Hitler’s Jewish Grandfather? Long-Held Objections Shown to Be Invalid. Sax

Aus den Gemeinden von Burgenland: Revisiting the question of Adolf Hitler’s paternal grandfather, by Leonard Sax. 2019

Was Hitler the Grandson of the Rape of His Paternal Grandmother by a Young Jew? New Evidence

This is a review of a scholarly paper published in the prestigious JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES 49(2)143-162.

Hans Frank, before his hanging in the wake of the Nuremberg trials, wrote that Maria Anna Schicklgruber (Hitler’s paternal grandmother) had been impregnated by a 19 year-old Jew named Frankenberger. The product of this liaison was Alois Schicklgruber, Hitler’s father. [Sax suggests that the liaison may not have been consensual: p. 157]


There was a coverup. According to Hans Frank, Frankenberger’s father paid alimony but in secret, so that the authorities not be involved and there be no publicity about it. (p. 144).

A tampering of records definitely took place. Sax writes, “In 1842, five years after giving birth to her son Alois, Maria Anna Schicklgruber married Johann Georg Hiedler, the brother of Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, a farmer and landowner…In 1876, at the age of 39 and nearly 20 years after the death of Johann Georg Hiedler, Alois went back to the parish church in Dollersheim and had the baptismal record changed. He persuaded the priest, Father Zahnschirm, to write in the name of Johann Georg Hiedler for the father, where there had previously been a blank space.” (pp. 153-153).

Sax continues, “But, as the world knows, the surname Alois chose was Hitler, not Hiedler. If the motive for the name change was the desire to carry on the Hiedler family name, one might expect Alois to have specified that the name on the baptismal registry was in fact Hiedler.” (p. 154).


In July 1938, four months after the Anschluss, Hitler ordered that the village of Dollersheim, and surroundings, be totally blasted by mortars and thoroughly plowed over by army tanks. Sax comments, “This episode has never been satisfactorily explained. No justification has ever been offered for Hitler’s decision to raze to the ground the entire village in which his grandmother had lived. Perhaps Hitler believed that the town might contain some clue to his ancestry which he was anxious to obliterate.” (p. 152).

Sax adds that, “Hitler was anxious to conceal all traces of his ancestry. His only mention of his paternal grandfather in MEIN KAMPF is a reference to ‘a poor little cottager’ (eines armen, kleinen Hauslers) whom he did not even name. The description of a ‘poor little cottager’ fits neither of the two possible candidates allowed by the contemporary consensus: Johann Georg Hiedler was an itinerant miller, not a cottager; and Johann Nepomuk Hiedler was not poor. Outside of MEIN KAMPF, he never discussed his family background, as a rule.” (p. 153).

Even the Nuremberg Laws, whose content was closely supervised by Hitler, may contain an allusion to his paternal grandmother’s experience. Sax comments, “The Nuremberg racial laws of 1935 stipulated specifically that no German woman under 45 years of age could work for a Jewish employer in any capacity.” (p. 153).


Dr. Gustave Gilbert, the American psychologist who examined the Nazi leaders as part of the Nuremberg process, evidently believed Hans Frank, for he said, “‘Well, I guess stranger things have happened than hatred of one’s own race.’” (p. 145).

On the other hand, leading Hitler historians–Volker Ullrich, Ian Kershaw, and John Toland–have disbelieved the account (pp. 145-146, 148)—all because of the widely-held notion that there were no Jews in Graz until 1856 (p. 143). [Note that Hitler’s father, Alois Schicklgruber, was conceived in 1836: p. 143]. What’s more, there is no record of a family by the name of Frankenberger in Graz in the period of 1820 to 1860. (p. 146).


The author provides archival evidence that Jews existed in Graz before 1856. (pp. 150-151). He concludes that 1856 marks not the beginning of a Jewish community at Graz, but rather, “The official register of Jews in Graz appears to have been…the recognition of a community already in existence.” (p. 151).

What of the claim that there is no record of a family named Frankenberger at the time? Turns out, it proves nothing. Sax comments, “If the Frankenberger family was officially resident in any of the gemeinden in Burgenland, but renting—perhaps informally—in Graz, their name would not appear on any roster of the citizens of Graz.” (p. 152).

Evidently, this was a fairly standard situation. Sax writes, “The discrepancy between 200 families officially residing in Vienna in 1848 and 4,500 to 10,000 Jews actually living in Vienna in 1848 arose because many Jews actually residing in Vienna were legally citizens of other communities.” (p. 149).


Author Leonard Sax does not consider the fate of the mischlingen in the Third Reich. The initial Nazi policy of lumping Jews and mischlinge gave way to one where mischlinge were treated noticeably more leniently than full-blooded Jews. This change took place as a result of the Nuremberg Laws. Perhaps it happened because Hitler himself was a mischlinge.


It boils down to probabilities. Sax concludes that, “The hypothesis that Hitler’s grandfather was a Jewish teenager may fit the available facts better than the hypothesis that Johann Georg Hiedler or Johann Nepomuk Hiedler was the grandfather.” (p. 157).

Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.

Source: Jews & Poles DATEBASE.

The title image: Adolf Hitler. Photo: AP / Source: telegraph.co.uk, Feb. 17, 2012.

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