), written by Hans Frank, former Nazi lawyer and Governor General of Poland, while awaiting execution at Nuremberg. In a narrative studded with demonstrable errors — in part exposed by Jetzinger’s own research –– Frank states that towards the end of 1930 he went to Austria on Hitler’s orders to investigate a threat of exposure of an alleged Jewish ancestor of the Fuehrer. In Graz, Frank claims that he learned Alois’ mother had been employed by the Jewish family Frankenberger, that she had become pregnant while in their employ, and that the family paid her support money in later years on the assumption that the child’s father was the young Frankenberger. Frank’s narrative is vague and lacks confirming evidence. He claims letters were extant to support his story, but neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to produce them.” [8]

Although it most assuredly was not his purpose in once again raising the “Jewish grandfather” allegation, Jetzinger performed in this way a valuable service to our Movement, for his accusation spurred other researchers on to determine once and for all the truth or falsity of the myth.What these researchers found, of course, was that Hans Frank was lying.

The German historian and biographer of Adolf Hitler, Werner Maser, who is somewhat less hysterical in his opposition to National Socialism and its founder than other anti-NS writers, discovered that:

“None of the Frankenbergers known to have lived in Graz could have been the  father of Alois Schicklgruber, nor does there appear to be any trace of a German Jew bearing this name or any variant thereof in the nineteenth century. Indeed, from the end of the fifteenth century until a decade after Maria Anna  Schicklgruber’s death, no Jews were residents of Graz. Under the terms of the  treaty concluded on March 19, 1496 between Emperor Maximilian I and the Styrian towns, all Jews were to be expelled from the province by January 6, 1497… Not until 1781, in the reign of Joseph II, were they allowed to re-enter the Duchy of Styria and then only for a few weeks at a time, when they were admitted to the annual fairs in Graz, Klagenfurt, Laibach and Linz against the payment of a fixed sum. But as early as September 9, 1783, the rights of the Jews were again curtailed, a measure that was reinforced by further discriminatory regulations in 1797, 1823 and 1828. This situation remained unchanged until the beginning of the 1860s.” [9]

In other words, it is simply impossible that in 1836, Adolf Hitler’s paternal grandmother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, could have become pregnant by a Jew in Graz named Frankenberger, prior to giving birth to Alois Schicklgruber/Hitler, Adolf’s father, in 1837.

Of course, the truth has seldom acted as a constraint on the more rabid anti-Hitler writers, such as Jetzinger. When, in 1956, the German magazine Der Spiegel published the results of an investigation which were the same as Maser’s findings, Jetzinger was apparently unfazed. Smith notes:

“In the English abridgement of his work, Jetzinger dismissed the Spiegel story, not by presenting new evidence, but by restating with increased emphasis that he believed Adolf Hitler’s paternal grandfather was Jewish.” [10]

It is impossible to ascertain today why Hans Frank told this unfounded and outrageous falsehood. It is clear from the confused state of his biography [11] that he suffered a mental collapse from the strain of his imprisonment and the Nuremberg kangaroo-court proceedings. One can only assume that the “Jewish grandfather” story he related was the product of this psychological debility.

It is less clear why Jetzinger so uncritically accepted Frank’s story, especially after it was factually refuted by other anti-National Socialist historians. And it is absolutely astounding that still other historians continue to this day to parrot such nonsense in the face of a wealth of solid evidence disproving it.

Anti-Hitler Writers Ignore the Evidence

For example, the System historian Robert Waite, in a book published in 1977 (some 21 years after the Spiegel investigation), relates Hans Frank’s assertion that Hitler’s paternal grandfather was Jewish, saying:

“Despite Frank’s reputation as the ‘Butcher of Poland,’ there would seem to be reason for believing his story. He wrote his memoirs as a condemned man who had converted to Catholicism. He wrote, in part, to expiate his sins. He had no apparent reason to misrepresent Hitler or to invent the story.”

Waite’s work, by the way, is entitled The Psychopathic God Adolf Hitler, the title indicating the level of historical objectivity which the author maintains throughout the book.

Others, while repeating Frank’s long-disproved charges, have been less enthusiastic about an unqualified acceptance of them. Joachim Fest, in his biography of the Fuehrer, concedes that Frank’s story is “exceedingly dubious” and that “recent research has further shaken the credibility of his statement, so that the whole notion can scarcely stand investigation.” [13] Having said this, however, Fest proceeds to speculate that Hitler himself may have believed Frank’s tall tale and that “Frank’s findings [sic] forced Hitler to doubt his own descent.” [14] It should come as no surprise that Fest produces zero evidence to back up this peculiar notion.

