The family tree of Adolf Hitler has long remained one of dark speculation, its roots complicated and murky to historians. Even the Hitler name has been difficult to trace, as some common variances have been Hitler, Hiedler, Hylter, Hittler and Huttler. But new information about the Nazi leader’s bloodline has come to light. The Telegraph reports on evidence that shows Hitler may have had biological links to the very races he tried to wipe out.

Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders and historian Marc Vermeeren initiated the search for Hitler’s lineage, taking saliva samples from 39 living relatives, including a first cousin. The samples were analyzed under “stringent laboratory conditions.” Experts found that Hitler’s relatives have a chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1.

Haplogroup E1b1b1 is common among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, as well as Berbers of Africa’s Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It is extremely rare among people of Western European descent. Also, a significant proportion of the Afro-Asiatic Jewish population carries E1b1b1. It is considered one of the major founding markers of the Jewish lineage and is carried through the male chromosome.  

Ronny Decorte is a genetic specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven. As he told the Telegraph, “This is a surprising result. The affair is fascinating if one compares it with the conception of the world of the Nazis, in which race and blood was central. Hitler's concern over his descent was not unjustified. He was apparently not 'pure' or ‘Aryan’.”

However, the appearance of Haplogroup E1b1b1 is not surprising to some who have studied Hitler’s family tree. As the Telegraph notes, some historians believe that Hitler’s father Alois was the illegitimate offspring of a maid called Maria Schicklgruber and a 19-year-old Jewish man named Leopold Frankenberger. Schicklgruber worked as a housekeeper for a Jewish family in Graz. This issue was the subject of a blackmail letter sent by Hitler’s nephew, William Patrick Hitler, at the height of Hitler’s power.

Historians often note the atmosphere of terror in Hitler’s early family. Alois Schicklgruber changed his name on Jan. 7, 1877. to "Hitler," which Adolf adopted as his only surname. Recently verified journals kept by his sister Paula note the dysfunctional nature of the family. Hitler himself was a noted bully, often slapping his younger sister around “for the good of her education.” Hitler’s father Alois beat his son regularly, at times doing do so over the body of Adolf's protective mother.

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