Hitler's relative died in gas chamber

18th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 January 2005, MUNICH - A second cousin of Adolf Hitler was one of the victims of the mass killing of the handicapped and mentally ill under the Nazi dictator's rule, new research has shown. Aloisia V., who had spent many years in a secure psychiatric centre, was murdered in the gas chambers of the Hartheim Institute near Linz in Austria in December 1940, researchers said Monday. She was 49 at the time, only two years younger than Hitler. The fate of Hitler's second cousin has come to light after study o

18 January 2005

MUNICH - A second cousin of Adolf Hitler was one of the victims of the mass killing of the handicapped and mentally ill under the Nazi dictator's rule, new research has shown.

Aloisia V., who had spent many years in a secure psychiatric centre, was murdered in the gas chambers of the Hartheim Institute near Linz in Austria in December 1940, researchers said Monday.

She was 49 at the time, only two years younger than Hitler.

The fate of Hitler's second cousin has come to light after study of previously unknown Nazi documents by the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Munich and the Obersalzberg Institute for contemporary history at Berchtesgaden.

Aloisia V. had spent nine years at the secure Am Steinhof psychiatric hospital in Vienna until 28 November 1940 when she was transported to another institute near Ybbs and finally sent to the gas chambers at Hartheim on 6 December of that year.

It is thought at least 200,000 handicapped, mentally ill and other institutional patients were murdered by the Nazis as part of the policy of extermination decreed by Hitler himself.

Salzburg-based US historian Dr Timothy W. Ryback and private researcher Florian M. Beierl worked with Munich forensic scientist Professor Wolfgang Eisenmenger in the investigation.

Ryback said Hitler's attempts to keep details of his family history a secret were legendary.

"After 60 years we now know why. This man really had something to hide," he said.

According to patient files from the Am Steinhof psychiatric hospital, which also became a centre for mass murder, Aloisia V. suffered from schizophrenia and depression and was prone to hallucinations, mental distraction and delusions.

She spent her time in a cot and was subject to outbursts of rage but also carried out craftwork peacefully. She had once asked in a letter in 1934 to be administered poison "to free me from my terrible torture".

Eisenmenger said no conclusions on Hitler's mental health should be drawn from the new research. There has been no evidence that Hitler was, for example, schizophrenic, he said.

However in genealogical trees which show as many cases of illness as that of the Hitler family tree it was possible that "abnormal personalities" sometimes appear more frequently.

Aloisia V. came from Hitler's father's branch of the family tree, the Schicklgrubers, in which there were several cases of mental illness and one relative who committed suicide.

Other relatives of the Austrian-born dictator, including a cousin and an aunt from his mother's side, suffered from physical defects such as curvature of the spine or stunted growth.

The two institutes are preparing a detailed report of the significance of the newly discovered documents in German and Austrian archives which they say give fresh insights into Hitler's largely unknown family history.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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