By PETER ALLEN
They share the same piercing gaze, defined jawline and stern mouth set off with a clipped moustache. But the Frenchman who believed he was the secret son of Adolf Hitler was never able to prove his family line before he died. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to.
Now new information has emerged that adds weight to Jean-Marie Loret’s claim to have been Hitler’s son from a brief relationship with a French woman during the First World War. Mr Loret, who was born in March, 1918, grew up knowing nothing about his father, apart from the fact that he was German.
It was only in the late 1950s, just before her death, that his mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, finally told him the story that was to haunt him for the rest of his life. At 16, she told him, she had a brief affair with Hitler while he was a young soldier fighting in northern France. Her extraordinary story has divided historians for years.
The new evidence, published in Le Point magazine in Paris, will reignite the debate which began when the claims were first made public in the 1970s by respected German historian, Werner Maser.
Yesterday Mr Loret’s Paris lawyer, Francois Gibault, confirmed he had given Le Point magazine photographs and documents to support the claims. Mr Gibault also revealed how Mr Loret’s mother had described the affair to her son.
According to her story, the relationship began in 1917. Although Hitler, then 28, was fighting the French near Seboncourt, in the northern Picardy region, he made his way to Fournes-en-Weppe, a town west of Lille, for leave.
There he met Miss Lobjoie who, according to the lawyer, later told her son: ‘One day I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street. He had a sketch pad and seemed to be drawing. All the women found this interesting, and were curious to know what he was drawing. I was designated to approach him.’
The pair started a brief relationship and she said Jean-Marie was conceived after a ‘tipsy’ evening in June 1917. He was born the following year. According to the latest information from Mr Loret’s lawyer, Miss Lobjoie told her son: ‘When your father was around, which was very rarely, he liked to take me for walks in the countryside.
‘But these walks usually ended badly. In fact, your father, inspired by nature, launched into speeches which I did not really understand. He did not speak French, but solely ranted in German, talking to an imaginary audience.
‘Even if I spoke German I would not be able to follow him, as the histories of Prussia, Austria and Bavaria were not familiar to me at all, far from it. My reaction used to anger your father so much that I did not show any reaction.’
Miss Lobjoie only spoke to her son about his true heritage many years after she had given him up for adoption in the 1930s to a family called Loret. Jean-Marie grew up to fight the Germans in 1939 and later, during the Nazi occupation, joined the French Resistance.