offering British war relief information, 1941
|Born||Bridget Elizabeth Dowling
3 July 1891 (disputed)
|Died||18 November 1969
Long Island, New York
|Spouse(s)||Alois Hitler, Jr.|
|Children||William Patrick Hitler|
|Parent(s)||William Dowling (father)|
Bridget Elizabeth Hitler, née Dowling (alternative Brigid) (3 July 1891 – 18 November 1969), was Adolf Hitler's sister-in-law via her marriage to Alois Hitler, Jr.. She was the mother of Alois Hitler's son William Patrick Hitler. She was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1909, Bridget and her father, William Dowling, attended the Dublin Horse Show where they met Alois Hitler, Jr., who claimed to be a wealthy hotelier touring Europe when, in fact, he was a poor kitchen porter at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel. Alois courted Bridget at various Dublin locales and soon they were discussing marriage. On 3 June 1910, the couple eloped to London, living in Charing Cross Road for a while. Her father threatened to charge Alois with kidnapping but accepted the marriage after Bridget pleaded with him.
Early married life
The couple settled at 102 Upper Stanhope Street in Toxteth, Liverpool and, in 1911 they had their only child, William Patrick Hitler. The house was destroyed in the last German air raid of the Liverpool Blitz on 10 January 1942 remaining a bomb site until recent years.
Alois went to Germany in 1914 to establish himself in business but these plans were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Bridget refused to go with him, as he had become violent and started beating their son. Alois decided to abandon his family. He returned to Germany, remarried bigamously, and sent word after the war that he was dead. His deception was later discovered, and he was charged with bigamy by the German authorities in 1924. He escaped conviction due to Bridget's intervention. Bridget raised her son alone with no support from her husband from whom she was eventually divorced (although as a Roman Catholic she was religiously opposed to divorce). She set up a home in Highgate, North London, and took in lodgers to make ends meet.
Emigration and claims
In 1939, Bridget joined her son on a tour of the United States where he was invited to lecture on his infamous uncle. They decided to stay and Bridget wrote a manuscript, My Brother-in-Law Adolf, in which she claimed that her famous brother-in-law had moved to Liverpool to live with Bridget and Alois from November 1912 to April 1913 to dodge conscription in his native Austria. She claims that she introduced Adolf to astrology, and that she advised him to trim off the edges of his moustache.
She was initially unable to sell the manuscript and most historians dismiss the work as being a fabrication written in an attempt to cash in on her famous relation. Brigitte Hamann and Hans Mommsen say that records prove that Hitler was in Vienna during this period.
There is no corroborating evidence Hitler ever visited his relatives in Liverpool. Professor Robert Waite refutes her claims that Adolf Hitler had stayed with her as well as most of the rest of her book in the appendix to his book The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. According to David Gardiner, Bridget's daughter-in-law has said Bridget admitted to her that the book was fanciful. The story of Adolf Hitler's visit to Liverpool has remained popular, however, and was the subject of Beryl Bainbridge's 1978 novel Young Adolf and Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's notorious 1989 comic The New Adventures of Hitler.
After the war Bridget and her son settled in Long Island, New York under the assumed name of Stuart-Houston. She died there on 18 November 1969 and is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram, Long Island alongside her son, who died on 14 July 1987.
The family of Bridget Dowling remained a mystery until the Irish censuses for 1901 and 1911 were digitised and released online. The names of the family members, including Bridget, are given in the 1901 census under the name William Dowling of Flemings Place, near Mespil Road, Dublin. The family later moved to Denzille Street, Dublin, now named Fenian Street, according to the 1911 census. Bridget's name is not included in this census, as she was allegedly in England at that time. Curiously, the 1911 census in Dublin was filled in by Bridget, based on samples of her handwriting.
According to author David Gardner, who discovered the "Hitler family" in the United States, Adolf Hitler visited the Dowling family in Dublin, presumably in Fenian St. Gardner was unable to find any other living relations willing to admit a direct relation to Adolf Hitler. The Long Island Hitler brothers (who have since changed their surname to Stuart-Houston), have renounced all claims to the Hitler fortune controlled by the Bavarian Government. William Dowling is generally associated with Kilnamanagh, Dublin, but he was born in Kildare; his parents were Martin and Elizabeth Dowling of Crookstown in County Kildare.
- Gardner, David C. (2001). The Last of the Hitlers. BMM. p. 131. ISBN 0-9541544-0-1.
- Bridget Dowling's date of birth is a matter of dispute. David C. Gardner found two women sharing that name (and fathers' names). One of them was born on 3 July 1891 and her mother was Elisabeth Reynolds; the other Bridget was born on 6 January 1891 and her mother was Esther Cullan – the latter is preferred by D. Gardner. Wolfgang Zdral (pages 134, 262 and Appendix) suggests 3 July 1891.
- Zdral, Wolfgang (2005). Die Hitlers. Campus Verlag GmbH. pp. 262, Appendix. ISBN 3-593-37457-9.
- Brigitte Hamann, Hans Mommsen, Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant As a Young Man, 2010, Tauris Parke, p.198.
- The Social Security Death Index for Brigid Dowling confirms her birth date to be 3 July 1891. She was living in Patchogue, Suffolk, New York 11772, at the time of her death in November 1969.
- Marc Vermeeren. "De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889–1907 en zijn familie en voorouders". Soesterberg, 2007, 420 blz. Uitgeverij Aspekt. ISBN 90-5911-606-2.