London: A nephew of Adolf Hitler wrote a letter to then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 in which he begged to be allowed to enlist in the US Army to fight against his uncle’s Nazi regime.
William Patrick Hitler fled Germany when war broke out in 1939 to live with relatives in New York, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
William Patrick was the son of Adolf Hitler’s half-brother Alois and his first wife Bridget Dowling. He was born in Liverpool March 12, 1911.
Three years later, Alois left his wife and son and took off for Europe. He remarried but kept in contact with his first wife. He settled in Germany.
William Patrick was rejected by the US Army because of his family connection, following which he wrote a letter to Roosevelt, saying he so strongly wanted to fight against Hitler.
“I am the nephew and only descendant of the ill-famed Chancellor and Leader of Germany who today so despotically seeks to enslave the free and Christian peoples of the globe,” William Patrick wrote.
“More than anything else, I would like to see active combat as soon as possible and thereby be accepted by my friends and comrades as one of them in this great struggle for liberty,” he wrote.
The letter made its way into the hands of then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who approved William Patrick for service against the Nazis.
William Patrick joined the navy in 1944 but was removed from service three years later after being wounded. He later changed his last name to Stuart-Houston.
William had a half-brother Heinz Hitler, who became a Nazi and was tortured to death by the Soviets.
In 1933, William went to Germany where he planned to cash in on his uncle’s rise to fame.
In 1938, Adolf offered his nephew a high-power position within his organisation but William fled to Britain as he was suspicious it was a trap.
He escaped from Germany in 1939 with the help of a British spy and left for the US with his mother.
He married Phyllis Jean-Jacques, with whom he had four sons, and settled in Patchogue, Long Island, New York, where he set up a medical laboratory business. He died in 1987 at the age of 76.
The letter is now included in a book War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars.