Saturday 7 December 2019

Hitler had secret disabled brother, claims historian

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

Melanie Hall

Adolf Hitler had a disabled younger brother who died of hydrocephalus when the Nazi dictator was three years old, a historian has claimed.

Florian Kotanko said he has discovered documents proving that Hitler had a secret brother who died seven days after his birth after suffering from a build-up of fluid on the brain.

Mr Kotanko claimed that the discovery raised the possibility that at the age of three, Hitler was aware of his mother's pregnancy and could have been influenced by the possible memory or knowledge of his disabled brother.

He would go on to sign a euthanasia order for patients with life-threatening disabilities in 1939 as part of his mass-murder decrees in World War II.

The historian, chairman of the Braunau historical association, said he researched parish records in Braunau am Inn, the Austrian town where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.

Hitler's brother Otto was born in June 1892. Mr Kotanko said the files therefore showed that Hitler was the third, not the fourth, child in his family.

Biographies about Hitler usually state that the first three children of Hitler's parents Alois and Klara - Gustav, Ida and Otto - died in infancy before Adolf was born, followed by two younger siblings, Edmund and Paula.

This was based on the family history as told by Paula Hitler, who was born in 1896 and was the only one of the children to survive World War II.

Under interrogation by the US military in 1945, she said that her first two siblings died of diphtheria in infancy, followed by Otto, without mentioning his disability or cause of death.

Psychological Edmund died of measles in 1900.

It is not possible to say whether she covered up Otto's disability or simply did not know about it.

Mr Kotanko told Austrian newspaper 'Oberösterreichischen Nachrichten': "The conclusions of many biographers about the psychological development of Hitler - who was said to have received special care from his mother, Klara, as the sole surviving child after the death of three siblings - is no longer tenable.

"To what extent this (the brother's condition)affected the subsequent behaviour of Hitler towards people with disabilities is an open question."

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