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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Liverpool

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Myths and Legends
Your Story: Adolf Hitler - did he visit Liverpool during 1912-13?

The Hitlers in New York

The rest of the memoir continues about how Alois left the family home for Germany in May 1914, never to return, and subsequent events of the 1920's and 30's. Alois remarried bigamously in 1916, for which he was charged by the German authorities in 1923, while Bridget and William moved to live in London in 1924. William renewed contact with his father when he visited him in Germany in 1929 and 1930, before returning there in 1993 to try to take advantage of his relationship with his uncle, the new FÜhrer. The dream of a high powered, well paid position did not materialize. It would appear that he was more of a thorn in the side to his uncle who was “related to state” only, and who tried to erase his family details and their potential embarrassing revelations from all public knowledge.

By 1938, following a summons to Hitler, William was given an ultimatum to give up his British nationality and commit himself to the Nazi cause. William declined and made a clandestine exit from the country, now fearful of his own safety. Months later in March 1939 he arrived in New York with Bridget, ready to tour the country giving lectures on the subject of "My Uncle Adolf", the visit being organised between a theatrical agents in London and New York. William was now sufficiently at home in his adoptive country that he decide to enlist in American Forces to fight for the allies against Uncle Adolf. Whatever his motives, and the FBI and the OSS were keeping a watchful eye on his every move, he was eventually accepted and signed up to the US Navy. In surreal circumstances, as he gave his name to the recruiting officer, he was met with the reply "Glad to see you Hitler - my name is Hess!" Except in this case it was Gale K Hess of Chicago. After training he was sent to the Medical Corps and saw action before being honourably discharged in 1946.

Words: M W Royden

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