Saturday, June 21, 2008

Did Unity Mitford bear Hitler's love child?

I have been busy watching the football, but I gather that Channel 4 repeated their documentary on Unity Mitford and her infatuation with Adolf Hitler this evening.

As I recall, the answer to the question in my headline is "almost certainly not". But the programme does suggest that the Mitford family may have exaggerated how ill Unity was after her suicide attempt so that they could brush off awkward questions when she returned to England.

But Martin Bright's New Statesman article on the story from last year is funny and informative:
Val was a little nervous as she explained that her aunt Betty Norton had run a maternity home to the gentry in Oxfordshire during the war and that Unity Mitford had been one of her clients. Her aunt's business, in the tiny village of Wigginton, had depended on discretion and she had told no one except her sister that Unity had had a baby. Her sister had passed the story on to her daughter Val.

I casually asked who she thought the father might be and there was a short silence on the other end of the line before she said: "Well, she always said it was Hitler's."

I must say I was tempted at this point to put down the phone. Christmas was coming and I was very busy. But for some reason I decided to carry on listening to this bizarre tale. Val didn't sound mad, and she said she was merely passing on a family story.

The child was a boy, she believed, and he had been given up for adoption. She didn't want any money; she just wanted me to look into it. So here was the prospect of Adolf Hitler's love child alive somewhere in Britain - it was either the scoop of the century or completely bonkers. But it had to be worth a few hours of my time, even if it turned out to be a dead end.
Incidentally, Unity Mitford was the granddaughter of Thomas Gibson Bowles. This blog isn't just thrown together, you know.


Blognor Regis said...

So, come on, why weren't you watching Matthew Sweet on 'B' movies on BBC4 along with the excellent film about the crazed train driver which preceded it?

Unknown said...

I sometimes wonder about the world, I have a pile of family history sometimes backed with documents about this business and nobody with any sense ever shows any interest.

Too exotic I suppose and I haven't tried very hard, but it does suggest that Unity may have been under close watch by SIS in Germany and a possible alternative father for any baby.

Regards PG