The Jewish Daily Forward and JTA Publish a Discredited Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theory
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:05:54 PM EST
An article in today's Jewish Daily Forward ends with the statement, "Hitler's father, Alois, is believed to be the illegitimate child of a maid and a 19-year-old Jewish man."

This is a conspiracy theory that has been rejected by serious historians and should not be repeated as fact in any reputable journal, certainly not Jewish publications. This same conspiracy narrative is currently rampant in right wing America and is used to claim that Hitler was an heir of a demonic  bloodline of the same Jewish/Illuminati cabal which is now supposedly leading the nation into the clutches of a fascist and/or communist "New World Order."

The article in JTA was only slightly better, stating, "Some believe that Hitler's father, Alois, was the illegitimate child of a maid and a 19-year-old Jewish man." It appears this may have been simply a case of sloppy journalism picked up from the UK Telegraph or other publications running the same story, but this is a myth with serious ramifications in the world of grand conspiracy ideology.

This myth has been published today as part of a story about testing done on the DNA of Hitler's living relatives which supposedly show Jewish and/or African descent.  I won't deal with the questionable conclusions of the main topic of the article, but the statement about Hitler's grandfather being the son of the Jewish employer of Hitler's grandmother is a discredited myth.

This particular myth was based on the fact that Hitler's father Alois was listed on his birth certificate as illegitimate and the single, 42 year old Maria Anna Schicklgruber refused to name the father. She married Johann Georg Hiedler (Hitler) when Alois was five years old.

As historian Ian Kershaw has pointed out, Hitler's family tree was a topic of rumors which circulated beginning in the 1920s and 30s, including the myth that Hitler's grandfather was a Rothschild.  Kershaw explains in his two-volume biography of Hitler that further speculation about Hitler's grandfather was fueled by the memoirs of Nazi lawyer Hans Frank, written from his Nuremberg cell as he awaited his execution.  Frank claimed that Alois Hitler had been fathered by the son in the household of a Jewish family named Frankenberger in Graz, where Maria Anna Schicklgruber worked there as a cook.  (Frank also claimed that Hitler knew this was not true, but since his grandmother was so poor she accepted financial support from the Frankenbergers anyway.)  

Kershaw notes that this story about the Frankenbergers gained wide acceptance in the 1950s and the possibility was repeated in the John Toland's biography of Hitler. But Franks's story fails to stand up to scrutiny.  

According to Kershaw there was no family named Frankenberger in Graz during the 1830s when Alois was born.  He adds that there were no Jews at all in Styria, since Jews had been expelled in the 1500s and were not allowed to again settle in that part of Austria until the 1860s.  Kershaw states that a family named Frankenreiter did live there, but they were not Jewish and their son would have been 10 years old at the time of Alois Hitler's birth.  

Whoever actually fathered Alois Hitler may never be known, but some historians have speculated that it was Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, Georg's brother, who eventually left Alois an inheritance.  That would have made Johann the paternal  grandfather of Hitler, and also the maternal great-grandfather of Hitler. (Johan was the grandfather of Hitler's mother Klara).

Regardless, it is unbelievable that Jewish publications would throw out a piece of prime anti-Jewish conspiracy theory in such a casual and haphazard way.  Are there Jewish journalists who no longer know anything about anti-Jewish conspiracy theories?  Have some of the writers for these publications fallen prey to the idea that the "new" anti-Semitism is now limited to anti-Israel politics?

This particular Hitler myth is a key component of the horrific narratives of Jewish culpability for evil in the world that is a part of growing "New World Order" conspiracy ideologies.  As in the 1920s and 30s, this narrative  of the world being manipulated by a Rothschild/Illuminati cabal has again been merged with end times prophecy and tales of the imminent anti-Christ.  By blending the narratives, conspiracy theories like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion can be openly marketed as religious literature by those who are careful to separate the "good Jews" from the demonic lineage of "evil Jews," currently defined as those in the liberal, secular humanist camp.  In this way Jews can be made into the villains of history and the source of evil and rebellion against God, even in times when Jews were the victims.  

John Hagee, for instance, tapped into this narrative of Hitler's Jewish pedigree in his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown. He claimed that Esau's descendants "produced the half-breed Jews of history who have persecuted the Jews beyond human comprehension."  In other sermons he has described Hitler, as well as the anti-Christ whose rule Hagee claims is imminent, as partially Jewish.  As Bruce Wilson has written, the Holocaust can then be rewritten as a result of violent Jewish psychopathology.

Perhaps Jewish leaders need to spend a little less time cozying up to John Hagee and the "pro-Israel" Religious Right and more time refreshing their memories about the real nature of anti-Semitic narratives and the horrific impact they can have on Jews worldwide.  

These articles suggesting that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish should be immediately retracted or corrected before they are used as documentation for a discredited conspiracy theory.


WWW Talk To Action

Progressives Are Taking Up Religious Freedom Day
In the heat of our political moment, we sometimes don't see how our future connects deeply to our past. But the Christian Right does......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Freedom vs. Fear: Restricting Religious Liberty Isn't The Answer To Terrorism
Last week, a community meeting was held in Spotsylvania County, Va., to discuss plans by a group of Muslims who want to relocate and......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Christian Right Electoral Hegemony, Rising in the States
This is a revised, updated and retitled post I did on the long term trend of significant political progress of the Christian Right and......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Who's Been Naughty, Who's Been Nice?: The AFA Explains It All For You
If you're like me, you've been sitting around anxiously awaiting the release of the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers for......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
U.S. Department Of Judeo-Christian Values?: Kasich Proposes New Religious Propaganda Arm
According to some polls, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who believes that ancient Egyptians built......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Scripture Stories: Religious Right Claims About The `Aitken Bible' Don't Hold Up
Tomorrow several conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives plan to hold a public reading of the Aitken Bible on the East Front......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Tallest Statue in the Nation of an Individual
Many a day I drove on I 45 past the statue of Sam Houston.  The monument to the statesman is the largest in the......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Honoring Everyone Who Served: A Veterans Day Reflection
In 1952, a private group sought permission from government officials to erect a large cross atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego. They did it......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
One Million Maniacs?: AFA Attacks Magazine For Highlighting Family Headed By Same-Sex Couple
I have a daughter named Claire who is 21 years old and working her first job in journalism since graduating from college. I'm awfully......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
What Catholic Neo-Confederates Don't Want You To Know About Secession
During the summer of 2013 I wrote several posts about Catholic Neo-Confederates. My purpose was to explain the activities of libertarians such as Tom......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Sex And Common Sense: Texas Public School Reconsiders `Chastity' Speaker
A self-appointed expert on sex and relationships won't speak at an El Paso, Texas, high school - for now.Jason Evert runs an outfit called......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Two Trials that Impacted American Religion
Silent movie, Birth of a Nation, became the first blockbuster screen phenomena.  Civil Rights groups deplored the production and sought to ban it.  It......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
The Francis Trajectory.
The recent dust-up over the meeting between Pope Francis and culture warrior Kim Davis has caused the Pontiff's stock to fall somewhat among liberals.......
By Frank Cocozzelli (11 comments)
Taking Care Of Business: Religious Right Group Plans `Religious Liberty' Ratings For Companies
My inbox this morning contained a press release from the American Family Association (AFA). The Tupelo, Miss.-based Religious Right group has exciting news: It......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Quest for Utopia
Surfing through old videos on youtube I found some interesting tapes of H. L. Hunt.  Certainly one of the original founders of the modern......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.