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Jean-Marie Loret (born 18 or 25 March 1918 in Seboncourt near Saint-Quentin in Picardie; died 1985 in Saint-Quentin) was a French railway worker and claimed to be Adolf Hitler’s illegitimate son. The claim was supported by German historian Werner Maser and was widely published in the 1970s however the dominant view, as represented by historians such as Anton Joachimsthaler, Timothy Ryback, and Ian Kershaw, is that Hitler’s paternity is impossible or unlikely.
2 The Loret-Hitler connection
3 Genetic evidence
6 External links
Jean-Marie Loret was born in 1918 in Seboncourt as Jean-Marie Lobjoie. The mother of the illegitimate child was Charlotte Eudoxie Alida Lobjoie (1898–1951), the daughter of the local butcher, Louis Joseph Alfred Lobjoie and his wife Marie Flore Philomène (née Colpin). According to the entry in the birth registry of his home town, Loret’s father was an unidentified German soldier from World War I. Since Adolf Hitler had stayed in the localities of Seclin, Fournes, Wavrin, and Ardooie in the years 1916 and 1917, and according to eyewitnesses is supposed to have had a relationship with Charlotte, Hitler’s paternity of Loret became the subject of discussion on various occasions.
Charlotte Lobjoie is ascribed the profession of dancer in various sources, from which it nevertheless remains unclear whether she was one already by 1916/1917. She appears to have taken up this profession only when she had moved to Paris, some months after the birth of her child and after the withdrawal of the Germans from France. Jean-Marie grew up in his first seven years in the household of his grandparents, from whom Charlotte broke off all contact after her departure from the family. On May 22, 1922 Charlotte married lithographer Clément Loret, who therewith declared himself in agreement that his new wife’s illegitimate son, whom he had at that point never yet seen, would be allowed to bear his family name. After the death of his grandparents, who, according to Loret’s own statements, had “treated him badly”, in 1925 and 1926, respectively, his aunt, Alice Lobjoie, strove mightily for the adoption of her nephew by the family of the wealthy construction magnate Frizon from Saint Quentin. From then on the boy attended, one after the other, two Catholic boarding schools in Cambrai and Saint Quentin.
In 1936, Jean-Marie entered into military service and was promoted in subsequent years, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. He later occupied himself for some years as a businessman until 1948, when he had to give up that profession due to insolvency.
Already as a child, Loret, by his own profession, knew that he was the son of a German soldier, but he had no clue as to the identity of his father. In 1948, so he later claimed, his mother revealed to him shortly before her death that the said soldier had in fact been Adolf Hitler.
During World War II Loret worked as chargé de mission with the French police in Saint Quentin. He allegedly got this post accorded to him at Hitler’s personal command, albeit, up till then, apparently no firm evidence for this claim could be evinced. Claims that he had collaborated with Gestapo-units stationed in France in this capacity are just as little proven. The fact that after the war no trial for collaboration was ever held against him, frankly, speaks against the claim. In various sources it is, however, said that Hitler had any and all material on Loret destroyed. And, besides, Loret was considered in general to be rather average and not overly diligent, so that it would appear rather unusual for him to have earned himself so high a post entirely by his own merit already under the age of twenty-five.
Loret was married at least once and had nine children. Some sources maintain that his wife separated from him in 1948, when she learned of his family heritage. In later newspaper articles on Loret, a wife by the name of “Muguette” is mentioned, who was supposedly living with him at the point in time when these articles were being written. But it remains unclear whether, in the case of this “Muguette”, it was a matter of a second wife (or a “life-partner”) or whether she was the mother of his children and had again come back to him or whether she had never even left him at all.
On June 7, 1978, during the public discussion of his person, Loret was brought by Maser away from Saint-Quentin to the latter’s house in Speyer, where Maser kept him ensconced from the critical questioning of the press. The two inspected, among other things, the former concentration camp at Dachau, on which occasion Loret is supposed to have said literally, “I didn’t choose my father.”
Maser took Loret along even to Tokyo, in order to prompt him to give interviews, but the Frenchman appeared rather reserved in this respect.
Finally, in 1979, Loret and Maser had a falling-out, presumably for financial reasons, and broke off with one another. Thereafter, Loret, in collaboration with René Mathot, published his autobiography Ton père s’appelait Hitler [Your Father’s name was Hitler] (Paris, 1981).
