What happened to Hitler’s property?

What happened to Hitler’s property?

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As a young man, Hitler was a struggling artist who had little money and spent time living in hostels. He fought in World War I then became active in the recently formed Nazi Party. Following the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, in which Hitler and his Nazi cohorts launched a failed coup against the Bavarian government, he was sent to prison for treason. While serving his time in 1924 (he ended up spending less than a year behind bars), Hitler penned the first volume of “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”), his political manifesto. Published in two volumes in the mid-1920s, the anti-Semitic treatise grew increasingly popular as its author rose to power. After Hitler became German chancellor in 1933, every newlywed couple in the nation received a free copy of “Mein Kampf” (municipalities had to purchase the book from its publisher). By 1945, sales of “Mein Kampf” topped 10 million copies and the royalties had made the dictator rich.

After the war, the Allies gave the “Mein Kampf” copyright to the Bavarian government, which banned any reprinting of the work in Germany. When the European copyright expired on December 31, 2015, “Mein Kampf” entered the public domain. Hitler’s assets also included a home in the Bavarian Alps, called the Berghof, and an apartment in Munich, both of which were transferred to the state of Bavaria following the war. The mountain retreat had been damaged by bombs and looted by soldiers at the end of the conflict. In 1952, what remained of the Berghof was blown up by the Bavarian government in order to prevent the site from becoming a tourist attraction. The Fuhrer’s former apartment building is still standing and now houses a police station.

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 and grew up in Braunau am Inn, a small Austrian village on the border with Germany. [1] His family was rather poor and three of his siblings —Gustav, Ida, and Otto— died in infancy due to common childhood diseases. [2] Hitler's father, Alois, unsuccessfully tried to establish a farm, and his wife, Klara, was a housewife. [3] In 1913, Hitler received legacies from his deceased relatives and decided to move to Munich, a large German city located in Bavaria. [4]

Once in Munich, Hitler lived a Bohemian life alongside his childhood friend August Kubizek. [5] The two shared a room rented from a local tailor. Hitler painted pictures, watercolors and copied postcards and sold them to tourists for a small profit. [5] In 1907, he applied to join Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts, but was rejected due to a "lack of talent". [6] In 1908, Hitler tried again, but was once again rejected. [6] Shortly afterwards, Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live in homeless shelters and men's hostels. [4]

Hitler wrote his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") in Landsberg prison while serving a sentence for high treason committed during the failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. [4] Mein Kampf was printed by the Franz Eher Nachfolger publishing house and largely ignored at first, but sales began to boom in the late 1920s and early 1930s as economic depression and social unrest troubled Germany, factors which significantly boosted Hitler's popularity. [7] After Hitler came to power in 1933, couples who married during the Nazi state were given a copy as a wedding gift. [7] The book eventually became a best-seller within Nazi Germany, selling almost twelve million copies by the war's end. [8]

While hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic had crippled the German economy and plunged millions of German workers into unemployment, Hitler and his party received lavish donations from wealthy benefactors at home and abroad. [7] The iconic American car maker and anti-Semite Henry Ford was reported to be one of the foreign supporters. [7] Edwin and Helene Bechstein, part of a rich aristocratic family who sold pianos, supported Hitler financially. [7] The Ruhr steel barons Fritz Thyssen and Gustav Krupp donated almost five million Reichsmarks to the Nazi Party over the course of the war. [7]

Much of the party's income from donations was used to pay for Hitler's private projects, such as the Berghof and Eagle's Nest. [7] He caused a minor controversy within leading elements of the party when he, in 1925, purchased a luxury Mercedes-Benz and a chauffeur to drive it for a total expenditure of 20,000 Reichsmarks. [7] After examining Hitler's tax records from the Bavarian State Archives in Munich, economics journalist Wolfgang Zdral said, "He's driving a Mercedes, which cost incredible amounts of money at the time, can afford to go on travels and has enough money to finance his propaganda appearances. All of this is financed through a system of slush-funds, essentially the donation of larger and smaller benefactors". [7]

Throughout his rise to power, Hitler neglected to pay taxes on his income and allowances. [9] In 1934, one year after becoming Chancellor, the tax office of Munich sent Hitler a fine of 405,494 Reichmarks for failing to declare his income or file tax returns. [7] He was given only eight days to pay off this debt. [7] The new Chancellor responded by ordering a state secretary of the ministry of finance to intervene, which resulted in Hitler becoming tax-free. The head of the Munich tax office declared, "all tax reports delivering substance for a tax obligation by the Führer are annulled from the start. The Führer is therefore tax-exempt". [7] After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler took over his office and claimed his salary as well. [7]

In his last will and testament, Hitler left his entire estate to the German government, "what I own, as far as it is worth anything, belongs to the party. Should this no longer exist, the German state. Should the state also be destroyed, there is no need for a further decision on my part". [7]


Early life Edit

Stuart-Houston was born William Patrick Hitler in the Toxteth area of Liverpool on 12 March 1911, the son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler Jr. and his Irish wife Bridget Dowling. The couple met in Dublin when Alois was living there during 1909 they married in London's Marylebone district in 1910 and relocated back to Liverpool. [1] The family lived in a flat at 102 Upper Stanhope Street, which was later destroyed during the last German air raid of the Liverpool Blitz on 10 January 1942. Dowling wrote a manuscript titled My Brother-in-Law Adolf, in which she claimed that Adolf had lived in Liverpool with her from November 1912 to April 1913 in order to avoid conscription in Austria. The book is largely considered a work of fiction, as Adolf was actually residing in the Meldemannstraße dormitory in Vienna at the time. [2] [3]

In 1914, Alois left Bridget and their son for a gambling tour of Europe. He later returned to Germany. Unable to rejoin his family due to the outbreak of World War I, he abandoned them, leaving William to be brought up by his mother. He remarried bigamously, but wrote to Bridget during the mid-1920s to ask her to send William to Germany's Weimar Republic for a visit. She finally agreed in 1929, when William was 18. By this time, Alois had another son named Heinz with his German wife. Heinz, in contrast to William, became a committed Nazi, joined the Wehrmacht, and died in Soviet captivity in 1942.

