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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Liverpool

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Myths and Legends
Birth certificate
Copy of birth certificate of William Patrick Hitler

© Courtesy of Mike Royden
Your Story: Adolf Hitler - did he visit Liverpool during 1912-13?

Much of the interest has stemmed from the publication of a memoir in the 1970's written by Bridget Hitler, the wife of Alois. This was met with the inevitable reporting in England, especially in the Liverpool press. It also influenced local writer Beryl Bainbridge to produce Young Adolf, a fictionalised story about his visit to Liverpool as told in the Memoir. She followed this in 1981 with a drama commissioned by the BBC called The Journal of Bridget Hitler, and starring Maurice Roeves, Siobhan McKenna and Julian Glover. Dramatised with Philip Saville, it portrayed the 'pre-war visit' to half brother's Liverpool home as featured by his Irish sister-in-law in her memoir.

Since then, there have been many corruptions of the story, including a version by a local writer who also featured a fake photograph on his web site of a young Hitler standing in front of the William Brown Street Galleries and Library buildings, just to muddy the waters still further.

The story came to the fore again in 2002, when David Gardner, a former crime writer and senior foreign correspondent on the Daily Mail published a book entitled The Last of the Hitlers. Although it deals primarily with his story of how he traced the last remaining relatives of the Nazi Dictator, he discusses the Liverpool connection, and this was followed by a Channel 5 documentary which consequently reawakened interested in the story.

So much for the background. The story itself begins in pre-war Liverpool when young Adolf, still hoping for a career as an artist came to stay at the house of his half brother and his wife in Upper Stanhope Street, in Toxteth, Liverpool. There he stayed for around six months before returning to the men's hostel in Vienna. As the only source for this is Bridget's own memoir, it has inevitably undergone thorough analysis.

Words: M W Royden

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