The Loret-Hitler connection
The story of “Hitler’s son” was launched in the 70s, most prominently in various illustrated magazines such as Bunte, but also in more reputably held publications, like the historical journal Zeitgeschichte and the news magazine Der Spiegel. The latter published the most influential story on Loret under the title “Love in Flanders”
The ultimate origin of the story of Hitler’s son, first spread only by word of mouth, could up until then not be determined. In any case, literary propaganda maintaining that the illegitimate son of a French girl and a German soldier was Hitler’s son had already been around for a fairly long time in Loret’s hometown when Loret became known to German historian Werner Maser. Whether the rumors had been put out into the world by Loret himself or by others has never been cleared up.
Maser maintained that he had heard of a reputed son of Hitler for the first time in 1965 in the process of his researches in Wavrin and surrounding cities. He followed up on these reports, in the process getting together with Loret, and was able to convince him to let “his story” be published. Thenceforth, Maser exerted great effort to gather evidence in favor of its correctness. Critics, such as, for example, Anton Joachimsthaler, reproached him most of all for subordinating the scholarly pursuit of truth to commercial motives such as the lust for sensationalism and taking pleasure in its great effect.
According to Maser’s portrayal, the Loret-Hitler connection went down as follows: Hitler had met Charlotte Lobjoie in 1916 in the city of Wavrin, in the German-occupied part of France, while stationed there as a soldier, and had begun a romantic relationship with her. Loret had been conceived finally in the summer of 1917 in Ardooie or, according to other sources, in the fall of 1917 in Le Ceteau. The latter must in all probability be seen as the less likely variant, since it would presuppose a premature birth. This, of course, cannot be excluded as a possibility, but no factual indications speak in its favor.
Maser wrote in his Hitler-biography on the relationship of Hitler and Lobjoie:
At the beginning of 1916 the young woman had met the German soldier Adolf Hitler for the first time. She stayed first in Premont, allowed herself to fall into a sexual relationship with him, and followed him until fall 1917 to, among other places, Seboncourt, Forunes, Wavrin, and Noyelles lez Saeclin in northern France – and, in May, June, July 1917, also to Ardooie in Belgium (p. 528).
The critics of this supposed sensation very soon pointed out the unprovenness of these claims by Maser, who supported them based on nothing further than Loret’s own claims.
A genetic certification of his biological inheritance, done at the University of Heidelberg, resulted in the findings that “at best, Loret could be Hitler’s son”, but that he need not be such.
As supposed evidence for Hitler’s paternity, evinced from his actions, were put forward Charlotte Lobjoie’s commitment to a French sanatorium (allegedly at Hitler’s instruction) after the German invasion of France and a protracted interrogation of Loret by the Gestapo in the Hotel Lutetia, the Gestapo-headquarters in Paris, as well as Loret’s alleged collaboration with the Gestapo as a policeman.
Maser’s questioning of Alice Lobjoie, Loret’s aunt and Charlotte’s sister, whom he had wanted to bring into play as “crown witness” for his claim, rendered, instead, a negative result: Alice Lobjoie stated that her sister had indeed entertained a love relationship with a German soldier, but she disputed vehemently that this soldier had been Adolf Hitler. She stated that she could remember the man’s face quite well and knew that this face had no resemblance to Hitler’s. In addition, she stated for the record:
“Jean is a nutcase. Only the Germans talked up that Hitler-story to him.”
Maser later attempted to dilute Lobjoie’s statements in more recent editions of his book Hitler, pointing out the aunt’s alleged anger at her nephew.
In addition to Alice Lobjoie’s disclaimer, critics of Maser’s thesis, such as historian Joachimsthaler, among others, introduced into the debate testimonials from Hitler’s war comrades, persons, who, in their recollections of Hitler in the 1st World War, unanimously noted that he was dead-set against any relationships between German soldiers and French women. So, for example, Balthasar Brandmayer, in his memoire Two Dispatch-Runners, reported that Hitler had reacted in the most violent terms against the intent of his regiment-mates to get involved with French girls and had reproached them for having “nary any German sense of honor”.
In addition, the critics asserted logical inconsistencies in Maser’s story: that it is highly improbable that any soldier in the war, let alone a private ranking low in the military hierarchy, would have been able to take a lover along through all the relocations of his regiment, as Hitler had supposedly done with Lobjoie, according to Maser. Free movement would scarcely have been possible in the occupied areas, and having Charlotte travelling along behind regimental hawsers is very doubtful, to boot.