Nazi Germany Edit

In 1933, William returned to what had become Nazi Germany in an attempt to benefit from his half-uncle's growing power. Adolf, who was now chancellor, found him a job at the Reichskreditbank in Berlin, a job that he held for most of the 1930s. He later worked at an Opel automobile factory and as a car salesman. Dissatisfied with these jobs, he again asked his half-uncle for a better job, writing to him with blackmail threats of selling embarrassing stories about the family to the newspapers unless his "personal circumstances" improved. [ citation needed ]

In 1938, Adolf asked William to relinquish his British citizenship in exchange for a high-ranking job. Suspecting a trap, William fled Nazi Germany and again tried to blackmail his uncle with threats. This time, William threatened to tell the press that Adolf's alleged paternal grandfather was actually a Jewish merchant. He returned to London, where he wrote the article "Why I Hate My Uncle" for Look magazine. [4] He allegedly returned to Germany for a brief period in 1938. [ citation needed ] It is unknown exactly what William's role in late-1930s Germany was.

Immigration to the United States Edit

In January 1939, the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst brought William and his mother to the United States for a lecture tour. [5] He and his mother were stranded when World War II began. After making a special request to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, William was eventually approved to join the United States Navy in 1944 he relocated to the Sunnyside neighbourhood of Queens, New York. William was drafted into the United States Navy during World War II as a pharmacist's mate (a designation later changed to hospital corpsman) until he was discharged in 1947. On reporting for duty, the induction officer asked his name. He replied, "Hitler." Thinking he was joking, the officer replied, "Glad to see you, Hitler. My name's Hess." William was wounded in action during the war and awarded the Purple Heart. [4]

Later life Edit

After being discharged from the Navy, William changed his surname to "Stuart-Houston". In 1947, he married Phyllis Jean-Jacques, who had been born in Germany in the mid-1920s. [6] After their relationship began, William and Phyllis, along with Bridget, tried to live a life of anonymity in the United States. They moved to Patchogue, New York, where William used his medical training to establish a business that analyzed blood samples for hospitals. His laboratory, which he called Brookhaven Laboratories (no relation to Brookhaven National Laboratory), was located in his home, a two-story clapboard house at 71 Silver Street. [7]

The family's story and Bridget's memoirs were first published by Michael Unger in the Liverpool Daily Post in 1973. Unger also edited Bridget Dowling's memoirs, which were first published as The Memoirs of Bridget Hitler in 1979 a completely updated version, titled The Hitlers of Liverpool, was published in 2011.

Beryl Bainbridge's 1978 novel Young Adolf depicts the alleged 1912–13 visit to his Liverpool relatives by a 23-year-old Adolf Hitler. Bainbridge adapted the story into a play as The Journal of Bridget Hitler with director Philip Saville, [8] which was broadcast as a Playhouse (BBC 2) in 1981. [9]

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's 1989 comic book The New Adventures of Hitler is likewise based on the alleged Liverpool visit.

In October 2005, The History Channel broadcast a one-hour documentary titled Hitler's Family, in which William Patrick Hitler is described along with other relatives of Adolf Hitler.

Netflix aired a documentary titled The Pact: Le serment des Hitler (2014), directed by Emmanuel Amara, which was billed as a retracing of the life of Hitler, and an exploration of "what became of the Hitler family line. [10]

William Patrick Hitler was portrayed in the sketch "Willy Hitler Fights the Germans" in the 19 June 2018 episode of the American Comedy Central television series Drunk History, which aired as the eighth episode of that show's eighth season. [11]

Jewish property seizures

As they invaded and occupied the nations of Europe, the Nazis raided local economies and seized anything of value. No group lost as much as the Jews. Hitler’s Final Solution was not just an act of genocide, it was also a campaign of organised theft. The Nazis carried out a program of Jewish property seizures that stripped European Jews of billions of dollars worth of cash, housing, businesses and personal belongings.


These Jewish property seizures were ideologically driven, designed to eradicate the economic influence of Jews while contributing the war effort – but greed also played its part, with plenty of Jewish wealth finding its way into the hands of corrupt Nazis officers and supporters.

Placing a figure on the amount stolen from Jews between 1933 and 1945 is impossible. Even the more conservative estimates begin at $US8 billion. The vast majority of this stolen property was privately owned by individual Jews and Jewish families.

In many cases, Jewish property stolen by the Nazi regime or their collaborators was never returned and no compensation was ever forthcoming.

Commercial pressure

The seizure of Jewish property began in Nazi German prior to World War II. Under Hitler’s rule, German Jews were subjected to a range of pressures intended to force them to surrender or sell their property to non-Jews.

The Sturmabteilung (SA) ran boycott and picketing campaigns targeting Jewish businesses that reduced their customers, sales and revenue. The Nazis exerted pressure on suppliers or wholesalers that left many Jewish businesses without stock. From 1936, the allocation of raw materials was regulated by the Nazi regime, which naturally denied them to Jewish companies. Nazis and Nazi sympathisers in local government often raised rates and rentals on Jewish stores and offices.

