For more than 50 years, the relatives of Adolf Hitler have hidden under false names in Long Island, New York. They have not spoken publicly since the Second World War. In a revelatory new book to be launched this week, they break their silence. David Gardner tells their story.
A few high lights:
- William Patrick was the son of Adolf Hitler’s half-brother, Alois, but there was little family affection: “Uncle Adolf” referred to William Patrick as “my loathsome nephew”. After a difficult childhood in England, a spell in Germany before the war, and a tour of duty as a US seaman fighting with the Allies during the war, the burden of his name simply became too much. William Patrick Hitler adopted a double-barrelled surname and dropped out of sight in 1946, creating a new life for himself a world away from the horror of the Holocaust.
- It was only when I drove slowly away from the house that I realised the implications of what Phyllis had told me; that the Hitler line did not die out with William Patrick Hitler when he died in 1987, aged 76. It lived on through her sons.
- The eldest of these sons holds an even more remarkable secret; he was named after his despotic uncle. So an Adolf Hitler lives on to this day in a forgotten corner of America.