During the course of the 1979 Aschaffenburger Historians’ Moot, Maser at first kept quiet on the matter. Finally, in his own contribution to the discussion, he suddenly declared a possible illegitimate son of Hitler to be a marginal matter. Joachimsthaler designated this Maser’s “own private end goal”.
The Daily Express claimed, in an article dated February 15, 1985, that a portrait of Loret’s mother had been found, after Hitler’s death, among the latter’s possessions, but remained shy of evidence for this claim. In point of fact, a portrait done by Adolf Hitler in the year 1916 that purportedly depicted Charlotte Lobjoie with head-scarf and with fork in hand was tracked to a Belgian entrepreneur in the 60s and was published in an issue of the journal Panorama at the beginning of the 70s. It is therefore unlikely that this same portrait was found among Hitler’s possessions in 1945. One should in this case trace the origin of the claim to a misunderstanding.
In more recent time Maser reaffirmed in an interview with the extreme right-wing-oriented National-Zeitung that he stood by his thesis, just as before, and he maintained Loret “was unambiguously Hitler’s son”, and that this had been “acknowledged in France on the part of officials”. The 12th edition of his book Adolf Hitler: Legend, Myth, Reality—according to Maser, the most translated Hitler-biography in the world—contains a comprehensive appendix on this subject.
In 2008, the Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders traveled to Germany, Austria, France and the United States to collect DNA of the Lorets and of the last living relatives of Hitler in Austria and on Long Island. By comparing this, Mulders claimed proof that Jean-Marie Loret was not the son of Adolf Hitler.
The results of his research were published in Het Laatste Nieuws, Belgium’s largest newspaper. In February 2009 a book on this subject was published by Herbig Verlag in Munich: Auf der Suche nach Hitlers Sohn – Eine Beweisaufnahme. The news was picked-up by several international media, including Daily Mail, USA Today, Bild, Hürriyet and China Daily.
In February 2012 the French magazine Le Point reported that a study by the University of Heidelberg shows Hitler and Loret were of the same blood group and that another study shows they had similar handwriting. The story also claimed that German officers delivered cash to Charlotte Lobjoie during the World War II occupation. A revised edition of Loret’s book Your Father’s Name is Hitler was said to be in the works.
^ Korrektur einer Biographie. Adolf Hitler, 1908-1920 [Emendation of a Biography. Adolf Hitler, 1908-1920], Munich, 1989, pp. 162-64
^ Hitler-Biography; Vol. 1, note 116 to Chapter 3
^ Autobiographie [Autobiography], pp. 127-149
^ Brief Lorets an Frau Christine Schroeder vom 21. Juli 1979 [Loret’s letter to Frau Christine Schroeder of July 21, 1979], contained in Frau Schroeder’s bequest.
^ Adolf Hitler: Vater eines Sohnes [“Adolf Hitler: Father of a Son”], in Zeitgeschichte, 5. Jg., 1977/78, pp. 173-202.
^ .Der Spiegel, issue 45, 1977.
^ Joachimsthaler: Korrektur [Emendation], p. 62.
^ Balthasar Brandmayer: Zwei Meldegänger. Mitgeteilt von Hein Bayer [Balthasar Brandmayer: Two Dispatch-Runners, as told by Hein Bayer], Bruckmühl 1932, p. 103.
^ Die Zeit p.28, June 7, 1978.
^ “Hitler had geen joods bloed en geen Franse zoon”. Het Laatste Nieuws. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
^ / “Le fils français caché d’Adolf Hitler”. Le Point. 17 February 2012.
Marc Vermeeren, “De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889-1907 en zijn familie en voorouders”. Soesterberg, 2007, 420 blz. Uitgeverij Aspekt. ISBN = 978-90-5911-606-1
Jean Loret: Ton père s’appelait Hitler [Your Father Was Named Hitler], Paris, 1981.
Donald M. McKale: Hitler’s Children: A Study of Postwar Mythology, in: The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 15, issue 1 (1981), p. 46.
Werner Maser: Adolf Hitler: Vater eines Sohnes (“Adolf Hitler: Father of a Son”) on the ANNO (AustriaN Newspapers Online)-pages of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek)
Peter Allen (2012-02-17). “Hitler had son with French teen”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
Rossella Lorenzi (2012-02-19). “Proof That Hitler Had An Illegitimate Son?”. LiveScience. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
This article incorporates information from the permanent link this version of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.