These pressures made many Jewish businesses unviable, so thousands ran at a loss or slipped into bankruptcy. When Hitler came to power in January 1933 there were around 100,000 Jewish-owned businesses registered in Germany. Within five years, around two-thirds of these businesses had either closed or been transferred to non-Jewish ownership.

Demands for stronger action

By 1938, many in the Nazi Party were demanding even stronger action. They wanted the complete Aryanisation of German business and the extraction of Jews from the economic life of Germany. Jewish property, they argued, should be seized and put to use for the nation.

Some, like party official and Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, wanted Jewish property given directly to Nazi Party members:

“The transfer of Jewish businesses to German hands gives the Party the opportunity to proceed with a healthy policy… It is the Party’s duty of honour to support Party comrades who, because of their membership, have suffered economic disadvantages and to help them achieve an independent livelihood… It is the Party’s duty to ensure that the Jew does not receive an inappropriately high purchase price. In this way, Jewry will make reparation for part of the damage that it has done to the German people.”

‘Aryanisation’ of Jewish property

In 1938, the Nazi government moved to hasten and complete the ‘Aryanisation of Jewish property’. In April a decree issued by Nazi leader Hermann Goering ordered Jews to compile and submit details of all private property valued at in excess of 5,000 Reichsmarks.

Across Germany, Jews were required to fill out a comprehensive inventory and lodge it with the government before the end of June. Some did so with indifference – like the conductor Victor Klemperer, who said that “We have become so used to living in this condition of lost rights… that it hardly disturbs us any more”.

These inventories compiled under the April 1938 decree would be used to compile a ‘register of Jewish wealth’. Similar requirements were enacted in Nazified Austria and, later, in occupied Europe.

The ‘flight tax’

Businesses that remained in Jewish hands also came under increased pressure during 1938. In March, the Nazi regime decreed that it would no longer sign contracts or do business with any Jewish-owned company. Jewish businesses were denied public contracts, tax incentives, access to government services, raw materials and foreign exchange.

Finding it impossible to operate, these businesses either closed down, changed hands or – in the case of large corporations – voted out Jewish directors and stockholders. In June and July 1938, Jewish stores in several German cities including Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Hanover were attacked, picketed and daubed with insults and Stars of David, severely affecting their trade.

Another significant avenue of Jewish property confiscation was the Reichsfluchtsteuer, or ‘Reich Flight Tax’. As the name suggests, this law required Jews fleeing Germany to pay a substantial levy before they were granted permission to leave.

The flight tax was not an invention of the Nazis it was passed by the Weimar Republic in 1931 to prevent Germany from being drained of gold, cash reserves and capital. But the Nazi regime expanded and increased the flight tax considerably, revising the law six times during the 1930s. In 1934, it was increased to 25% of domestic wealth, payable in cash or gold. Further amendments in 1938 required emigrating Jews to leave most of their cash in a Gestapo-controlled bank.

The Reichsfluchtsteuer generated enormous amounts for the Nazi regime. In its first year of operation (1932) it had raised less than one million Reichsmarks of government revenue – but by 1938, this amount had skyrocketed to more than 342 million Reichsmarks.

After Kristallnacht

The most significant pre-war confiscation of Jewish property followed the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938. The government held Jews responsible for this violence and ‘fined’ the Jewish population a total of one billion Reichsmarks. This amount was to be paid with cash or through the requisitioning of other portable wealth, such as gold, gemstones and jewellery.

On November 12th, Hermann Goering passed the Decree Excluding Jews from German Economic Life, which effectively banned Jews from conducting any form of retail business. Thousands of Jewish shops and stores, which had held out against earlier pressures, were now obliged to close.

A further decree on the ‘utilisation of Jewish property’ in December set time limits for the sale, transfer or winding up of Jewish companies. The few Jews who still owned businesses were besieged by non-Jews, many of them government insiders, offering to purchase them for extortionate prices. Intimidation and blackmail were often used there were reports of the SS threatening deportation to Dachau or other labour camps for those who refused to sell. When the deadline expired, any businesses still in Jewish hands were confiscated by the government and put up for public auction.

Beneficiaries of property seizures

The majority of seized Jewish property was remitted to the Nazi government, either through taxes or confiscations – but a large amount was also siphoned off to individuals in the SS and other Nazi agencies.

While the official Nazi position was that Jewish property belonged to the state, there was a strong view that it should also be redistributed among the German people or (as suggested by Martin Bormann above) to loyal Nazi Party members. Many Nazi bureaucrats and SS officers, filled with this sense of self-entitlement, breached government regulations to line their pockets with Jewish wealth.

This corruption was worse in occupied Europe, where there was less oversight and the SS tended to act as a law unto itself. Many high-ranking Nazis moved into palatial homes confiscated from wealthy Jews. SS officers responsible for administering Reich finances, government contracts and confiscated Jewish property benefited from bribes, backhanders and ‘skimming’.

In 1943, Heinrich Himmler claimed that the SS had cleansed Europe of its Jews without stealing a penny – but this was far from the case.

“When it came to robbing the Jews, very little was missed. Jewish bank accounts, insurance policies, securities, jewellery, property, businesses, pensions, art wine, book, manuscript and stamp collections were all catalogued, accounted for and redistributed. Clothes, shoes, hats, household and business goods were even utilised for resale, state use – or simply collected for museum exhibits, all dedicated to an extinct culture, according to Nazi assertive belief.
Gregg J. Rickman, historian

1. From 1933 Jewish business owners were subjected to Nazi pressures to sell or relinquish control to Aryans.

2. The process of ‘Aryanisation’ increased in 1938 with the state passing decrees to ‘eliminate Jews from economic life’.

