An Irishman's Diary
WHEN I was a youngster growing up in Ireland my well-informed father insisted that Adolf Hitler had a nephew called Paddy Hitler and that his Dublin-born sister-in-law was called Bridget Hitler. How we laughed! But in light of the recent revelation that Hitler had apparently fathered an illegitimate French son, Jean-Marie Loret, in 1918, I did some research which wiped the smile from my face.
I discovered that my late lamented dad was speaking the truth.
While Jean-Marie died in 1985, Adolf has three remaining Germanic-Irish grand nephews living quietly in the United States.
In fact there were few people in the world more disconcerted by the revelations about Hitler’s illegitimate son than the trio of middle-aged brothers residing on Long Island. But for Alex , Louis and Brian Stuart-Houston the disclosure of their great-uncle’s fecundity was the grimmest of bad news. For it has focused unwelcome attention on the brothers and provided an unfortunate reminder of their own family link to the world’s most hated tyrant.
The Stuart-Houston boys were grandsons of Hitler’s brother Alois and his Irish-born wife Bridget. They shun interviews, refusing to even discuss their notorious grand uncle.
The curious family history of the Stuart-Hustons might have sprung from the pages of an imaginative writer of far-fetched fiction.Their father was Patrick Hitler, known as Paddy, the Irish-born progeny of the short-lived marriage of Bridget and Alois Hitler.
To trace his origins you must go back to a sunny summer afternoon over a century ago in Dublin. Bridget Dowling, a 17-year-old local convent schoolgirl indulged in a day trip with chums to the fashionable Royal Dublin Horse Show.
There she spotted a handsome stranger wearing a dangling chain and a Homburg hat. It was Alois Hitler. She was smitten, recalling later: “I cannot deny that this stranger with his fine foreign manners made a great impression”. He told her he was a German hotelier on a European tour studying the catering business. He was, in fact, a waiter at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.
Romance blossomed. Bridget’s family did not approve, particularly when they discovered he wasn’t a grand hotelier. Bridget’s family objections finally prompted the couple to board the Liffey ferry and sail to Liverpool. There they quickly married. At the time, Alois’s younger brother Adolf was growing up in Austria and had yet to enlist and fight in the first World War.
Alois secured a job as a razor blade salesman on Merseyside. Bridget became pregnant and in 1911 she gave birth to a son – William Patrick.
At some stage before the outbreak of the second World War Bridget, Alois and young Paddy visited Berlin and met Adolf. Bridget claimed in a subsequent memoir that Adolf had stayed in her flat in Liverpool some time before the start of the first World War. This is unproven.
In My Brother-in-Law Adolf, Bridget described the young Adolf as “a pale, unsteady-eyed lad” who sat in her kitchen and played with her two-year-old son Paddy.
She also claimed responsibility for Adolf’s iconic moustache. She had advised him to downsize from his waxed handlebar whiskers. She alleged that when she saw the moustache in a newspaper photograph of Hitler she said: “Adolf has gone too far”.