|There is no evidence that Eva Braun had any Jewish ancestry, regardless of what BBC-4 may say.|
BBC Television's Channel 4 has a new series called Dead Famous DNA, hosted by Mark Evans, a veterinary scientist who previously hosted a show called Bigfoot Files. The new show depicts in trivial detail Evans' efforts to acquire samples of DNA from famous dead people, and then to have them tested, either just to find out whatever can be learned or to resolve some specific question, like whether a diesel-mechanic in Michigan is the son of Elvis Presley. The show's content is padded with scenes of the histrionic Dr. Evans belaboring some point or acting as if he were haunted by something. The show's intro, read by Evans himself, hardly conveys scientific objectivity:
"Could the DNA reveal what made Marilyn Monroe so attractive, Albert Einstein so intelligent, or Adolf Hitler so evil?"
British news-outlets report that the show recently featured a discussion of the DNA of hair found in a brush that is believed to have been used by Eva Braun, the beloved of Adolf Hitler who became Mrs. Hitler shortly before both of them ended their lives in 1945.
The brush had been looted, reputedly, from Hitler's Bavarian retreat, the Berghof, by an American soldier, Captain Paul Baer, who sold it to somebody named John Reznikoff, who then sold eight strands of the hair for $2000 to Mark Evans. (In the second episode of Dead Famous DNA this same Reznikoff was said to have three samples of Napoleon's hair that did not resemble each other: the implication was that much of what Reznikoff sells is not authentic.)1
Evans' statement at the end of the show about Eva Braun's DNA and its supposed Jewishness is emphatic and unambiguous. "But ethnically, if that's her hair, on her hairbrush, Eva was Jewish." He says that this finding is "the final nail in the coffin of Nazi ideology."
In the first place, Evans is using a definition of Jewishness that is far stricter than that promulgated in the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, whereby a person without at least one Jewish grandparent was not considered a Jew or even a Mischling. Even if Evans' scientific finding were correct, it would have no bearing on National-Socialist ideology or practice. The notion of "Nazi ideology" that Evans attacks is a straw-man. But there is a much more serious indictment of Evans' work than its vulgar reliance on bad history.
There is also a scientific problem with what Evans says that makes him appear deliberately dishonest.
Evans' conclusion about Eva Braun, as he states it in the show, is short on details. He does not say which sequence found in Eva Braun's mitochondrial DNA is "only shared by Ashkenazi Jews." That is a key detail, on which the whole argument hinges.
News-reports about the show revealed that detail. It is reported that the piece of DNA attributed to Eva Braun that supposedly belongs only to Ashkenazi Jews is a sequence called N1b1. (The Independent, 5 April 2014)
The premise that N1b1 belongs only to Ashkenazi Jews is not even close to being accurate. The following relevant information is drawn from a fairly recent (2012) article in The American Journal of Human Genetics:
N1b ... dates to 19-25 ka ago and is primarily found in Southwest Asia.... N1b itself has three basal branches: N1b1, N1b2, and a third, which we labeled N1b3, represented by a single sample from Anatolia. N1b2 is found mainly in Ashkenazi Jews, and its estimated age of ~2ka indicates a recent founder effect among Ashkenazi ancestors. The main subclade, N1b1, dates to ~13-14 ka ago and includes several branches from the Near East, Europe (rarely, mainly in central and eastern Mediterranean Europe), Arabia, and northern Africa (Figure 2C).2
|Frequency Map for Haplogroup N1b, from the American Journal of Human Genetics, 10 February 2012|
N1b1 could hardly be Jewish, since it is at least 13 thousand years old, and neither Ashkenazi Jews nor Jews in general have existed anywhere near that long. The geographic distribution of N1b (mostly N1b1) also shows that it is not specifically Jewish but regional, with its strongest European showing in Albania (not known for having a large Jewish population). Eva Braun could easily have inherited her mitochondrial DNA from the population that brought agriculture into Europe from southwest Asia during the Neolithic period.
It is the N1b2 DNA-sequence, which originated only about 2000 years ago, that is strongly associated with Ashkenazi Jews and is believed to have developed within a Jewish population in Europe. It appears that Dr. Mark Evans made a mistake.
That is, if we assume that this was not deliberate misrepresentation. The tendency to misconstrue DNA-evidence in specious justification of absurd conclusions is something that we have been seeing recently, in the cases of Adolf Hitler's Y-chromosome and Craig Cobb's ostensible DNA-test-result on the Trisha show. The reverence for any finding that is called scientific, and the general public's ignorance about DNA, are being exploited in a very reckless way for anti-White propaganda. This kind of innuendo, of Jewish or Negro ancestry, was a favorite form of propaganda against prominent National-Socialists long before DNA-testing became possible. The way DNA-results have been abused recently amounts to dressing up rumor-mongering in a white lab-coat. Perhaps Mark Evans deliberately omitted from his show the detail about which DNA-sequence was supposed to belong only to Ashkenazi Jews, because he knew that giving that detail would make his conclusion easy to debunk.
On the other hand it seems that some people connected with the production are simply incompetent. A spokesman for Channel 4 (repeating what Evans had said in the show) is quoted thus:
“In the nineteenth century, many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism, so Eva Braun is highly unlikely to have known her ancestry and - despite research he instigated into Braun’s race - neither would Hitler.”[The Independent, 5 April 2014]
That is a very ignorant statement.The Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany keep birth-records extending back hundreds of years. If Eva Braun had a Jewess as a matrilineal ancestor anytime after the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648 (and possibly earlier) it would be a matter of record.
1. The looter of the brush from the Berghof, Captain Paul Baer, is described as a "German-Born Jew" (The Telegraph, 5 April 2014). Reznikoff, who bought the brush from Baer and sold it to Mark Evans, claims in the show that his family are "Holocaust-survivors."
2. V. Fernandez, F. Alshamali, M. Alves, M. Costa, J. Pereira, N. Silva, L. Cherni, N, Harich, V. Cerny, P. Soares, M. Richards, L. Pereira, "The Arabian Cradle: Mitochondrial Relicts of the First Steps along the Southern Route out of Africa", The American Journal of Human Genetics, 10 February 2012.