3. In late 1938 Jews were banned from owning or operating retail businesses, which were sold or surrendered cheaply.

4. Jews were also stripped of personal wealth by the Nazi ‘flight tax’ and a hefty ‘fine’ imposed after Kristallnacht.

5. More than $8 billion of Jewish property was stolen between 1933-45, either by the Nazi regime or corrupt individuals.

Citation information
Title: “Jewish property seizures”
Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson
Publisher: Alpha History
URL: https://alphahistory.com/holocaust/jewish-property-seizures/
Date published: August 4, 2020
Date accessed: June 23, 2021
Copyright: The content on this page may not be republished without our express permission. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use.

Hitler’s place in history

At the turn of the 21st century more books had been written about Hitler since his death than about Napoleon during the half-century after the latter’s demise. Time and distance from the events of World War II have also affected the historical interpretation of Hitler.

There is a general consensus about his historical importance (a term that does not imply a positive judgment). Hitler was principally, and alone, responsible for starting World War II. (This was different from the various responsibilities of rulers and of statesmen who had unleashed World War I). His guilt for the implementation of the Holocaust—that is, the shift of German policy from the expulsion to the extermination of Jews, including eventually Jews of all of Europe and of European Russia, is also obvious. Although there exists no single document of his order to that effect, Hitler’s speeches, writings, reports of discussions with associates and foreign statesmen, and testimony by those who carried out the actions have often been cited as evidence of his role. Many of his most violent statements were recorded by his minions during his “Table Talks” (including the not entirely authentic “Bormann remarks” of February–April 1945). For example, on January 30, 1939, to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his rule, Hitler told the Reichstag: “Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more in a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the Earth and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”

In his final will and testament, written just before his suicide in April 1945, he charged the Germans to continue the struggle against the Jews: “Above all, I enjoin the government and the people to uphold the race laws to the limit and to resist mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international Jewry.”

Despite the immense mass of surviving German documents (and the large volume of his recorded speeches and other statements) Hitler was, as he himself said on a few occasions, a secretive man and some of his views and decisions differed at times from his public expressions.

For a long time historians and other commentators took it for granted that Hitler’s wishes and ambitions and ideology were clearly (and frighteningly) set forth in Mein Kampf. In the first, autobiographical, portion of Mein Kampf, however, he twisted the truth in at least three matters: his relationship to his father (which was very different from the filial affection he had set forth in Mein Kampf) the conditions of his life in Vienna (which were less marked by abject poverty than he had stated) and the crystallization of his worldview, including his anti-Semitism, during his Vienna years (the evidence now suggests that this crystallization occurred much later, in Munich).

The popular view of Hitler often involves assumptions about his mental health. There has been a tendency to attribute madness to Hitler. Despite the occasional evidences of his furious outbursts, Hitler’s cruelties and his most extreme expressions and orders suggest a cold brutality that was fully conscious. The attribution of madness to Hitler would of course absolve him from his responsibility for his deeds and words (as it also absolves the responsibility of those who are unwilling to think further about him). Extensive researches of his medical records also indicate that, at least until the last 10 months of his life, he was not profoundly handicapped by illness (except for advancing symptoms of Parkinson disease). What is indisputable is that Hitler had a certain tendency to hypochondria that he ingested vast amounts of medications during the war and that as early as 1938 he convinced himself that he would not live long—which may have been a reason for speeding up his timetable for conquest at that time. It should also be noted that Hitler possessed mental abilities that were denied by some of his earlier critics: these included an astonishing memory for certain details and an instinctive insight into his opponents’ weaknesses. Again, these talents increase, rather than diminish, his responsibility for the many brutal and evil actions he ordered and committed.

His most amazing achievement was his uniting the great mass of the German (and Austrian) people behind him. Throughout his career his popularity was larger and deeper than the popularity of the National Socialist Party. A great majority of Germans believed in him until the very end. In this respect he stands out among almost all of the dictators of the 19th and 20th centuries, which is especially impressive when we consider that the Germans were among the best-educated peoples in the 20th century. There is no question that the overwhelming majority of the German people supported Hitler, though often only passively. Their trust in him was greater than their trust in the Nazi hierarchy. Of course, what contributed to this support were the economic and social successes, for which he fully took credit, during his early leadership: the virtual disappearance of unemployment, the rising prosperity of the masses, the new social institutions, and the increase of German prestige in the 1930s—achievements unparalleled in the histories of other modern totalitarian dictatorships. In spite of the spiritual and intellectual progenitors of some of his ideas there is no German national leader to whom he may be compared. In sum, he had no forerunners—another difference between him and other dictators.

By 1938 Hitler had made Germany the most powerful and feared country in Europe (and perhaps in the world). He achieved all of this without war (and there are now some historians who state that had he died in 1938 before the mass executions began, he would have gone down in history as the greatest statesman in the history of the German people). In fact, he came very close to winning the war in 1940 but the resistance of Britain (personified by Winston Churchill) thwarted him. Nevertheless, it took the overwhelming, and in many ways unusual, Anglo-American coalition with the Soviet Union to defeat the Third Reich and there are reasons to believe that neither side would have been able to conquer him alone. At the same time it was his brutality and some of his decisions that led to his destruction, binding the unusual alliance of capitalists and communists, of Churchill and Roosevelt and Stalin together. Hitler thought he was a great statesman, but he did not realize the unconditional contemptibility of what he had unleashed he thought that the coalition of his enemies would eventually break up, and then he would be able to settle with one side or the other. In thinking thus he deceived himself, though such wishes and hopes were also current among many Germans until the end.

Open and hidden admirers of Hitler continue to exist (and not only in Germany): some of them because of a malign attraction to the efficacy of evil others because of their admiration of Hitler’s achievements, no matter how transitory or brutal. However, because of the brutalities and the very crimes associated with his name, it is not likely that Hitler’s reputation as the incarnation of evil will ever change.

What happened to Hitler’s property? - HISTORY

Wikimedia Commons Adolf Hitler with his longtime lover and short-lived wife Eva Braun.

Peter Raubal, Heiner Hochegger, and Alexander, Louis and Brian Stuart-Houston are all vastly different men. Peter was an engineer, Alexander a social worker. Louis and Brian run a landscaping business. Peter and Heiner live in Austria, while the Stuart-Houston brothers live on Long Island, a few blocks from each other.

It would seem the five men have nothing in common, and apart from one thing, they really don’t — but that one thing is a big one.

They are the only remaining members of Adolf Hitler’s bloodline.

And they’re determined to be the last.

Adolf Hitler was only married for 45 minutes before his suicide and his sister Paula never married. Apart from rumors of Adolf having an illegitimate child with a French teenager, they both died childless, leading many to believe for a long time that the horrific gene pool had died with them.

However, historians discovered that though the Hitler family had been small, five Hitler descendants were still alive.

Before Adolf’s father, Alois, had married his mother, Klara, he had been married to a woman named Franni. With Franni, Alois had had two children, Alois Jr. and Angela.

Wikimedia Commons Adolf’s parents Klara and Alois Hitler.

Alois Jr. changed his name after the war and had two children, William and Heinrich. William is the Stuart-Houston boys’ father.

Angela married and had three children, Leo, Geli, and Elfriede. Geli was most known for her potentially-inappropriate relationship with her half-uncle and her resulting suicide.

Leo and Elfriede both married and had children, both boys. Peter was born to Leo and Heiner to Elfriede.

As children, the Stuart-Houston boys were told of their ancestry. As a child, their father had been known as Willy. He was also known as “my loathsome nephew” by the Fuhrer.

As a child, the loathsome nephew attempted to make a profit from his famous uncle, even resorting to blackmailing him for money and plush employment opportunities. However, as the dawn of the second world war approached and his uncle’s true intentions began to reveal themselves, Willy moved to America and after the war ultimately changed his name. He no longer felt any desire to be associated with Adolf Hitler.

He moved to Long Island, married, and raised four sons, one of whom died in a car accident. Their neighbors remember the family as “aggressively all-American,” but there are some who remember Willy looking just a little too much like a certain dark figure. However, the boys have noted that their father’s family connections were rarely discussed with outsiders.

Getty Images Adolf’s sister Angela and her daughter Geli.

As soon as they knew about their Hitler family history, the three boys made a pact. None of them would have children and the family line would end with them. It also seems that the other Hitler descendants, their cousins in Austria, felt the same way.

Both Peter Raubal and Heiner Hochegger have never married and have no children. Nor do they plan to. They also have no interest in continuing the legacy of their great-uncle any more than the Stuart-Houston brothers.

When Heiner’s identity was revealed in 2004, there was a question of whether the descendants would receive royalties from Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. All of the living heirs claim they want no part of it.

“Yes I know the whole story about Hitler’s inheritance,” Peter told Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper. “But I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I will not do anything about it. I only want to be left alone.”

The sentiment is one that all five Hitler descendants share.

So, it seems, the last of the Hitler family will soon die out. The youngest of the five is 48 and the oldest is 86. By the next century, there won’t be a living member of the Hitler bloodline left.

Ironic, yet fitting, that the man who made it his life’s goal to create the perfect bloodline by eliminating the bloodline of others will have his own stamped out so intentionally.

Enjoyed this article on the Hitler family and their quest to stop the Hitler name? Check out these living descendants of other famous people you may know. Then, read about how the election that allowed Adolf Hitler to rise to power.

Adolf Hitler’s Descendants

Keystone/Getty Images Mrs. Brigid Hitler, the wife of Adolf Hitler’s stepbrother Alois, says goodbye to her son William Patrick Hitler outside the Astor Hotel in New York City. He is leaving to join the Canadian Airforce.

While the existence of Hitler’s children is still in question, the Hitler bloodline does indeed live on in the 21st century.

The remaining descendants of Adolf Hitler are Peter Raubal and Heiner Hochegger, who both currently live in Austria. Additionally, Alexander, Louis, and Brian Stuart-Houston, who have taken up residence on Long Island.

The Stuart-Houston brothers are directly descended from Hitler’s half-brother, Alois Jr., on his father’s side.

Alois fell in love with a young woman from Dublin yet abandoned her once their son was born. The boy was named William Patrick Hitler.

William was not close to his father’s side of the family but had spent time with his uncle, Adolf Hitler. The dictator had referred to him as “my loathsome nephew,” and William ended up spending time in America to give talks about his paternal bloodline.

After the US military rejected him because of his infamous name, he wrote a letter directly to President Roosevelt who granted him entry to the U.S. Navy (once he passed an FBI check).

Getty Images Seaman First Class William Patrick Hitler, 34-year-old nephew of the late unlamented Nazi dictator, is shown (left), as he received his discharge from the U. S. Navy in the Fargo building Separation Center at Boston.

