New evidence has emerged to support the disputed theory that Adolf Hitler had a secret son in 1918 after an affair with a teenage French mistress, a French newsmagazine reported Friday.
The man, Jean-Marie Loret, died in 1985 after an eventful life that saw him join the French Resistance and fight German forces led by the man who the evidence suggests was his father.
Loret claimed to be Hitler's son in an autobiography he published in 1981. The claim has been hotly debated by historians ever since, with the weight of opinion concluding that the story was bunk.
The new evidence — which includes handwriting analysis, documents indicating Hitler secretly supported the woman financially and paintings signed "Adolf Hitler" discovered in her home — is outlined by Le Point magazine, whose report Friday was widely picked up in the French media but largely ignored by German news outlets.
The evidence comes from Loret's lawyer, Francois Gibault, who said Loret's children could use it to establish a claim to royalties from Hitler's manifesto, "Mein Kampf."
Loret's 30-year-old autobiography is also expected to be republished to include the new evidence.
Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, was 16 when Hitler, who was a corporal serving with German forces in France in World War I, supposedly had an affair with her while on leave in 1917.
Loret wrote that his mother told him that she was working in a hayfield in Fournes-en-Weppe with other young women when they spotted the young soldier drawing on a sketch pad across the street. She was chosen to go ask him what he was doing.
"He was attentive and friendly," she told her son, and that sparked a relationship that lasted several weeks.
Le Point writes:
One evening in June 1917, returning a little drunk from a night out with a friend, he [Hitler] got frisky with Charlotte. In March of the next year, a son was born. ...
Years passed, and Charlotte refused to talk about the mysterious circumstances of her son's birth. Destitute and vaguely shamed, she gave up custody of her son to another family in 1934.
His "real father" refused to see him but continued from time to seek to ask for news about him from his mother.
A few weeks before she died in the early '50s, Charlotte confessed to her son the true identity of her father. The shock was terrible.
In his 1981 book, "Your Father's Name Was Hitler," Loret wrote: "In order not to fall into anxiety, I worked tirelessly, never taking vacation — 20 years without going to a movie."
Le Point quoted Guibalt on Friday as saying that during the 1970s, however, Loret began seeking evidence of his parentage. He hired several experts: a historian, who visited his childhood home and questioned witnesses; a geneticist from the University of Heidelberg, who compared Hitler's and Loret's blood types; and a handwriting analyst, who compared their writings.
"All reached the same conclusion," Le Point reported. "Jean-Marie Loret was probably the son of Adolf Hitler.""When he came to me in 1979, I had before me a lost man who did not know whether he wanted to be recognized as the son of Adolf Hitler," the magazine quoted Guibalt as saying.
"He experienced the feelings of many illegitimate children: the desire to discover his past, but also a fear of the old memories. I talked with him a lot, playing more the role of a psychologist than a lawyer," Guibalt said.
The magazine reported that the new evidence includes paintings signed "Adolf Hitler" — Hitler was a painter before going into politics — that were discovered in the attic of Lobjoie's home, as well as a Hitler-signed portrait of a woman believed to be Lobjoie that was discovered in Germany.
It also includes documents that Le Point said establish that officers of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces, hand-delivered envelopes of cash to Lobjoie during the German occupation of France.
Loret, meanwhile, was with Resistance forces at the Maginot Line in 1939, Le Point reported, and in 1940, his unit fought a fierce battle against German troops in the Ardennes. During the German occupation, Loret worked as a Resistance spy under the name "Clement," it said.
Now, Gibault said, Loret's children could have a claim to royalties from "Mein Kampf," the philosophy of which Loret fought bitterly during World War II.