Rumors, a known conspiracy theory, have resurfaced that the unmarried mother of Hitler’s father must have been impregnated by a Jew. The story came from a Nazi, executed at Nuremberg and has been widely discredited.
Twenty hours later, a Jerusalem tabloid published practically the same story but adding that the historian who “disproved” the first theory was (also) a Nazi. (Followed by dozens of mostly antisemitic reactions that are not moderated.) The new interest is sparked by a historian who wants the formerly-held implausible theory reexamined.
There are four meanings to the question if Hitler could have had a Jewish grandparent and I’m going to treat them one by one. The question sounds kind of tasteless but I don’t think that the answers need to be offensive.
- Is it likely that Hitler had a Jewish grandparent?
Historians point out how unlikely it is. There were no Jews around where his grandmother lived at the conception time for his father. It seems as likely as the fire in the Notre Dame having been caused by a UFO.
- Is it possible that Hitler had a Jewish grandparent?
Of course, it is possible. But, again, highly unlikely/beyond reasonable doubt.
- Could a Jewish grandparent of Hitler help explain his extreme antisemitism?
It has been speculated that this could be the case. That he would have been eager to kill Jews to prove he wasn’t one. Yet, that would mean that a large part of the Nazi top must have had a Jewish grandparent because Hitler’s antisemitism was nothing out of the ordinary. He was the head of state but not a top ideologist. And also Martin Luther had no Jewish ancestry. Their hatred for Gypsies, Poles, the physically and mentally handicapped, etc. also need no family tree explanation.
I understand the search for a rationale, but most importantly, there is neither rhyme nor reason for hatred of Jews. It’s as baseless as any idle gossip. That it’s embedded in Christianity and Islam helped the bigotry.
- Could it be great news if Hitler had a Jewish grandparent?
It depends whom you ask.
Antisemites: ambivalent. Great to say that the worst murderer in modern history was a Jew. But the idea that their greatest hero was ‘racially impure’ would be unpleasant. That’s possibly why we have one top Nazi claiming Hitler’s Jewish ancestry and another one the opposite.
Antizionists: yes. It helps to equate Zionism and Nazism — a popular pastime of antizionists. You see?! The Nazis only went after the Jews to help them steal Palestine from the natives. Never mind how preposterous that theory is, that the Jews are the natives, that Zionism started way before WW II and that local Muslims and colonial Christians didn’t want Jews around in Palestine, not the other way around, condemning Jews to the Holocaust’s deathtrap.
Antiracists/everyone else: no. No one is finally determined by heritage. For predicting one person’s morality, ethnicity is completely irrelevant.
Now you see why Orthodox rabbis go by the mother to determine Jewishness?