Hitler was a master maker of myths, and one of his most lasting legacies is the legend of a ‘Führer without a family’. It is a myth that persists to this day.
To maintain a show of strength and invulnerability he kept his relatives hidden and even tried to destroy evidence of their existence. This documentary reveals who the Führer’s family really were.
There was Alois, the shady half-brother, a Berlin inn keeper who tried to profit from his name wherever he could. Then there was Angela, his half-sister, who was in charge of housekeeping at his Berghof retreat and had the neighbours at the Obersalzberg chased away. And there was his niece Geli, with whom he was obsessed, but she called her uncle a ‘jailer’ and committed suicide.
Hitler’s ‘favourite nephew’ was educated at an elite Nazi school and volunteered to fight on the Eastern front against the Soviet Union. Hitler’s sister Paula wanted to marry a surgeon and mass murderer. But his most insolent relative was his English-born nephew William Patrick, who lived the life of a playboy in Berlin and extorted money from the Führer by threatening to expose family secrets.
The Nazi regime was founded on a fanatical myth of racial purity. Every German had to provide a spotless lineage and the fate of those deemed ‘racially inferior’ is well known. But Hitler was obsessively secretive about his own less-than-flawless lineage. This documentary has tracked down some of Hitler’s living relatives who speak of what it means to live in the shadow of a dictator.