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Hitler may have had Jewish, African ancestry, says report

August 24, 2010 12:21 IST

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish and African ancestors, according to DNA tests. Saliva samples taken from 39 relatives of Hitler show he probably had biological links to the Jewish community and people from North Africa, such as Berbers of Morocco, -- the "subhuman" races he vowed to exterminate during the Holocaust.

Investigative journalist Jean-Paul Mulders was able to probe Hitler's DNA after taking a serviette dropped by the German Fuhrer's great-nephew Alexander Stuart-Houston, 61, who lives in Long Island in New York. He also got a sample from an Austrian cousin of the dictator, a farmer known as Norbert H.

The tests have revealed a form of the Y-chromosome that is rare in Germany and the rest of Western Europe, but common among Jewish and North African groups. Both the test samples had a form of genetic material known as Haplopgroup E1b1b, proving an "irrefutable link" to the Nazi leader.

"It is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised," the British media quoted Mulders as saying in Belgian magazine Knack.

Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be a major founding lineage of the Jewish population.

Knack, which published the findings, says the DNA was tested under stringent laboratory conditions. And, experts say that Hitler's link to his "migrant ancestors" could go back anything from three to 20 generations. Ronny Decorte, a genetic specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, said: "This is a surprising result. Hitler's concern over his descent was not unjustified. He was apparently not 'pure' or 'Ayran'."

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