is hitler’s birthplace here in michigan?

After I first dropped out of college, I worked for a few years as a historic archeologist, under the direction of a character named Ed Rutsch. Ed, a former President of the American Society of Industrial Archaeologists, wasn’t just a brilliant historian, and an accomplished archeologist, but a good friend. He was also funny as hell. I should probably write an entire post about Ed one day, but, for now, I’ll just say that he was a larger-than-life character, and leave it at that. Anyway, one day, over drinks, I told Ed that I was thinking about moving to Michigan. Without missing a beat, he said, “You should go check out Hitler’s boyhood home. Henry Ford moved it there.”

I, of course, had heard that Henry Ford, the father of the automotive industry, admired Adolph Hitler. I knew that Hitler famously said of Ford, “I regard (him) as my inspiration.” I also knew that Ford, who was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle by Hitler, had some connection to the anti-Semitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” But, I’d never heard anything about a house.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Ford was a collector of buildings. On his property, called Greenfield Village, he assembled over 100 buildings by the time he died. Among them are the Wright brother’s Dayton bicycle shop, and Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. (He also has a glass tube said to contain Thomas Edison’s dying breath… the collection of which I think must have been quite awkward.) Ed told me all of this, and suggested I go and visit. And, there, among all the other buildings, he told me that I’d see Hitler’s home. (I can’t recall if he said it was Hitler’s birthplace, or childhood home, but it was one or the other.) He said it was, for obvious reasons, unmarked.

I didn’t push Ed for details at the time. I half thought, as I still do, that he was pulling my leg, but it’s still something that has been rolling around in my head for the last 20 years. Unfortunately, Ed passed away about five years ago, so I guess I’ll never know if he was being serious. Given Ford’s admiration for Hitler, and the fact that he bought up property associated with everyone else that he idolized, however, it certainly seems plausible. I guess that’s what makes a good urban myth. The weird thing is, I’ve never heard about this from anyone else, and I’ve been talking to people about it for several years now. I’ve even asked a few people at Greenfield Village. They all tell me that they’d never heard the rumor, but that, knowing Ford, they suppose it could be true. Right now, I guess I’m about 40% convinced. I’d be more certain, if not for the fact that none of the 100 buildings appear on the surface to have housed the boy FFührer.

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14 Comments

  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted March 23, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Out of 100 buildings, the “Swiss” chalet is the only home at Greenfield Village that isn’t credited to an actual person or place…

  2. egpenet
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    The Swiss Chalet was built with plans provided by Cartier, so the story goes, to simulate a watchmaker’s home and place of business. Sure.

    I’ll bet there’s an A.H. carved with a little boy’s penknife somewhere in or around that building.

    O.E.C. smells a rat … or perhaps he has been reading “MAUS.”

  3. Paw
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    They do serve a delicious Führerfurter in their cafe.

  4. Andy C
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I have a relative who worked there for several years. She never heard of it.

  5. Caution
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    You’d be smart to stop this crusade. You may not like where it leads. If you must go on though, please don’t start asking questions about the museum’s ovens. You don’t want to know.

  6. "Dr. Smith"
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I cannot reveal my sources, but what you suspect is true, although lacking in specifics. Ford did transplant the boyhood home of Hitler to Michigan. However, the boyhood home you’re searching for is much older and more significant than you suspect.

    As you may know, Edsel, was a profound disappointment to the Fords. A fervent, albeit occasionally misguided, believer in both modern science and genetics, HF secretly had the remains of Klara Polzl Hitler exhumed and her womb (it being the original boyhood home of Hitler) removed and transplanted into Clara Ala Bryant, Ford’s wife.

    Far less known, is that extremely late in life, Clara miracously conceived and bore Ford a second son, birthed with Ford’s genes and delivered from Hitler’s womb. The post-war details of the pregnancy and birth were hidden from the public, as Hitler’s popularity had a rather sharp, post-war decline in the states.

    In short, your friend was right, Hitler’s earliest boyhood home is in Michigan, now resting with Clara in the Ford Cemetery in Detroit.

    Oh, and Ford’s dad was a watchmaker. That’s why he built that Swiss thingy.