Perhaps the most widely read recent biography of the Fuehrer is John Toland’s Adolf Hitler [1976]. Ignoring the investigations into Frank’s story by Der Spiegel, Bradley and Maser, all of which were available to him, and spurning any personal research into the matter, Toland says that Alois Hitler’s father was

probably a man from the neighborhood. There is a slight possibility that Hitler’s grandfather was a wealthy Jew named Frankenberger or Frankenreither; that Maria Anna had been a domestic in this Jewish household in Graz and the young son had gotten her pregnant. [15]

He goes on to cite Jetzinger as one source for this story, remarking that Jetzinger’s book is “generally accurate.” It should be noted that Toland may have a personal psychological motive for wishing to believe the discredited “Jewish grandfather” tale: He himself is a race-mixer with a Japanese wife and thus may be overly eager to project his own lack of racial integrity onto others.

Yet for all their scholarly dishonesty, Waite, Fest and Toland (each of whom is at least nominally Aryan) do not begin to approach the absurd claim made by the Jewish psychologist Walter Langer.

In The Mind of Adolf Hitler (1972), he presents what is perhaps the most brazen and insulting version of the “Jewish grandfather” lie. In this “psycho-historical” analysis of Hitler’s personality, Langer relates an account of Hitler’s ancestry which maintains that his paternal grandfather was actually a member of the Rothschild family living in Vienna. He does not offer a single piece of evidence or documentation to substantiate this remarkable claim, but instead lists “several factors which seem to favor its possibility,” including:

“The intelligence and behavior of Alois [Hitler’s father], as well as that of his two sons [Adolf and Alois, Jr.], is completely out of keeping with that usually found in Austrian peasant families. Such ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition are more in keeping with the Rothschild tradition.” [16]

In other words, Hitler was too intelligent and capable to have been descended from humble Aryan peasant stock and therefore must have been part Jewish. What incredible arrogance!

We noted earlier that the very first people to spread the canard that the Fuehrer was Jewish were Hitler’s opponents within the Movement. Thus, it is sad but unsurprising that his present-day racialist critics have tried to breathe new life into this falsehood. “Direct Action,” a Canadian racialist newsletter with National Bolshevik leanings, repeated the Hans Frank accusation in December 1980. [17] It further charged that SS leader Reinhard Heydrich was also one-quarter Jewish, and declared that one of the real reasons that the traitor Gregor Strasser was executed at the time of the Rohm putsch was that he had “proof of all this.” [18] The newsletter does not explain why Hans Frank was not executed by the SS, too, if he was also in possession of this elusive “evidence.”

Lies Die Hard

Lies die hard — especially, when they are deliberately propagated by scoundrels disguised as scholars or by those who have a political axe to grind. And yet, sometimes real events lend an aura of credibility to that which is false.

The unfortunate attraction that National Socialism exerts over certain unstable, self-hating Jews and part-Jews is well known throughout the Movement. This is particularly true of the grotesque, distorted parody of true National Socialism which has been labeled “Hollywood Nazism.” Since the revival of the Movement in the early 1960s, there have been a number of Jews who have so strongly identified with the Movement that they have concealed their racial ancestry and joined our ranks. In at least three cases [19], these sick individuals have risen to positions of media prominence before having their backgrounds exposed.

In the most notable of these instances, Frank Collin/Cohn, founder of the splinter group which calls itself the National Socialist Party of America, was widely presented to the public by the media as the classic example of a “Nazi” leader who was secretly a Jew. [20]

This and similar cases only serve to reinforce the popular misconception that Hitler himself was of Jewish descent.

Insult or Compliment?

These tales are spread, of course, in the hope that they will somehow discredit Adolf Hitler, his Idea, and his Movement. National Socialists take such accusations as an insult, and rightly so.

Still, in a way, they are an unintended compliment. In the case of great men, it is quite common for Jews and others to besmirch their Aryan pedigree or reputation, or claim Aryan accomplishments as their own. Christopher Columbus was also Jewish, they would have us believe, and likewise Shakespeare was a homosexual, Beethoven a Negro and Thomas Jefferson a race-mixer. When the Jews and their lackeys raise such preposterous allegations against Adolf Hitler, we may wax indignant outwardly, but inwardly we should smile.