Hitler’s nephew fought against him in World War II and when the war had concluded he married, changed his name, and settled in America. He died in 1987 leaving three surviving sons.

The Stuart-Houston brothers, Hitler’s great-nephews, have since embraced an American way of life and have entirely rejected their dark heritage.

As journalist Timothy Ryback said, “They live in absolute terror of being uncovered and their lives being turned upside down…There were American flags hanging from the houses of neighbors and dogs barking. It was a quintessentially Middle American scene.”

Although Hitler’s other two descendants still live in Austria, they have similarly tried to distance themselves from the dictator’s legacy. As Peter Raubal said, “Yes, I know the whole story about Hitler’s inheritance. But I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I will not do anything about it. I only want to be left alone.”

A watchmaker by trade, Maurice was a close early associate of Adolf Hitler their personal friendship dated back to 1919 when they were both members of the German Workers Party (DAP). [1] Maurice officially joined the DAP on 1 December 1919 and his party number was 594 (the count began at 501). [2] [3] With the founding of the Sturmabteilung in 1920, Maurice became the first Oberster SA-Führer (Supreme SA Leader). [3] Maurice led the SA stormtroopers in fights that were known to break out with other groups during those early days. Hitler later in his book Mein Kampf mentions one fight in particular from November 1921 where Maurice was at the forefront of the SA unit during the fighting. [2]

In July 1921, Maurice became a personal chauffeur for Adolf Hitler. [3] In March 1923, Maurice also became a member of the Stabswache (Staff Guard), a small separate bodyguard dedicated to Hitler's service rather than "a suspect mass" of the party, such as the SA. [4] [5] It was given the task of guarding Hitler at Nazi parties and rallies. In May 1923, the unit was renamed Stoßtrupp (Shock Troop) 'Adolf Hitler'. [6] [7] Maurice, Julius Schreck, Joseph Berchtold, and Erhard Heiden, were all members of the Stoßtrupp. [8] On 9 November 1923, the Stoßtrupp, along with the SA and several other paramilitary units, took part in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. In the aftermath of the putsch, Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Maurice and other Nazi leaders were incarcerated at Landsberg Prison. [9] The Nazi Party and all associated formations, including the Stoßtrupp, were officially disbanded. [10]

After Hitler's release from prison, the Nazi Party was officially refounded. In 1925, Hitler ordered the formation of a new bodyguard unit, the Schutzkommando (protection command). [11] It was formed by Julius Schreck and included old Stoßtrupp members, Maurice and Heiden. [8] [12] That same year, the Schutzkommando was expanded to a national level. It was renamed successively the Sturmstaffel (storm squadron), and finally on 9 November the Schutzstaffel (SS). [13] Hitler became SS member No. 1 and Emil Maurice became SS member No. 2. [1] [3] At that time, Maurice became an SS-Führer in the new organization, although the leadership of the SS was assumed by Schreck, the first Reichsführer-SS. [14] Maurice became Hitler's permanent chauffeur in 1925. [3] Later when Maurice informed Hitler in December 1927 that he was having a relationship with Hitler's half-niece Geli Raubal, Hitler forced an end to the affair. Maurice was dismissed from Hitler's personal service in 1928, but allowed to remain a member of the SS. [15] [16] [3] As chauffeur, he was succeeded first by Julius Schreck and then Erich Kempka.

When the SS was reorganized and expanded in 1932, Maurice became a senior SS officer and would eventually be promoted to the rank SS-Oberführer. While Maurice never became a top commander of the SS, his status as SS member #2 effectively credited him as an actual founder of the organization. Heinrich Himmler, who ultimately would become the most recognized leader of the SS, was SS member #168. [17]

After Himmler had become Reichsführer-SS, Maurice fell afoul of Himmler's racial purity rules for SS officers when he had to submit details of his family history before he was allowed to marry in 1935. Himmler stated, "without question. Maurice is, according to his ancestral table, not of Aryan descent". [18] All SS officers had to prove racial purity back to 1750, and it turned out that Maurice had Jewish ancestry: Charles Maurice Schwartzenberger (Chéri Maurice [de] 1805–1896), the founder of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, was his great-grandfather.

Even though Maurice had been a party member since 1919, taken part in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch, for which he was awarded the prestigious Blood Order, and been a bodyguard for Hitler, Himmler considered him to be a serious security risk given his "Jewish ancestry". [2] [19] Himmler recommended that Maurice be expelled from the SS, along with other members of his family. To Himmler's annoyance, Hitler stood by his old friend. [18] In a secret letter written on 31 August 1935, Hitler compelled Himmler to make an exception for Maurice and his brothers, who were informally declared "Honorary Aryans" and allowed to stay in the SS. [20] [21]

Maurice became engaged on 31 March 1935 to the medical student – later doctor – Hedwig Maria Anna Ploetz, the daughter of Colonel Rudolf Ploetz. They married on 5 November 1935 in Munich. [22] In 1936, he became a Reichstag deputy for Leipzig and from 1937 was the chairman of the Munich Chamber of Commerce. From 1940 to 1942, he served in the Luftwaffe as an officer. [18] After the war, in 1948, he was sentenced to four years in a labour camp and had 30% of his assets confiscated. In 1951, he owned a watch shop in Munich. [3] He died on 6 February 1972 in Germany. [18]

History or hatred? Selling Hitler’s belongings and Nazi artifacts stirs a backlash.

