Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's wife Eva Braun, who he married just hours before their joint suicide in 1945, may have had Jewish ancestry, according to DNA testing.
DNA analysis from hair samples taken from a brush believed to have belonged to Braun suggests the wife of the man responsible for the deaths of millions of Jewish people could have been a descendent of Ashkenazi Jews, but was not aware of it.
The revelation is set to appear in Channel 4's documentary series Dead Famous DNA. Scientists working on the programme examined hairs taken from a monogrammed hairbrush used by Braun found at one of Hitler's mountain retreats following the end of the Second World War.
The team discovered the hair contained a sequence within the DNA which had been passed down the maternal line - the haplogroup N1b1 - which is said to have an strain association with the Ashkenazi Jews, who make up around 80% of the global Jewish population.
However, the results are not definitive. The only way to prove the hair had come from Braun's head would be to take further DNA swabs from one of her two surviving female descendants, who both refused to take part in the programme.
However, Dead Famous DNA presenter Mark Evans still believes the findings provide a fascinating talking point.
He said: "This is a thought-provoking outcome - I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result. Racism & Fascism – ideas that one racial group is superior to another – made a mockery of by studying dead famous DNA."
One suggestion as to how Braun would never have known she had Jewish ancestry was because may Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism in the 19th century.
Dead Famous DNA will be shown on Channel 4 on Wednesday 9 April at 9pm