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Hitler’s Nephew Fought Against Him During WWII

Matthew Gaskill
William Hitler. Getty Images
William Hitler. Getty Images

People get into arguments all the time. They argue with their boss, co-workers, friends, girlfriends, and boyfriends, etc, but probably the worst arguments take place within families.

Many times older family members feel that others in the family owe them loyalty and respect simply due to ties of blood and age. As we know, that doesn’t always happen.

Imagine then if your older family member was Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a lot of things, but tolerant and understanding were not his most notable traits, so when his nephew rebelled against him, he was enraged. Worse still, his nephew was raised in England and fought for America.

Portrait of Adolf Hitler. Photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216-0500-002 / CC-BY-SA

Portrait of Adolf Hitler. Photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216-0500-002 / CC-BY-SA

William Patrick Hitler was born in Liverpool in 1911, the son of Hitler’s older half-brother Alois Hitler Jr. (they shared a father) and an Irishwoman, Bridget Dowling. The two had met in Dublin, where Alois was an itinerant kitchen worker, though he claimed to be a rich hotelier.

In addition to being a liar, Alois was much like his father; a tyrannical man who beat his son. His wife left him in 1914, refusing to go to Germany with her soon to be ex-husband when he left to join the German army for WWI. Alois eventually had another son by another woman – he died on the Eastern Front.

William Patrick Hitler as member of the U.S. Navy between 1944 and 1947.

William Patrick Hitler as member of the U.S. Navy between 1944 and 1947.

Mother and son eventually moved to London, where Bridget took in lodgers in her modest home. Later in life, she wrote a manuscript about being in the Hitler family, called My Brother-Law Adolf which unfortunately for her, never sold, as it was filled with unsubstantiated “facts” such as the Fuhrer living in England in 1913-14 when history proved he was in Austria.

In 1929, Alois sent for William, and he met his uncle at a Nazi Party rally. The next year, Hitler the soon to be dictator sent his nephew an autographed picture. By 1933, Adolf Hitler was dictator in Germany, and William went there to see if he could benefit from his name and connections.

Alois Hitler, Adolf’s father.

Alois Hitler, Adolf’s father.

His uncle got him a series of jobs, from bank teller to automobile salesman, but this didn’t satisfy William. He seems like he had a bit of the ol’ Hitler in him because he then began threatening his uncle with the public exposure of family secrets unless he got a suitable position, including the idea that the Fuhrer’s paternal grandfather was Jewish.

At this, the older Hitler apparently and unsurprisingly bridled, and the young Hitler decided it might be a good idea to leave Germany.

Hitler Youth members performing the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin, 1933. Photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Hitler Youth members performing the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin, 1933. Photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Back in England, William wrote an article for Look magazine entitled “Why I Hate My Uncle,” which of course made him even more unpopular in Germany. However, by now it was 1938-39, and England had firmly joined the anti-Hitler camp, despite the official policy of appeasement. William couldn’t find work and was not even allowed into the British armed forces because of his family ties to THE Hitler.

Luckily for William Patrick, the famous American publisher William Randolph Hearst invited him and his mother to the United States for a lecture tour and a series of articles. When war broke out in September 1939, William and Bridget remained in the USA.

William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst

Once again William tried to get a job, but with his name, it was not easy. He tried to join the United States armed forces, but was denied as he had been in England. Finally, in 1944, he wrote to President Roosevelt, stating “I am one of many, but can render service to this great cause.” Finally, the FBI cleared him and he joined the U.S. Navy in March 1944. When he reported to his first duty station, the officer in charge asked him his name “Hitler,” he replied. “Yeah, and I’m Hess,” said the officer.

Hitler went on to serve as a pharmacist’s mate and was wounded during the war, receiving the Purple Heart. When the war ended he finally decided it would be a good thing to change his last name, and became “William Patrick Stuart-Houston.”

He married Phyllis Jean-Jacques and had four boys, one of which, for some reason, was given the middle name of “Adolf.” The couple lived in Patchogue, Long Island and William ran his own small blood analysis company. He died in 1987.

Read another story from us: Hitler Plotted to Assassinate Churchill with…Exploding Chocolate

One of his sons, Howard, became a special agent in the Criminal Division of the IRS. None of the four sons had children. Despite speculation, his son Alexander said that there was no intention of ending the Hitler line – things just happened that way.

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