Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mrs Hitler?

Unity Valkyrie Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948), was one of the noted Mitford sisters. She was a prominent supporter of fascism and friend of Adolf Hitler ....

... on 17 December 2007 Bright published an article in The New Statesman stating that following his previous article he had received a phone call from a member of the public with an extraordinary new angle on the story. He claims to have been initially sceptical when the caller, Val Hann, claimed that during the war her aunt, Betty Norton, had run a private maternity hospital called Hill View Cottage in Oxford where Mitford had been a client. According to Hann's family legend, passed from Betty to Val's mother and then on to Val herself, Mitford had checked into the hospital after her return to England where she had given birth to Hitler's love child which had subsequently been given up for adoption.

Bright travelled to Wigginton where the current owner of Hill View confirmed that Norton had indeed run the cottage as a maternity hospital during the war. Furthermore he met with elderly village resident Audrey Smith, whose sister had worked at Hill View, who confirmed seeing "Unity wrapped in a blanket and looking very ill" but insists that she was there to recover from a nervous breakdown and not to give birth. Bright also contacted Unity's sister Deborah who denounced the villager's gossip and claimed she could produce her mother's diaries to prove it. Bright returned to the National Archives where he found a file on Unity sealed under the 100-year rule. He received special permission to open it and discovered that in October 1941, while living at the family home in Swinbrook, she had been consorting with a married RAF test pilot — throwing doubt on her reported invalidity.

Bright then abandoned the investigation until he mentioned the story to an executive from Channel 4 who thought it was a good subject for a documentary film. Further investigation was then undertaken as part of the filming for Hitler's British Girl including a visit to an Oxfordshire registry office where an abnormally large number of birth registrations at Hill View at that time apparently confirmed its use as a Maternity hospital but none were for Mitford, although as the records officer admits many births were never registered at this time. The publication of the article and the broadcast of the film the following week stimulated a media frenzy of speculation that Hitler's offspring could be living in the United Kingdom.

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