Hitler's Mentally Ill Cousin Killed In Nazi Gas Chamber

Roundup: Talking About History

Kate Connolly, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON), 1/19/05

Adolf Hitler's cousin was gassed under the Nazi policy of eliminating mental health patients, according to recently discovered documents.

The woman, identified only as Aloisia V, died in a room pumped full of carbon monoxide in December 1940 at a medical institute in Austria. A stamp on her file was proof of her killing, said Timothy Ryback, an American historian.

Historians say the discovery may explain why Hitler never wanted to talk about his family. Aloisia was 49, two years younger than Hitler, when she was murdered. She was related to him through his father's family, the Schicklgrubers.

The documents, discovered at the Vienna institution where she was treated, reveal that Nazi doctors diagnosed her as suffering from"schizophrenic mental instability, helplessness and depression, distraction, hallucinations and delusions".

She told doctors she was haunted by ghosts and the presence of a skull. She spent most of her time chained to an iron bed.

At one point she pleaded in a letter to be provided with poison so that she could kill herself."I'm sure it would only require a small amount to free me from my appalling torture," she wrote.

Mr Ryback said:"Hitler's secrecy about his own family was legendary. After 60 years we now know why.

"This man really did have something to hide."

Nazi policy decreed that anyone with a mental or physical defect, even something as minor as a harelip, should be annihilated in pursuit of a pure and flawless Aryan race.

On his father's side, mental problems were rife in Hitler's family, with one relative committing suicide.

It is not clear if Hitler was aware of Aloisia's death.

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