    And Caution is right, this isn’t a path you want to go any further down. I’ve said too much alr

  7. mark
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    According to the Wikipedia entry on Henry Ford, at the age of 80, he was shown film of a German concentration camp. There wasn’t any context given. My guess is that someone in our government showed it to him, in hopes that it would change his mind. I wonder if it did.

  8. mark
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Many people don’t know it, but Hitler’s mother’s womb also served as the world’s first automotive airbag. Ford would smash his Model T into things just so that he could fly into it’s soft, warm embrace.

  9. Posted May 16, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    hitler sucks

  10. Posted May 16, 2008 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    ballzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  11. Posted May 16, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    ballzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  12. Steve Swan
    Posted May 16, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I would pay top dollar for video confirmation of this, Mr. Magnum.

  13. Robert
    Posted May 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    We should all learn a lesson here from pimp magnum’s courage and take a stand against fascism.

  14. lmc
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Hitler had his town of origins, including childhood home, demolished as he rose to power. Some say that it was his way of destroying evidence of his heritage and being Jewish via one parents’ genealogical history – a grandparent was jewish or half Jewish – Jewish enough that Hitler would have earned his own bed in a death camp.
    His mother died of cancer – treated by a TRUSTED Jewish doctor, actually. I can’t recall what type of cancer – uterine? But, if it was uterine, the diatribe by Dr. Smith, so funny as it is. about the womb, is completely not possible even if medical advancement in the middle of last century made transplantation of a ‘womb’ possible.
    What is factual, though, is that ‘Cousin Adolph’s’ relatives traded out surnames and transplanted to the Eastern Seaboard in the good ol’ US of A, but our oh so generous yet, at times exploitive government rescued, hid, hutled out (of Europe pre-Nuremburg trials), housed and employed the real Nazi masterminds of death from the Nazi regime – those engineers and scientists that developed methods behind killing not only their opponents in war, but those that were being exterminated by law enforced design in Nazi extermination camps.
    This idea of HF salvaging something of his bosom buddy AH’s life is interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised if something is hidden in some Ford archive – considering that any museum is typically only capable of circulating even their stored and ‘socially acceptable’ holdings in some instances as often as every 25+ years.
    When the city of Detroit filed bankruptcy so many months ago, just this past spring there was talk of selling off the DIA artwork, including stored items of which much hadn’t not only been displayed, but inventoried as far back as the 1900 teen years (1917, 1918 etc) – so think about a man that was not only as controlling as HR, but meticulous to detail, too – then slap on his history of public outcry over his ownership and publication of the Dearborn local paper that was distributed nationwide through his dealerships, too – publication of of what is now considered and prosecuted as ‘hate speech’ – and I’m guessing that he surely has some AH stuff tucked away in some little cubby someplace in MI. Oh, and do remember that Ford Co. produced and sold items pre-war to Germany, too. Not the only company involved in this schtuff – one of MANY companies involved in helping Germany out of her great economic depression. George Bush, Sr.’s granddaddy was one of the approving board of directors of the American based bank that helped to do prewar funding for build-up of armaments for AH and Germany, at the time unbeknownst to fed. gov. – taking tid-bits of historical info about a person can be inflammatory unless fully understanding the entire historical context. HF and MANY US companies sold to AH and Germany in the 1920’s-30’s – but few continued to do so once war was eminent for Europe and England – Bush and other bank board members, on the other other hand took (then) private/secret meetings about funding German armament stockpiling (which was illegal and broke agreements of WWI Versailles Treaty) in preparation for military campaigns against States such as Poland that fired off the start of the second world war.
    Context is so important and I’m betting that HF had more than a medal of valor awarded to him by AH in his little Nazi art stash that has yet to be made public…
    The last breath of Edison is really interesting and I bet that this one is true, also. I know this one obsessive person, a collector on a much smaller scale than HF – but just the same – and she, too, captured breath from a beloved aunt before the aunt passed away, too. Captured it in a now slowly deflating vinyl blow-up pool toy! So, obsessives do this sort of thing in their collecting. I’ve seen collectors sell jars of air that they captured when supposedly standing in line-up of fans next to red carpet walkers being sold online on E-Bay as ‘Air possibly breathed by Brad Pitt – captured in jar while he walked on red carpet for premier of ****** ” – so even the more common-place and public collectors still do this sorta thing!
    lmc

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