He has auctioned off the journals of Nazi death camp doctor Josef Mengele for $300,000, Hitler’s telephone from the Führerbunker for $243,000 and Hitler’s ring featuring a swastika made of 16 rubies for more than $65,000. And just before Thanksgiving, a Hitler-inscribed propaganda photograph that shows the architect of the Holocaust hugging a German girl of Jewish heritage went for more than $11,000.

Big money abounds in the Nazi artifact market, and Basil “Bill” Panagopulos, founder of Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, is the trade’s unabashed promoter. But at a time of growing anti-Semitism and white nationalism, the buying and selling of Hitler’s belongings and other Third Reich tchotchkes — including counterfeits — is stirring up the same kind of debate that has dogged displays of Confederate flags and Civil War statues.

Which items of the past are worth keeping? Which spoils of war should be preserved? And which symbols of hatred are better off consigned to history’s trash heap?

Online giants such as Facebook and eBay, along with Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have come down hard against the sale of Nazi artifacts, curbing or banning their sale. Right after the sale of the Hitler photo in Maryland, another sale in December in Australia of some 75 Nazi artifacts kicked up a national controversy and prompted a rebuke from the local Anti-Defamation Commission.

Still, the demand for these objects is intensifying, according to Terry Kovel, the co-founder of a 51-year-old annual price guide for antiques and memorabilia.

“The market for historic Nazi memorabilia is definitely growing,” she said. “A lot of people are afraid the whole Nazi thing has been forgotten, and they want to show what was going on. More of it is coming out of hiding, too, because so much of the material came home with soldiers who are getting to the age of dying, and their families are selling it off.”

Many Jewish groups, though not all, have denounced these sales.

Haim Gertner, the archives director of Yad Vashem, Israel’s leading Holocaust memorial, said some of Hitler’s personal items are worth saving, especially if the owners of Nazi artifacts believe that the material and anti-Semitic history should never be forgotten. But the act of selling these artifacts to the highest bidder, he said, “is incorrect and even immoral.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said some Hitler or Nazi party documents or objects should be preserved, particularly their writings revealing their murderous aims. But he said other kinds of Nazi memorabilia — much of which was smuggled out of Germany by American service members — just inflate the dictator’s mystique and embolden anti-Semites.

“The Hitler salute is coming back in this country, and bigots get their nourishment from seeing things like this photo and the girl,” Hier said. “People will see that photo and say, ‘Maybe Hitler had a good side to him’ and ‘Don’t judge him so badly.’ ”

But Panagopulos, 60, whose auction house is based in Cecil County, Md., said the market is being driven by World War II movies, documentaries and endless segments on the History Channel, once derided as “The Hitler Channel.” Many of the buyers of the expensive, headline-generating Nazi memorabilia are Jewish.

One of them is Michael Bulmash, 74, a retired Jewish clinical psychologist from Delaware. He has spent the last two decades buying Holocaust material, a sizable portion from Alexander Historical Auctions. He has donated everything — including children’s books published by the anti-Semitic publisher Julius Streicher and an old back issue of Streicher’s newspaper, Der Stürmer — to his alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio, for the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.

“It’s all about getting this stuff out in people’s faces,” Bulmash said, “especially when you had neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville and the president of the United States creating a false equivalence between what neo-Nazis were doing and what the people who were trying to stop them were doing.”

This Former Nazi Neighborhood on Long Island with Adolf Hitler Street Still Exists

The United States of the 1930s, as World War II loomed ahead, was a prolific era for radical movements. The third Madison Square Garden was packed to the gills for an anti-Nazi rally in 1937 and a pro-Nazi rally in 1939. But the latter was really the pinnacle of a more entrenched pro-Hitler community in the United States. One planned community in Yaphank, Long Island replete with an indoctrination camp amidst streets named after Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels, serves as a prime example of how the German-American Bund and German Settlement League managed to put forth a message in which American democracy and fascism could co-exist, something that Ryan Schaffer of the Department of History at Stony Brook University explores in an article for the Long Island History Journal. A special Long Island Railroad train, the “Camp Siegfried Special” even ran at 8am from Penn Station to Yaphank to bring guests to the site.

Close up of German Gardens Street Plan with Adolf Hitler Street, Goebbels Street and Goering Street

As Shaffer writes, “support for Nazi Germany in the United States was a unique blend of German and American ideology rather than just a foreign import.” That being said, American patriotism was limited. To be a member of the German-American Bund, one had to be “Aryan,” with a mission of uniting “similar” people. Indeed, brochures for Camp Seigfried promised: “You will meet people who think like you.”

There was a special focus on local development of the German-American Bund, seen as a key strategy in not only the evolution of the German community in the United States, but also of the country as a whole. According to Shaffer, the 1937 issue of the Bund’s Fighting Germanness opened with an excerpt from Colin Ross’ Our America “which claims that those with German blood will lead the United States into a new era.”

In 1995, the Suffolk County legislators attempted to pass a resolution to erase such pro-Nazi history, specifically “for the removal of pro-Nazi references on subdivision records.” The state declined to pass the resolution, which is why today we have access to the original, signed and approved street plans for the community of “German Gardens” in Yaphank. We recently took a trip out to the community, part of which became incorporated into the town of Yaphank after the war, and a part that remains part of the German American Settlement League.

Zoomed details of the 1936 German Gardens community street map

Many of the most offensive street names (Hitler, Goering and Goebbels) were renamed to innocuous ones. Adolf Hitler Street became Park Street, Goering became Oak Street and Goebbels turned into Northside Avenue. But many other things have stayed the same. The neighborhood is still called German Gardens, even though it is no longer a private community. One of the main thoroughfares is still called German Boulevard. Many German street names were not changed, like Bohle Road (in a neighboring community) which is the last name of a convicted Nazi leader. Whether it was originally named after that particular Bohle or not, we have not been able to confirm yet.

