History tells us that, thankfully, Adolf Hitler, the Führer of Nazi Germany and one of the architects of the Holocaust, died without having fathered any children. But can we be 100-percent sure that the record books are correct about this? One French tradesman has believed since childhood that the widely held belief that Hitler left no offspring was a falsehood. But now the Picardy plumber has been presented with a way of proving it one way or the other.
When we think of Adolf Hitler, we tend to conjure up images of him as the mad-eyed, middle-aged dictator. The evil Nazi that plunged the world into the catastrophic world war of 1939 to 1945, and oversaw the mass murder of millions. But, having been born in 1889, as a young man, Hitler also saw service in World War I. And it is this earlier period of his life that is relevant to the claims that he may have sired a secret child.
At the outset of the Great War, former art student Hitler was aged 25 and living a dissolute life in Munich, Germany. Despite being Austrian, and having previously dodged military service for that country, he volunteered for the German war effort in August 1914. Hitler enlisted with the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment as an infantryman. His unit was posted to Fournes-en-Weppes, near Picardy in Northern France, and it would not be long before he saw action.
Indeed, in October of that year, Hitler fought in the notorious Battle of Ypres bloodbath in Belgium. After 20 days of fierce fighting, his regiment’s headcount was reduced from 3,600 to 611 men. After Ypres and back at Fournes-en-Weppes, Hitler received a promotion to corporal from his initial rank of private. He was now given the job of regimental runner, delivering messages up and down the front line in France and Belgium.
In fact, Hitler proved so adept at this work that he wound up being given the Iron Cross second class. But it was also in the performance of these duties that a shell fragment hit Hitler in the thigh in 1916, during the Battle of the Somme in northern France. The corporal spent two months back in Germany recuperating before being sent back to Fournes-en-Weppes. In 1918, following the award of the Iron Cross first class, Hitler was again sent back to the Fatherland, suffering from the adverse effects of mustard gas. The war ended in defeat for Germany while the future Führer was languishing in hospital.
But it was what Hitler got up to in his down time while he was stationed in Fournes-en-Weppes that is at the heart of this story. During a furlough from the front line spent in the French town, it has been claimed that Hitler came across a young girl called Charlotte Lobjoie.
Years later, the Frenchwoman described the story of this meeting in the small country town to her son, Jean-Marie Loret. In 2012, his attorney, François Gibault, recounted this tale to the French current affairs magazine Le Point. According to Gibault, the mother had informed her offspring, “I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street.”
Lobjoie’s story continued, “He had a sketch pad and seemed to be drawing. All the women found this soldier interesting, and wanted to know what he was drawing. They picked me to try to approach him.” The artist was none other than Adolf Hitler and this was the start of a relationship between the 16-year-old girl and the future Nazi dictator. It has even been claimed that a painting by the then 28-year-old corporal depicts Lobjoie.
Whether or not this was the case, Lobjoie could still picture episodes from her brief affair with the soldier. “On the rare occasions your father was around, he liked to take me for walks in the countryside,” she told Loret. “But these walks usually ended badly. Your father, inspired by nature, launched into speeches I did not really understand.”
Moreover, the relationship was not limited to incomprehensible strolls in the French scenery. Loret’s birth in March 1918 was the result, apparently, of a “tipsy” encounter one evening the previous June. However, it seems that drink was not responsible for Lobjoie loosening her lips and coming clean. She only told Loret his origin story shortly before she died in 1951. For 33 years, it is claimed that Lobjoie had kept the truth behind Loret’s paternity to herself.
But now it would appear that it was Loret’s turn to keep the secret of his father. However, he did not do as well as his mom. He only managed to maintain a public silence for 30 years before giving the game away with his book Your Father’s Name Was Hitler in 1981. Nevertheless, it is reported that Loret revealed what he believed to be the real identity of his father to his own seven children in the early 1970s.
At least that is what one of his sons, Philippe Loret, told U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail in an interview from April 2012. The then 56-year-old recalled that it was at a family gathering when Loret Sr. made his announcement. Apparently, he said to his children, “I’ve got something to tell you. Your grandfather is Adolf Hitler.” Philip remembered, “There was stunned silence as no-one knew what to say. We didn’t know how to react.”
And Lobjoie’s son upheld his claim to the grave, dying at the age of 67 in 1985. Regardless, Philippe has kept the story that Hitler was his father’s father alive. And, it has to be said, Loret Jr. has done so in the face of much skepticism. The only evidence that Hitler had a secret love-child with Charlotte Lobjoie was hearsay. Moreover, it was said to have come from her mouth via the alleged progeny himself.
But is there any other information that could back up this far-fetched family tale? Understandably, reputable historians have rejected the story out of hand. However, it should be borne in mind that very few if any of these history scholars had met Hitler, but one man who had was Heinz Linge. This SS officer had worked as the Führer’s valet for more than ten years. Furthermore, he claimed that his employer had fathered a child in an affair conducted in France.
There is no doubt that Linge was close to Hitler and able to witness his personal life at close quarters. Indeed, the valet was in the Reich Chancellery garden bunker in Berlin when the Nazi leader committed suicide in 1945. Linge himself died in 1980, but his posthumous memoir, With Hitler to the End, contained the explosive paternity revelations. Published in 2009, Linge claimed in the book that the Führer had more than once shared “his belief that he had a son, born in 1918 as the result of a relationship Hitler had had with a French girl as a soldier…”
In addition, there is the intriguing testimony provided by a World War II diary written by a British soldier. Leonard Wilkes was one of the first British troops to set foot in France during the Normandy landings on D-Day on June 6, 1944. In March 2012, his son, Alan Wilkes, made public an entry in his father’s journal dated September 30, 1944.
The extract was quoted in the Daily Mail article on Philippe Loret in April 2012. It read, “An interesting day today. Visited the house where Hitler stayed as a corporal in the last war, saw the woman who had a baby by him, and she told us that the baby, a son, was now fighting in the French army against the Germans.”
If true, of course, this would be a deliciously ironic twist in the tale. And it would appear that some people are keen to finally get to the bottom of it all. In April 2018, the story about Hitler’s supposed lovechild reignited in the world’s media. This latest round was triggered by a move from Russian state-owned broadcaster NTV. The British tabloid The Sun summed up the development in one headline. It read, “French plumber who claims to be Hitler’s grandson has DNA test to prove once and for all if he’s related to the evil Nazi leader.”
Yes, according to The Sun, an NTV presenter said in a televised report, “Deep in his mind, Philippe Loret is sure without any DNA that he is Hitler’s grandson.” Nonetheless, the TV channel claimed that it had secured a sample of Loret’s DNA. The plan now is to compare it with DNA extracted from alleged fragments of Hitler’s jaw and skull. These remains are said to be stored in a Moscow vault.
Loret is quoted in The Sun as saying, “There are always some doubts, but if the DNA test is negative – well, there’s nothing to do then. If positive – my thought will be confirmed. Either result will be good… If negative, I need to find out who my real granddad was. All what I want is to find the truth.” So now the world can only wait with bated breath for the test results. And perhaps this will be an end to the Loret story, or maybe just the beginning of another chapter…