Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Name That Will Live in Infamy

Three sons of Adolf Hitler's "loathsome nephew" Willy live on Long Island, New York, and are planning to write a book. All three are childless, as was a fourth son who died in 1989. Among the questions left to be answered are whether the eldest really was given the middle name "Adolf," and whether the brothers made a pact to let the Hitler bloodline peter out.

After coming to America in 1939 and serving in the U.S. Navy, Willy changed his surname to "Stewart-Houston" (later "Stuart-Houston"), and was understandably reticent about his father's infamous half-brother. Teresa Ryther grew up in the Patchogue neighborhood where the family lived, and never made the connection.

Photographs of Willy as a young man show some likeness to Adolf Hitler, but most friends and neighbors in Patchogue remained unaware of the connection until Willy revealed it to them shortly before his death. Still, Ms. Ryther said her father noticed a resemblance.

"My father used to say to my mother, 'Doesn't Patty look a lot like Adolf Hitler?' " she recalled. "Once, my father told my mom, 'I just saw Patty mowing the lawn, and he turned around real quick and, my God, he looked exactly like Hitler.' And I remember thinking, 'Oh, Hitler — he was that bad guy.' " [Link]

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