Former intersection of Adolf Hitler Street and Goering Street

Former intersection of Goebbels Street and German Boulevard

Intersection of Bohle Street and Landsberger Street

At the same time, Berliner, Hindenburg, Hamberger and Westfalen Streets have also been replaced. Berliner is now Center Garden, Westfalen became Martin Street, and Hindenburg became Broad Street. And while Lindemann was the captain of the Nazi battleship Bismarck, it appears that Lindeman Court (incorrect as Linderman Court on Google Maps) is actually named after Mary Lindeman who owned land there. All in all, today there’s just something bizarre about describing to someone, “So here we are at what would have been the intersection of Hitler and Goebbels.”

Google Maps aerial view of German Gardens today, with renamed streets. The northern end of the Camp Siegfried parade ground is shown at the bottom of the image.

A current resident who rents a home there tells Untapped Cities, “Years ago, these houses were not offered for sale to anyone who wasn’t German. I happened to play volleyball for a German sports club, and so, a door opened for me. German Gardens houses have individual deeds, and are a simple subdivision. The German American Settlement League is…a co-op– it simply means that there is only one deed for all of the houses…I am told that at one time, both Camp Siegfried and German Gardens were commercial flower plantations.”

Next door Camp Siegfried borders a lake and access to the great outdoors was a key part of the activities, including rifle training as an affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Shaffer writes, “the camp was used for Bundist youth to learn about camping, hunting, shooting, and even eugenics. For the adults and locals, it was a place where politics and local events were discussed at the camp’s bar. Perhaps, most importantly the camp served for the celebration and dissemination of ideology.” The youth were even taken on trips to Germany, including a visit to the 1936 Olympics where German-American Bund leader Fritz Kuhn met Hitler.

The social aspect, compounded by the Bund selling alcohol in its camps, were observed by locals in Yaphank, where observed that the members of the community “appear[ed] to consume great quantities of beer and do a lot of marching in uniforms.” There were also comments about the propriety, noting that the men and women were wearing shorts (which seems funny today) and “abbreviated bathing suits on highways, trespassing on private property, stealing flowers and growing produce.” As war neared in Europe, the FBI started taking notice of the organization, noting in a letter that the camp in Yaphank contained 150 to 300 children who “used to wear a uniform like that of the Hitler Youth in Germany.” It should be noted that the German-American Bund also had numerous previous names, including “Friends of the Hitler Movement” and “Friends of the New Germany.”

The German-American Bund lost control of the Camp Siegfried property to the German-American Settlement league, which still runs it today. Though the parade ground is now a park, it remains devoid of any landscaping or typical park furniture. It’s easy to imagine that military demonstrations once took place there.

Former parade ground with clubhouse in background

A clubhouse still exists but it looks architecturally different from the historic images. An American flag and a German flag hang from a flagpole, in contrast to the Swastika flag that used to adorn the front façade of the former clubhouse. A small bus stop sits curiously at the one end of the park. The street names in Camp Siegfried are Schiller Court, probably for the German philosopher, and Bach Court after the composer.

Current clubhouse with American and German flags on flagpole

Today, Camp Seigfried remains a private community with a sign reading “German American Settlement League” clearly denoting the entrance. Most of the homes in both the current settlement and the area incorporated into the town of Yaphank have a 1930s and 1940s beach bungalow feel. The race restriction at the German American Settlement League remained in place until January 2016, when Federal Judge Joan Azrack, settling a lawsuit, approved an agreement that included the reformation of the German American Settlement League’s bylaws to make the residential community open to the public in compliance with federal, state and local fair housing laws.

Camp Seigfried has recently returned back to the spotlight with the release of period photographs recently digitized and released by the New York City Department of Records. The town plans, though written about briefly by Ryan Schaffer in 2010, have not been corroborated with the present-street layout, which we attempted to do here.

The historical town center of Yaphank also has an amazing mid-century Shell gas station, kept as a relic of a former era.

Sterilisation: an assault on families

It was the Nazi fear of “racial pollution” that led to the most common trauma suffered by black Germans: the break-up of families. “Mixed” couples were harassed into separating. When others applied for marriage licences, or when a woman was known to be pregnant or had a baby, the black partner became a target for involuntary sterilisation.

In a secret action in 1937, some 400 of the Rhineland children were forcibly sterilised. Other black Germans went into hiding or fled the country to escape sterilisation, while news of friends and relatives who had not escaped intensified the fear that dominated people’s lives.

The black German community was new in 1933 in most families the first generation born in Germany was just coming of age. In that respect it was similar to the communities in France and Britain that were forming around families founded by men from the colonies.

Nazi persecution broke those families and the ties of community. One legacy of that was a long silence about the human face of Germany’s colonial history: the possibility that black and white Germans could share a social and cultural space.

That silence helps to explain Germans’ mixed responses to today’s refugee crisis. The welcome offered by German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and many ordinary Germans has given voice to the liberal humanitarianism that was always present in German society and was reinforced by the lessons of the Holocaust.

The reaction against refugees reveals the other side of the coin: Germans who fear immigration are not alone in Europe. But their anxieties draw on a vision that has remained very powerful in German society since 1945: the idea that however deserving they are, people who are not white cannot be German.

This article was corrected on January 27 to clarify the situation in the Rhineland between the two world wars.


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