We should smile because we know that such accusations are totally false, and can be so proven. But we should also smile because we know, as National Socialists, that the Fuehrer’s memory belong not only to his few faithful disciples today but ultimately to the entire Aryan race. Despite the lies which are being fed to our people today, someday the truth will prevail and they will join with us in affirming that Hitler was right.


[1] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, (Manheim translation) pp. 231-232.

[2] For a good discussion of the Hitler family, and especially Adolf Hitler’s immediate antecedents, see Bradley F. Smith, Adolf Hitler: His Family, Childhood and Youth, chapters one and two, passim, Hoover Institution Publications, Stanford, California, 1967.

[3] Ibid, p. 29.

[4] Ibid, p. 20.

[5] Werner Maser, Hitler: Legend, Myth and Reality, pp. 9-10, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., English translation, New York, 1971.

[6] Ibid, p. 10.

[7] Ibid, p. 12.

[8] Smith, p. 157.

[9] Maser, p. 13. See also p. 351, f. 46.

[10] Smith, p. 159.

[11] Smith, p. 158.

[12] Robert G. L. Waite, The Psychopathic God Adolf Hitler, pp. 126-127, Basic Books: Inc., Publishers, New York,1977.

[13] Joachim C. Fest, Hitler, p. 15, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., English translation by Richard and Clara Winston, New York, 1973.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Toland, Adolf Hitler, pp. 3-4, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.

[16] Walter C. Langer, The Mind of Adolf Hitler. The Secret Wartime Report, p. 113, Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1972.

[17] “What Strasser Knew,” Direct Action, number 26, pp. 10-11, Toronto, Canada, December 1980.

[18] lbid, p. 11.

[19] Frank Collin/Cohn [discussed here], Daniel Burros [of the American Nazi Party, the National Renaissance Party and the Ku Klux Klan] and Robert Burros [of the National Renaissance Party-no relation to Daniel Burros]. There have been others, but these were the most prominent.

[20] “Immigration Records Prove Frank Collin is Jewish,” WHITE POWER, number 86, pp. 4-5, George Lincoln Rockwell Party, Inc., Arlington, Va., July-August 1978.

* * *

Source: New Order

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  1. 7 June, 2019 at 3:57 am — Reply

    I must commend Martin Kerr for taking the time to go through these history books and making them publicly accessible for the average reader (I’m presuming this was before these works were readily available online). His report is generally accurate, although the Der Spiegel article reference should be validated. He also factored in John Toland’s intermarriage, particularly a Western/Oriental mixture. Despite all his praise, Toland wasn’t without criticism for Jetzinger either. Maser also had criticism for one of Jetzinger’s claims (involving Alois Hitler’s ancestral home). Ian Kershaw, who goes unmentioned, actually has some good critique to offer on Jetzinger.

    • 7 June, 2019 at 8:49 pm — Reply

      Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I have now updated my original article to include more recent material. I will add a full citation for the Der Spiegel article – after I have tracked it down!

  2. 7 June, 2019 at 10:21 pm — Reply

    The ultimate proof was the DNA test conducted at the instigation of Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders in 2008, who was trying to determine whether Frenchman Jean Loret was Hitler’s illegitimate son. The indirect consequence of that investigation was the proof that Adolf Hitler’s father had the same y-chromosome — the same patrilineal ancestry — as other Hitlers, Hiedlers, and Hüttlers.

    Precisely two years later there was an attempt to muddle the issue.

  3. Holyphonic
    8 June, 2019 at 3:33 am — Reply

    Great article.

    Still, my response to whenever someone who hates him pulls the “HiTLeR wUz paRt JeWiSH!!” card, is to feign ignorance and say, “Why are you such an anti-semite?”

  4. Lars Emilsson
    11 June, 2019 at 7:24 am — Reply

    Thank you, Martin Kerr, for your thorough and carefully articulated research. Though many in the WN movement believe that the truth about Adolf Hitler should not be a primary focus of our efforts, I believe otherwise. Your work is vitally important and much appreciated. My anger toward those, both Whites and jews, who have visciously attacked this great leader of our Folk runs deep and black, and my humble endeavor at this stage is to channel its energy into wise and righteous action.

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