Bridget Dowling

Bridget Dowling

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Bridget Elizabeth Hitler, née Dowling (alternative Brigid) (3 July 1891 – 18 November 1969) was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's sister-in-law via her marriage to Alois Hitler, Jr.
Alois Hitler, Jr.
Alois Hitler, Jr., born Alois Matzelsberger , was the son of Alois Hitler and Franziska Matzelsberger, and was the half-brother of Adolf Hitler.-Early life:...

 She was the mother of Alois Hitler's son William Patrick Hitler
William Patrick Hitler
William Patrick "Willy" Stuart-Houston was the nephew of Adolf Hitler. Born to Adolf's half-brother Alois Hitler, Jr., and his first wife Bridget Dowling, William later moved to Germany and subsequently escaped, eventually going to the United States where he enlisted to fight in World War...

. She was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...



In 1909, she 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 waiter at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel
Shelbourne Hotel
The Shelbourne Hotel is a famous hotel situated in a landmark building on the north side of St Stephen's Green, in Dublin, Ireland. Currently operated by Marriott International, the hotel has 265 rooms in total and reopened in March 2006 after undergoing an eighteen-month refurbishment.John...

. Alois courted Bridget at various Dublin locales and soon they were discussing marriage. On June 3, 1910, the couple eloped to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, living in Charing Cross Road
Charing Cross Road
Charing Cross Road is a street in central London running immediately north of St Martin-in-the-Fields to St Giles Circus and then becomes Tottenham Court 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
Toxteth is an inner city area of Liverpool, England. Located to the south of the city, Toxteth is bordered by Liverpool City Centre, Dingle, Edge Hill, Wavertree and Aigburth.-Description:...

, Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, and, in 1911 they had their only child, William Patrick Hitler. Ironically, the house was destroyed in the last German air raid of the Liverpool Blitz
Liverpool Blitz
The Liverpool Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of the British city of Liverpool and its surrounding area, at the time mostly within the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire but commonly known as Merseyside, during the Second World War by the German Luftwaffe.Liverpool, Bootle, and the...

 on January 10, 1942, and has remained 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
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Bridget refused to go with him, as he had become violent and started beating their son. Alois decided to abandon his family, he remarried bigamously and sent word after the war that he was dead. He was charged with bigamy
In cultures that practice marital monogamy, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Bigamy is a crime in most western countries, and when it occurs in this context often neither the first nor second spouse is aware of the other...

 in 1924 but 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
Highgate is an area of North London on the north-eastern corner of Hampstead Heath.Highgate is one of the most expensive London suburbs in which to live. It has an active conservation body, the Highgate Society, to protect its character....

, North London, and took in lodgers to make ends meet.

Emigration and claims

In 1939, she joined her son on a tour of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 where he was invited to lecture on his famous 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 in order to dodge conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in his native Austria. She claims that she introduced Adolf to astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, and that she advised him to trim off the edges of his moustache.

She was 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.

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
David Gardiner
David Gardiner was the father of Julia Gardiner Tyler, wife of U.S. President John Tyler.-Life:Gardiner was a descendant of Lion Gardiner and lived on Gardiners Island in East Hampton, New York...

, 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
Beryl Bainbridge
Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge, DBE was an English author from Liverpool. She was primarily known for her psychological novels, often set amongst the English working classes. Bainbridge won the Whitbread Awards prize for best novel in 1977 and 1996; she was nominated five times for the Booker...

's 1978 novel Young Adolf
Young Adolf
Young Adolf is a novel written by author Beryl Bainbridge, and first published in 1978 by Duckworth. Presented as biographical fiction, the book's main character is 23-year-old Adolf Hitler. Hitler visits relatives in Liverpool, where he gets into serious trouble with the English.-Further reading:*...

and Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic book writer, playwright and occultist. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and counter-cultural leanings, as well as his successful runs on titles like Animal Man, Doom Patrol, JLA, The Invisibles, New X-Men, Fantastic Four, All-Star Superman, and...

 and Steve Yeowell
Steve Yeowell
Steve Yeowell is a British comics artist, well-known for his work on the long-running science fiction and fantasy weekly comic 2000 AD.-Biography:...

's notorious 1989 comic The New Adventures of Hitler
The New Adventures of Hitler
The New Adventures of Hitler was a highly controversial comic series written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Steve Yeowell which first appeared in Cut, a Scottish arts magazine in 1989 before being reprinted in the anthology Crisis in 1990....



After the war Bridget and her son settled in Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 under the assumed name of Stuart-Houston. She died there on November 18, 1969 and is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Coram, New York)
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery located on the northwest corner of New York State Route 112 and Granny Road in Coram, New York. The cemetery was founded in 1942, and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre....

 in Coram, Long Island alongside her son, who died on July 14, 1987.


  • 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.

External links