Unity Valkyrie Mitford
I found it hard to resist Martin Bright's piece in this week's New Statesman .... "Unity Mitford and 'Hitler's baby' ". To be sure it's an enticing headline, but by the end of the piece, and I suspect its the Channel4 companion, Bright has shredded this nonsensical proposition.
There can be no doubt that Unity had the hots for Hitler. And although there was much contemporary speculation in England that the relationship was an "intimate" one, the evidence is all one way-against.
Unity's sister, Diana, had no doubt. They were both great chatterboxes and letter writers.The idea that Unity failed to mention to her sister she'd bedded the Fuehrer is just plain daft.
In Mary Lovell's wonderfully entertaining "The Mitford Girls", Diana, who spent many evenings alone with Hitler, told the author that the Fuehrer:-
" was not very interested in sex and...... she was convinced that Unity has never slept with him."
Unity certainly fell in love with Hitler, and perhaps, had he asked her to sleep with him, she would have accepted the offer with alacrity.
There is also evidence from the Hitler side.
Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's favourite German film director, asked him what he thought of Unity.
" She is a very attractive girl, but I could never have an intimate relationship with a foreigner no matter how beautiful she might be. .....my feelings are so bound up with my patriotism that I could only love a German girl."
Unity may still have ended up " in a maternity home" in Wigginton, Oxfordshire as Bright alleges, but the idea that she gave birth to "Hitler's love child" there is just preposterous.
Bright adds another preposterous idea-the suggestion in Guy Liddell's Diaries that Unity did not try to kill herself.
The injuries, which were finally to cause her death, are by themselves no proof of the suicide attempt. The written evidence of the attempt is, however, overwhelming.
In early 1939, Unity told Diana, that if war were declared between England and Germany she would not live to see that tragedy unfold.
"She was simply too far torn between England and Germany to see them tear themselves apart."
She also told one of her friends that she intended to shoot herself when war was declared. She even wrote a suicide note to her parents
"This is to say goodbye..... I send my best love to you all and particularly to my Boud [ nickname for her sister Decca] when you write. Perhaps when this war is over, everyone will be friends again and there will be friendship between Germany and England which we have all hoped for...."
The strange thing is it's almost impossible to examine the lives of any of the six the Mitford girls without finding a wonderful mystery lurking beneath. Bright seems to have managed.